Audi Q5 review
The Audi Q5 is a premium crossover that rivals the BMW X3 and sits below the larger Q7 in the range
Some may find its shape a little dull, and the Audi Q5 lines do resemble those of a shrunken Q7. But in 2012 a facelift added sleek new LED headlights to the Audi Q5 S line model, as well as an upright single frame grille and gloss black inserts to sharpen the Q5's looks.
Inside, the build quality of the Audi Q5 is great while roomy seats make it very comfortable indeed. There's an optional sliding rear bench that provides an extra bit of space in the boot or legroom should you need it.
The Audi Q5 comes in three main specifications, entry-level SE, S line and S line Plus. Overall, the Audi Q5 engine range is impressive, and the 2.0-litre TDI diesel is definitely the star of the show, offering performance and economy at a reasonable price.
Our choice: Q5 2.0 TDI SE
The Audi Q5 does look a bit like a scaled down version of the Q7. It's characterised by a big grille flanked with glitzy daytime running lights surrounding the headlamp units (these are optional on all but top-spec S line models).
Entry-level Audi Q5 SE models get 18-inch alloy wheels as standard, while S line and S line Plus come with even larger alloy wheels and more aggressive bumpers and arches.
Interior build quality of the Audi Q5 is great, with plenty of high-quality materials and a sleek, stylish design.
It's still not as stylish as the latest Audi A6, but the 2012 facelift did bring in new gloss dash inserts, chrome trim plus tweaks to the steering wheel stalks and instruments.
One thing you'll notice with the Audi Q5 is that the ride is a little bit firm, but well-judged damping does ensure that it handles bumps without major problems.
The 2.0-litre and 3.0-litre TDI engines both offer great performance, and the latter benefits from Audi's seven-speed S tronic automatic transmission. A new version of the 2.0-litre TDI will arrive next year, replacing the current 175bhp version, and increase power to 187bhp as well as being quieter and more refined.
There's also a clever 2.0-litre TFSI petrol which offers impressive pace but your wallet will definitely feel lighter than if you opted for the 2.0-litre diesel. For serious performance there's a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 which comes in the SQ5 where it develops 349bhp and 470Nm of torque.
The Audi Q5 isn't really suitable for extreme off-road adventures, but it'll be fine for some light off-roading, thanks to features such as hill descent control and traction control for slippery conditions.
If you find the Audi Q5's ride to be a little bit too firm, then you can always opt for the Drive Select system which will allow you to alter the suspension set-up for performance or comfort.
Audi is renowned for excellent build quality and this was reflected in our 2013 customer satisfaction survey, where the brand finished in 10th place overall (climbing 5 places from the previous year's survey).
The Audi Q5 itself received the full five-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests. It received a score of 92 per cent for adult occupant protection and 84 per cent for child protection partly thanks to stability control and six airbags fitted as standard.
There's also a selection of three, four, or five-year warranties to give you further peace of mind.
The Audi Q5 offers 540 litres of boot space, which expands to 1,560 litres with the rear seats folded. This is more than you'd get with the Volvo XC60 but just behind the BMW X3. It's a massive shame that the sharp angle of the rear windscreen means loading bulky items can be a bit of a pain.
There is the option of a sliding rear bench, though, which further boosts practicality by moving back and forth 100mm each way. In the front, there's plenty of storage areas and cubby holes, and for a bit more cash you can even opt for a cup holder that chills cold drinks and heats up hot ones.
We'd definitely opt for a 2.0-litre TDI diesel model as they're powerful enough and the cheapest Audi Q5s to buy and run. The entry level 148bhp version returns 47.9mpg in fuel economy and emits 154g/km of CO2. The new 187bhp 2.0-litre TDI engine due the middle of next year, is set to be even more appealing. It has more power, but lower CO2 at 149g/km and fuel economy of 49mpg. The 3.0-litre TDI diesel engine, meanwhile, manages 44.1mpg and emits 169g/km of CO2.
On the other hand, the most expensive model to run will be the petrol SQ5 as this can only manage 33.2mpg and emits a massive 199g/km of CO2.
In terms of other costs, Audi offers a range of fixed-price servicing deals, which should help to keep bills to a minimum. Residual values should be relatively strong as the Audi Q5 is some what of a rarity on roads.