Used Audi Q5 (Mk1, 2008-2016) review - How practical is it?

A spacious interior and large boot help make the versatile Q5 a fine family-friendly choice

It’s no surprise to find the Audi is a roomy and practical choice. Newer rivals are a touch more spacious, but few will have anything to complain about. Certainly not when it comes to quality, because few cars feel as upmarket inside, plus there’s all the kit you’re likely to need.

Dimensions and cabin design

The Audi is slightly shorter and more compact than some of its main rivals, at 4,629mm long, 1,898mm wide and 1,655mm high. The BMW X3 is 30mm longer, at 4,657mm, but it’s a little slimmer (1,881mm) and taller (1,678mm). It’s the same for the Porsche Macan, which despite being closely related to the Q5 measures 4,681mm long, 1,923mm wide and 1,624mm tall.

The Q5 is a strict five-seater; Audi reserves the seven-seat option for the larger Q7 SUV. Still, as the Q5 is a tall 4x4, you sit high up and benefit from good visibility.

There are plenty of storage areas and cubbyholes in the front, while the glove box is large. Also keep an eye out for models fitted with the optional heated and cooled cupholders, which at the touch of a button either keep your drink warm or cold.

The Audi’s cabin has been well thought out and there’s a lot of space for front and rear passengers. Those sitting in the back have a generous amount of legroom as standard, plus the rear seat usefully slides back and forth by up to 100mm to provide even more legroom or boost luggage space as required. Audi also offers the option of a folding front passenger seat for extra practicality.

Boot space

The Audi Q5 has one of the biggest boots in its class, with a capacity of 540 litres when the rear seats are in place. This is 55 litres more than you get in the Volvo XC60 and 50 litres more than the Porsche Macan offers. But it’s just behind the BMW X3, which serves up 550 litres.

Fold the rear seats, and the Q5 provides a maximum luggage space of 1,560 litres. It's just a shame that the rear windscreen has such a sharp angle; this means loading bulky items can be a bit of a pain. Audi claims that the car was designed with sharp looks in mind, rather than practicality.

Equipment and technology

There are unlikely to be any complaints about the amount of standard kit that comes with the Q5. All models get three-zone climate control, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a DAB digital radio. Leather seats also feature, as do an auto-dimming rear view mirror, cruise control and automatic lights and wipers.

Mid-level S line models are more of a styling upgrade than anything else, although they do benefit from more powerful xenon headlights. You have to go for the top-spec S line Plus if you want sat-nav – and it also adds metallic paint, a music interface, parking sensors and a powered tailgate.

Every Q5 features Audi’s 6.5-inch MMI touchscreen infotainment system, but this is the previous-generation version. While there’s nothing wrong with it and it’s simple enough to use, it isn’t as advanced and doesn’t look quite as sharp as the set-ups in more recent models from the brand.

Interior build quality of the Q5 is impeccable – not surprisingly for an Audi – with plenty of high-grade materials and a sleek, stylish design.

It's still not quite as stylish as the latest Audi A6, but a facelift in 2012 introduced a number of tweaks around the cabin, including new gloss dash inserts and bits of chrome trim, plus tweaks to the steering wheel stalks. These helped to freshen the Q5 up inside, although it still looks a little older than some of Audi’s more up-to-date models.

Safety

The Q5 was awarded the full five-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests. It achieved scores of 92 per cent for adult occupant protection and 84 per cent for child protection. However, bear in mind that the Q5 was tested in 2009, when the test was a lot less rigorous. It also lacks some of the latest hi-tech aids, such as autonomous emergency braking.

That said, all versions do get stability control and six airbags, as well as rear parking sensors and a driver fatigue monitor. There’s also an special off-road setting for the stability control, which can help to stabilise the car in slippery conditions.

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