The Audi Q5 is well-specified and capable. Geared more toward relaxed touring than dynamic drives, it is very easy to live with. It comes with all-wheel-drive as standard and a variety of engine choices including the 190PS TDI, an excellent all-rounder.
- Efficient and refined engines and auto gearbox
- Clear instruments and good ergonomics
- Decent level of equipment, on base SE trim
- Slightly numb throttle response
- Large mirrors block peripheral view
- Misses out on new TFT display fitted to other Audi models
There might be plans for smaller Audi SUVs but in the current range of three, the Q5 sits squarely in the middle. It is an accessible size too: large enough for sensible interior space; not too big to feel cumbersome. Add height to the 4.6m by 1.9m footprint and it is an imposing motor, too. Displaying one of the boldest grills (on any car, not just the Audi range), it hints at its 1930s Auto Union racing heritage to add charisma to a smart - if a little generic - body shape. To the rear, an angled tailgate shaves a little off the box, but the Q5 still manages a useful 1,560 litres of space with rear seats dropped (540 litres, seats up).
Inside, the cockpit is conventional in layout although misses out on the very latest TFT instruments now appearing across the wider Audi range. The sat-nav is a whisker slower to locate satellites and Bluetooth phone/audio requires a few seconds to hook up when compared to the latest tech but it is intuitive and information is clearly displayed. The dials - large with analogue needles - are simple to read at a glance and the main menu system is instinctive, although not touch-screen. Aided by the height, all round visibility is good although of note are the considerable door mirrors. They match the overall solid appearance of the Q5 from the outside but do block out a sizeable chunk of the view from the side windows.
Our 190PS SE Quattro puts sufficient power down to each corner (with all-wheel-drive as standard). We also have winter tyres here doing a fine job gripping the Tarmac while temperatures hover around zero degrees. Performance is more than adequate for a vehicle of the Q5's size (and there is the 225PS two-litre petrol or 258PS three-litre diesel if that is your thing). The extra power of the 190PS over the 150PS is certainly material given the car's 1,820kg kerb weight and brings the 0-62mph dash in a reassuring 8.4 seconds. The Audi's dual clutch auto 'box is one of the best on the market in terms of smoothness, gear choice and efficiency. Over the long haul, we managed mid-40s to the gallon which is perfectly respectable.
Despite Sport and Dynamic modes being chosen, the Q5 is not the crispest handling SUV, although regular summer tyres do firm-up the ride somewhat. The throttle response - even in sport mode - is rather numb, so quick getaways off the mark aren't its forte either. No, the Q5 is a more relaxed beast, preferring to gobble-up A-roads and dispatch motorways rather than clip an apex. Having racked-up hundreds of miles on our test car, we can attest to the fact that it makes an extremely comfortable and relaxed tourer.
In terms of equipment, even Audi's lower SE level arrives crammed with goodies, so it is an excellent package. Cruise control, auto wipers, parking sensors and heated electric mirrors are all standard. S-Line adds a great deal in terms of styling but only modest items of substance, such as Xenon lights at the front and LED units at the rear. S-Line Plus adds a couple of additional functional items - auto park and a powered tailgate - with privacy glass and metallic paint also delivered as standard.
So it is well built, substantial-looking and well-equipped but is that enough? For many, it will be and the four rings on the nose carry a certain cache. The drive isn't as dynamic as some rivals' models but it is an extremely civilised way to travel.
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