2018 Audi Q5 2.0T quattro S tronic
Class: Premium Compact Crossover
Miles driven: 293
Fuel used: 12.5 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 23.4 mpg
Driving mix: 75% city, 25% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 23/27/25 (city, highway, combined)
|CG Report Card|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. “Big” rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, “Tall” rating based on 6’6″-tall male tester.|
|Room and Comfort||B|
|Power and Performance||B-|
|Fit and Finish||A|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide’s impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
Base price: $41,500 (not including $975 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Prestige Package ($9300), Cold Weather Package ($500)
Price as tested: $52,275
The great: Sophisticated, high-quality cabin ambiance; smooth powertrain
The good: Excellent ride and handling balance
The not so good: Finicky infotainment-system controls
Is prestige something that must be earned or something that can be bought?
Who’s to say in the world at large—it can go either way. However, strictly speaking about the Audi Q5, it appears to us that if you earn $9300, you can use that to buy a Prestige trim package for this premium-compact sport-utility vehicle.
The 2018 Audi Q5 that Consumer Guide tested was dripping with Prestige, which lifted its $41,500 starting price beyond the $50,000 mark. With a Cold Weather Package of heated steering wheel and rear seats, and delivery, the bottom-line figure for the test truck totaled $52,275. It all makes for a well-equipped and mannered small SUV.
As a quick reminder, the ’18 model is a thorough redesign of the 9-year-old original-series Q5. Underneath its sharper-edged body styling lies improved interior space, particularly in the second row, and increased cargo capacity with the back seats folded down. Audi has incorporated many new safety and technology features as well. Q5s come with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, a 7-speed automatic transmission, and quattro all-wheel drive.
Prestige equipment—some of which improves on or replaces items from the Premium and Premium Plus levels—is heavy on tech and convenience features, starting with the virtual cockpit and head-up display that put navigation and systems information right in front of the driver. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone functionality is new. Audi connect CARE assistance and security services and a 6-month trial subscription to Audi connect PRIME and PLUS online services are included as well. Electronic driving and safety aids run to a full range of Audi pre sense vehicle- and pedestrian-detection and collision-mitigation systems, parking-assist with top-view camera, a rearview camera with a 7-inch color display, and keyless entry/starting with a hands-free tailgate release.
The 755-watt audio system is by Bang & Olufsen with 3D sound and 19 speakers. If there’s a downside, in our estimation, it is that settings and control of this and the navigation system are left up to the MMI central control that—like most such devices in vogue today—is not simple to operate and draws driver attention from the road. It comes with “all-in-touch” handwriting-recognition technology. Satellite radio is included, too.
Rolling stock consists of 20-inch alloy wheels and 255/45R20 all-season tires. External features run to LED headlights and taillights, auto-dimming heated power-folding mirrors, acoustic front-door glass, and a panoramic sunroof. Interior features count leather upholstery, heated front seats, leatherette-covered console and door armrests, driver‘s seat memory, 3-zone automatic climate control, interior-lighting package, and stainless-steel sill plates for the front doors and cargo bay.
The direct-injection powerplant pumps out 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. The engine and transmission are well matched. Acceleration is perky from a stop, and prompt gear kickdown enables snappy expressway passing. EPA mileage estimates for the Q5 are 23 mpg when run in city driving, 27 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined. This driver covered 115 miles in the test vehicle, 65 percent of that in city-type conditions, and got 22.5 mpg. There is a fuel-saving stop/start function that’s fairly unobtrusive in simple stops and starts, but one CG editor noticed that it has the habit of shutting down the power steering during off cycles. Otherwise, the vehicle exhibits well-controlled handling and a composed ride over most surfaces.
Between the leather seats; leatherette armrests; and padded dash, console sides, and door centers passengers will find themselves in contact with quite a bit of soft-touch material in the cabin. One somewhat surprising exception—especially for an Audi—is the door tops, where “soft” paint makes them seem cushy at first blush, but you can press on them for all you’re worth and they won’t give.
Seat comfort and support are good. Passengers enjoy more legroom and headroom than they might expect in either row. However, a big central floor hump effectively restricts rear-passenger capacity to two adults. Entry and exit are unencumbered, step-in height is easy to live with, and drivers will find good sightlines all around.
Good-sized glove and console boxes handle cabin storage of personal items. There are pockets in all four doors, plus net pouches on the backs of the front seats. Covered cup holders are installed in the console and the pull-down rear-center armrest. Ample space is available in back, where a flat floor is ready to accept cargo—and there’s a little space under the floor for a few incidentals. Rear seats fold in a 60/40 split, but at something of an angle up from the level of the cargo floor, and with a slight offset. There are net pouches for incidentals on the sides of the cargo compartment, and levers for remote release of the rear seats.
Audi has made the new Q5 a moderately luxurious small sport-ute with abundant of-the-moment features. If you’re buying a vehicle in this class, Audi has earned the right to be on your shopping list.