Are you looking for an SUV that still feels stylish and fun? If so, you should consider the Audi Q5. The Q5 (and its sports-tuned cousin, the Audi SQ5) has powerful engines options and an upscale interior. Standard all-wheel drive makes the Q5 appealing to drivers in wintry climates, while standard tech features like smart-phone connectivity via Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ makes it a good choice for drivers who want to stay connected.
Whether you’re completing the carpool run, looking to tow your boat, or commuting in and out of the city, the Audi Q5 is a versatile compact luxury SUV that meets the needs of a variety of drivers. Here is everything you should know in order to decide if the Q5 or SQ5 is right for you:
Price and Value: The Audi Q5 is expensive, with a starting price tag of more than $43,000 for a new 2020 model. It’s true that the Q5 comes with upscale features like standard leather and heated from seats (as of 2019). However, it’s still more pricy than other luxury compact SUVs.
To save money, you should consider purchasing a used Audi Q5. The most recent generation debuted in 2018, and included more cargo space and more powerful, yet fuel efficient engines. If you’re not too concerned about gas mileage you could opt for a Q5 from the previous generation to save even more money, while still getting the luxury feel of the Q5.
Seating and Capacities: The Q5 is a compact SUV, with seating for five passengers. Rear passengers will have 37.8 inches of leg room in the most recent generation; that’s comparable to the legroom you would find in a sedan.
The Q5 has a good amount of cargo space, making it a great option for people who need space, but don’t want a large vehicle. The Q5 has 25.1 cubic feet of cargo space, increasing to 53.1 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded flat.
Outdoor adventurers will appreciate that the most recent generation of the Audi Q5 comes standard with a tow hitch. It’s capable of towing up to 4,400 pounds (when properly equipped). That’s enough to move a small boat or tear drop trailer, in most cases, and more than many other compact SUVs.
Engine Options and Fuel Economy: The most recent generation of the Audi Q5 (model years 2018 and later) comes standard with a turbo-charged four-cylinder engine that produces 248 horsepower and gets 24 mpg combined fuel economy. That is paired with all-wheel drive and a seven-speed transmission.
Drivers also have the option to upgrade to the SQ5, which comes with a 349-horsepower turbocharged V6 engine that gets 21 mpg combined. This engine also comes standard with all-wheel drive, and has an eight-speed transmission. The Audi Q5 requires premium fuel in all trims.
The previous generation of the Q5 came with three engine options: the standard 220-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder (22 mpg combined), a 272-horsepower turbocharged V6 (21 mpg combined), or a 354-horsepower supercharged V6 on the SQ5 (19 mpg combined).
Features and Trims: The Audi Q5 has the upscale cabin and features that you would expect from the brand, and other luxury compact SUVs. The Q5 comes standard with leather seats and wood in-lays. The standard front seats are heated and eight-way adjustable, and the cabin has smart-phone connectivity and a standard 10-speaker audio system.
The Q5 comes in two main options: the Q5 (base engine and tuning) or the SQ5. The SQ5 is the sports-tuned version of the Q5. It comes with a more powerful engine (the 349-horsepower V6) and features like an active damping suspension, and performance brakes.
Both the Q5 and the SQ5 are available in three trim levels on the most recent generation: premium, premium plus and prestige. Here’s what you can expect from each:
- Premium: 7-inch display screen; automatic windshield wipers; three-zone climate control; 18-inch wheels
- Premium Plus: 19-inch wheels; 8.3-inch display screen; panoramic sunroof; Audi phone box (signal booster and wireless charger); rear cross-traffic sensors; navigation
- Prestige: 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen® sound system; heads-up display; lane assist; traffic sign recognition
Safety Ratings: The Audi Q5 and SQ5 have great safety ratings. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2019 Audi Q5 a perfect five out of five safety rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Q5 an overall rating of “Good,” the organization’s highest rating.
The Q5 doesn’t have as many standard driver assist and safety features as other luxury compact SUVs, although they are available at higher trims. The premium level of the Q5 comes standard with a backup camera and Audi’s pre-sense system, which has collision detection and automatic braking. The premium plus trim adds pre-sense rear and side, designed to avoid rear and side collisions. It also adds a rear cross traffic alert. The prestige trim comes with road-sign recognition, lane-keep assist, and a top-view camera.
Reliability: The Audi Q5 struggles a bit with reliability, especially considering its hefty price tag. The 2018 model has a below-average reliability rating of 2.5 of 5 from J.D. Power and Associates, while the 2019 and 2020 models have an average reliability rating or 3 of 5. There are currently four active recalls on the 2019 Audi Q5, ranging from brake malfunctioning to trim coming loose.
The previous generation of the Audi Q5 was even less reliable. Model years 2014 through 2017 had a low reliability rating of 2 out of 5.
Rankings: The Audi Q5 generally ranks very high among luxury SUVs. Critics like its performance and style, although its lower reliability ratings keep it from being at the top of the class. The Q5’s towing capacity (4,400 pounds when properly equipped) is among the highest for compact SUVs.
The Takeaway: The Audi Q5 is a nice vehicle. Its wood and leather interior will make you feel like you’re riding in the lap of luxury, and its powerful engines will appease even picky drivers, or those who hadn’t previously considered an SUV. With standard all-wheel drive and great towing capacity, the Audi Q5 and SQ5 are well-suited for people who are outdoorsy and regularly need to tow their toys. Overall, the Audi Q5 is a stylish compact luxury SUV that is fun to drive.