What is it?
Launched in 2008, the Audi Q5 is now in its second generation, and remains one of the most popular vehicles in its class. The Q5 shares some of its underpinnings with its Q7 and A4 siblings, and therefore it means that it should be both practical and comfortable.
On the road
Usually I like to take my press cars on long road trips, they don’t need to be epic laced with peril and uncertainty, but long drives that can tell you a lot about a car. With Q5 however I didn't have enough time, Wetherby and back was the farthest, this meant it was menial duties only: the odd shopping trip, back and forth to school everyday and so on. Now you may be thinking what a waste of an opportunity, but in truth what a better test for a car than stepping up and performing the daily grind.
As you would expect from an Audi, the ride quality is rather nice, and whilst cruising the pot-holed strewn streets of Bolton I found that it lends itself to a more laid back pace of life.
Don't get me wrong, with a o-60mph time of just under 8-seconds, when I did take it along some empty country lanes the handling and grip from the Quattro was spot-on, as was the steering, and the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission worked really well too.
Depending on the size of tyres you choose, combined fuel economy for the 2ltr diesel is quoted as being around 55mpg, but during my interminable commutes it was showing between 40-45mpg, which isn’t too shabby, considering. Oh yeah, and its emissions work out at 133g/km CO2.
Off the road
There’s an old saying that goes something like, ‘just because you can doesn’t mean you should’, but I generally ignore that and take all my press cars ‘off-road’. OK, a little bit of context is required here I think. When I say ‘off-road’ I don’t mean pay & play sites or challenging green-lanes in Wales, I'm referring to easy lanes that will have your ‘normal’ cars scrambling for grip in places.
I think what surprised me the most about the Q5 was its ride over harsh terrain, out of all the 4x4s I've driven, I think only the Range Rover was better. It was smooth with no wince making clunks or bangs from its nethers, and of course the quattro system made the usual 3-wheeled pose feel like a trip to ASDA.
I like the interior, it’s well laid out with a classy feel to it. I’m not usually in favour of completely digital dash readouts, but I liked that you could switch from having the traditional dash layout to a full sat-nav layout with both a speedo and rev counter at either side. Admittedly it took a bit of getting used to but by the end of the week I loved it. This by the way is called the ‘Virtual Cockpit’ and is a £250.00 option. It's a tad gimmicky, but I'd tick it given the option.
The switchgear was satisfyingly solid to the touch and all within easy reach, but you expect this from Audi.
Yeah, it has a few. The twin USB ports are at the back of the cubby box and awkward to get to if you need to charge your phone. The steering wheel didn’t lift high enough for me to get my knees under it when I got in and out, and that’s despite having been fitted with the optional flat bottomed steering wheel. Another gripe was the seats, as comfortable and supportive as they are, both front seats were a tad too narrow for a big bloke like me!
Other than that, the Q5 was a lovely SUV to spend time in.
It may not be the prettiest SUV out there, in my opinion obviously, but it’s refined and oozes quality. With a list price of £39,405, and that's before £5,160 worth of extras are added, ownership isn’t cheap, but if you want a classy and practical SUV that’ll compete with the likes of the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC, then it’s certainly worth considering.