The new Audi Q5 continues to be one of the best mid-sized SUVs you can buy
Audi’s best-selling SUV has been updated. Darren Cassey took it for a spin to see if the new one should continue to be a sales success
The Q5 has dominated Audi’s SUV sales figures ever since it was introduced in 2008. Clearly not keen to mess with a popular recipe, it’s a case of evolution rather than revolution for the new version.
There’s a bit more space for passengers in the cabin and a bit more room in the boot for luggage, while Audi says it’s quieter inside than before and is lighter overall. Importantly for a premium car, the standard kit has also been upgraded, with a smartphone interface, powered bootlid and automatic city braking technology all available from the base SE spec.
Looks and image
The Q5 sits in the middle of Audi’s SUV range – it’s slightly smaller than the German manufacturer’s imposing Q7 and a bit bigger than its crossover-sized Q3.
The styling is sharper than before, with slimmer headlights giving the Q5 a more purposeful face, but overall it’s still quite understated. And in the Navarra Blue of our test car – a £645 option – it looks a little bland.
Inside it’s extremely comfortable and the build quality is second to none. There are no obvious cheap plastics, while every surface feels like it would hold up to being poked and pulled at by young children.
Space and practicality
Considering this is Audi’s mid-sized SUV, the first thing that strikes you is just how spacious the interior is. The driving position is nicely judged, so you ride high above the road but sit relatively low in the cabin.
With the 10-litre increase in boot space, there’s plenty of practicality on offer, too. The rear seats can be split into three different layouts, meaning you can carry larger items and still have passengers in the rear, while putting all three rear seats down gives an impressive 1,550 litres of space.
Behind the wheel
After the surprisingly agile Q7, the Q5 almost feels like a bit of a disappointment. It’s perfectly good at bumbling about in town and cruises quietly on the motorway, but there’s little to light the fire of keen drivers here.
The all-wheel-drive system and over-eager traction control system combine to have a fun-sapping effect if you try to push the Q5 in a corner, but on the school run or daily commute it’s a comfortable cruiser – though even when cornering at normal speeds you do get a sense of the high centre of gravity.
The one major bug bear is the seven-speed S tronic gearbox, which struggles to get you moving at lower speeds. It can really catch you out at junctions and roundabouts, particularly if you’re squeezing into a gap in traffic, as the clutch hesitates to engage. Once on the move it’s a slick shifter, though.
Value for money
Our top-spec S line model starts at a little under £40,000, which puts it on a par with rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz GLC and BMW X3. However, the Q5’s trump card is its residual values – Audi claims independent research predicts the new Q5 will hold nearly 60 per cent of its value after three years.
Standard equipment across the range is decent, with cruise control, parking assist, semi-autonomous city braking and the Audi Connect safety and service system all included. The main benefit of S line models is the sporty body kit, but with sport suspension automatically included you’re better off going for the Sport trim if comfort is key.
One option box that’s definitely worth ticking for £250 is Audi Virtual Cockpit, which replaces the traditional instrument binnacle with a beautifully designed digital layout.
Who would buy one?
The Audi Q5 will appeal to fairly wealthy families looking for space and practicality as well as plenty of badge appeal. Design-wise it’s one of the more understated options in the segment, so will appeal to those who want to fly under the radar.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
Model: Audi Q5 S line
Base price: £39,405
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel
Max speed: 135mph
0-60mph: 7.7 seconds
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