I recently had the chance to drive a brand new 2018 Audi Q5 for a few weeks while my car was in for service at Audi San Diego.
It’s amazing to see how the Audi line-up is progressing, and one of the main reasons I prefer to go to the dealership for service is the free loaner car program. While there are shops that charge less per hour, once you factor in the cost of the rental car it ends up being a wash at best.
The new Q5 was super impressive – but I have to admit I didn’t love it at first.
It’s great looking, it’s got tons of fancy tech, and plenty of room for a family of five. What’s not to love?
It’s big. Really big.
I was expecting a smaller SUV, aka the little brother to the Q7. This thing is so big it barely fit in my garage. Parking it was a little scary as I felt like I wouldn’t be able to fit in many spots. It rides very high, and I felt super out of place. I’m used to driving lowered cars, so going from that to a massive SUV is a bit offsetting at first. If you think the Q5 is a compact SUV, think again!
There is an upside to it being so big though – especially for those concerned with the Utility in their Sport Utility Vehicle. The electric lift gate opens to a massive trunk, and the seats easily fold flat to fit a lot of cargo, like this new artwork I recently bought for our dining room.
It also has tons of head room, I’m 6’1″ and had no issues whatsoever. The back seat passengers also have tons of room, and the front seat passengers can recline their seat all of the way back and not really cramp the back seat passenger’s leg room much.
Unless you need third row seating, the Q5 is plenty big enough for your needs…and that’s great, as the car is pretty affordable compared to its big brother and plenty fun to drive, too.
In fact, the best part of the car is the interior. The digital dashboard is super cool, and one of my favorite features of the car. It also has Apple CarPlay integration, which made it super simple for me to play podcasts and Pandora even on a loaner car where I hadn’t setup bluetooth.
The best part of CarPlay is being able to use Google Maps through the car’s display, so you get the best possible directions and it’s super easy to input your destination compared to most navigation systems I’ve used.
On top of that, the interior is well designed, the seats are super comfortable, and as usual the Audi ergonomics are second to none.
You’ll feel like a VIP driving this car between the high ride height and the little touches like the leather wrapped steering wheel, and your passengers will be stoked too with all of the room they have to stretch out.
Suddenly, the SUV life is growing on me!
This particular car was finished in a new color called Matador Red which is quite stunning.
In certain lighting it takes on a dark burgundy hue, while in direct sunlight it is closer to a more classic red. It’s a handsome color, and suits the lines of the SUV well…if the previous Q5 had a bit of a “cute” vibe, the new Q5 is all grown up, especially in a color like this.
Pictured above is the car in the SQ5 trim, which looks even nicer with larger wheels, a revised front facia, a few other special touches like the mirror caps. Even in base trim though, the Q5 looks great.
Both SQ5 and Q5 come with LED tail lights, and optional LED headlights, as well as safety features like blind spot monitoring, backup camera, front & rear parking sensors, and the car will even warn you if you’re not braking in time for a sudden stop ahead.
Anyone considering this car will be really pleased with all of the technology jammed into this SUV.
They always say what’s on the inside counts, so let’s talk about that.
The Q5 comes standard with a 2L TFSI engine that has 252 horsepower and 273 ft/lb of torque. It’s plenty for the car, even for someone like me that comes from a sports car that has close to double the amount of power and half the weight!
It gets between 23 – 27 mpg according to the manufacturer, but actual MPG observed in my commute to work (mostly freeway) was often much better than this, getting well into the low 30 MPG territory if you go the speed limit on the freeway.
It is equipped with a 7 speed automatic S-tronic transmission that is super snappy and shifts smooth and fast.
Most importantly, the ride quality was super smooth and the engine super quiet, noticeably better than either of the other two cars I own. Driving this car felt effortless, other than parking it in tight spaces, that is!
- Great appearance, both inside and out
- Impressive MPG, often getting observed MPG of 29+
- Awesome technology like Apple Car Play and Virtual Cockpit
- Smooth ride makes it a great commuter
- Tons of leg and head room, even in the backseat
- It’s really big. For my needs, I might go for the Q3 instead.
- No hybrid or e-tron version yet, but rumored to be coming soon.
- It’s over $40K, so it’s not exactly cheap (although competitive with the segment, I believe)
If you’re in the market for a mid-sized SUV, it’s definitely one checking out. While I had mine I found myself volunteering to drive everywhere, and after a few weeks of driving it, I was sad to give it up. It took a few days to get used to the size, and in a crowded downtown parking could sometimes be an issue, but other than that I didn’t have any complaints worth noting.
Thank you to Audi San Diego for the loaner car and top notch service as always.
In the market for an Audi SUV? Give me your thoughts on if the Q5 is too big, too small, or just right in the comments section below.