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2011 Audi Q5 Review

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8.6
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9.0
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Performance
8.0
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Comfort & Quality
8.0
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10
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8.0
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Fuel Economy
6.0
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The Car Connection Expert Review

The 2011 Audi Q5 is one of the best upscale picks in a compact crossover, thanks to its sleek lines, practical interior, responsive feel, and city-savvy size.

The Q5 broke into a new market segment for Audi when it was introduced two years ago, to take on the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLK and BMW X3. The Q5 wowed us with its excellent interior design and cohesive style—and now for 2011 the Q5 gets a more fuel-efficient turbocharged four-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic transmission that perform as well or better while not nearly as thirsty.

Smooth and softly sculpted on the outside, the Q5 still stands out in a class of handsome all-weather wagons. From some angles in fact, the Q5's silhouette looks more like a slightly taller version of the A3 hatchback than it does a smaller sibling of the Q7 utility vehicle. Inside, it's a well-executed driving environment, with the sort of stylish simplicity—trimmed with rich materials that add a luxury undertone—that Audi seems to do better than anyone else. There are a few too many small buttons, but Audi frames them in metallic trim, wood, and coordinated leathers and plastics to give the somewhat cluttered dash a unified look.

An all-new 2.0T model joins the Audi Q5 lineup for 2011, along with an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission and, as with the V-6, quattro all-wheel drive. And while we like the 270-horsepower, 3.2-liter V-6, the new 211-hp TFSI four-cylinder engine is a charmer. First off, it actually produces more torque than the V-6—258 pound feet, versus 243 lb-ft—so it never feels off its game with the new automatic's closely spaced gears and responsive shifting, and secondly, it's a lot more fuel-efficient, at an EPA-rated 20 mpg city, 27 mpg highway. While it's not quite as quick in the dash to 60 mph (7.1 seconds, versus 6.7), the new engine feels faster in transitions, in passing maneuvers, and out of corners—though it sounds quite coarse.

The 2011 Audi Q5 offers a reasonably roomy interior for a compact vehicle, with more than enough headroom and legroom in front. The seats themselves are firm and adjust for great comfort, even in back, where the passengers can recline for long-trip ease. And thanks to the rather long wheelbase, even backseat passengers do get enough legroom—none of the surprise crunch you get in vehicles like Audi's own A4 Avant. You might not want the Panorama moonroof, though if you plan to carry tall passengers as it cuts into headroom.

Cabin materials are about the best they come in this class, with a rich, unified feel throughout and nice detailing. Furthermore, the Q5 has excellent build quality and a tight, refined feel overall. There's a little bit of road noise, and you do hear the four-cylinder engine a bit too much, though.

With top 'good' ratings in every test from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and its Top Safety Pick Status for 2011, the Audi Q5 is one of the safest vehicles in its class—and one of the safest vehicles of any size.

The Q5 starts around the $35k mark, but prices can be driven way up just by stepping up models or checking a few option boxes. The base Premium model comes with a lot of standard features, including a ten-speaker sound system, heated mirrors, leather upholstery, power front seats, tri-zone climate control, Sirius satellite radio, and an SD card slot that can manage up to 32 gigabytes of music. That said, Audi nickles and dimes buyers for things that should be standard and are on many rival models; for instance, Bluetooth costs $700 on the base model, and an iPod interface costs $300.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015
2015 Audi Q5 quattro 4-Door 2.0T Premium Plus

2015 Q5 S-Line model satisfies both husband and wife.

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After test driving multiple sport SUV's, such as the BMW X3, Lexus NX 200T and others the choice was clear. Finding a sporty SUV was never difficult, the X3 was loads of fun to drive, provided excellent... + More »
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Sunday, July 19, 2015
2015 Audi Q5 quattro 4-Door 3.0T Premium Plus

Well built quality car but not an exciting drive.

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I've driven the Q5 for a couple of months and I think it is a very good vehicle. The quality is top notch so the car has a rich feel to it. The ride is quite good, not too soft not too firm. The only problem I... + More »
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Friday, April 17, 2015
For 2015 Audi Q5

Best car I've owned.

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I have the 3.0TDI Prestige S-line model. Incredibly refined ride and handling, awesome torque and smooth effortless power. I'm averaging 28mpg in city and 39mpg highway, and I drive hard & fast. Two tone Black... + More »
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