- Lots of drivetrain choices, all good
- A lesson in good taste
- Quick shifts from the eight-speed
- Google Earth maps make Audi Connect a must-have
- Quattro is standard
- Still no standard rearview camera
- Gas mileage isn't stellar on gas-only models
- We're not sold by Drive Select's adaptive controls
- Easy to spend more than $50,000
- 3G connectivity comes with subscription fee
The 2015 Audi Q5 remains one of the most elegant, truly car-like crossovers on the market.
The 2015 Audi Q5 delivers great acceleration, good handling, and impressive fuel efficiency, all with more height and ground clearance compared to a sedan or sport wagon-essentially what every luxury compact crossover shopper seeks.
Less of a shrunken Q7 than a more spacious Audi wagon, the Audi Q5 has pretty proportions and a cabin that's cleanly styled and trimmed to a high standard. The cohesive look fits snugly alongside Audi's car lineup, blending in easily with the Allroad wagon and even the A4 sedan, which all share its tall grille and slim LED-outlined headlamps. Its cockpit sets a high-water mark for simplicity and for fit and finish, particularly with the optional layered-oak trim, though we might wish for more recognizable buttons while we fumble to control the lush-looking non-touchscreen display.
In front, the driver and front passenger have a high seating position, and plenty of leg and head room. The seats have wide cushions with enough bolstering to make a lot of people comfortable, slim or not so slim. The back seat also doles out reasonable leg room, thanks to a wheelbase that's relatively long. The Q5's cabin is nicely detailed, about the best to be found in its compact-luxury niche.
We're happy with any powerplants, especially the 2.0-liter turbo-4. It's lighter and almost as quick as the Q5 3.0T, with its supercharged 272-hp 3.0-liter V-6. We've spent a little time with the Q5 Hybrid. It blends the power from lithium-ion batteries and a 54-hp electric motor for 245 hp net, but would tend to prefer the Q5 TDI we've driven extensively, anyway. The turbodiesel's acceleration is similar, its combined fuel economy higher, and its driving feel more natural. We're also fans of the SQ5, which comes with an upgraded suspension, as well as a 354-hp version of the 3.0-liter supercharged V-6. All-wheel drive comes standard on all Q5 crossovers, as does an eight-speed, paddle-shifted automatic.
In all its non-hybrid drivetrain versions, the Q5 excels at passing maneuvers, and out of corners. Car-like handling is a promise lots of SUV makers make, but the Q5 delivers it, with the responses and maneuvers of a sport wagon. Given the choice, we'd go for the less costly stock suspension setup, instead of the optional, electronically controlled ride and handling of the Drive Select-equipped models.
The Audi Q5 makes rear-seat airbags an option on the Q5. You'll have to spend a lot extra to get a simple rearview camera. Bluetooth is standard. And altogether, the Q5's combination of IIHS Top Safety Pick+ status and effective accident-avoiding safety gear helps trump any hesitations from its four-star overall federal safety score.
The Q5 isn't cheap, and adding the options we think most buyers want will drive the price up quickly. All models have power features, 10-speaker audio, leather, power front seats, automatic climate control, satellite radio, and a connectivity kit for iPhones.
Premium Plus and Prestige models ladle on the luxury features. A Q5 3.0T easily passes the $55,000 mark. Make sure you save some money to make the Q5 one of your devices on an AT&T mobile plan: that pipes in data, turning the SUV into a wireless hotspot and enabling in-car Google Earth maps.
In 2015, Volkswagen admitted diesel engines in this model illegally cheated federal tests and polluted beyond allowable limits. As part of unprecedented settlements with federal and state governments, Volkswagen agreed to buyback from owners diesel-equipped models of this vehicle. To determine eligibility for all affected Volkswagen, Porsche, and Audi models, Volkswagen set up VWDieselInfo.com for owners. (Owners of affected vehicles can enter their VIN numbers to see if their cars are eligible for buyback.)