With its high-tech options and cossetting ride quality, the Audi Q5 is a thoughtful, conservative reinvention of the automaker's compact luxury crossover.
The latest Q5 is essentially a tall wagon version of the automaker's Audi A4 sedan, which was a strong contender for last year's Best Car to Buy award. With its extra utility, high seating position, and dirt road chops, the Q5 brings even more to the table.
It's actually a pretty decent value, too, with the 2018 Q5's price tag undercutting its German rivals despite bringing more standard equipment to the table. Every 2018 Q5 comes with all-wheel drive, leather upholstery, power front seats, xenon headlights, and low-speed automatic emergency braking. You'll pay extra for most of those features on the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class and the BMW X3, among others.
The Q5 didn't qualify for our Best Car to Buy 2018 competition just because it's a good value.
The standard 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine provides good thrust and pairs well to the 8-speed automatic. For enthusiasts, the SQ5 dials things up considerably with more than 350 horsepower from its V-6. The standard coil suspension provides a smooth, luxurious ride and almost makes the optional air setup an unnecessary extra.
The Q5's interior follows Audi convention with switches and knobs laid out in a logical fashion. The brand's MMI infotainment system is easier to use here than in the last Q5, but it's a placeholder for a full touchscreen setup likely to trickle down from the brand's recently unveiled A8 flagship. Up front, there's good room and the standard, leather-wrapped seats are all-day comfortable. The second row provides above average space for outboard passengers and the cargo area is reasonably voluminous.
It might boast a premium badge, but the Q5 comes in under our $50,000 cutoff. A well-equipped model runs around $46,000, and it's even possible to pile on some extravagant luxuries while staying under $50,000.
We'll find out soon if it has what it takes to be our latest Best Car to Buy.