The 2021 Audi Q5 luxury crossover SUV and the 2021 Q5 Sportback earned Top Safety Pick+ awards, which is the most rigorous honor for automotive safety in the U.S. The insurance-industry funded IIHS said in a statement released Tuesday that improved headlights improved the vehicles' safety ratings.
The new Q5 Sportback coupe-like crossover joins the refreshed Q5 for the 2021 model year. Like last year, the five-seat crossover SUV earned "Good" ratings in all six crash tests, and its standard Pre Sense City system earned top "Superior" ratings in avoiding crashes with other vehicles.
The IIHS also tests automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection in six different scenarios. The Q5 avoided the pedestrian dummy in two tests, at 12 mph with a child crossing the street and at 25 mph with an adult walking on the shoulder or side of the road in the same direction as the Q5. In the four other tests, the IIHS said the vehicle was able to "slow substantially to mitigate the force of impact." The Q5 earned an overall "Advanced" rating on vehicle-to-pedestrian tests.
The difference maker for Audi was equipping the 2021 Q5 and Q5 Sportback with LED projector headlights that earned at least an "Acceptable" rating on all trims. Last year's headlights rated at "Marginal." The headlights undergo four tests each for the low beams and high beams, and are rated on visibility on curves and straights, as well as the glare created for oncoming drivers.
Automakers have upgraded vehicles mid-year to pass IIHS tests, which get more challenging as more automakers meet the criteria. The 2021 Audi Q5 and Q5 Sportback join 56 other TSP+ winners this year, as well as 42 Top Safety Pick winners without the headlight bonus. So far in 2021 testing 100 models qualify for an award; in 2020, the last time the criteria was updated, there were 64.
For an updated list of TSP winners by segment, visit our ongoing coverage here.