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- Highs Robust turbocharged engine, upscale interior, loads of standard and optional features.
- Lows Lack of steering feel, sometimes clunky transmission, limited storage up front for small items.
- Verdict The 2018 Audi Q5 delivers a refined driving experience, with a comfortable ride, upscale interior, a host of tech features, and a peppy engine.
Quick, comfortable, and infused with the latest technological gadgetry, the new-for-2018 Audi Q5 is an undeniably premium compact crossover. The previous Q5 was Audi’s best-selling SUV, and the new one builds on those strengths. The only engine available is a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, but despite its modest 252-hp output, the Q5 is quicker than some rivals powered by gutsier V-6 engines. Its interior is handsome and well appointed. The infotainment system is intuitive and comes standard with an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Audi offers its cool Virtual Cockpit digital gauge cluster as an option on even the base model, and it comes with navigation and a larger central infotainment display. Automated emergency braking is standard, as well. The Q5 may not be a performance driving machine like the Porsche Macan, but its well-rounded nature, overall refinement, and upscale persona should continue to endear it to consumers.
What's New for 2018?
It might be hard to tell at a glance, but the Q5 is indeed all new for 2018. Audi made sure its best-selling crossover would be instantly identifiable, but everything is updated, meaning more high-tech features, a fuel-efficient turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and modernized styling inside and out.
- Premium: $42,475
- Premium Plus: $46,475
- Prestige: $51,775
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
All Q5s feature a 252-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and Quattro all-wheel drive. The combination was good for a 5.8-second run from zero to 60 mph in our testing. The turbo four provides plenty of punch to scoot the Q5 around town or blast down a highway on-ramp, and it is smooth, quiet, and mellifluous. Towing capacity is above average, too. Except for some minor hiccups from the seven-speed automatic transmission, the Q5’s powertrain is well sorted and provides more than enough grunt for accelerating and passing. Shifts are quick and unobtrusive, but when coasting up to a stop at low speeds, we noted an occasional subtle clunk as the transmission dropped to first gear. The Q5’s driving personality can be summed up in one word: refined. Acceleration and braking performance are both impressive, and a well-sorted chassis gives the Q5 on-road poise. The suspension soaks up bumps quite well, and passengers will be comfortable on all but the roughest roads. The lack of feeling through the Q5’s steering wheel is the sole letdown here. The Q5’s suspension is well damped and imparts a stable feeling no matter the road or driving condition. The ride is smooth and controlled—with or without the optional adaptive suspension—even over pockmarked asphalt.
EPA fuel economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest and most accurate fuel economy numbers on current and older vehicles, we use the U.S. Department of Energy's fueleconomy.gov website. Under the heading "Find & Compare Cars" click on the "Compare Side-by-Side" tool to find the EPA ratings for the make, model, and year you're interested in.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Audi’s clean and simple interior design theme translates beautifully to the Q5, with simple controls, an ergonomic layout, and standard power-adjustable front seats wrapped in leather. Moving up through the three trim levels—Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige—nets ever more luxury features, including Audi’s slick Virtual Cockpit digital gauge cluster, which can be easily reconfigured to show a large navigation map, phone contacts, media controls, or trip information. Three-zone automatic climate control is standard across the lineup, and manually adjustable thigh supports for both front seats are optional. We have few complaints about the Q5’s high-quality interior, but we were annoyed by the placement of the front-seat cupholder: Located directly in front of the center console armrest, the cupholders are difficult to access if the armrest is extended and in use. The Q5 provides enough room for four adults to get comfy and offers plenty of upscale features, even on the base Premium model. The Q5 should satisfy most buyers’ needs for hauling cargo, especially with its rear seats folded to their almost flat position, but those with outsize needs might find its more capacious rivals appealing. The Q5’s rear seatbacks easily fold in a 40/20/40 fashion, however, providing flexibility that the Lexus RX350 doesn’t have. Slim-fit door pockets and a shallow center-console storage bin mean limited spaces for stowing smaller items, but the Q5’s glovebox is voluminous and lined with a flocked fabric to help reduce rattles caused by wayward detritus.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Most of the expected infotainment features are present and accounted for in the base Q5, including Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Things get much more interesting if you add the optional navigation system, as it comes with a reconfigurable digital gauge cluster that Audi calls Virtual Cockpit. It provides a wide, 12.3-inch view of a map plus selected media, phone controls, trip computer, speed, and tachometer, or a combination of these. Rear-seat passengers will have to make do without USB ports, as the only two ports are located in the front-seat center armrest bin.
Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer's Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer's CPO program.