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Owning a Performance SUV in Los Angeles is Pointless

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author photo by Will Kinton January 2017

My wife and I were planning on spending a few days in Los Angeles, so I decided to check out the city's famously diverse Turo scene. After perusing the lists for something interesting, affordable and capable of fitting someone in a back seat, I settled on a 2015 Audi SQ5. The SQ5 is an amazing car and a ton of fun to drive -- an actual review will come later -- but I realized that a performance SUV is almost completely pointless if you live in LA.

Don't get me wrong -- I love fast SUVs. There's something beautiful in the irony of a large vehicle that can hustle better than most cars. I also know that the mountains around LA have some of the best roads in the entire country. That being said, I sort of regretted renting an SQ5 over a normal luxury SUV.

One reason: If you're going to be mostly driving within the never-ending city that is Los Angeles, you're rarely going to get an opportunity to fully explore the limits of a performance SUV like the SQ5, unless you're trying to show off your wealth to the tourists on Hollywood Blvd. The only way to fully explore the limits of a performance SUV is to either drive the highways after midnight or drive like a complete jerk with total disregard for pedestrians and other drivers.

Secondly, while some of the roads outside Los Angeles are fantastic, many of the roads inside the city are in pretty poor condition. Even with the SQ5's adjustable suspension in "Comfort" mode, my passengers and I were quite aware of every single bump we encountered. A sports-tuned suspension takes away from the driving experience when you find you're putting up with its downsides more often than encountering situations where you can put it to good use.

Finally, the SQ5 doesn't even really "show off" like you'd want to if you're cruising around Beverly Hills and Santa Monica at low speeds. Only other car enthusiasts know it's anything special, and, to be honest, the SQ5 is even pretty subtle for them. You might be in a high-performance luxury SUV, but nobody really knows it except you -- and you can't use it.

I really think you'd be better off driving around LA in a standard luxury SUV like a Audi Q5 over a performance SUV like the SQ5. And with your $20,000 savings over an SQ5, you can get yourself a nice, little sports car to take into the canyons and drive for fun.

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Used 2015 Audi Q5 2.0T Premium Plus
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Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2015 Audi Q5 2.0T Premium
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Used 2015 Audi Q5 TDI Premium Plus
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Owning a Performance SUV in Los Angeles is Pointless - Autotrader