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2016 Audi Q5: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2016

The 2016 Audi Q5 is still a fine choice of a premium compact crossover. Even though this generation has been around since 2009 and a second generation is in the pipeline (arriving possibly as early as 2017), it seems to have held up remarkably well. Both the exterior and the cabin demonstrate that cool Audi style and quality.

And there's nothing wrong with the drivetrains, either. The range goes from a gasoline/electric hybrid to a supercharged 3.0-liter V6, taking in a turbo four along the way, and the suspension can please an enthusiast or a soccer mom.

In terms of equipment, though, the competition has moved on. Items such as surround-view parking cameras and forward-collision mitigation with automatic braking are not on the options list, and it's still not possible to get a simple USB port for the infotainment system.

What's New for 2016?

A panoramic sunroof is now standard throughout the range, and the Audi connect telematics bundle has become part of the Navigation Plus package for Premium models. For 2016, adaptive damping suspension is a stand-alone option on Premium Plus models, and the high-performance SQ5 can come with red-painted brake calipers. The Bang & Olufsen system has been added to the Technology package, while the 3.0-liter TDI diesel V6 engine is currently not available.

What We Like

Fun drive; quality interior; available with hybrid power; satisfying supercharged V6

What We Don't

Small cargo area; unremarkable 4-cylinder performance; ride quality can be firm; no USB connectivity; some current safety technologies lacking

How Much?

$41,825-$61,625

Fuel Economy

The 2.0T is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates fuel economy at 20 miles per gallon in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg combined.

The Hybrid matches this 2.0T engine to a 54-hp electric motor for a combined output of 245 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. Fuel consumption is 24 mpg city/30 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined.

The 3.0T pumps out 272 hp and 295 lb-ft from its supercharged 3.0-liter V6. It achieves 18 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined.

The SQ5, the first-ever S variant of any Audi Q model, cranks out 354 hp and 347 lb-ft of torque thanks to a boosted version of the 3.0T model's V6. Fuel consumption is rated at 17 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined.

All Q5 models employ an 8-speed automatic transmission and quattro all-wheel drive.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 Audi Q5 comes in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels. The 2.0T is available only in Premium or Premium Plus. The Hybrid is available only as a Prestige, while the 3.0T and SQ5 come in Premium Plus or Prestige trim.

The 2.0T Premium ($41,825) comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, xenon headlights, LED running lights and taillights, automatic wipers, a power tailgate, a panoramic sunroof, aluminum roof rails, leather upholstery, power front seats with adjustable lumbar, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, wood-grain interior trim, 3-zone automatic climate control (including a separate temperature control for the back seat), slide/recline rear seats, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, and Audi's MMI infotainment system with dash-mounted controls, 10-speaker audio with auxiliary input, an SD-card reader and satellite radio.

The 2.0T Premium Plus ($43,675) adds auto-dimming and power-folding mirrors, keyless entry with push-button ignition, driver memory functions and heated front seats. The 3.0T Premium Plus ($46,925) has 19-in alloy wheels, S-line styling enhancements and headlight washers.

The Hybrid Prestige ($53,425) and 3.0T Prestige ($54,425) have adaptive xenon headlamps, manual rear sunshades, a blind spot monitoring system, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, a color trip computer, mobile Wi-Fi, a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system and an MMI navigation system that includes an upgraded display screen, a console-mounted control knob with a joysticklike top and an extra SD slot. The Hybrid gets its own design of 19-in wheels and model-specific gauges.

The SQ5 Premium Plus ($54,225) and SQ5 Prestige ($61,625) have 20-in wheels, a sport suspension, Bespoke exterior styling, quad exhaust tips, upgraded brakes, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, sport seats, exclusive sport gauges, aluminum pedals and a cool S shift knob.

Many features in the higher trims are available in lower trims as options, including the upgraded MMI system. The Prestige trim is eligible for some exclusive upgrades, including an adaptive suspension, variable-ratio steering, adaptive cruise control and Audi drive select, which provides adjustment for steering, transmission and throttle responses.

Audi connect (standard in Prestige models) is also available, integrating Google Maps into MMI plus. Additional Audi connect features include Google search with voice-command functionality and mobile Wi-Fi connectivity for up to eight devices.

Maximum cargo space is on the small side at 57.3 cu ft. While the 29.1 cu ft. of space behind the rear seatbacks sounds ample, it's challenging to fit a couple of golf bags into this relatively narrow area. At least the location of the Q5 Hybrid's battery pack doesn't compromise the cargo space.

Safety

The 2015 Audi Q5 features standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes and six airbags (front, front-side and full-length side-curtain). Rear-side airbags are optional. A blind spot monitoring system is available, but the Q5 is generally short on high-tech safety features compared with newer competitors.

In government crash tests, the Q5 took four out of five stars, including four stars in frontal impacts and five stars in side impacts. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Q5 its highest rating of Good in every category.

Behind the Wheel

The front seats are comfortable enough, but they lack the range of adjustment that some competitors provide, and lateral support is minimal except for the excellent sport seats in the SQ5.

Thanks to the standard seat height adjustment and tilt-telescopic steering wheel, everyone should be able to find a comfortable driving position. The quality of materials is excellent, but ergonomics are hit-or-miss. For example, adjusting the climate control's fan speed is a 2-step process.

The Q5 makes the most out of its compact rear compartment by providing slide and recline functions for the back seat, plus the rare luxury of separate rear temperature controls. While the bottom cushion is still lower than some might prefer, there is a satisfactory amount of rear passenger space.

The 2.0T engine seems underpowered for luxury-crossover duty, although many owners think it's fine in the real world. The snappy acceleration of the 3.0T is more tempting. The SQ5 brings sports-car-like performance, including a 5-second sprint from a standstill to 60 miles per hour. The Hybrid has the best power-to-thirst ratio of the range now that there's no current diesel option.

At reasonable cornering speeds, the Q5 feels more like a sport sedan than a compact crossover. If you push harder, understeer is inevitable but forgivable. No one buys a Q5 to chase motorcycles in the hills. The vehicle's true calling is to negotiate highways and patchy urban pavement with composure. For the most part, that's exactly what it does. The ride gets firm with those 20-in wheels, though.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Acura RDX -- There's no shortage of great contenders in this class, and the RDX is a perfect example. The freshened-up 2016 model offers lots of tech.

2016 BMW X3 -- The athletic X3 sports a choice of wonderful turbocharged gasoline engines, plus a turbodiesel option. Its interior is also level with the Audi in terms of quality.

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 -- This all-new 2016 model is a marked improvement over the GLK it replaces, but it only has one engine so far: a punchy 241-hp 2.0-liter turbo four.

2017 Jaguar F-PACE -- This Jaguar is arriving for fall of 2016, so the quantity is still somewhat unknown, but if it's anything like the rest of Jaguar's current output, it'll be a credible alternative.

2016 Porsche Macan -- The Macan is an even sportier version of the Q5. The two cars share the same platform. Though the Porsche is not quite as roomy (because the roof slopes more), it's great to drive and the interior is beautiful.

Used BMW X5 -- For something a little bigger, a certified pre-owned X5 could work. The X5 handles superbly, and depreciation makes it accessible to a buyer who's considering a new Q5.

Autotrader's Advice

If fuel economy isn't a major consideration, you should take the SQ5 for a spin. The 2.0T will be adequate for most people, though. After that, it comes down to what equipment you desire. And don't forget that there's a new generation coming soon.

Find an Audi Q5 for sale

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2016 Audi Q5: New Car Review - Autotrader