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2019 Audi Q5: New Car Review

The 2019 Audi Q5 is the premium compact crossover wearing that prestigious 4-ring badge. The Q5 is Audi’s best-selling vehicle. Not just because it’s the kind of ride that seemingly everyone wants to buy these days, but also because it’s extremely good at everything it’s supposed to do. The 2019 Q5 even has several things going for it that raises it above the level of school-run status symbol.

There’s the immediately recognizable Audi style, naturally, that makes a virtue of restraint and hones it to perfection. There’s also a family resemblance with the larger and still fresh Q7 as well, which is no bad thing.

Beneath the surface is the same platform as the current A4 sedan. The foundation, then, is as refined as it is stable, while also providing plenty of space for rear passengers and the cargo.

Among the tech features are Apple CarPlay (standard even at the lowest level), pedestrian detection and traffic jam assistance (which helps with accelerating, braking and steering).

The sportier 2019 SQ5 is reviewed separately.

What’s New for 2019?

The entry level Premium trim gains heated front seats, roof crossbars, aluminum window surrounds and the Audi Connect Care support system. Premium Plus trim now has the Virtual Cockpit, Audi MMI Navigation Plus with touchpad, rear USB ports, wireless charging and a signal-boosting antenna. The Prestige trim receives a self-parking function (Park Assist) as standard. The Convenience package for the entry level Q5 has been updated to include Audi Side Assist and rear collision mitigation. A new Black Optic package features 20-in wheels with an "off-road design," titanium matte finish and all-season tires, matte black roof rails and titanium black exterior accents.

What We Like

High-quality interior; styling; engine; chassis; availability of tech.

What We Don’t

No hybrid version (yet); most driver assistance features only come in the top trim; options are pricey.

How Much?

$43,495-$54,845

Fuel Economy

A turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine propels the Q5 with 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. A 7-speed automatic transmission (with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles, which a driver can choose to use or not) sends that drive to all four wheels. The intelligent all-wheel drive system (known as Quattro) can decouple the rear axle to be more fuel efficient, but can send torque to both ends within milliseconds when necessary.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption at 22 miles per gallon in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg in combined driving.

Standard Features & Options

The 2019 Audi Q5 luxury compact 5-seater crossover is available in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels.

The Premium ($43,945) has 18-in alloy wheels, aluminum roof rails with crossbars, fog lights, xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights and taillights, heated side mirrors, heated windshield washer nozzles, rain-sensing wipers, a powered tailgate, leather upholstery, wood inlays, heated/8-way power-adjustable front seats, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, a self-dimming rearview mirror with compass, push-button start, selectable driving modes (adjusting steering, transmission and throttle responses), leather seating surfaces, tri-zone automatic climate control, ambient LED cabin lighting, slide/recline rear seats with 40/20/40 split and fold, a rearview camera, a garage door opener, forward-collision mitigation, Bluetooth, as well as Audi’s MMI infotainment system with a 7-in display, voice control, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, 10 speakers, CD player, four USB ports (two up front, two in the back), two SD card slots, HD radio and Audi Connect Care (including emergency calls, roadside assistance, stolen vehicle location and Audi Service Request).

The Premium Plus ($50,945) brings the Virtual Cockpit (a 12.3-in configurable driver information display replacing the usual instrument cluster), full LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry, driver’s-side memory settings, hands-free tailgate release, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, Audi Side Assist, rearward collision mitigation, parking sensors front and rear, navigation with a touchpad that recognizes handwritten inputs, an 8.3-inch infotainment screen, Wi-Fi and satellite radio.

The Prestige ($54,845) adds a head-up display, adaptive cruise control with stop/go, Traffic Jam Assist, active lane-keeping assist, dual-pane acoustic glass for the front side windows, 20-in alloy wheels, simulated leather on the center console and door armrests, a power-adjustable steering column, a top view camera system, a self-parking system and a 19-speaker/755-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system.

Several features in the higher trims are available as options lower in the order, including the upgraded MMI system. Other extras include ventilated front seats, rear side window sunshades and a heated steering wheel.

Maximum cargo space is 53.1 cu ft. With the rear seats up, luggage area is 25.1 cu ft. Towing capacity maxes out at 4,400 pounds.

Safety

The 2019 Q5 features standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and six airbags (front, front side, full-length side curtain). Rear side airbags are optional.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the Q5 a maximum overall score of five stars, including five stars for front impact protection and five stars in side impacts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the Q5 its highest rating of Good in every major category and named it a Top Safety Pick.

Behind the Wheel

The cabin is elegantly simple, pared down without being bland, using high-quality materials. It takes no time at all to become accustomed to the positions of the switches. And the feel of the controls is simultaneously classy and substantial.

At reasonable cornering speeds, the Q5’s handling abilities seem more like those of a sport sedan than a compact crossover with a raised driving position. Push harder and understeer is inevitable, but forgivable. No one buys a Q5 to chase motorcycles in the hills, after all. 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. Those 20-in wheels will have a negative effect on ride quality, though. So if you’re considering them, test-drive them first.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Acura RDX — There’s no shortage of great contenders in this class and the RDX is a perfect example. Offers a lot of equipment for the price.

2019 BMW X3 — Athletic, offers a choice of great engines, and the quality of its interior is level with the Audi.

2019 Jaguar F-Pace — Aluminum-intensive construction, superb suspension, plenty of space and great engines.

2019 Lexus NX — As usual with Lexus, the NX has great build quality, decent equipment levels, strong resale values and less-than-thrilling driving dynamics.

2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 — Spacious, refined, well equipped and luxurious.

2019 Volvo XC60 — Has its own special style and a lot of standard-issue safety equipment.

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

Autotrader’s Advice

Now that the Premium Plus model has the excellent Virtual Cockpit and the upgraded infotainment system, we’re even more convinced that it’s a great choice. But by all means stretch to the Prestige model if the budget allows, to enjoy those extra driver aids and the excellent B&O audio.

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