- Top-notch interior craftsmanship
- Unique sliding rear seat provides extra versatility
- Refined driving character makes it feel expensive from behind the wheel
- Understated styling that doesn't draw too much attention to itself
- More standard features (including all-wheel drive) than its German-brand competitors
- No active accident-avoidance technologies available
- Limited exterior color selection
- No USB ports for charging or connecting a phone
The 2017 Audi Q5 soldiers into another model year as one of the most popular compact luxury SUVs, boasting a wide array of virtues designed to make you feel as if you're driving something beyond all those humdrum small SUVs out there. Its classic styling, well-crafted cabin and ample features combine to deliver nearly everything one expects from an SUV in this segment.
Sure, it has been on sale without a major redesign since 2009, but those who don't give a lick about having the latest technology features and controls won't mind. Besides, there's still a rearview camera available, along with keyless push-button start, a navigation system and a pretty impressive 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system. We're also guessing that there are plenty of shoppers who will appreciate staring at the stars through the standard panoramic sunroof instead of fiddling with the latest gadgets and gizmos.
As such, the 2017 Audi Q5 is a must-drive in this segment that also includes the Acura RDX, BMW X3, Jaguar F-Pace, Lexus NX 200t and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class. All have been introduced or redesigned more recently than the Q5, but we still think this Audi has plenty left in the tank.
For many, the 2017 Audi Q5 will be sized just right.
WHAT'S NEW FOR 2017
The range-topping 3.0T Prestige now gets standard adaptive cruise control and Audi Drive Select vehicle settings. The 2.0T Premium Plus trim now gets standard 19-inch wheels.
TRIMS & EQUIPMENT
The 2017 Audi Q5 is a compact luxury crossover offered in five trim levels that correspond to the four available engines: 2.0T Premium, 2.0T Premium Plus, 3.0T Premium Plus, 3.0T Prestige, and 2.0T Hybrid Prestige. A higher-performance version, the SQ5, is reviewed separately.
Standard equipment on the 2.0T Premium includes a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, 18-inch wheels (19s are optional), xenon headlights, LED running lights and taillights, automatic wipers, heated exterior mirrors, a panoramic sunroof, aluminum roof rails with crossbars, a power liftgate, eight-way power front seats (with four-way power lumbar for the driver and optional heating), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery, tri-zone climate control, a sliding and reclining 40/20/40-split folding rear seat, Bluetooth connectivity, the Multi Media Interface (MMI) with dash-mounted controls and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, satellite radio and Audi's digital music interface.
The 2.0T Premium Plus adds 19-inch wheels, aluminum door sills and trunk-edge trim, auto-dimming and power-folding exterior mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, heated front seats, driver memory settings and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
From there, the 3.0T Premium Plus adds the supercharged V6 engine, S line exterior styling tweaks and headlight washers.
The 3.0T Prestige tacks on adaptive headlights, adaptive cruise control, Audi Drive Select (which provides four selectable settings for throttle response, transmission shift points and steering assist), a heated and cooled cupholder, rear door sunshades and the Technology package (includes blind-spot monitoring, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, a color trip computer, a navigation system with voice controls, Audi Connect online services with mobile WiFi capability, an upgraded MMI system with console-mounted controls and a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system).
Finally, the 2.0T Hybrid Prestige includes unique 19-inch wheels, hybrid badging and hybrid-specific instrumentation, but otherwise mirrors the features of the other Prestige trims.
The Prestige-spec Technology package described above is offered as an option on all other trims except the base 2.0T Premium, which offers a lesser Navigation package that lacks the parking and safety features, color trip computer and Bang & Olufsen stereo but includes Audi Connect and the MMI upgrade with controls on the center console. Also offered on all but that base trim is the Sport Interior package (including shift paddles, front sport seats, a black cloth headliner and Audi Drive Select). The Luxury package (including ventilated front seats with power lumbar, upgraded leather upholstery and a leather-wrapped dashboard) is offered on all 3.0T trims and the 2.0T Hybrid Prestige.
The 3.0T can also be equipped with the Black Optic package (including the Sport Interior package plus 20-inch wheels, gloss-black exterior trim, matte-black roof rails and a flat-bottomed sport steering wheel).
On the Prestige trims, you can opt for the "Audi exclusive line" package, which gets you the Sport Interior package plus piano black inlays and upgraded leather upholstery with contrasting piping and stitching. The Prestige (except the hybrid) and Premium Plus trims can also be outfitted with adaptive suspension dampers.
Rear-seat side airbags are a stand-alone option for all trim levels.
The Q5 has been around for many years now but it still looks great.
INTERIOR & SAFETY
Audi knows how to put together a premium cabin, and the Q5 continues to stand out in this regard. Materials quality is excellent and the overall ambience is one of sophistication and class. Technology refreshingly dates back to a different time, free of pinching-and-zooming touchscreens, distractingly large displays and touch-sensitive control pads that can accept handwritten inputs. Instead, Audi provides a knob and accompanying buttons that are placed either on the center console (with navigation) or on the dash (without) for those who prefer their audio controls to be in the normal place. There is also a proprietary cable in lieu of the more common USB port.
Despite its compact size, the Q5 manages to feel roomy whether you're seated in the front or rear. The rear seats both recline and slide fore and aft: a rarity in this class. The Q5 provides a healthy 29.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seatbacks and 57.3 cubic feet if you fold them down -- that's cozier than others in the segment.
All 2017 Audi Q5 models come with stability and traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. Rear side airbags are a stand-alone option, while the Technology package includes parking sensors, a rearview camera and a blind-spot warning system. There are no collision avoidance or lane departure technologies available.
In Edmunds brake testing, a Q5 2.0T with 18-inch wheels and summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 114 feet, an average distance for this class. A 3.0T Prestige with 19s and summer tires stopped in a praiseworthy 109 feet.
In government crash tests, the Q5 received four out of five stars overall, with four stars for frontal crash protection and five stars for side crash protection. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Q5 its highest rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests, while the Q5's seat and head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
Interior quality is absolutely top notch in the 2017 Audi Q5.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
Unlike most competitors, the 2017 Audi Q5 comes standard with all-wheel drive as well as an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The 2.0T Premium and Premium Plus come standard with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine good for 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. EPA-estimated fuel economy for 2017 had not been announced at the time of this writing, but it should be around 23 mpg combined. In Edmunds testing, a Q5 2.0T accelerated to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, which is the average time for the segment.
The Q5 3.0T trims get a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 272 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, along with an automatic stop-start system that saves fuel by shutting off the engine when you come to a halt. We expect EPA-estimated fuel economy for 2017 to be around 21 mpg combined. In Edmunds testing, the 3.0T engine brought the Q5 from zero to 60 in 6.3 seconds, which is barely quicker than the 2.0T and other four-cylinder-powered rivals.
The Q5 Hybrid pairs the 2.0T engine with a 54-hp electric motor and a battery pack for a total output of 245 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. Audi estimates its 0-60 time at 6.8 seconds, while we expect EPA fuel economy estimates to stand around 26 mpg combined.
The Q5 is offered with three powerful engine choices that nevertheless deliver solid fuel economy.
Every Audi Q5 inspires confidence in the way it handles the road. Its ride quality is firmer than some might expect, but we'd describe it as taut, not harsh. Still, the optional adaptive dampers make a real difference, as they provide user control over ride quality -- including a relatively cushy "Comfort" setting. In any event, handling is excellent by crossover standards, thanks to quick steering and controlled body motions. It'll make you feel in command when behind the wheel.
Regardless of which engine you choose, the Q5 delivers refined and rapid acceleration. This is especially true of the base 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which is gutsier than you might expect -- especially if you're used to six cylinders under the hood. However, if you are both used to and can't live without six cylinders, the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 should provide the sound and feel you've come to expect from such an engine.
The 2017 Audi Q5 is a compact luxury SUV that makes you feel special with its handsome styling, elegant cabin and thrilling engines that won't cost you that much at the pump. It's small in size but big on luxury, and it should make you swell with pride when seeing it in your driveway.