What's the used Audi Q5 4x4 like?
It’s hard to believe there was ever a time when Audi didn't have an SUV in the range. Now, you can find one in all sizes from the small Q2 to the gargantuan Q7 and Q8. However, it's the Q5 that has proved to be one of the brand's best-selling models, meaning there are plenty of used ones to choose from.
The first-generation 2008-2017 Audi Q5 was immensely popular. This is the second-generation model, launched in 2017.
For a relatively small engine, the 2.0-litre petrol (renamed 45 TFSI in 2019) is pretty pokey thanks to a healthy 249bhp. The 187bhp 2.0 TDI (later 40 TDI) diesel, meanwhile, is flexible enough to deliver strong real-world pace. Both engines come with a standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, which changes smoothly through the gears once up to speed but can be a little jerky when parking.
The 3.0 TDI is a tremendous engine and, with 282bhp, is effortless in normal, everyday driving. That’s down to the enormous shove it generates from low revs, coupled with the responsive eight-speed automatic gearbox. There is also the high-performance SQ5, which initially came with a 349bhp 3.0-litre petrol before being replaced with a 342bhp 3.0-litre diesel in 2019. That year also saw the introduction of a plug-in hybrid that had a 14.1kWh battery and a combined power output of 362bhp from an electric motor and a 2.0-litre petrol engine.
SE is the entry-level trim and comes with an electric tailgate, three-zone climate control, leather seats, xenon headlights, front and rear parking sensors and heated front seats. Infotainment-wise, you get Bluetooth and a DAB radio, plus smartphone mirroring that lets you use your phone’s sat-nav through the 7.0in screen – handy, because sat-nav isn’t standard. Move up to Sport trim for some exterior styling upgrades but, more importantly, sat-nav and more supportive sports seats that include four-way electric lumbar adjustment.
S line adds larger, 19in alloy wheels, more aggressive bumper styling and privacy glass. You also get powerful LED headlights and part-leather, part-Alcantara seat trim. A Black Edition came a short while after, but this is mostly an exterior styling pack with (you guessed it) black detailing.
After the facelift at the end of 2019, Sport became the new entry-level trim but got extra goodies such as LED headlights, a reversing camera and Audi's Virtual Cockpit as standard. S line got a more advanced LED Matrix headlights that can dim for oncoming traffic. The Black Edition became Edition 1 and gained 20in alloys and Nappa leather seats with full electric adjustment in the front, while the new top model became Vorsprung with 21in wheels and air suspension. Vorsprung also got the full complement of safety tech such as blindspot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-keeping assistance.
On the road, all of the engine options offer impressive refinement, even under full acceleration. On its standard suspension option, the Q5 rides well, but with the optional air suspension it’s superb, probably the best in the class. Added to that, its handling is safe and secure, although it stops short of offering the driver truly great involvement.
Inside, the driving position is multi-adjustable, there’s plenty of space for passengers both front and back, the boot is big and the interior is beautifully made with a good choice of rich materials. It also features Audi’s excellent dial-controlled infotainment system, again one of the best in the class.
Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used Audi Q5 4x4?
Check for bodywork scuffs from car parking in urban areas, and for kerb damage to the alloy wheels. Also check that all seats operate as they should, and the tailgate works correctly.
Other than that, the Q5 is too new for it to have accumulated any data on various problem areas. The old model was known to suffer with some automatic gearbox failures, and oil consumption on the petrol-engined cars could be high.
What are the most common problems with a used Audi Q5 4x4?
Wheel arch liner
The wheel arch liner of cars built up to the 16 October 2019 could come loose and will require additional fixings to be installed by a technician at an Audi dealer.
Brake master cylinder
An issue with the brake master cylinder fitted to some Q5s made between 9 August and 6 November 2018 could compromise safety. Find out if your car is affected by speaking with an Audi dealer because a new master cylinder will need to be fitted to sort the problem.
Increased brake pedal travel
A faulty part in the braking system of some Q5s manufactured between 1 and 30 January 2020 could lead to increased brake pedal travel over what it should be normally. Speak to an Audi dealer for further information, because a new caliper housing will need to be fitted to prevent this problem from occurring.
A fault with the protective coating on brake pistons of Q5s constructed between 20 March and 24 May 2018 could impact the operation of the brakes and lead to increased braking distances. Find out if your car is affected by speaking with an Audi dealer for further information.
The passenger airbag in some examples made between 1 June and 31 July 2017 might not deploy correctly in a collision because the bag itself snags on structures inside the dashboard. To fix this issue, the whole dashboard will need to be replaced at an Audi dealership.
Faulty backrest adjuster
The front seats of some Q5s built between 29 June and 6 July 2020 could have an issue with the backrest adjuster. Find out from your local dealer if your car is affected by this because it'll need to be inspected and have the backrest replaced if necessary.
Mild hybrid starter motor and alternator
Moisture has been found to get into the combined starter motor and alternator of mild-hybrid equipped Q5 models made between 1 June 2017 and 31 March 2020. Your Audi dealer will be able to find out if your car is one of those affected by this and schedule to have this recall carried out.
Is a used Audi Q5 4x4 reliable?
According to the latest What Car? Reliability Survey, the Q5 is a reliable car, more so than the slightly troublesome model it replaced. It scored 11th place finish out of 32 models in the large SUV category. Audi as a brand finished in 21st place out of 32 manufacturers.
If you would like to see the full reliability list, head to the What Car? Reliability Survey pages for more information.
What used Audi Q5 4x4 will I get for my budget?
You’re going to need at least £17,000 to buy an example of the current Q5, most likely a 2.0 TDI in Sport trim. Most petrol 2.0 TFSI Q5s will set you back £21,000, while the rare 3.0 TDI is closer to £30,000. The plug-in hybrid will set you back upwards of £38,000 in most cases.
For a 2021 or 2022 example, expect to spend around £30,000 at least, while nearly new 2023 cars go for upwards of £40,000.
How much does it cost to run a Audi Q5 4x4?
The most economical Q5 on paper is the 2.0 TDI (40 TDI) version, with a combined fuel consumption figure of 55.4mpg, while the 2.0 TFSI (45 TFSI) petrol version records 40.9mpg. If you can find one, a 3.0 TDI gets 48.7mpg.
Under the older NEDC test, the petrol SQ5 got 34mpg, while the diesel SQ5 that came after WLTP was introduced gets 34.4mpg. In the real world, the difference between these two would be greater.
The plug-in hybrid is the most impressive at 128.4mpg, although you’ll need to regularly plug it in to achieve anything like that in reality.
There won’t be many Q5s registered before 1 April 2017, but for those that were, you’ll need to know what CO2 they produced. The 2.0 TDI is best at 133g/km, followed by the 3.0 TDI at 152g/km. Next is the 2.0 TFSI with 157g/km, with the worst being the petrol SQ5 at 189g/km.
Road tax (VED)
Road tax for all models registered before 1 April 2017 will vary depending on the emissions the engine produces (see above for more information), while examples registered after this date (until April 2022) will render owners liable to pay a flat-rate fee. This is currently £180 per year for petrol and diesel cars, while hybrid owners pay £170 per year.
This is on top of an additional fee because every version of the Q5 cost more than £40,000 when new. Fortunately, this yearly additional fee (currently £390 a year) only lasts between the second and sixth years of the vehicle's age – then it goes back to the flat-rate fee.
Servicing and insurance costs
Audi servicing tends to be cheaper at franchised dealers than that of key rival Mercedes. For example, for Q5s under three years old, two services for examples with 2.0-litre engines cost £468, or £594 for any engine bigger than that. For a Mercedes GLC, those same two services cost £864. Insurance groups range from 27 for the 2.0 TDIs to 42 for the rip-snorting, sporty SQ5 model.
Which used Audi Q5 4x4 should I buy?
While not super-quick in terms of outright pace, the 2.0 TDI has the best blend of performance and economy of all the engines available in the Q5, plus it's also pretty smooth compared with equivalent 2.0-litre diesel engines in most rivals. The 3.0 TDI would also be a good choice, if you could find one...
For those who really need a petrol, the 2.0 TFSI is your only option because the petrol SQ5 is really expensive to run, and you'll need to have easy access to a plug socket with the plug-in hybrid in order for that car to make financial sense.
The entry-level SE is very well equipped, but we think the Sport model is a better bet, because it has sat-nav and far more supportive sports seats in the front. There are also far more Sport examples available used than SE.
Most S line you'll come across will have firmer sports suspension fitted that's a bit too much for our roads, while Black Edition and Edition 1 models are really more of a styling package. The Vorsprung model is nice, but not worth the additional expense over a Sport.
Our favourite Audi Q5: 2.0 TDI 190 Sport
What alternatives should I consider to a used Audi Q5 4x4?
The BMW X3 is a classy design with excellent build quality. It’s also good to drive, with a range of smooth and efficient engines. It’s quiet and comfortable, and roomy inside. The later versions are among the best cars in this class, and well worth looking at if you’re considering a Q5.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport has the advantage over the Q5 and X3 of being a seven-seater, although those two rearmost seats are cramped. However, it handles well, the interior is smart and it gets more standard safety tech such as lane-keeping assistance, which was an option on the Q5 when new. Countered against that is a poor showing in our most recent reliability survey.