Audi Q5 long-term test review

This second-generation Audi Q5 has long been a favourite in the large SUV class, but has a recent facelift made it even better? We're living with one to find out...

Audi Q5 long-term compilation image

The car Audi Q5 45 TFSI quattro 265 S line S tronic Run by Darren Moss, deputy editor

Why it’s here We already think the Audi Q5 is one of the best large SUVs you can buy, but is this facelifted version a step forwards or a leap back?

Needs to Be comfortable for both short and long journeys, spacious and able to function as a mobile office when needed


Mileage 2010 List price £47,340 Target Price £44,397 Price as tested £52,800 Test economy 30.5mpg Official economy 32.8mpg Dealer price now £41,553 Private price now £36,956 Trade-in price now £35,343 Expenses Fuel £135


10 May 2021 – All good things...

I am genuinely sad that there's no longer an Audi Q5 on my driveway. Although I knew this day was coming, I started to put it to the back of my mind as the date for the car's collection drew closer.

When the morning did arrive, I couldn’t bear to watch as it was taken away. The Q5 has had such an impact on me over the past few months that I can’t think of any other car that's slotted into my life so well. 

What made it such a capable companion? Well, just like a favourite pair of jeans, it was so damned comfortable. Whether I was driving on pockmarked city streets or smooth motorways, the Q5 soaked up with ease everything the road might throw at it. I was sat far above the action too, so I had a great view out to survey the conditions ahead. 

Then there's the interior – which won Best Large SUV Interior at the What Car? Car of the Year Awards, let's not forget. We noted in our Awards issue in January that “it’s the details which set the Q5 apart”, and I agree wholeheartedly. Everything you touch, brush or otherwise come into contact with feels as solidly built as the International Space Station.

The rotary dials that control the temperature, for example, click with reassuring solidity every time you use them, and while the steering wheel has quite a crowded mix of controls, each one is clearly marked and easy to grasp.

Audi Q5 dials

One of my favourite features, and something I wish was fitted to more cars, was the Q5’s height-adjustable armrest, which – combined with the electric front seats and adjustable steering wheel – meant I could find my perfect driving position easily. Once you’re sitting comfortably, it's amazing how easily the miles roll by.

The runs I did with passengers (which were limited to my family bubble by lockdown restrictions) were full of joy, too. My parents commented that the rear bench was supportive and comfortable, even when they sat behind a driver of my proportions.

Audi Q5 rear seats

As with any relationship, there were a few grumbles. The eight-speed automatic gearbox did a fine job of managing the engine’s power on a motorway, but around town and emerging from junctions it could hesitate a little, prompting me to put my foot to the floor and trounce my fuel economy.

Likewise, while Audi’s MMI infotainment system looks swish and is packed with features, I struggled to hit some of its icons on the move. I was thankful, then, that my phone connected wirelessly and seamlessly to the system, meaning Apple CarPlay could keep me in touch with the office – and continue whatever audiobook I’d been listening to pre-journey.

You might remember that at the beginning of this test that I wondered whether I’d regret my choice of engine (I went for the 261bhp 2.0-litre 45 TFSI petrol rather than our favoured 201bhp 2.0-litre diesel). Well, the answer is mixed. The petrol suited my needs very well, since I mostly covered local journeys with the odd motorway stint thrown in, but I did miss the low-down shove of a diesel.

If you’re weighing up your options, I’d suggest seeing if you’ll do enough miles annually to take the diesel. Or, if you won’t, take a look at the new plug-in hybrid TFSIe option which promises up to 38 miles of electric-only range – if you charge it up regularly, you should hopefully beat my wallet-draining average of 30.5mpg.

Darren with Audi Q5

My conclusions on the options I added to my car are hit and miss, too, since while some were very useful and used on every journey (the upgraded Bang & Olufsen sound system and wireless phone charging), others were hardly used at all (the self-parking system).

Niggles aside, though, I remain fully and utterly in love with the Q5. It ferried me comfortably, safely and quietly through some very turbulent months, and no matter my mood when I got into the car, I always felt better when I arrived at my destination. This is a car which made me happy with each and every journey, and you can’t ask for more than that.

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