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Used test: Audi Q5 vs Jaguar F-Pace
It's tough to defeat a used, two-year-old Audi Q5, but this suave Jaguar F-Pace aims to do exactly that. Let battle commence...
Audi Q5 40 TDI quattro S line
List price when new £46,515
Price today £36,000*
Available from 2017-present
An easy recommendation for people looking at used large SUVs of a premium nature, but has the Q5 met its match?
Jaguar F-Pace D200 R-Dynamic S
List price when new £45,025
Price today £38,000*
Available from 2016-present
The F-Pace looks to offer an upmarket image, sporty dynamics and decent practicality
*Price today is based on a 2021 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing
Treat yourself once in a while. If you'd like a large SUV, why not make it a luxurious one? Then, when reality starts to hit, perhaps turn away from the new car market and look to the used one. Its lower prices might just seal the deal for you.
The Audi Q5 is a great choice, for instance, and used prices are far from unreasonable. You could say the same about the Jaguar F-Pace, mind you. As a two-year-old buy, it often goes for similar cash to Q5s of the same vintage, plus it has a badge that garners near-enough the same esteem, if not more.
What's more, helping these two cars stay fresh and competitive is the fact that both received extensive updates, including styling changes and updated technology, not too long ago – the Q5 in 2020 and the F-Pace in 2021.
We've brought along diesel versions in mid-range, sporty trims to choose a winner.
Performance, ride, handling, refinement
Our two protagonists are so closely matched on paper that you’d be forgiven for assuming that they’d drive very similarly. After all, both have 201bhp from 2.0-litre diesel engines, with power going to all four wheels via a standard automatic gearbox. Their official 0-62mph sprint times (7.6sec for the Q5 and 8.0sec for the F-Pace) suggest there’s little to separate them in terms of performance, while caravanners will appreciate that both have a hearty 2400kg maximum towing capacity.
In fact, the two are even closer on acceleration than their official figures suggest. The Q5 took 8.0sec to get from 0-60mph at our test track, with the F-Pace just 0.1sec behind. More importantly they both feel gutsy, whether that’s off the line or when you ask for a squirt of acceleration to merge into fast-moving traffic.
In other regards, though, these SUVs are very different animals. Point the F-Pace down a winding road and its relatively light, accurate steering weights up progressively as cornering speed increases, so you get a good sense of how much effort the front tyres are putting in. Selecting the Dynamic drive mode adds more weight, but we reckon the steering feels more natural and enjoyable in default Normal mode, whether you’re winding through town or driving quickly along a country road. By contrast, while the Q5’s steering is precise, it never feels quite as natural, with weighting that’s a little inconsistent as you wind on lock.
Drive spiritedly, though, and it’s the F-Pace that’ll run wide of your intended line earlier; the Q5 feels a touch more planted and composed. There’s also less body lean through corners in the Q5, although we should point out that the F-Pace’s body movements are always progressive and never dramatic.
However, you might not be as satisfied with the F-Pace’s eight-speed automatic gearbox, which can be slow to respond to kickdown requests before delivering a hefty thump when it does shift into a lower gear. The Q5’s seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox executes downshifts faster and more smoothly, and is generally more agreeable in everyday driving.
The Q5’s engine is notably hushed, too; you won’t find a diesel SUV in this price range that produces less noise and vibration. That isn’t to say that the F-Pace is uncouth; its new engine settles to a quiet thrum at a steady speed and only gets harsh if you rev it harder than is strictly necessary. A touch more tyre and wind noise creeps into the F-Pace’s interior at motorway speeds, though, so overall, the Q5 is a noticeably more refined car.
The Audi Q5 is also more comfortable. While the Jaguar F-Pace keeps most bumps and potholes from bothering its occupants, there’s a bit of fidgeting, particularly around town. Despite S line cars having slightly firmer suspension than some other versions, the Q5 still manages to deliver a more settled ride than the F-Pace.
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