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Used test: Audi Q5 vs Land Rover Discovery Sport vs Mercedes GLC: interiors

You can save almost £10,000 on all of these prestige SUVs if you buy them at two years old, but which one should you choose?...

Audi Q5 interior

Interiors

Driving position, visibility, build quality, practicality

We have no complaints regarding the reach and height adjustment of any steering wheel here, and each seat has enough range to suit both the tallest and shortest of drivers. Getting into the nitty gritty, though, the Q5 is the only car here that – other than powered lumbar support – didn’t get electric seat adjustment as an option when it was new (on S line trim). You have to push the GLC’s seat – the lowest to the ground – fore and aft manually, but the height and back angle are adjusted electrically. That doesn’t make up for the seats being far less supportive than the Q5’s, though.

Meanwhile, the Discovery Sport gets full electric adjustment for its front seats and has the highest, comfiest and generally most SUV-like driving position. To further aid visibility, each car gets front and rear parking sensors.

A proper configurable digital instrument display was standard from new on SE trim on the Discovery Sport, providing a wealth of information behind the steering wheel. The Q5 and GLC come with analogue dials flanking a smaller screen, but if you’re lucky enough to find a Q5 that’s had the optional-from-new Technology Pack added, you’ll have a car with one of the best digital dashboards in the business. No such thing was available for the GLC in Sport trim.

Land Rover Discovery Sport

Infotainment-wise, the Q5 gets a high-mounted 7.0in screen, but our test car came with the optional Technology Pack, which ups this to 8.3in. Either way, a dial in front of the gear selector makes controlling the system easy, even on the move. The display is crisp, with attractive graphics and menus that are easy to navigate. Sat-nav is standard, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

In the Discovery Sport, the 10.0in touchscreen is rather low down the dashboard, so you have to take your eyes well off the road to use it. At least the icons are mostly big and easy to hit. The graphics are sharp and the menus are reasonably easy to fathom, but the software can be a little sluggish to respond. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, while you can get USB ports for all three rows of seats. Sat-nav is standard from S trim.

In the GLC, you can control the 10.3in screen by touch, via a trackpad between the seats or by using thumb-sized pads on the steering wheel. The latter takes getting used to but means you can always keep both hands on the wheel. The screen is high-mounted and has the best graphics here, while the menus are fairly logically laid out, but you’ll need to shop for a car in a higher trim if you want Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

Mercedes GLC interior

The Q5 rules the roost when it comes to interior quality. Apart from plasticky grab handles on the doors, all looks and feels plush, while the controls act precisely. The GLC looks flashier but feels flimsier, with the dashboard creaking when you jab a button. You’ll find some more utilitarian plastics in the Discovery Sport, but your surroundings feel more solidly put together than in the GLC.

It’s the GLC that has the most head room for exceptionally tall drivers, and its driver’s seat goes back the farthest. The Q5 isn’t far off, but if you buy a Discovery Sport that’s been equipped with the optional sunroof, you’ll notice a lower ceiling than in the other two. Still, even a six-footer is in no danger of messing up their hair. Each has plentiful storage up front and big, secure cupholders.

For those with flamingo-like friends, it’s the Discovery Sport that has the most rear leg room and the GLC the least, while the GLC has the most head room and the Q5 the least. It’s worth pointing out that the GLC’s rear seats are the least comfortable, but a six-footer sitting behind another will have room to spare in any of these cars.

Land Rover Discovery Sport rear seats

Every rear bench can be folded down from the boot – via electric switches in the GLC and Discovery Sport or manual levers in the Q5. While the GLC has a useful 40/20/40 split, those seats don’t slide or recline. The Q5 gets the same split as standard, but the first owners could have upgraded to a sliding and reclining bench as an optional extra. The Discovery Sport wins by having a three-piece sliding-and-reclining rear bench as standard, as well as a third row of seats. Head room is tight way back there, but leg room isn’t bad. Admittedly, shallow footwells will stop adults from wanting to stay there for long, but these extra seats could come in very handy.

You can fit seven carry-on suitcases beneath the tonneau cover of the GLC, but it also has a vast underfloor storage area. The Discovery Sport goes one better with eight cases, while neither has a lip that you must lift items over. The Q5 wins with nine cases, even if it does have a bit of a lip.


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