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Used test: Audi Q5 vs Land Rover Discovery vs Mercedes GLC: costs

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 driving

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

For a two-year-old Audi Q5, Land Rover Discovery Sport or Mercedes GLC, the headline saving is around £9000 off the new price. That equates to around £34,000 for the Audi and the Land Rover, while the Mercedes comes in at around £30,000. This means the GLC is the cheapest of the bunch by roughly the same amount as when new.  

Of course, we also need to factor in efficiency. The GLC managed very nearly 40mpg on our tightly controlled test route, making it the cheapest to run for private buyers, while the Q5 recorded a respectable 37mpg. The Discovery Sport? Well, even with mild hybrid assistance, it posted a disappointing 33.6mpg.

Land Rover Discovery Sport driving

As far as road tax goes, the GLC will by far the cheapest here (at £290 over three years compared with £930 for the other two), because it cost less than £40,000 new and therefore doesn’t attract the luxury car tax the other two do. However, the GLC costs much more to service, at £2221 in servicing costs over three years compared with the Q5’s £1059 and the Discovery Sport’s £956. Overall, the Q5 is only around a fraction costlier than the GLC to run over three years.


What about toys? Well, the Q5 and Discovery Sport are hard to separate. There are few basics missing from the GLC, which means you’d need to seek out a car that’s a trim level or two higher to get it as well specced. Each car gets automatic emergency braking; the Discovery Sport adds blindspot monitoring and lane-keeping assistance.

Although Euro NCAP has tested all three of these cars, it did so several years apart. Because it regularly raises its standards, this makes comparing the cars tricky, but each got the full five stars.

Mercedes GLC driving

The Mercedes GLC nudges ahead of the Q5 in terms of reliability; it came 11th out of 22 in the large SUV category in our most recent reliability survey – the Audi Q5 came 12th in the same category. Disappointingly, the Discovery Sport came 22nd, marking it as the least reliable large SUV featured in the survey.

As brands go, the survey concluded with Land Rover finishing last among 31 manufacturers. Mercedes, on the other hand, didn’t rank too much higher, placing 26th. Audi managed to take the 22nd spot, meaning none of the three boasts truly incredible reliability. That being said, due to its poor track record, the Land Rover Discovery Sport is the key one to check carefully when buying used.