Used test: Audi SQ5 vs Range Rover Evoque vs Porsche Macan

The current Porsche Macan is the best sports SUV, but is a used diesel S a better buy than the popular Range Rover Evoque or more powerful Audi SQ5?...

Used test: Audi SQ5 vs Range Rover Evoque vs Porsche Macan

The Contenders

Audi SQ5 3.0 BiTDI quattro auto

List price when new £44,715
Price today £20,343*
Available from 2008-2017

Sports car pace and impressive fuel economy give it huge appeal.

Range Rover Evoque 2.2 SD4 Dynamic auto

List price when new £41,105
Price today £17,840*
Available from 2011-2019

Cheapest to buy, but with the least power, is it good enough to drive?

Porsche Macan S 3.0 V6 

List price when new £43,300
Price today £25,238*
Available from 2014-present

It may be a sports SUV winner in petrol form, but does it still make sense as a diesel?

*Price today is based on a 2014 model with average mileage and full service history according to the What Car? Valuation service, correct at time of writing

The Cayenne is proof that sports car specialist Porsche can build a convincing SUV, and the smaller Macan is further confirmation that the Stuttgart firm can make a great Sports SUV. But, it’s the regular Diesel S we’re looking at here that shares its basic underpinnings with the Audi Q5, so can it still pull off the same trick?

BMW X4 vs Porsche Macan

The 255bhp Macan SUV will cost you more to buy than a used example of the range-topping Q5 (the SQ5) despite the Audi offering considerably more clout from its 309bhp engine.

Cheaper still is the established favourite of fashion-conscious SUV buyers, the Range Rover Evoque. Admittedly, its 188bhp diesel engine looks seriously outgunned in this company, but maybe the price difference between it and the Porsche can make up the difference.  

What are they like to drive? 

The Porsche’s automatic gearbox shifts smoothly in relaxed driving – or stick it in Sport mode and it quick-fires up and down the gears. This makes it easy to exploit the Macan’s hot hatch like pace, which arrives smoothly and with no sudden surge.

2016 Audi SQ5 rear

If the Porsche is hot hatch-fast, the Audi SQ5 is sports car-quick, powering from 0-60mph in 5.1sec. Such eye-widening acceleration feels incongruous in an SUV, but a smooth power delivery means the SQ5 is as easy to drive in traffic as on fast B-roads. Its auto gearbox isn’t as smooth as the Porsche’s, though.

The Evoque feels sluggish in this company; you need to work its engine harder to keep pace with fast-moving traffic. More irritating, though, is its nine-speed auto ’box, which pauses momentarily just when you want a burst of speed.

The Range Rover is also the noisiest car here, because of its gruff engine. The Porsche and Audi are quieter, but road noise is present in all of these SUVs – particularly the SQ5 .

Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

The Range Rover also falls down in other areas; body control is slack and there’s a tendency to wash wide through fast corners – not to mention a lumpy low-speed ride – which means it simply can’t live with these sportier SUVs.

The Macan impresses most, although it’s important to note that our test car was equipped with optional air suspension. Steer into a corner with gusto and its nose turns in keenly and body lean is kept tightly in check. It feels remarkably light-footed and composed, even when asked to change direction quickly, while the precise steering and smooth ride make it just as suited to pottering around town.

It’s as easy to carry impressive speeds through corners in the Audi, but the SQ5 doesn’t respond as quickly when asked to change direction suddenly, and its steering isn’t as accurate. Even so, it’s still remarkably agile by SUV standards, and although it’s a tad fidgety around town, it still rides comfortably enough.

Next: What are they like inside? >>

Page 1 of 4