I recently had the opportunity to take a 2014 Audi Q5 3.0 TDI on an extended test drive, so I decided to take it on a family trip to the Sunshine Coast. We stayed at Painted Boat Resort Spa and Marina again, which you can read all about from our post from our visit last year. We stayed in one of their super spacious 2 bedroom + loft + den suites, which was large enough to comfortably accommodate us all.
— Dennis & May Pang (@Pangcouver) July 22, 2014
I have been eyeing the Audi Q5 for quite some time now, ever since it debuted as Audi’s compact luxury crossover SUV in 2008. Fast forward 6 years and you can see that it has remained largely unchanged, still looking quite modern and keeping up in the looks department with its competitors like the BMW X3, the Volvo XC60, and the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class. Over the years, the Q5 has received minor cosmetic upgrades like eye-catching LED sliver headlights and tail lights in 2012.
The 2014 Q5 comes in 4 different trim levels, each with a different engine: 2.0T Premium, 3.0T Premium Plus, 3.0 TDI Premium Plus, and 2.0T Hybrid. The vehicle that I tested was the fully loaded 3.0 TDI Premium Plus, which comes appointed with a 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel V6 that produces 240 hp and a whopping 428 lb-ft of torque. You can really feel the power when you put the pedal to the floor, as this vehicle accelerates from a standstill to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds, which matches up exactly with my Audi A4 2.0T despite weighing almost 500 lbs more. Of course it’s not an apples to apples comparison, as my car is a four cyclinder sedan with a considerably smaller engine. The real surprise for me though was in the fuel efficiency, which is probably the greatest strength of the Q5. While the A4 is a fairly economical engine that gets you 22 mpg (city) and 30 mpg (highway), the Q5 delivers 24/31 mpg. By comparison, the BMW X3 delivers 19/26 mpg. If you’re curious about the 2.0L hybrid Q5, it actually isn’t as efficient as the 3.0L diesel Q5, as it is rated at 24/30 mpg. To save even more gas, the Q5 has an automatic stop-start system for those times you’re stuck in stop and go traffic. I found the Audi stop-start system to be significantly smoother than BMW’s, as it doesn’t have quite the same jerky start. So there goes the common misconception that SUVs are gas guzzlers.
Audi interiors are always classy, and this Q5 interior is no different. Aside from the large panoramic sunroof and larger side mirrors, it’s identical to my A4 in almost every way, right down to the aluminum dash and console inserts. What I really like and also somewhat dislike about Audi is that no matter if you’re sitting in a $45,000 or $145,000 Audi, their interiors will feel more or less the same (with subtle differences in finishing). So that either means that lower end Audis are ridiculously spoiled with overly luxurious interiors, or higher end Audis aren’t quite luxurious enough for their price tags. The interior was one of the big selling points with my car, and I felt right at home in this Q5. Front and rear legroom is more than ample, and rear cargo space was also sufficient enough to be able to store small luggage for 4 adults and also 4 large bags of groceries.
The Audi Q5 exceeded my expectations, but as much as I like this generation, I think it’s long overdue for a facelift. Apparently there is a new Q5 in the works and expected to hit showrooms in 2017. Some early prototype concepts have already been published on the web, but I’m really hoping it doesn’t look like this rendering, which resembles a Mitsubishi RVR. I score this 2014 Audi Q5 3.0 TDI a solid 8/10 and give it my seal of approval for being a great road trip vehicle.
Disclaimer: Thanks to Downtown Vancouver Audi for the loaner vehicle. I was not paid for this post, and all opinions and thoughts are my own.