2020 Audi Q5

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2020 Audi Q5 Review: Calculated German Comfort

by Gabe Beita Kiser

Originally released in 2008 as an SUV based entirely on Audi's MLB platform, the first-generation Audi Q5 was built exclusively at Ingolstadt for the booming SUV market. Twelve years - and numerous updates, including the addition of a hybrid powertrain option - later, the popular midsize German sport utility vehicle cruises into 2020 with a trunk full of upgrades, still boasting cultured styling, impressive powertrains, and the all-important Audi pedigree. However, with almost forty percent of the world's passenger car market currently made up of SUVs, it's no easy task to stay ahead of rivals such as the BMW X3, Volvo XC60, and the Mercedes-Benz GLC. Still dragging cargo limitations and a bland driving experience behind it, can the latest iteration of the Q5 shoulder ahead the competition to stay in the upper ranks of the SUV segment and maintain its title as the best-selling Audi model?

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 6 /10
  • Performance 6 /10
  • Fuel Economy 7 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 7 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 8 /10
  • Reliability 8 /10
  • Safety 9 /10
  • Value For Money 7 /10
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2020 Audi Q5 Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 Q5?

For 2020, Audi has packed the Q5 with more equipment, as well as expanding the optional features list. The entry-level model boasts brand-new 18-inch turbine design wheels and high-beam assist as standard, while the two upper trims receive 19-inch five-spoke dynamic design wheels with all-season tires. Available packages have been reshuffled too, and the Driver Assistance package can now be equipped from the mid-tier Premium Plus trim which adds adaptive cruise control, active lane keep assist, and traffic jam assist to the Q5. The Convenience Plus package, which comprises Audi phone box, parking assist, and front and rear parking sensors, has been added to the menu as well.
Late in the 2020 model year, Audi added the Titanium sub-trim as a package option on all trims. This adds unique 19- or 20-inch alloy wheels, titanium black exterior detailing, S line bumpers on Premium Plus and Prestige models, and inside, equips the Q5 with front sports seats, a heated steering wheel, and unique aluminum rhombus decor inlays.

Pros and Cons

  • Punchy engine
  • Classic, handsome styling
  • Smooth and comfortable ride
  • Top-notch cabin
  • Subpar cargo space
  • Uninvolved driving experience
  • Average EPA estimates

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2020 Audi Q5 Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Premium 45 TFSI quattro
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
Prestige 45 TFSI quattro
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
Premium Plus 45 TFSI quattro
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
Titanium Premium 45 TFSI quattro
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
Titanium Premium Plus 45 TFSI quattro
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
See All 2020 Audi Q5 Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

While it has the capacity to excite the driver with good acceleration, the Q5 suffers from a rather bland steering feel. Although pointing the vehicle in any one direction is easy enough, and the Q5 is compliant in doing what you want it to do, there's no real feedback from the wheels. So, while driving it feels second-nature, it doesn't quite give you any goosebumps. Switching to the Dynamic drive mode gives a little more weight under your fingertips, but it still lacks any real organic feel. Still, the Q5 excels at absorbing road undulations and bumps, offering a well-damped suspension and a quiet, comfortable cabin. Optional adaptive suspension can be added for an even better experience, but the stock Q5 is perfectly fine without it. The quattro system ensures good grip and throwing the Q5 down winding roads results in a stable, confident ride with minimal body roll. Although some competitors offer a bit more engagement and make for a livelier, more thrilling joy-ride, the Q5 seems like the perfect gentleman on the road, never overstepping the boundaries and getting you home safely before curfew.

Verdict: 🏁Is the New Audi Q5 a Good SUV?

With awards such as "Best Car for Families" and "Compact Luxury SUV Best Buy" for 2018 and 2019, respectively, under its belt, the Audi Q5 SUV has got its own big shoes to fill with this latest model. It remains the best-seller in the Audi line-up with its eager-to-please powertrain and no-mess-no-fuss driveability, which is now further enhanced with the addition of a PHEV model for those who want to spend less on fuel and have more power on tap. The sublime interior is positively charming, and although cargo space isn't particularly impressive, the comprehensive list of safety features and intuitive infotainment combine to make this a competent family carrier. Safety scores are high, and the quiet, comfortable cabin ride seems to round off the Q5 as a perfect package.

So what are the negatives? If we had to nitpick, we'd only really highlight the cramped rear-seat space for a fifth passenger and the bland driving experience. And, if you want to go the greener route, the brilliant hybrid powertrain adds a significant hike to an already restrictive price tag. Of course, the initial cost will be offset by fuel savings over the years, but some may think twice about such an extravagant purchase, which is between $6k and $10k more for the PHEV variants, depending on trim. This still isn't enough to discourage us from recommending the Q5 to potential buyers, though. It's a brilliant vehicle for those who want to play it safe and travel in comfort and class.

2020 Audi Q5 Comparisons

Volvo XC60 Volvo

2020 Audi Q5 vs BMW X3

Two German SUVs in a neck and neck battle for top honors seems like a motoring cliche, yet the Q5 and the X3 are so evenly matched that one has to be mentioned when discussing the other. Both the Q5 and X3 have gas- and hybrid-powered options, with the gas-fed variants producing the same 248 horsepower. The Q5 kicks out more torque though, managing 273 lb-ft as opposed to the X3's 258 lb-ft. It stands to reason that the Q5 would be able to tow more than the X3 does, yet both manage 4,400 lbs. In hybrid form, it's the Q5 that makes more horsepower at 362 hp over the X3 hybrid's 288. In terms of gas mileage, the standard X3 proves to be more efficient than the Audi with EPA estimates of 23/30/26 mpg over 22/27/24 mpg, but in PHEV guise, the Q5 surpasses the X3 by a good margin, offering 27 mpg combined to the Bimmer's 24, and 65 MPGe over 60 MPGe.

Additionally, the BMW X3 has more cargo space than the Audi does, although when it comes to ground clearance and cabin space, the Q5 fares much better. The one drawback of the Q5 is the numb driving experience, and the X3 has solved that problem by offering a nimble, engaging drive that surpasses what the Audi is capable of. Still, SUVs were built for comfort and class, and the Q5 certainly has nailed this down by presenting a polished, ergonomic, comfortable and stylish interior, drawing it into the lead - but only just.

See BMW X3 Review

2020 Audi Q5 vs Volvo XC60

Boasting a recent redesign, the Volvo XC60 saunters into 2020 with a high-performance hybrid model and improved fuel efficiency stats. Known for its sublime interior and plush comfort levels, the XC60 offers more cargo space at 29.7 cubic feet to the Q5's 25.1, and manages slightly better EPA estimates for gas models, albeit only for highway driving cycles (29 mpg versus the Q5's 27 mpg). The Q5 fares much better than the XC60 in terms of mileage in hybrid guise, with the Swede only managing 57 MPGe.

Still, the Volvo's safety levels and standard features are far superior to that of the Audi. The 2019 variant was awarded a Top Safety Pick title by the IIHS, although it also achieved a rather average predicted reliability rating from J.D. Power, as the Q5 did. Two 2019 recalls for the Volvo also levels the playing field between the two rivals, leaving the tie-breaker up to driving and handling scores - and this is where the German SUV overtakes the Swedish offering. With better handling, performance that is more impressive than the similarly-priced, lower-tier XC60 offerings (higher spec XC60s offer more performance on paper), and a smoother ride, the Q5 proves to be the better choice between the two. While neither offers particularly engaging drives, it's the Audi that comes in tops here.

See Volvo XC60 Review

2020 Audi Q5 Popular Comparisons

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