Reviews

2018 Audi Q5 Walk Around


The all-new Q5 doesn’t look that much different from the old one, but it’s easier to look at. The grille remains the same basic big-mouth rounded trapezoid, but the chrome bars run horizontally instead of vertically, which is more cohesive with the car’s lines and makes the hood look longer. The headlamps are slimmer and sharper, touching and flying off the top corners of the grille, which also has a thicker border of satin metal. Along the sides, there’s a sharp crease like a high beltline above the door handles, connecting the HID or LED headlamps to the LED taillamps.

The SQ5 has different trim and unique alloy wheels. It’s a sleeper, with no clues that there’s 354 horsepower under the hood.

Interior

The Q5 cabin has changed a lot for 2018, adopting the latest Audi design direction. It ranks with the best in the segment. It’s refined, beautifully detailed, and serene, remarkably quiet and free of road noise. The instrumentation is logical. Switchgear is on a panel below the climate control, while infotainment is managed on a big touchpad.

There’s ample room in front, with comfortable leather seats; some rivals use leatherette upholstery in their base model, and perhaps that’s why Audi calls its base model Premium. Quite a few optional wood trims are available.

The new architecture created more room in the rear, so now the A5 is as comfortable as others back there. Two six-footers can fit, although that third rear passenger might find his or her legs mashed together from the knees to feet, not just because of the four other long legs, but because the middle seat is flat while the outboard seats are deeply scalloped. Four are more comfortable than five.

The rear seats fold easily but not flat.

The cargo area behind the rear seat is nicely finished. It’s about 0.5 cubic feet smaller than before, as the seat was moved back for more legroom. However, when the 60/40 rear seats are down there’s almost three more cubic feet of cargo space than before.

The panoramic moonroof is not a sunroof; that is, the shade doesn’t fully block out the sun, so we couldn’t make the cabin cool and dark like we like it.

The other thing we didn’t like was the display screen fixed at the center top of the dash. It never retracts. It looks like a tablet computer on a clip. Dash top screens are not our favorite Audi feature.

Prestige models replace the standard analog-type instruments with Audi’s Virtual Cockpit with a configurable 12.3-inch LCD screen showing everything from digital gauges to audio controls to Google Earth navigation. The system interfaces using Audi’s MMI that has its own touchpad on the console near the shift lever.

The SQ5 gets sportier seats with red stitching, and available carbon-fiber trim.

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