As Americans downsize what they drive due to gas prices and more choices for fuel-efficient vehicles, the small, luxury SUV segment is one of the hottest in the auto industry. This week, I have had the 2012 Audi Q5 Quattro, a vehicle that has sold extremely well in spite of being at the upper end of the segment as far as price.
My press loaner has the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Boxer engine with a turbocharger that is producing 211-horses. That sounds light on fuel economy, but the turbo is strong enough to make it feel really good from a dead start. It comes standard with an 8-speed automatic transmission that shifts crisply and does not feel overly busy.
As you would expect with an Audi, the interior is spectacular with soft comfortable leather seats and offset colors that give the Q5 a sensation of pure luxury. It has 12-way power seats in the front, and tri-zone automatic temperature controlled air conditioning. The cabin is extremely quiet.
Interior room is good for the two front passengers, legroom is ample in the back seat, but headroom is limited in the back seat but would be great for kids. The back seat folds down for additional cargo room, and this is one of the few SUVs that gives you a flat load floor.
Audi is known for great handling and the Q5 does not disappoint. It corners extremely well and has a true sporty feel to it, yet you don’t feel every bump in the road. Steering is a little inconsistent for me, but electric power steering takes a little getting used to.
There is no such thing as a stripped-down Audi and the Q5 comes nicely appointed. My tester has the Premium Plus package for $4300 which gives you the panoramic sunroof, power liftgate, xenon headlamps that make you know an Audi is coming at you, heated front seats and a few other items.
This one also has the Audi Multi-media interface for $3000 which gives you navigation system that is voice controlled HD radio, CD/DVD player, and parking sensors. This vehicle has an upgraded Bang & Olufsen sound system for $850 and upgraded 19” wheels for $800.
The Q5 looks great, drives great, handles great, and gets good road mileage. Also of significance, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Q5 superior marks in crash tests. Audi does a great job blending luxury and sportiness with luxury. It is no wonder the Q5 sells as well as it does.
What I liked most: Ride and handling, the interior, and the fuel economy.
What I would change: Should have blind-spot warning system and adaptive cruise for the price.
MSRP: Base price $35,600. As tested, $46,450.
Fuel Economy: Rated at 20 in town/27 Highway
Warranty: 4 Year/50,000 mile warranty, and 4 years of Roadside Assistance.
2012 Audi Q5 in a few words: Great blend of luxury and sportiness.