Compact Luxury SUV Best Buy of 2019
- The Audi Q5 is a repeat category winner
- Roomy and luxurious 5-passenger interior
- Standard turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive
- Innovative Virtual Cockpit technology
- NHTSA 5-Star Overall Safety Rating
- Pricing starts at $43,945 (including $995 destination charges) | Price yours
- On sale now | See Q5 models for sale near you
Audi Earns a Repeat Category Win
The 2018 Audi Q5 captured our Luxury SUV Best Buy award last year because it delivered an award-winning combination of refined driving experience, innovative technology, and high-style design. And, despite a near-Herculean effort by strong competitors to dethrone the reigning champ, the 2019 Audi Q5 returned to secure our inaugural 2019 Compact Luxury SUV Best Buy award.
Shoppers have embraced the second-generation Q5, pushing it to where it sits today -- at the top of the compact luxury SUV sales chart. Its success in the showroom, and its aptitude to recurrently capture awards, demonstrates its well-rounded balance of interior space, utility, driving dynamics, technology, safety and luxury.
Standard Q5 models arrive with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, which is rated at 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a race-bred, 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox that shifts faster and more efficiently than a traditional automatic transmission, the crossover is quick – it sprints from a rest to 60 mph in fewer than six seconds. And, the turbocharged Q5 2.0T offers the highest EPA-estimated fuel economy in its respective segment. After spending the day with it, one of our judges was reluctant to hand back the keys. "I fell in love with how well this compact SUV's 2.0-liter turbo and 7-speed S Tronic transmission balanced without the need for a series of 'drive mode' adjustments."
And driving enthusiasts seeking more abundant power will be pleased with the SQ5 variant -- a performance-tuned trim with a 354-horsepower V6 and a host of other mechanical and cosmetic go-fast upgrades.
Audi’s permanent all-wheel drive, marketed as Quattro, is standard fitment on all 2019 Q5s. With the unique ability to decouple the rear axle when the additional traction isn’t necessary, and fully vary torque distribution when it is desired, the Quattro system delivers 4-season confidence without compromising grip or efficiency. Sophisticated independent suspension, with adaptive dampers and air suspension on the options list, delivers a smooth ride over varied surfaces, and 8.2 inches of ground clearance ensures that it will clear most obstacles off the beaten path.
“The Q5 is the best in the segment for the simple reason that it does everything better than everything else in the segment,” said one of our judges after a long drive. “You want sporty driving? It’s got that. You want comfort? Check. There’s even an off-road mode -- and trust me, from my time in the media launch in Baja California, this thing is actually a decent little off-highway hooligan.”
Audi’s Q5 secured our Luxury Brand Best Auto Tech award in 2018 for good reason -- a full suite of standard electronic safety features, a comprehensive list of innovative technology, and one of the most visually dazzling instrument panel displays in the automotive industry.
Pre Sense, Audi’s standard suite of pedestrian and vehicle detection systems, can bring the vehicle to a safe stop if an obstacle is blocking the way. Optional equipment includes Audi side assist, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. Choose adaptive cruise control for piloted assistance on the highway -- the Q5 is even capable of reading road signs and projecting them onto the color head-up display.
When properly equipped, the driver faces Audi’s Virtual Cockpit. Instead of traditional analog dials, a vivid 12.3-inch display projects virtual gauges, vehicle telemetry, or a moving Google Earth map within easy view. Audi Connect incorporates a cellular connection to stream Internet radio, weather information, or wi-fi to passengers. And nobody will be disappointed by the Q5’s available 755-watt, 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, complete with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The interior left our team smitten. “Audi still builds the benchmark for interiors. It's a cliché, but some clichés are simply reality."
A Cohesive, Safe, and Luxurious Package
There really are no poor choices in this segment, but the Audi Q5 stands above the rest for its cohesiveness -- a near-perfect balance of the things shoppers seek from a luxury SUV. “The lift-over on the trunk is at the perfect height, the seating position is remarkably comfortable, and toss it into corner and its unexpectedly agile -- genuinely fun to drive, even with the standard wheels and tires and 2.0-liter engine.”
Safety is a primary concern for most new car shoppers, and Audi has addressed their needs faultlessly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association’s (NHTSA) New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), the Audi Q5 earns a 5-Star Overall Safety Rating.
Securing a Best Buy award is no simple task as the competition is fierce. Yet despite the challengers, the 2019 Audi Q5 was a unanimous first pick among our team because it excelled in every measurable category – yet it never let us down in terms of luxury. “Throw in beautifully crafted and comfortable interior accommodations, good cargo room and great materials, and you have yourself a clear winner,” noted one of the judges. “All in all, it feels like a class above every other rival.” "The small luxury SUVs competition was hotter than ever this year, but the Audi Q5 is still the one to beat,” said another. Accolades like that are what make the Audi Q5 accomplished enough to secure our Compact Luxury SUV Best Buy award for 2019.
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