2018 Audi Q5

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Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
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Key Specs

of the 2018 Audi Q5. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Comfortable, adjustable backseat
  • Visibility
  • Power liftgate standard

The Bad

  • Prevalence of lower-quality cabin materials
  • V-6 engine not currently offered
  • Exterior styling may be too evolutionary for some

Notable Features of the 2018 Audi Q5

  • Redesigned for 2018
  • Five-seat compact luxury SUV
  • All-wheel drive standard
  • Turbo four-cylinder and dual-clutch transmission
  • Apple CarPlay, Android Auto connectivity standard
  • Automatic emergency braking standard

2018 Audi Q5 Road Test

Aaron Bragman
The Verdict:

Audi’s new 2018 Q5 is comfortable, luxurious and loaded with advanced safety tech.

Versus The Competition:

While it’s a little pricier than most direct competitors, its luxurious appointments, high-tech cockpit and plentiful room make the Audi Q5 stand out.

The second generation of Audi's mid-size SUV has arrived just in time to capitalize on the exploding popularity of the vehicle's compact SUV class. Competition has only gotten stiffer, but buyers have become more numerous, so Audi's timing couldn't be better to drop this redesigned 2018 Q5 onto our streets.
 
The new Q5 is a little longer, a little taller and a little bigger inside than the SUV it replaces (compare the 2017 and 2018 models here), and it features a new interior, more technology and simplified choices of drivetrains, as well. The performance-oriented SQ5, which was also redesigned for 2018, is covered separately.

The last Q5 was a competent, well-executed luxury crossover with a few quirks, including a sluggish transmission. Has Audi improved the breed with this new model?

It Looks the Business

Love it or hate it, Audi's styling is certainly consistent. Even an all-new model like the Q5 looks similar enough to the outgoing model that you might not know on sight which is newer. The Audi Q5 keeps to the program with its shield grille, swept-back smooth sides and family taillights. There is, however, something new for 2018: The hood's cutline continues into the fenders, giving it a more seamless appearance. It's attractive and immediately identifiable as an Audi.

You Won't Miss the V-6

Last year's optional, supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 is gone. The new Q5 is powered by a single engine choice: a turbocharged 2.0-liter ...

The second generation of Audi's mid-size SUV has arrived just in time to capitalize on the exploding popularity of the vehicle's compact SUV class. Competition has only gotten stiffer, but buyers have become more numerous, so Audi's timing couldn't be better to drop this redesigned 2018 Q5 onto our streets.
 
The new Q5 is a little longer, a little taller and a little bigger inside than the SUV it replaces (compare the 2017 and 2018 models here), and it features a new interior, more technology and simplified choices of drivetrains, as well. The performance-oriented SQ5, which was also redesigned for 2018, is covered separately.

The last Q5 was a competent, well-executed luxury crossover with a few quirks, including a sluggish transmission. Has Audi improved the breed with this new model?

It Looks the Business

Love it or hate it, Audi's styling is certainly consistent. Even an all-new model like the Q5 looks similar enough to the outgoing model that you might not know on sight which is newer. The Audi Q5 keeps to the program with its shield grille, swept-back smooth sides and family taillights. There is, however, something new for 2018: The hood's cutline continues into the fenders, giving it a more seamless appearance. It's attractive and immediately identifiable as an Audi.

You Won't Miss the V-6

Last year's optional, supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 is gone. The new Q5 is powered by a single engine choice: a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that pumps out a healthy 252 horsepower.

It's mated to a new seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission instead of the last model's traditional eight-speed automatic. The dual-clutch transmission routes power to the Audi Q5's standard Quattro all-wheel drive. The engine provides plenty of power across the rev range, with lots of grunt from both a standing stop and while flying at highway speeds. The transmission shifts quickly and smoothly, with none of the odd hesitation reported from the six-speed in the previous model. On a couple of occasions, however, it did strangely cut power to the engine under some specific circumstances — nothing I could replicate reliably, but an odd sign of something not quite right with either the engine control or the transmission programming.

The Q5 also exhibited some unusual behavior when coming to a stop. The transmission didn't seem to disengage properly, causing the engine to stutter and feel as if it were about to shut off as part of the SUV's automatic stop-start function — even though that function was deactivated (which can be accomplished by pushing a button on the dash). These unusual performance gremlins weren't enough to warrant a trip to the dealer, but they did make me wonder if the SUV was supposed to be behaving like this or if there was something wrong with my vehicle.

The rest of the Q5's performance is admirable. It's quiet, smooth, rides well and provides confident, neutral handling in most situations. Push the button to switch into Audi Drive Select's Sport mode and throttle response gets faster, steering resistance goes up and the Audi Q5 gets a lot more entertaining. Or, for a relaxing experience guaranteed to please passengers, keep it in Comfort. The only issue I had with handling is that the steering's return-to-center isn't very good. It holds a corner line all too well — even beyond when you want to drive straight again, necessitating a manual adjustment when an automatic one would normally occur. It's quirky and doesn't happen all the time, but it's oddly noticeable when it does.

Fuel economy is very good compared with the Q5's competitors. The EPA rates the new Q5 at 23/27/25 mpg city/highway/combined, which is 3 mpg higher than the outgoing model in the city and combined. The all-wheel-drive Acura RDX achieves a rating of only 19/27/22 mpg from its standard 3.5-liter V-6, while the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines in both the Lexus NX 200t and AWD Lincoln MKC are rated 22/28/24 mpg and 19/25/21 mpg, respectively.

Sadly, Audi no longer offers a diesel engine in the Q5 in the U.S. due to its emissions-cheating scandal, so if you want better fuel economy, you'll have to opt for the Lexus NX 300h hybrid, which is rated 33/30/31 mpg. The Q5 hybrid was discontinued after 2016 and there's no word of a replacement.

Inside, Nobody Does It Better

The continued superiority of Audi's interior quality and design is solidly represented here, with the updated cabin of the 2018 Q5 coming in at the top of the class. Excellent materials, solid-feeling switches, logical layouts, and comfortable seats with plenty of room for passengers all make for an impressive place to be. Visibility is excellent in every direction thanks to a high seating position and low beltline. Front occupants have plenty of headroom and legroom, and a slight increase in the wheelbase for 2018 seems to have improved backseat roominess, as well — no longer does it feel cramped.



Notable for its appearance in the Q5 this year is Audi's Virtual Cockpit, seen previously on other models in the Audi lineup. An option included in the Navigation Package, it replaces the traditional gauges with a full digital display behind the steering wheel, allowing for visual customization and duplication of items seen on the dashboard's central display screen.

I'm not yet sure if I find it overwhelming and difficult to navigate or useful in the information it provides — or perhaps both. For instance, just trying to change up some information on the screen is a major distraction while driving, but the ability to have a full navigation screen giving you directions directly in front of you while the main multimedia infotainment display on the dash is showing you Apple CarPlay's current song is indeed useful.



The multimedia system has been redone, but it's no improvement over how Audi used to do things. The old Multi Media Interface was super-intuitive, not even requiring you to look at the buttons as you navigated on screen. The new one features a large touchpad in front of the various knobs and buttons. It's reportedly for handwriting recognition, but I didn't use it once. Apple CarPlay works well, however, despite needing to use the rotary selector knob to make it work. The changes to Audi MMI sadly encourage one to use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto instead, but these systems are optimized for use with a touchscreen, which the Q5 doesn't offer.

Plenty of Room for Stuff

An SUV is supposed to be about utility, and the Audi Q5 delivers. The cargo area is a spacious 26.8 cubic feet behind the backseat, expanding to 60.4 cubic feet with the seat folded. That beats out the Lincoln MKC (25.2 and 53.1 cubic feet) and Lexus NX 200t (17.7 and 54.6) but comes in just a little shy of the Acura RDX (26.1 and 61.3).



More important, perhaps, is how the Q5 stacks up cargo-wise to the Audi A4 Allroad wagon, given the vehicles are similarly sized and have similar missions. The Q5 edges out the Allroad, which has 24.2 cubic feet of cargo room behind the backseat and 58.5 with it folded, proving the Audi Q5 is more than just a lifted A4 wagon.

Safety

As of publication, the 2018 Audi Q5 had not been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Due to its redesign, the 2017 model ratings don't apply. If the 2018 is tested, its results will appear on this page.

The Q5 continues to offer all the latest safety features, most of them optional or included in higher trim packages. Audi Pre-Sense Basic is standard but is more of a "crash preparation" system, closing the windows and moonroof, tightening safety belts, etc. Pre-Sense City is Audi's object-detection and autonomous braking system, providing full braking up to 52 mph. Other systems, like blind spot warning, lane departure prevention with lane centering, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, turn assist, and rear cross-traffic alert are also available.

A Little Expensive

The new Q5 starts at $42,475, including destination, for a base Premium trim. There are levels above this, which Audi treats as option packages: the Premium Plus, which I tested, and the Prestige. The Premium Plus Package costs another $4,000 and adds LED headlights, stainless steel trim, a panoramic moonroof, heated auto-folding mirrors and heated seats. Add navigation, 20-inch wheels, Bang & Olufsen premium audio, a cold weather package and special Florett Silver paint, and you get to our as-tested price of $52,700.

The Audi Q5 starts at a higher price than competing vehicles like the Acura RDX, Lincoln MKC and Lexus NX 200t. All those vehicles start thousands of dollars less but end up costing about the same when you option them up equally — or at least as equally as possible, considering the Audi features some things competitors simply don't offer, like Virtual Cockpit display, an optional full-color head-up display and more.

The Audi Q5 is also nicer inside than any of its aforementioned competitors. It's truly challenged only by the Mercedes-Benz GLC, which is even more expensive and sits on a rear-wheel-drive platform.


2018 Q5 Video

Small SUVs are riding a wave of popularity, and nearly every luxury brand has thrown its raft into the pool. We tested seven all-new, recently redesigned or just updated contenders to see who comes out on top.

Latest 2018 Q5 Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.7)
Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.4)

What Drivers Are Saying

(4.0)

Super fast

by Me from Chicago, IL on September 22, 2018

I like it. I need to get used to being able to take off so fast. Doesn?t feel like you?re going as fast as you are. Read full review

(2.0)

I regret buying it

by Rania from Jordan on September 16, 2018

Very bad experience since getting this carQ5 2014, continuous overheating and other problems .. not a good value for money, troubles with service company and not diagnosing the problem correctly Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2018 Audi Q5 currently has 2 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2018 Audi Q5 2.0T Premium

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Child Seat Anchors (Latch)

Ease of Use
good

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Headlights

Overall Rating
marginal

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
acceptable
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
acceptable
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Structure and Safety Cage
acceptable
good

Small Overlap Front - Passenger Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Structure and Safety Cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    48 months / unlimited distance

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Audi

Program Benefits

Comprehensive 300+ point dealer inspection, 24/7 roadside assistance including towing and trip interruption reimbursement, 1 Year/Unlimited Miles Audi Certified pre-owned Limited Warranty coverage, transferability of the Audi Certified pre-owned Limited Warranty to a subsequent private owner, and CARFAX® Vehicle History Report.

  • Limited Warranty

    1 Year / Unlimited Miles

    1 Year/ Unlimited Miles Audi Certified pre-owned Limited Warranty features 1 Year / Unlimited Miles of warranty coverage after the expiration of the new vehicle limited warranty or from the date of sale if the new vehicle limited warranty has expired and coverage honored at over 300 Audi dealerships service centers throughout the U.S., total confidence is yours as you take the road less traveled.
  • Eligibility

    Under 5 years / 60,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 300+ point inspection.

    See inspection details.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Q5 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker