Join the Q

It’s an SUV that em­bod­ies the no­tion of pres­tige

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Car - GRA­HAM SMITH gra­ham.smith@cars­guide.com.au

NEW

Audi has been the mover in the lo­cal pres­tige mar­ket for the past few years, steadily in­creas­ing its pulling power by mov­ing into ev­ery cor­ner of the show­room fre­quented by the well-heeled.

It be­gan with a range of pas­sen­ger cars, but it was only a mat­ter of time be­fore it sank its teeth into the SUV mar­ket. The Q5 was its main strike weapon, a medium SUV that ap­pealed to ‘ burb dwellers look­ing for a wagon with style and road pres­ence.

Un­der­writ­ing the SUV was Audi’s renowned quat­tro all­wheel drive sys­tem, a sev­en­speed dual-clutch au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, and a choice of four en­gines, petrol or diesel.

Open the door and you en­tered a roomy cabin with com­fort­able ac­com­mo­da­tion for five with myr­iad crea­ture com­forts such as com­part­ments for wet or dirty items and drink hold­ers for heat­ing and cool­ing, as well as the usual things— air, cruise, power win­dows and mir­rors and great sound sys­tems.

There was also neat flex­i­bil­ity built into the cabin to make it more use­ful. Not only was the cabin spa­cious, with great lug­gage space, you could fold the rear seat flat to cre­ate an even big­ger space for car­ry­ing stuff. With four en­gines in the range there was one for ev­ery­one. For econ­omy there was the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel and the 2.0-litre turbo petrol en­gines, for per­for­mance there was the 3.2-litre V6 petrol, and for a com­bi­na­tion of per­for­mance and econ­omy there was the 3.0-litre turbo-diesel that sprinted to 100 km/h in 6.5 sec­onds and de­liver 7.5 litres/100km be­tween fuel stops.

There was just one trans­mis­sion of­fered, a sev­en­speed dual-clutch auto, and the fi­nal drive was through all four wheels. The Q5 ac­cel­er­ated briskly, was smooth and flex­i­ble, and quiet and com­fort­able to ride in.

NOW

The Q5 is com­ing off lease and mov­ing into the sphere of the sec­ond-hand buyer look­ing for pres­tige at a dis­count price. A used Q5 can be had for the price of a new model from Honda, Nis­san, Toy­ota et al.

The engi­neer­ing of the Q5 is such that there is lit­tle to show for three years or so on the road. While it’s un­likely that they will have been mis­treated it’s still wise to make the usual checks for reg­u­lar ser­vic­ing and crook panel work.

When test driv­ing a car for pos­si­ble pur­chase drive it in as many sit­u­a­tions as pos­si­ble, low-speed crawl, high-speed free­way, fast ac­cel­er­a­tion, ma­noeu­vring at walk­ing speed etc. Lis­ten for knocks and clunks from the sus­pen­sion, also thor­oughly check out the op­er­a­tion of the rather com­plex seven-speed auto trans­mis­sion. Walk away if you ob­serve any glitch.

Drive around con­gested ar­eas to check for blind spots. Large pil­lars can of­ten re­strict your vi­sion and block your view of pedes­tri­ans, cy­clists and chil­dren. Petrol ver­sions of the Q5 have large low-pro­file tyres that can be ex­pen­sive to re­place, and parts and ser­vic­ing are rel­a­tively ex­pen­sive.

SMITHY SAYS

As good as an SUV gets. The Q5 is a first-class choice for sec­ond-hand buy­ers with cash to splash.

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