Join the Q
It’s an SUV that embodies the notion of prestige
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.
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.
As good as an SUV gets. The Q5 is a first-class choice for second-hand buyers with cash to splash.