Audi Q5 vsVolvo XC60
Giving Volvo’s XC60 a run for its money, is Audi’s newly-launched Q5. We put to test the best of both German engineering and Swedish sophistication and find what makes these two modern day marvels tick
The mid-size luxury SUV segment is dominated by the Audi Q5 and the popular SUV has had its fair share of success in the Indian market. However not too long ago, a Swede called the Volvo XC60 showed up and decided to take on the German and possibly even declared war! As a befitting comeback, Audi was then quick to launch the brand new Q5 in India. But can the new Q5 prove to be a worthy challenger to the XC60. Read on to find out.
The Q5 is based on the MLB Evo platform much like its elder sibling the Q7. This, according to Audi has helped curb the weight by 65kg on this next generation model. The new Q5 is also taller, wider and longer than the outgoing model. As far as looks are concerned the Q5 has a few similarities with the larger Q7. One of the differentiating factor being, the 3D grille which looks quite smart. The LEDs all-weather headlamps look sharp and they’ve managed to make the ever-reliable additional fog lamps look obsolete. In profile the Q5 looks stunning and the18-inch
wheels do a splendid job in filling up the wheel wells proportionately. As for the taking it out and about, there’s plenty of ground clearance as well. The Q5 also gets the panoramic sunroof and that can be considered another check in Audi’s bucket list of features for the new SUV. Overall, the new Q5 comes across as a sleek urban product.
The Volvo, on the other hand much like the Audi also uses a modern day platform. The XC60 is based on Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture platform (SPA) which is also being used by its older sibling the XC90. The XC60 looks rather sporty thanks to the large grille up front and those menacing Thor’s hammer daytime lights which have now become signature Volvo. It’s the flared wheel arches and defining design lines that make the Volvo extremely desirable. Lastly, the XC60 comfortably offers 207mm of ground clearance. The rear end of the Volvo is also a tad bit unique and stands apart from the rest thanks to the Christmas tree-style tail lights.
Inside the Audi it’s business as usual. The solid build quality of the Audi impressed us and there is a certain simplicity to the cabin, which we like. The central instrument cluster has driver-relevant information like speed and navigation that’s offered by the MMI Navigation Plus. Everything related to the vehicle can be adjusted using this
THE Q5 GETS THE PANORAMIC SUNROOF AND OVERALL IT COMES ACROSS AS A SLEEK URBAN SUV
panel. Apart from this, the Q5 also has a nice scribble pad. Being Audi’s virtual cockpit, the Q5 instrument panel offers many display options as well. We also loved the yacht-style gear lever which has been deployed in the new Q5. When it comes to space, the Q5 offers more space for both the driver and navigator seats. However passengers at the back can feel a tad bit cramped. The boot though is larger and offers 550 litres of cargo space. The same can further be expanded by flipping the rear seats down. After which the total space stands at 1,550 litres.
The Swedes though have a very different approach to cabin design. So much so that the XC60 interiors are highly practical, perhaps designed by someone who has studied cabin space religiously. The XC60 comes with a setup similar to the XC90. Hence it gets the large centrally-mounted touchscreen infotainment system which is super effective in reducing unwanted buttons on the dash. The system
can also be used to set up various functions relating to the vehicle much like the Audi. When it comes to functions and features, it’s where the Volvo shines. You can even measure your own driving performance or even choose to heat or cool your seat. The level of detailing in the Volvo is also slightly better than in the Audi. Like the little detailing of the Swedish flag on the seats, set this SUV apart. The audio system is also top class and the Volvo too gets a sunroof. When it comes to space, the Audi seems more spacious than the Volvo. That’s a bit of a surprise as the Volvo is larger than the Audi on most parameters. The rear seat on the Volvo though is more spacious and offers better comfort. The boot is smaller and can take in 505 litres of cargo with all seats deployed. But Volvo has gone a step further to consider the convenience of its customers. There are a set of buttons mounted in the boot. At a press of one, the SUV lowers itself thereby reducing the loading lip height add-
BOTH THE AUDI AND THE VOLVO HAVE EVOLVED TECHNOLOGICALLY. BOTH USE MODERN PLATFORMS AND ARE POWERED BY 2.0-LITRE DIESEL ENGINES
ing to easier accessibility. It is little gestures such as these that make the Volvo stand apart and slightly more special.
The Audi comes with the famed 2.0-TDI motor which offers 190bhp and 400Nm of torque. The motor is mated to the brilliant 7-speed dual clutch transmission which sends power to all four wheels using Audi’s Quattro AWD system. The Audi also comes with a plethora of other features like the Audi Drive Select system in the new Q5. This allows drivers to switch between five driving modes Comfort, Dynamic, Auto, Individual and Off Road mode. Each setting then tunes the SUV to individual parameters which are pre-synced. However, if you want to set up the vehicle to your own taste, the ‘Individual’ mode allows for that too. The XC60 also uses a 2.0-litre diesel engine too. However it churns out 235bhp and 480Nm of torque which quite obviously makes the XC60 more powerful. The XC60, instead uses an eight-speed automatic box to transfer power to all four wheels. The Volvo too offers multi drive modes and is at par with the Audi on this front.
ON THE MOVE
The NVH levels at start up ensure that one can barely hear the motor
THE VOLVO XC60 TOO OFFERS MULTI DRIVE MODES AND IS AT PAR WITH THE NEW AUDI Q5 ON THIS FRONT
tick over. The Q5 takes off rather fast and before you know it, the Audi will be cruising at speeds of over 140kmph all without even a slight hint of it. It therefore comes as a surprise when you glance at the speedometer. The gears shift through seamlessly and overall the drive feels smooth. This is when the driver is in ‘Comfort’ mode. The suspension absorbs bumps with ease. But the Q5’s hidden wonder is the Drive Select System which combined with the adaptive suspension can turn the most mundane of drives into sporty fun. With a push of a couple of knobs, the steering instantly stiffens up and the SUV gets into a sporty mode. At this time, all you need to do is enjoy the curves thanks to the stiffer set suspension and a responsive steering set up. Body roll too is limited and this makes the Q5 fun on the go. While on the road, the Audi demonstrates good traits but its off-roading capabilities are equally
good. The Quattro system can tackle most obstacles with ease allowing the driver to get adventurous. When it comes to fuel efficiency, the Audi scores marginally more than the Volvo. The XC60 offers a unique driving experience. The motor is refined and the cabin too is quiet and a brilliant place to be in. The NVH package ensures that there is little noise creeping into the cabin. But what we absolutely loved was the way the XC60 handles. There is more than enough power and torque to play with and overall the Volvo is faster to 100kmph and even boasts of a higher top speed of 230kmph. The air suspension on the Volvo is brilliant and allows adjustability options. But what we loved about the XC60 are the safety elements. Along the test, we experienced a bit of autonomous tech in the XC60 with lane assist. Every time the system sensed lane violation it would make mild steering inputs to keep the SUV on track. At the same time the steering would vibrate to alert the driver. So much so that it actually tackled a rather decent corner all by itself. It is features such as these that make the Volvo slightly better bet than the rest in this segment.
Volvo’s XC 60 is tuned to offer 235bhp and 480Nm of torque
Audi’s 2.0-TDI motor is tuned to offer 190bhp and 400Nm of torque
The XC 60 (left) offers multiple positions for the cover. However the boot is slightly smaller at 505 litres. The Audi’s boot is larger and offers 550 litres