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Audi Q5 2021 review: 40 TDI

Is the 2021 Audi Q5 40 TDI a good option as a family car?

Like most premium SUVs there is really a lot to like about this car - testament to the Audi Q5 being one of the most popular Audis over the past few years in Australia.

This 40 TDI model has some real power when driving, and is stylish, comfortable, and spacious.

Inside and out the Q5 has luxury design features that make it an attention-getter on the road, and a very sweet car to drive.

Packed with driving assistance and safety features, let's see how my family liked driving it around the inner-city suburbs for a week.

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What does it look like?

A sporty aesthetic with a front featuring vertical and horizontal lines built within its smile shaped grille; a look that seems to be becoming the norm for these higher-end SUVs (somewhat mirroring the Aston Martin DBX SUV's look, for a lot less cash).

The car has rounded lines and a sleek rear profile that looks elegant and premium. Alloy wheels with a star-shaped pattern, and metallic paint complete the overall appearance.

The alloy wheels have a star-shaped pattern. The alloy wheels have a star-shaped pattern.

Inside the design is suitably understated. No garish bling here, just smooth lines and quality finishes.

The 10.1-inch digital touchscreen juts out from the dashboard in an abrupt way, yet it's easy to use and has decent functionality.

The 10.1-inch digital touchscreen juts out from the dashboard in an abrupt way. The 10.1-inch digital touchscreen juts out from the dashboard in an abrupt way.

How does it drive?

Getting in is easy, with keyless entry and start, however from there the functionality of actually getting into Drive takes some getting used to.

The gear shifter uses a 'nudge' style of movement to function, which I don't love, Though over time it would no doubt become familiar.

One bonus of this style of gear selector is that you can you can pop it in Park by simply hitting the P button, rather than having to shift through the other gears first.

But once you're driving, man does it go! This car has some serious power with it's 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine plus 'Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle' technology (MHEV).

The MHEV tech means you coast for fuel efficiency at times and don't really notice it, but when you put your foot down it's responsive and impressive.

With excellent visibility, and lots of information on the digital screen in front of you, you feel safe and secure when driving, and the engine noise inside is minimal.

The suspension feels super smooth, you simply glide over bumps big and small without too much head-nodding.

In the words of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, "This thing corners like it's on rails." The Q5 40 TDI just does what you tell it to, confidently.

How spacious is it?

As a mid-sized SUV there is plenty of space for a family of four. I had two car seats in the back, one five-point harness and one booster seat, and there was certainly room for an extra child in the middle.

The front seats are spacious and very comfortable with electric adjustments and great back support.

The middle console has two cupholders (plus extra space for bottles in the deep door pockets), and a large middle storage bin, featuring a padded top for an armrest, suitable for those with longer arms.

The door pockets are deep enough to store bottles. The door pockets are deep enough to store bottles.

In front of the storage bin is a flat, non-slip pad for your phone, with the added benefit of being a wireless charger, which can also slide away when not in use.

The back seat is reasonably sized and comfortable, too, with separate air vents and temperature controls. The middle seat is a little cramped, though, with a big hump in the centre of the floor - so best suited to little ones, or a short trip for grown-ups.

The back seat is reasonably sized and comfortable. The back seat is reasonably sized and comfortable.

There are also two USB points in the back, and cupholders in the flip-down middle console, as well as in the door. The backs of the seats have net storage pockets, though I think a proper pocket would be better (crayons and the like just slip straight through the net).

Back seat passengers get cupholders in the flip-down middle console. Back seat passengers get cupholders in the flip-down middle console.

The boot is an impressive 520L (VDA) when the second row is in use, and a huge 1520L if the back seats are folded down.

The boot comes fitted with anchored nets to secure luggage to the floor or sides, a bit like a boot-camp obstacle course for your bags.

How easy is it to use every day?

As mentioned, the gearshift takes some experience, but otherwise it really is effortless.

With wireless connection for Apple CarPlay (though oddly, Android Auto still requires a cord), getting the functionality from my phone onto the screen was easy via Bluetooth.

Of course, with a car of this size getting a little one in and out of the back has its pros and cons. The car seat is at a good height to buckle them in, but I did have to lift my small five-year old out. The older one was happy to unbuckle and leap out themselves.

This model comes with a space saver spare tyre under the floor of the boot.

How safe is it?

The Q5's safety on this car is substantiated by a maximum five-star ANCAP rating (from a 2017 assessment).

There is a full suite of safety features on the Q5 with auto emergency braking (up to 85km/h, and detecting cyclists and pedestrians), lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, driver attention alert, auto high-beams, and an exit warning system.

The test car was fitted with the optional 'Assistance Package' ($1770) which includes, adaptive cruise control (with 'Stop & Go'), 'Park Assist' (self-parking), folding and auto dimming exterior mirrors (with kerb-side function on the passenger side), and 360-degree cameras (four wide angle cameras provide a virtual overhead view).

The Q5 features folding and auto dimming exterior mirrors. The Q5 features folding and auto dimming exterior mirrors.

With eight airbags (driver and front passenger, four sides and dual curtain) there is cover for every passenger. There are two ISOFIX points in the back seat and three top tether points for the kids seats.

What’s the tech like?

The technology in this car is pretty comprehensive, as you'd expect.

On-board navigation uses Google Earth, and is simple to use, though I was connected to Apple CarPlay, so used the maps from my phone.

The 'Virtual Cockpit' in front of the steering wheel is customisable with the choice of three visual layouts. There is a rear view camera as standard, and 360 degree cameras fitted with the Assistance Package.

For an automatic car there is a range of adjustments that can be made when driving to add to performance, adjusted both from the centre console and some controls on the steering wheel.

The controls and knobs for adjusting air-conditioning, etc are stylish and simple with a tap function that is easy to use and reach.

How much does it cost to own?

The Q5 40 TDI is priced at $68,900, before on-roads (MSRP) for this diesel, or $69,600 for the 45 TFSI petrol version. 

This car is designed to be fuel efficient, though it is still a large, heavy SUV. For my week of city driving it averaged 11.2L/100km compared to the published figures (for the combined cycle) of 5.4L/100km - which is a HUGE difference. Fuel efficiencies should come into play with more freeway driving.

Audi's three year/unlimited km warranty is shaded in the premium segment by Mercedes-Benz and Genesis at five-years/unlimited km. Audi's three year/unlimited km warranty is shaded in the premium segment by Mercedes-Benz and Genesis at five-years/unlimited km.

Service is recommended every 12 months/15,000km (whichever comes first), and Audi's 'Genuine Care Service Plans' offer two- and five-year up-front payment plans delivering worthwhile savings over pay-as-you-go.

A five-year plan for the Q5 40 TDI is set at $3350, for an annual average of $670, which is pretty competitive in this part of the market.

What isn't so competitive is Audi's three year/unlimited km warranty, now shaded in the premium segment by Mercedes-Benz and Genesis at five-years/unlimited km.


The Wrap

In a lot of ways you get what you pay for here - this is indeed a luxury mid-sized SUV with lots of bells and whistles, comfort, performance and safety. It handles well on the road, and suits city driving and longer journeys, though the fuel efficiency for city driving is not great.

Likes

Exterior appearance
Strong performance
Space and nets in the boot

Dislikes

Position of the screen is inelegant
Middle seat in the back has reduced use
Fuel efficiency in the city

Scores

Kate:

3.5

The Kids:

4

$66,900

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.