Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Car Review: Audi Q5

I took my car to the dealer a few weeks ago for routine maintenance and they gave me a loaner, a diesel-powered Audi Q5 "crossover." The term "crossover" means the vehicle isn't quite an SUV, but isn't quite a car. To me it was big enough to be an SUV. But, then again, I like cars, not SUVs or even crossovers.

Because of problems with the service on my car, I kept the Q5 for almost two days and got quite a bit of experience with it.

First the good thing: the diesel Q5 got amazing fuel mileage for a vehicle that. I didn't measure it but I drove 180 miles and the gauge barely dropped below full. The tank was 19.8 gallons so it wasn't because of a huge fuel tank. That's bigger than my car's fuel tank, but only by about a gallon. And to go 180 miles in my car would take half a tank.

But one problem with the diesel Q5 is, you can't buy it right now. You may have heard about Volkswagen (which owns Audi) cheating on the emissions tests for their 4-cylinder diesels? Well, the EPA is also investigating their 6-cylinder diesels (which the Q5 has). So Audi has stopped selling them.

I saw one appeal of vehicles like this: the ride height. You can see over traffic better and have a better view of the road ahead.

Now what I didn't like: pretty much everything else. The vehicle had an auto-stop system where the engine would turn off if the car came to a complete stop. It did so with an annoying shutter. Now, the engine would start again between moving my foot from the brake to the accelerator, but, again, the whole vehicle would shutter. This was worse than the Audi A6 I drove with this feature.

On the interstate the car was fine. It ate up the miles (while sipping fuel). But I took it on a trip on two-lane roads and I learned that it didn't corner at all like a car. I had to slow down for corners I would take at the speed limit (or more) in either of my cars.

It had plenty of power for passing (diesels tend to have a lot of torque) and could get up to speed pretty quickly. But I still found the car boring.

The car was comfortable although it's ride height made it a little difficult to get in and out of. If driving comfort is your priority over driving dynamics, this might be the car for you.

If you could buy it.

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