SPORTS Utility Vehicles, or SUVs as they are more commonly known are all the rage these days, but few premium models can compete with the exceptional Audi Q5.
It faces stiff opposition from the likes of Land Rover, Mercedes, BMW and even Jaguar, but the latest generation Q5 is still the one to beat.
Admittedly, the new Q5 looks quite similar to the previous model but the Audi engineers and designers have been busy working on some major improvements inside the cabin along with other developments that are not so easy to spot.
For example, the new Q5 is about 90kg lighter than the car that debuted back in 2008 and that is due to the introduction of more aluminium and a weight-saving body shell.
In addition, the suspension has been revised to improve the ride and handling.
First impressions in such a fiercely competitive segment are crucial and the Q5 doesn't disappoint with its bold, athletic and muscular stance that is guaranteed to turn heads.
Factor in the 19-inch alloys, privacy glass, sweeping headlights with LED daytime running lights, smart chrome trim and stand-out huge grille housing the Audi rings and the Q5 is quite a looker.
Move inside and the car is instantly recognisable as an Audi with the virtual cockpit instrument display that can be personalised to show different features such as navigation directions, maps, music and phone contacts etc.
There is a generous supply of techno treats to explore including a touch sensitive pad where instructions can be scribbled by hand rather than selected from a menu. And being an Audi, the list of optional extras is seemingly endless allowing customers to build and dress their car any way they choose.
This car featured a Technology Pack (£1,100 option) that introduced Google Maps with Streetview, Navigation Plus, on-board Wi-Fi, wireless phone charging, an 8.3-inch colour screen and lots more besides.
It was powered by a 190ps 2.0-litre diesel engine mated to a newly-improved S tronic dual clutch 7-speed automatic gearbox and it carried a price-tag of £39,405 which increased to £45,210 with options fitted. It could reach 62mph from a standing start in 7.9 seconds and topped out at 135mph.
According to official figures it can deliver combined fuel efficiency of 55.5mpg with carbon emissions of 133g/km.
Space within the cabin is plentiful and a trio of passengers can travel in comfort in the back with the latest model offering extra legroom.
Up front the driver benefits from an elevated seating position and the all-round visibility is excellent.
All dials, controls and readouts are perfectly positioned for driver usability and despite a wealth of technology, all the systems, set-ups and features are designed to be simple to operate.
Despite its size (it measures more than 4.6 metres in length), the Q5 is beautifully nimble and proved easy to manoeuvre as it weaved its way through the busy city centre traffic.
Out on the open road the car really comes into its own as it accelerates smoothly and rapidly through the gears - there are paddles if you fancy taking a little more control and a Drive Select set-up allows you to alter the car's handling and characteristics with the choice of comfort, auto or dynamic settings.
The road-holding is beautifully assured meaning sharp bends can be attacked with a degree of confidence and the advanced suspension helps to iron out the bumps and dips along the way. The knowledge that the car features Audi's quattro four-wheel-drive system adds some additional assurance.
Boot space is generous too with a capacity ranging from 550 to 1,550 litres depending on the seat configurations and there are plenty of alternative storage compartments scattered throughout the cabin.
The car is also kitted out with a whole host of safety systems to protect occupants and pedestrians alike.