COMPETING in the premium SUV sector is no mean feat these days with new models being launched at a rapid pace, but the Audi Q5 has been a very strong contender for sales since it was first unleashed.
The high-end, five-door SUV was initially launched back in 2008 and the second-generation car hit the roads in 2017.
A mid-life face-lift saw the vehicle gain extra tech, lose weight and improve efficiency in 2020 and it's still one of the leading models in the sector.
There are engines and trim levels to suit all requirements and budgets, but no matter what model is selected, owners are guaranteed to drive away with a well-equipped vehicle that is dynamic to drive and will run and run.
We opted for the S line version costing £45,245 (£54,465 with options) powered by a mild hybrid four-cylinder, 2.0-litre diesel engine delivering 204PS of power and 400Nm of torque.
It was matched to a seven-speed automatic gearbox and could complete the 0-62mph dash in 7.6 seconds, maxed out at 138mph and achieved a combined 43.5mpg with carbon emissions of 173g/km.
The Q5 has quite a road presence with its upright design, tall air intakes, black grille housing the Audi logo, twin oval tail pipes, panoramic sunroof, tinted rear windows, chrome trim and smart 19-inch alloy wheels.
The interior is beautifully crafted and features the finest Nappa leather upholstered seats that are quilted and really look the business. There is S badging on the steering wheel, a chunky gear lever, a separate panel for all the climate control functions and a superb Bang & Olufsen sound system.
The once traditional click wheel dial to access on-board systems has been scrapped and there is now a larger 10.1-inch colour infotainment screen along with the familiar 12.3-inch Virtual cockpit driver information display behind the steering wheel. This can be adjusted to preference and can even show the sat nav instructions and maps across the entire display.
With Audi Connect, the Q5 offers up-to-date traffic reports with real-time forecasts and Google Maps. Factor in the Alexa voice controlled personal assistant and this car has every technical base covered.
And it puts in a very decent shift when put to the test too. We covered several hundred miles during our week-long road test and it coped with motorways, built up city traffic and the faster country lanes.
The acceleration is smooth and rapid with perfectly weighted steering through tighter corners. There are paddles so the driver can change gear manually, along with drive modes called Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Off Road and All Road to alter the dynamics. The last two settings mean this test model featured Audi's excellent quattro all-wheel drive system to keep you motoring in more adverse driving and weather conditions.
Although the Q5 can be driven in a fairly aggressive manner, it's a car that also offers excellent levels of refinement with a well-insulated cabin that protects occupants from engine, road surface or wind sounds.
In addition, the vehicle's highly efficient suspension set-up with optional adaptive air suspension (Â£1,700 extra) does a worthy job of smoothing out our pitted road surfaces along the way. The road holding is nicely assured leaving you with the confidence to attack bends and there is just the slightest sign of body movement due to the car's high sides.
But this Q5 cruises with ease at 70mph on motorways and has all the driver assist systems, such as adaptive cruise control, to make those longer journeys more enjoyable.
There is ample room in the back for a couple of adults to sit comfortably or a trio of youngsters and the storage options are good too with a boot that can accommodate 550 litres of kit. Drop the 60:40 split-folding rear seats and that limit opens up to 1,550 litres.
In addition, there are a number of storage options throughout the cabin, such as a glovebox, door bins with a bottle compartment, front and rear cup holders, plus a central cubby box with wireless charging pad.