by James Hamel
We test a lot of SUVs each year and it is a rare case indeed when we get attached to these admittedly capable yet rarely exciting family haulers. But that was not the case with a very handsome Teak Brown Metallic 2014 Audi Q5 2.0T Quattro that just left our driveway. As Shakespeare once wrote, “parting is such sweet sorrow.”
This all begs the question, is it possible to love an SUV too much? Not when the package is as unimpeachably stylish and sporty as the 2014 Audi Q5 2.0T Quattro. Yes, sporty can exist in an SUV along with ride comfort, speed (0-60 takes 7.1 seconds), a serene highway driving demeanor and class leading interior luxury feel. The 2014 Audi Q5 is guilty of possessing all of these attributes and more.
All 2014 Q5 models come with full time Quattro all-wheel drive as standard and even in our basic Premium trim it was well equipped with 3-zone climate control (driver, passenger, rear seat), sumptuous leather seats, an excellent Audi Concert AM/FM/CD audio system, 18-inch alloy wheels, power windows, power door locks, power/heated side mirrors, Sirius satellite radio, 12-way power front seats with four way adjustable lumbar, LED tail lamps, real wood inlays on the doors, center console and dash as well as automatic headlamps/windshield wipers.
The price for all of that luxury is a highly reasonable $35,200 but our tester came equipped with the Bluetooth/Homelink package ($700), a neatly integrated iPod interface ($300), heated front seats ($450) and the special brown paint ($475) which brought the total with destination to $38,000 even. For $39,400 you can order your Q5 2.0T in Premium Plus trim which affords you all the previous goodies plus a panoramic sunroof, Xenon headlamps and a power rear tailgate.
Do note that if you want to order Audi’s excellent MMI navigation system ($3000) or the affordably priced $825 Bang & Olufsen 14-speaker audio system upgrade that those features are only available with the Premium Plus trim line. Fully equipping your 2014 Audi Q5 2.0T Quattro Premium Plus this way pushes the sticker just north of $43,000 which is in line with comparably equipped competitors like the Mercedes GLK, Acura RDX, Lexus RX and BMW X3.
As with most any Audi, the Q5’s signature piece is found in its interior which is not only perfectly ergonomic and robustly built but also deliciously tactile as well. Photos do not do the interior of this Q5 justice as they can’t convey how delicately the Cardomom Beige leather contrasts with the dark brown and latte colored soft touch interior trim like the kind found in our tester.
As far as utility goes, the 2014 Audi Q5 acquits itself here quite nicely with 29.1 cubic feet of cargo space available behind the second row of seats and 57.3 cubic feet once you fold those seats flat. We averaged 24 miles per gallon over a week of driving and EPA estimates are 20 city/27 highway on premium unleaded. The gas tank is a handy 19.8 gallons so a cruising range of over 400 miles is easy to achieve. The Q5 2.0T can even tow up to 4,400 pounds.
Everything you touch is real from the wood to the metal to the soft felt lining of the center console cubby bin. There is an attention to detail in evidence here the really is the final confirmation that the 2014 Audi Q5 2.0T Quattro is worth every penny of its price. You will also be safe inside your Q5 if you have an accident as all 2014 versions of this SUV have been named “Top Safety Picks” by the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety).
What’s it Like to Drive the 2014 Audi Q5 2.0T?
Although a 3.2 liter 270 horsepower/243 lb. feet of torque V6 is optional on the Q5, the standard (and much less pricey) 2.0 liter 211 horsepower/258 lb. feet of torque turbocharged 4-cylinder is more than capable of handling the task of moving this 4,400 pound premium SUV. There is zero turbo lag and passing power is strong and responsive at all speeds. At freeway cruising velocity the engine is inaudible and wind and road noise is nicely hushed.
That isn’t to say the 2014 Audi Q5 2.0T Quattro is a Lexus-like tomb of driving isolation. Quite the contrary. The suspension makes the Q5 feel hunkered down and connected to the road affording a level of driving fun rarely seen in the SUV class. The 8-speed automatic is undetectable in normal driving conditions but is perfectly capable of ripping off expertly prescient downshift with such precision that you will wonder if it should be a member of “The Psychic Friends Network.”
The steering offers up a level of feel and connectedness that would be utterly alien to drivers used to Audi models from twenty years ago. There is, however, an odd feeling step-up in feel as you accelerate past parking speeds. Otherwise the Audi Q5 offers owners a level of refined driving fun that is nearly impossible to find in SUVs of any price.
The 2014 Audi Q5 2.0T may be the most basic version of this German premium brand’s most basic SUV but there is nothing basic about it. The package is expertly engineered and executed no matter how many of the optional extras you select. It is an SUV that keeps the driver engaged and makes them feel good whenever they ensconce themselves in the class leading interior. It’s relatively affordable too. What more do you want?
Why This Ride?
- Sexy, stylish and expensive feeling details mark out the design inside and out
- Not a bad engine in the bunch from the 2.0 liter turbo to the TDI diesel to the V6
- A nice balance of maneuverability, handling all while preserving passenger comfort
- Steering feel is one of the best in the compact luxury class
- Did we say it looks cool?
Photos by James Hamel and Todd A. Allen