Audi Q5

The Audi Q5 has been among the most popular compact luxury crossover SUVs for years, and with good reason. It combines a spacious, comfortable and hushed cabin with Audi’s traditionally strong cabin quality and in-dash smarts. Plus, it drives nicely, with a planted ride and a smooth 2.0-liter four-cylinder delivering a useful 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque.

Featuring Audi’s latest MMI infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, plus upscale options like a 755-watt, 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital gauge cluster and head-up display, the Q5’s cabin tech game is arguably stronger than key rivals like the BMW X3, Infiniti QX50 and Lexus RX.

Editors' Review

Why mess with success? The Q5 is Audi's best-selling model in the US by a long shot. Adding a plug-in hybrid powertrain could've given Audi the opportunity to throw even more changes into the mix. Instead, the automaker stayed on its heading and left the rest of the vehicle alone. The result is predictable, but the good kind of predictable.

The Audi Q5 has never been the most striking vehicle on the road, preferring a demure appearance that's more about fitting in comfortably. Some automakers, like Audi's kissin' cousin Porsche, draw attention to their plug-in hybrids with a dash of aesthetic conspicuousness by way of hybrid badges, brightly colored brake calipers and the like. But not here -- the PHEV looks barely any different from a gas-powered Q5, save for the second gas flap that hides the charging port and the larger brakes borrowed from the SQ5 to balance out the heft of the battery. My Premium Plus tester looks especially vibrant with its $595 Ultra Blue Metallic paint job, and it has a little extra street presence by way of upgraded 20-inch alloy wheels, an $800 option.

Slip inside, and it's immediately apparent that Audi nailed the fit-and-finish game. The Q5 PHEV's interior is absolutely befitting of its hair-over-$50,000 starting price, with a mix of materials that are nice to both observe and feel. My tester's no-charge birch wood inlays are lovely, adding a small pop in an interior that's otherwise conservative.

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The Good ~ Refined inside and out ~ Great cabin tech ~ Perky PHEV powertrain

The Bad ~ Stuttering between gas and electric operation

The Bottom Line If you want to acclimate to EVs while sticking largely with what you know, the 2021 Audi Q5 PHEV delivers that experience in spades.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 7
  • Features 8
  • Design 8
  • Media 9

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