2021 Audi Q5 and Q5 Sportback garner Top Safety Pick Plus rating
Improved headlight designs boosted these two utility vehicles in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's multifaceted testing regimen.
Craig ColeFormer reviews editor
Craig brought 15 years of automotive journalism experience to the Cars team. A lifelong resident of Michigan, he's as happy with a wrench or welding gun in hand as he is in front of the camera or behind a keyboard. When not hosting videos or cranking out features and reviews, he's probably out in the garage working on one of his project cars. He's fully restored a 1936 Ford V8 sedan and then turned to resurrecting another flathead-powered relic, a '51 Ford Crestliner. Craig has been a proud member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).
Two Audi models just earned a new accolade. On Tuesday, the four-ring brand's closely related 2021 Q5 and Q5 Sportback
garnered a Top Safety Pick Plus rating from the smash-'em-up folks at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This is the highest score the organization hands out.
To drive away with this coveted honor, a vehicle must receive a good score in six different tests: driver- and passenger-side small-overlap front, moderate overlap front, side impact, roof strength and head restraints. Beyond that, a vehicle must have advanced or superior front crash-prevention technology and offer at least acceptable headlights on all trim levels. Yeah, it ain't easy, which is why relatively few vehicles receive this score.
In the previous model year, these two Audi vehicles fell short of earning Top Safety Pick Plus honors because their two available headlamp systems were only rated marginal. For 2021, engineers had a bright idea after IIHS shed light on this problem. Audi's product-development luminaries strove to rectify the situation and their efforts shine in... I'll stop now. The lamps that come on the Prestige trim of both the Q5 and Q5 Sportback are rated good, while the headlights offered on lower-end models are now acceptable. Either way, this is good news for drivers with varying budgets.
Nobody needs vehicle safety. Well, unless you intend to actually survive a wreck, then it's nice to have. The rigorous testing performed by IIHS clearly illustrates there's so much more to vehicle safety than just smashing a car or truck into a barrier. Everything from headlights to crash-prevention systems, fuel pump cutoff switches to anti-pinch power windows can play an important role.