Stylish and sporty, the Q5 is one of the better choices among compact luxury SUVs, a growing category that includes the BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC. The Q5 feels solid, is rewarding to drive and has a plush, quiet cabin. Typically equipped it's priced in the mid- to high-$40,000s.
The Q5 delivers handling agility that inspires confidence and makes it fun-to-drive. The ride tends to come across as firm initially but proves to be absorbent when needed and steady when cruising. The base four-cylinder turbocharged engine and eight-speed transmission racked up a commendable 21 mpg overall while providing decent performance. While capable, that engine is louder and less refined than the optional V6, subtracting some from the car's premium feel. Opting for the V6 brings much more refinement and an abundance of effortless thrust but tends to push the price well into the $50,000s.
The Q5 imparts a feeling of being rock-solid with a quiet cabin. Its impeccably finished interior has an innate quality ambience with soft touch points and precision-feeling controls. The seats are firm but prove extremely comfortable and supportive. Rear-seat and cargo space are fairly modest, however. The unified center controller that interacts with the dash-mounted screen demands a learning curve, but once mastered, the MMI system proves logical and comprehensive. Many tasks can be executed through well-designed steering wheel controls and monitored on a small screen in the instrument panel, reducing the time with eyes off the road and hands off the wheel.