2021 Audi Q5 PHEV review: One minor annoyance in a sea of excellence – Roadshow

The Audi Q5 has by no means been probably the most placing car on the highway, preferring a demure look that is extra about becoming in comfortably. Some automakers, like Audi’s kissin’ cousin Porsche, draw consideration to their plug-in hybrids with a touch of aesthetic conspicuousness by the use of hybrid badges, brightly coloured brake calipers and the like. However not right here — the PHEV seems to be barely any totally different from a gas-powered Q5, save for the second gasoline flap that hides the charging port and the bigger brakes borrowed from the SQ5 to steadiness out the heft of the battery. My Premium Plus tester seems to be particularly vibrant with its $595 Extremely Blue Metallic paint job, and it has a bit of further road presence by the use of upgraded 20-inch alloy wheels, an $800 possibility.

Slip inside, and it is instantly obvious that Audi nailed the fit-and-finish recreation. The Q5 PHEV’s inside is totally befitting of its hair-over-$50,000 beginning value, with a mixture of supplies which can be good to each observe and really feel. My tester’s no-charge birch wooden inlays are pretty, including a small pop in an inside that is in any other case conservative.

From a livability standpoint, the Q5 will get full marks. This Premium Plus tester provides $3,900 over the bottom trim, nevertheless it consists of niceties like autodimming facet mirrors, keyless entry, a wi-fi machine charger, a panoramic sunroof and a number of safety-suite upgrades. The Qi charging pad may be my favourite half, as a result of it is able to sliding out from beneath the middle armrest for straightforward entry, in any other case staying stowed out of sight for security’s sake. That leaves loads of room forward of the shifter for tchotchke storage, though the sizable door-card cubbies do an amazing job as stash spots, too.

The rear seat is a bit of on the tight facet, however at 6 ft tall, I would be snug sufficient to sort out longer journeys. Storage choices are a bit of lighter, as nicely, with some cargo nets on the entrance seatbacks and smaller door-panel pockets, however hey, at the least there are two USB ports again there. Transferring farther again, I am glad Audi was in a position to match a PHEV powertrain within the Q5 with out sacrificing cargo area, which stays a strong 25.6 cubic ft. Certain, there is a bag with all of the charging gear again there, however you possibly can depart that within the storage in case you solely ever plug in at dwelling or at public chargers.

2021 Audi Q5 PHEV


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2021 Audi Q5 PHEV

You in all probability need not carry the charging {hardware} wherever you go.

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Underneath the Q5 PHEV’s hood is similar 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four that powers the bottom Q5, making 248 horsepower by itself. This combines with a 141-hp electrical motor and a 14.1-kilowatt-hour battery pack to provide a web 362 hp and 369 pound-feet of torque, all of which is routed by means of a seven-speed computerized transmission to all 4 wheels. It is markedly faster than the bottom Q5, arriving at 60 mph in 5 seconds flat as a substitute of 5.7, nevertheless it’s additionally carrying round an additional 540 kilos. Acceleration is sufficiently zippy in around-town use, particularly when it is working in EV mode, with all that pleasant, rapid electrical torque.

The 14.1-kWh battery gives an EPA-estimated vary of 19 miles, a quantity I discovered fairly simple to match in real-world suburban driving. The freeway completely chews by means of the battery, so I discover myself tapping the EV button on the dashboard to keep up the pack’s cost at greater speeds. Driving round in electrical mode is nice; the cabin is good and quiet, and the federally mandated low-speed EV noises are futuristic however not annoyingly so. When it comes time to cost, a Degree 2 charger will high ‘er off in about 2.5 hours, with an ordinary three-prong 110-volt plug extending that charging time to an overnighter.

If the battery reaches a near-zero cost, that is when the Q5 PHEV operates like a standard gas-electric hybrid, utilizing small doses of electrical operation to spice up the automobile’s general effectivity. Nevertheless, that is the place my one subject with the automobile seems: Making use of gentle to medium throttle from a cease can have the automobile begin its journey with electrical energy, solely to stutter when the gasoline engine fires up because the transmission shifts into second gear. If you happen to’re particularly uptight about maintaining the battery charged, this downside won’t ever make itself obvious, in any other case some adjustment within the footwork division will hold this subject from cropping up.

2021 Audi Q5 PHEV


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2021 Audi Q5 PHEV

Giving the Q5 PHEV a bit of further gasoline pedal when ranging from a cease can get rid of the powertrain hesitation. It is actually solely when the gasoline engine begins up because the transmission shifts to second gear.

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In any other case, the Q5 PHEV’s driving expertise is totally pretty, simply as it’s with the bottom mannequin. The suspension does a superb job of eliminating nasty roads underfoot, even with my tester’s bigger alloy wheels. The brakes do have a bit extra chew than the bottom variant, however pedal modulation is useless easy, and the mix between regenerative and friction braking is almost unattainable to suss out.

General, the EPA charges the 2021 Audi Q5 PHEV at 50 mpge, which is a bit decrease than what you may discover from opponents just like the BMW X3 xDrive30e (60 mpge) and the Mercedes-Benz GLC350e (68 mpge). That stated, PHEV effectivity varies wildly in real-world conditions, relying on how typically the battery is charged and the way lengthy journeys take. In my week with the Q5, I discover the Audi’s EPA estimates to be simply reachable with common entry to a plug or a public charger. One closing phrase of warning right here: The Q5 PHEV’s gasoline tank needed to shrink to accommodate the hybrid bits, condensing from 18.5 gallons to 14.3 gallons.

The Q5’s tech goes past what’s underneath the physique panels. A brand new 10.1-inch display screen sits in the midst of the dashboard, working the newest iteration of Audi’s MMI Contact infotainment suite. I really like this method’s simple menus and graphics, and it is all the time fairly responsive. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are customary, with the latter boasting wi-fi capabilities, however if you need an in-house possibility, embedded navigation is a $1,500 upcharge on the Premium Plus trim. My tester additionally comes with Audi’s 12.3-inch Digital Cockpit Plus, which places nearly every little thing from the primary display screen nearer to my eyes, and it is simple to wade by means of its numerous modes with steering wheel buttons and thumb wheels.

2021 Audi Q5 PHEV


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2021 Audi Q5 PHEV

Whether or not it comes with one display screen or two, Audi’s MMI Contact interface is one in every of our favorites throughout the business.

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Audi has all the time been good at providing a complement of normal security applied sciences, and the story is similar with the Q5 PHEV. Normal package consists of computerized emergency braking, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, parking sensors and computerized excessive beams. The Premium Plus trim provides adaptive cruise management, lively lane-keep help and a surround-view digital camera system, all of that are simple to make use of and make each day commutes a much less irritating affair.

Whereas a base 2021 Audi Q5 will set you again $44,395 (together with $1,095 in vacation spot fees), the PHEV is a bit of pricier, beginning at $52,995 earlier than any EV-related federal or native incentives. My tester takes that window sticker a bit of greater; the Premium Plus trim, along with choices like fancier paint, navigation, a Bang & Olufsen sound system and greater wheels, brings my tester’s out-the-door value to $60,740.

Identical to its gas-powered sibling, the Audi Q5 PHEV has fairly the litter of opponents. The Audi gives extra energy than the BMW X3 or Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class plug-in hybrids, however each beat its on-road effectivity. If you happen to want some domestic-flavored electrons, the 2021 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring PHEV is brand-spankin’-new and fairly interesting from a luxurious standpoint. There are additionally full-on EVs in the identical dimension section, just like the Audi E-Tron and the upcoming Mercedes EQC.

It ought to shock no person that the 2021 Audi Q5 PHEV is a wonderful electrified crossover, mixing all the nice bits from the internal-combustion Q5 with an electrified powertrain that may drastically cut back an individual’s reliance on hydrocarbons. If you wish to reside out your commute in nameless silence, the Q5 PHEV ought to completely land in your listing of vehicles to test-drive.

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