2018 Audi SQ5 review with video


The Basics:
Base price: $61,300 + tax
As tested: $73,190 + tax
Average fuel economy over a week: 10.4 L/100 kms (22.5 US MPG)
Competitors: Jaguar F-Pace S, Mercedes GLC 43 with the AMG treatment, Porsche Macan S

The SQ5 is a pretty incredible mixture of performance and utility. Its the sport version of Audi’s best seller, the Q5. And the last time we were in the SQ5, it won our favourite all-round vehicle award for 2016. For 2018, it has been totally redesigned with quite a different powertrain to the outgoing version. All month, we’ve been featuring Audis courtesy of Glenmore Audi in Calgary and to wrap things up, we spent a week on board to see if the SQ5 still has that magic sauce. Check-out our full video review above!

Pros:
– The sporty feel and throaty exhaust note all come from a much more powerful a 3-litre turbo V6. That’s a lot more engine than the regular 2-litre four cylinder in the Q5. For 2018, the SQ5 has gone from a supercharged engine to a turbocharged version. But it produces identical horsepower to the outgoing supercharged SQ5, 354 of them. It also has more torque with 369 foot pounds on tap
– Its mid-range power is dramatic, intense and honestly, rather addictive. It rockets up to 100 kms/hr in just 5.3 seconds. That’s faster than the TT Sports Coupe I tested with you a couple weeks back
– But even when you do lay your foot down, it never feels like its stepping out. It’s all very composed, actually. And that’s thanks to Audi’s Quattro All Wheel Drive. But unlike the regular Q5, which has gone to a front wheel drive based Haldex Quattro, this is the more traditional old school system. It’s rear wheel drive biassed – with 60 per cent of its power getting sent to the back under ideal driving conditions – for better drive feel. So Audi purists may find themselves gravitating to this car for that reason alone
– In fact, pretty well all of the powertrain/spinny bits are different here in the sportier SQ5. The suspension is stiffer for better cornering feel – but still totally liveable for day-to-day grocery shopping and kid drop offs. The brakes are bigger – which means the SQ5 can crank you to a stop in pretty short order. And Audi has also swapped out the 7 speed dual clutch that we had in the previous generation of this car, given that transmission to the run of the mill Q5, and instead given the SQ5 an eight speed automatic that can now shift a lot faster than before and can better handle the torque loads out of this grunty V6
– And you’d think that all this back-of-the-seat performance would be a big hit at the gas pump. But even though we’ve driven it fairly hard over the last week, we’re still averaging 10.4 L/100 kms with a mixture of highway and city driving. That’s just 1.2 L/100 kms more than the regular Q5 that we tested in the fall. And given how much sportier this car is, that is an economy trade off that seems totally reasonable
– And despite the bump up to a more lively powertrain, you still get the same towing capacity as the regular Q5. A lot of time, you have to kiss those figures goodbye on performance oriented SUVs. Here in the SQ5, it’s a very respectable 4400 lbs and that gives this car a lot more versatility
– The base price has risen by $1,000 for 2018 but standard equipment has also been notched up: LED headlights and tail lights, a power tailgate with hands free functions, power folding side mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, a huge panorama sunroof, Audi’s smartphone interface with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, three zones of climate control, a heated steering wheel, and Nappa leather seats. And considering the sort of top-notch powertrain you’re getting here, the base price on this car, I think, is pretty good bang for your buck
– Meanwhile, the interior on this car is a huge step forward for 2018. It’s clean and simple. The infotainment system is pretty good. I’m not crazy about the trackpad for tracing addresses or contacts with the tip of your finger but there’s also a click wheel if you’d prefer or some really effective voice recognition software
– Seat comfort is superb and the materials here in the cabin all feel high end and blend together really well
– While the SQ5 isn’t a huge SUV from the outside, it has some downright impressive interior space. The second row is very comfortable for adults – even with tall passengers up front
– Meanwhile, our rear facing car seat test came up with 28.5 inches from the back of the front passenger seat to the glovebox – which is right on par with larger SUVs like the seven passenger Toyota Highlander
– The trunk, meanwhile, has increased slightly for 2018, and leads all of its major competitors listed above by a healthy margin. We now have 757 litres of cargo space, which is plenty of room for our standardized trunk test or for our big family dog


Cons:
– Jumping over to a turbo has changed this car’s character a bit. It’s slower on the uptick with a surprising amount of off-the-line turbo lag. Once this car gets beyond, say 25 kms/hr though, watch out!
– Be warned, the bigger disc brakes mean special, far more expensive wheels if you want to buy a secondary set of winter tires
– Despite the generally good standard equipment, features like ventilated seats, adaptive cruise, lane keep assist, air ride suspension or carbon fibre inlays are all extras that quickly tempt you to drive the price ever higher. Our as tested vehicle here, for example, and we don’t even have all the bells and whistles is $73,190 pre tax

Family Wheels report card:
Family Wheels driver comfort score: 4.5/5
Family Wheels interior layout score: 4/5
Family Wheels infotainment system score: 4/5
Family Wheels interior noise score: 4.5/5 (62 dB at 100 kms/h)
Family Wheels performance score: 4.5/5
Family Wheels rear passenger score: 4.5/5
Family Wheels trunk score: 4.5/5
Family Wheels fuel economy score: 4/5
Family Wheels build quality score: 4.5/5
Family Wheels value score: 4/5
Family Wheels overall score: 43/50= 86%

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