Compact luxury crossover SUVs – the body style of choice for many new vehicle shoppers – present an affordable gateway to a brand. The all-new 2018 Audi Q5 supplies room for five and delivers standard all-wheel drive, excellent ride quality, and leading-edge technologies.

Best Value

There are three trims available with the 2018 Audi Q5, with prices ranging from reasonable to expensive: Premium, Premium Plus, and Platinum. You’ll find there’s ample room for customization with all three. We chose the Premium Plus with a starting price of $46,475 (prices include the $975 destination charge) as our “best value.”

With this trim, you gain full LED headlights and LED accent lights, heated and power-folding side mirrors, a panoramic sunroof with a power sunshade, a hands-free liftgate, front and rear parking assist, and heated front seats. Driver-assist features include rear cross-traffic alert, side assist, and vehicle exit assist.

  • Model:2018 Audi Q5 Premium Plus
  • Engine:2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder
  • Output:258 horsepower/273 pound-feet of torque
  • Transmission:Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Drivetrain:All-wheel drive
  • MPG:23 city/27 highway
  • Options:We recommend the Navigation Package ($2,600), which adds Audi's virtual cockpit feature and navigation.
  • Base Price:$42,475
  • Best Value Price:$49,075

Performance

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You’ll find just one powertrain choice across the Q5 range, but it's a good one. A new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine bangs out 258 hp and 273 lb.-ft. of torque, up from the previous engine's 220 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. Audi pairs this engine with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Audi's AWD system disconnects the driveshaft leading to the rear wheels in most situations to save fuel, a change for 2018.

The Q5 rides on a new modular platform the SUV shares with the A4 sedan. While it's not much lighter than the outgoing model, the new platform provides a big upgrade in structural rigidity.

We liked how quiet the Q5 remains, even when traveling at highway speeds. However, steering is light to the touch, thus feedback isn’t what we’d prefer. Although not a corner carver, the Audi Q5 stays poised through twists and turns.

Interior and Exterior

We like the look of the Q5, but then again it follows the same design language of eveyr other Audi model. Overall, the design changes from 2017 to 2018 are quite small; the most significant changes occur underneath the hood and in the detailing.

Change is more noticeable on the inside. The cabin is as beautiful as you would expect with Audi, offering standard leather seats, logically-arranged controls, and a fixed central display screen that replaces the outgoing model's retractable one. Still, the new display design is a bit odd as it looks like a tablet computer held in place with a clip. As before, Audi’s tech system requires some acclimation.

The front seats are comfortable and supportive. The rear seat is roomy for two adults, but the center position is there for a pinch – there simply isn’t enough hip room for three. Standard cargo space behind the second-row seat measures a modest 26.8 cubic feet, but it expands to 60.4 cubic feet with the rear seat folded.

The Best and Worst Things

If you’re looking for a polished look, the Audi Q5 doesn't disappoint. It's elegant, fairly sporty, and comes well equipped. On the other hand, it doesn’t have the standout personality you find in some competing models from Lexus and Mercedes-Benz, for example.

Right For...

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Anyone who wants a luxury crossover and isn’t beholden to a rear-wheel drive platform. If you're moving away from a mid-size luxury sedan, the Q5 is a smart decision.

Wrong For...

The customer with no patience for tech. We get the consternation many consumers have about infotainment systems. Many mainstream models make it easy, but Audi's takes some time getting used to. Once you do, you’ll like it. That is, if you even give it a chance.

The Bottom Line

Handsome looks, comfortable seating for four adults, and customization options make the 2018 Audi Q5 an attractive and modern option in this crowded segment.