Height is increasingly king on today’s roads, with so many SUV-crossovers bulking out the traffic. They’re roomy, versatile and family-friendly, but even their fans ñ and I’m one ñ have to admit that their chunky style is more akin to practicality than elegance. Automotive eye candy tends to come in lower-slung silhouettes. A good example is our A5 Sportback.
Measuring over 4.7 metres, and relatively low by the standards of SUV-dominated traffic at less than 1.4 metres in height, the sleek Audi is much more of a looker than so much of what surrounds it on a typical daily run. Although as a driver you spend more time inside looking out than vice versa, the sight of the waiting Audi when I walk out in the morning invariably brightens even a dull winter day.
Whenever possible I reverse the Sportback into its driveway parking spot, for an easier getaway on the early morning run to the train station. There are often cars parked opposite our driveway entrance, and a forward exit is an easier option. But when a late evening return means it’s easier to just drive straight in, there’s some morning manoeuvring to be done. That’s when I’m especially grateful for one option box that was ticked: the reversing camera. It’s not just the photographic rearward view that is a big help for an awkward reverse. The guidelines that steer you safely backwards between hazards, such as our tight gateway, are a huge boon. Watch in any car park, and you can tell the cars that lack reversing cameras. They’re the ones being driven hesitantly backwards into a tight bay by a driver whose eyes are flicking anxiously back and forth between the door mirrors. The typical life of a modern car is around 14 years. On the A5 Sportback, the rear-view camera is a £450 addition to the list price. Which works out at £2.68 a month, and I’d call that a bargain. Even if you only keep the car for three years before trading on to something new, the outlay for that handy built-in back-facing camera is £12.50 a month. Money well spent for the everyday convenience it buys.
It’s a pity that fuel consumption continues to be a bit disappointing. Yes, we all know that those official combined figures quoted for every car tell great big porkies. In typical real-world driving they are always optimistic, but a month of mostly local trips over the Christmas and New Year period dipped the mpg average to just below 50 for the first time. I’m about to do a longer trek up country in a few days, and it will be a chance to see how far I can nudge up the digits on the car’s economy read-out by employing a few of the less extreme techniques that tickle the figures on an mpg marathon. More on that next month. I don’t promise too dramatic an improvement though. The A5 Sportback is a voracious mile-muncher with 187bhp on tap and a nice 295lb ft punch of torque. It would be a bit of a waste not to enjoy its distance-shrinking performance.
Date arrived 8th September 2017
Fuel economy 65.7mpg (combined) 52.3mpg (on test)
The rear-view camera on our car was a £450 option. I’m so glad that box was ticked, it makes a big difference for reversing out of a tight driveway.
Fuel consumption continues to stay well below the combined figure, and it will take serious economy effort to push it anywhere near 65.7mpg.