Anyone who uses Apple products will be aware of the companyís ìit just worksî philosophy. Its various products require a modest learning curve and itís rare to spend time fiddling and fettling to keep the phones, tablets and computers running smoothly. Hold that thought, as I compare the Audi Q5 to an iPhone.
Operating the Q5ís various features requires no previous experience or even an interest in technology. The various interfaces and controls are logical and consistent in operation ñ a positive user experience thatís been reinforced after months of daily use. And just like a mobile phone, the Q5 possesses a wealth of powerful features hidden behind its easy-to-read infotainment display. However, like the shiny glass slab we canít put down, Iíve found that I use a fraction of the carís features on a daily basis. Thanks to the many set-and-forget elements, I can concentrate on using the excellent built-in navigation and, having set up the radio presets months ago, listen to my favourite radio stations without having to routinely adjust my preferences. Oh, and an observation for any wireless fans ñ Audiís radio interface is first rate, as is the solid DAB reception, even in built up areas.
Another thoughtfully designed feature is the Q5ís gear lever. The carís stubby T-bar lever might not be the most thrilling talking point, but Iíve found it the best way to prod the car into life when youíre in a hurry. Despite the various driving modes on offer, the Q5 spends most of its time in the carís Drive Select ëEconomyí mode. This is great for ambling along, but not if you need some extra thrust for overtaking. Nudging the gear lever back into Sport mode solves this problem, and once the deed has been done, another nudge returns the car to its fuel-sipping eco status. This shortcut is often more convenient than resorting to the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Fuel consumption has taken a hit this month, thanks to rush hour traffic and an increase in the number of short journeys. This is the reality of diesel SUV ownership, as not allowing a car to warm up properly and the on-off nature of throttle usage hampers the ability to make smooth, economical progress. Itís also hard to trigger the gearboxís coasting function around town, which is a pity, as the economy gains are noticeable away from congested city streets. All of this reinforces my belief that the Q5 is really a high-rise Grand Tourer, and itís backed up by regularly hitting 50mpg on long cross country drives.
The summer months have seen a lack of prolonged running in the dark, but the carís auto headlight function has rarely failed me. Another one of those set-and-forget features, manual interventions have been rare and restricted to times of heavy rainfall during daylight hours. And while the Q5 is hardly the worst offender for nannying warning chimes, I do wish the ëdoor open, engine oní warning wasnít so intrusive. I know, first world problems and all that.
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Date arrived 10th April 2018
Fuel economy 55.4mpg (combined) 38.2mpg (on test)
It’s rare to have to manually change the headlights as the auto function is so good.
I’m all for useful warnings, but this one is distracting and is accompanied by an annoying chime.