Just as sales of all crossovers have expanded, so those with a premium badge have grown.
That’s not much of a surprise given the wider choice of late. From the Porsche Macan to the Jaguar F-Pace and the new Volvo XC60 to the forthcoming Range Rover Velar, a premium crossover can be had whether your preference is for practicality or performance, styling or sportiness.
From the car manufacturer’s point of view they’re not only highly profitable but they’re popular globally, too, unlike other family cars that might sell well in Europe but not the US or vice versa.
In short, everyone loves a crossover. Quite a few clearly love the Audi Q5, too. With more than 1.6 million sold worldwide since it first arrived in 2009, like Volvo’s XC60 it has been the right car at the right time.
It’s hard not to have immense respect for the Audi Q5
Not that it’s exactly easy to immediately spot this second-generation version, mind. A longer inspection reveals a sharper and more dominant chrome front grille plus eye-catching LED lights front and rear.
It’s undoubtedly smart but the styling is probably a little sober compared to the likes of the Porsche Macan, Jaguar F-Pace or the new Range Rover Velar and it’s also far too close to the previous model.
This 2.0-litre turbo-diesel model is by far the biggest seller in the range, although there’s a more powerful 3.0-litre turbo-diesel and hot SQ5, plus a hybrid version due soon.
The Audi Q5 starts from £41,085
All Q5s are four-wheel drive and there won’t be a two-wheel drive model.
This 2.0-litre model gets 190bhp which, linked to a seven-speed twin clutch semi-automatic gearbox, is enough to go from 0 to 60mph in 7.9 seconds and on to a 135mph top speed.
Emissions and average fuel economy are 136g/km and 54.3mpg. From inside the car, the diesel engine’s noise levels are creditably well suppressed.
While it’s a little more vocal when you’re standing outside, inside you’d be hard-pressed to know if it was diesel or petrol.
Generally speaking, it’s very smooth during normal everyday driving and very refined, although at lower speeds or when pulling away slowly from standstill it can be a little jerky – something that we’ve found with other Audis with this particular engine and gearbox combination.
The Audi Q5 does 0 to 60mph in 7.9 seconds and has a top speed of 135mph
Along with a ride that is perhaps a little firmer than you might expect on 19in wheels, even given the sportier S Line trim, those are the only obvious chinks in the Q5’s refinement armour.
And while clearly not as sporty as the likes of the Jaguar F-Pace or Porsche Macan, the Audi doesn’t disgrace itself on twistier roads.
That slightly firmer ride does translate to minimal body roll when cornering with a little more enthusiasm than normal, however, and the steering is direct and precise.
More feel through the steering wheel or driver’s seat about what the car is doing beneath you would be better though.
The Audi Q5 has a turbo-diesel 2.0-litre engine
This does leave room for the new SQ5 to offer a sportier option for those wanting an Audi off-roader with sharper handling but, for us, that ride could be softened a little for what is likely to be everyday family use.
That’s also true inside.
The Q5 impresses with its superb fit and finish but the cabin isn’t without a few niggles.
The squared-off steering wheel is perhaps a little aggressive in a car aimed at families like this and while the sports seats are very supportive and comfortable, taller drivers might find the height adjustment doesn’t go low enough and it can feel as if you’re sitting on the car rather than in it.
The lack of a standard panoramic sunroof can make it feel quite dark inside the cabin as well, despite the smart alloy trim around it.
The Audi Q5’s fuel economy sees it achieve 54.3mpg
However there’s plenty of legroom in the rear seats, with the back of the front ones moulded for extra knee-room.
The only slight issue might be that the central seat is very narrow and not even moulded as a seat, which might make transporting three in the back a little tough.
The boot has an electric kick-activated tailgate and at 550 litres is a reasonable size but it’s a little shallow and there’s no spare tyre.
Overall, though, it’s hard not to have immense respect for the Audi Q5. Sitting in a popular middle ground that isn’t the sportiest or most practical is a winning combination, as 1.6 million sales attest.
The Range Rover Velar will offer some stiff competition when it arrives soon, but for the moment for any new arrivals, the Q5 remains one of the best premium crossovers to beat.
The Audi Q5’s CO2 emissions are 136g/km
Price: from £41,085
Engine: Turbo-diesel – 2.0-litre
Power: 0 to 60mph in 7.9 seconds, 135mph top speed Fuel economy: 54.3mpg
CO2 emissions: 136g/km
Rivals: BMW X3, Jaguar F-Pace, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Volvo XC60