The Audi Q5 is a red-carpet ride. It’s a glam girl’s best friend for a night on the town. But it’s not intended for any ordinary evening with the girls. The Q5 is a star-studded crossover utility vehicle perfect for a night of glitz and glamour like a charity gala dinner or the opening of the LA Film Fest. It’ll suit your Chanel gown to a tee.
By Petrina Gentile
THE BIG PICTURE
Crossover utility vehicles are all the rage. They’re smaller and not as thirsty as a monster SUV so you won’t feel guilty driving one. The Audi Q5 is a compact, fuel-efficient and stylish ride – it’s the Prada of CUVs and the perfect companion for an unforgettable night on the town.
Stepping out of the Audi Q5 is a cinch – a low step-in makes it easy to enter and exit the cabin so you won’t look foolish balancing awkwardly on a larger SUV’s running board (that’s the narrow side step that gives you a boost into the cabin). And there’s no need to worry about accidentally catching your Jimmy Choo’s in the hem of your full-length Nicole Miller number when stepping out of the Audi Q5. (Unfortunately, I speak from experience – it’s a move I’ve made in a big SUV before. Trust me, it ain’t glamorous). The Q5’s low step-in lets you gracefully glide out of the driver’s seat without any embarrassing moments.
I love Audi interiors and the Audi Q5 doesn’t disappoint. The cabin is inviting with high-quality, premium materials such as soft rich leather and attractive silver accents. The dashboard looks clean and smart. The colour display for the navigation system is large and well-positioned at eye-level, but some controls aren’t located in the best spot. For example, the volume button is right of the gear shifter, closer to the passenger than the driver. It’s also small so when wearing gloves it can be a pain to adjust. At least you can change the volume and radio on the steering wheel, which is easier to access. Other buttons for the radio and navigation also surround the gear shifter; I’d prefer them at eye level instead of looking down.
The Audi Q5 seats five – 2 in the front and 3 in the rear. Large or petite ladies will find the front and rear seats equally comfortable. Front seats are 12-way power adjustable with 4-way lumbar support so it’s easy to get comfy behind the wheel.
Even though the Audi Q5 is a family-friendly vehicle, I still prefer it as a ride for single girls on the town like the Sex and the City crew. But if you do have kids, the Q5 has Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) in the rear seats. Putting a baby in a booster seat or car seat is easy —there’s enough space to do so and you don’t have to bend down like you do in a small sedan. And if baby spills milk, no worries — it wipes off the leather seats easily.
I adore the selective child-safety rear door and window lockout feature — its smart because you can lock out the left or ride side separately so your best friends in the rear won’t feel like they’re trapped beside a screaming child. They can roll down the window or step outside without begging you to let them out for a breath of fresh air.
The Audi Q5 is well equipped with electronic stability control, ABS, 6 airbags (rear airbags are optional), traction control, hill descent control and one of my favourite safety features — Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system. It provides more traction and control than a two-wheel drive vehicle. It makes me feel safe and secure driving on rain-slicked roads or snow-covered freeways.
GIZMOS AND TECH
My tester comes with fancy gadgets such as Audi Side Assist — it acts as a second set of eyes when you’re distracted by friends, cell phones, and kids. The system monitors your blind spot and warns you when it’s unsafe to make a lane change. If a vehicle is in your blind spot, a light flashes in the side-view mirror to warn you that it’s unsafe to change lanes. Another small, but nice feature is the high-pressure headlight washers — they’re retractable and heated. Hit the wiper fluid to clean the windshield and the headlights also get a washing for a better view of the road ahead.
I love the ride and handling of the Audi Q5. It drives like a car and not a big truck so its easy to manuevre through busy, crowded streets on your way to a posh party. It’s a smooth, elegant ride; it’s not jarring and it soaks up bumps and potholes in the road beautifully. And the cabin remains whisper quiet at all speeds so you can have a conversation with your girlfriends in the rear seats without being drowned out by road or wind noise. The seating position is great, too. From the driver’s seat you get a commanding view of the road ahead. Rear visibility, however, is hampered by three large head rests and thick rear pillars.
You’ll love the Audi Q5 if you’re an upper crust girl with a jam-packed social sked who needs a luxurious, stylish ride to get to red carpet affairs.
High-end designer style in an easy-to-drive, elegant ride.
Cool gadgets like Audi Side Assist act as a second set of eyes to keep you safer on the road.
Skip the more powerful 3.2 engine – who needs 270 ponies to get to the red carpet?