Complaints: I wish the Q5 sold stateside would run on diesel or, at least, use regular unleaded gasoline. Instead, this one requires premium unleaded, which is more expensive and an estimated 30 percent less efficient than diesel. Also, Audi, is there a way to give the Q5 substantially more cargo space than the paltry 5-cubic-feet advantage it has over your less-expensive A4 Avant wagon?
Ride, acceleration and handling: It gets excellent marks in all three categories - a driver's dream.
Head-turning quotient: It is classy without being snooty, intimidating or otherwise socially offensive.
Body style/layout: The Audi Q5 is built on a car platform - Audi A4 sport sedan/Avant wagon. It is a compact, luxury crossover-utility wagon with a front-mounted engine, all-wheel drive, four side doors and a rear hatch. It is offered in three trim (equipment) levels: Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige.
Technical highlight: Audi's light-emitting diode (LED) daytime running lights are brighter and more energy-efficient than daytime lights on competitors.
Engine/transmission: The standard Q5 engine is a 3.2-liter, 24-valve V-6 that produces 270 horsepower at 6,500 revolutions per minute and 243 foot-pounds of torque at 3,000 revolutions per minute. It is linked to a six-speed transmission that can be shifted automatically or manually.
Capacities: Seats five. Maximum cargo capacity is 57 cubic feet with rear seats folded and 29.1 cubic feet with rear seats raised. The Q5 can be equipped to carry a payload of 1,278 pounds and tow a trailer weighing 4,400 pounds. The fuel tank holds 19.8 gallons of required premium unleaded.
Real-world mileage: I got nearly 23 miles a gallon in mostly highway driving.
Safety: Standard equipment includes front and rear ventilated disc brakes, four-wheel antilock brake protection, electronic brake assistance, electronic stability and traction control, side and head air bags.
Price: The base price on the 2009 Audi Q5 Premium Quattro is $37,200. Dealer's invoice price on that model is $34,596. Price as tested is $42,475, including $4,450 in options and a $825 transportation charge. Prices are sourced from Audi, Edmunds.com, and Cars.com, an affiliate of The Washington Post.
Purse-strings note: Compare with Acura MDX, BMW X3, Buick Enclave (look at price for better utility and equivalent luxury) and Lexus RX 350.
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