The entire automotive industry is working feverishly on alternative fuel vehicles with electric and hydrogen powertrains. But, engineers are also working just as hard to improve the efficiency of traditional internal combustion engines. So, with ever higher mpg mandates ahead, clean diesels are becoming a lot more common, especially in utilities, like this Audi Q5 TDI. So, let’s see if this diesel ute is one Americans can love.
What is it about turbo diesels like this 2014 Audi Q5 TDI that we love so much? It’s certainly not the smell or more expensive cost of the diesel fuel. Perhaps it’s their simplicity as a higher mileage option, or that ability to fulfill our long range ambitions?
Or maybe it’s just that huge hit of torque you get when you stomp on the pedal. It’s a highly addictive response, and once you’ve sampled it, driving a gasoline powered equivalent is just not the same.
The Q5, Audi’s smallest crossover here for now, got a styling refresh just last year. But Audi saved the best updates for this year, a high performance SQ5 and our high miler TDI.
The 3.0-liter turbocharged clean diesel V6 is the same 240-horsepower engine that we loved so much in the larger A8 sedan. But there’s even more to love in the Q5 as torque is up 22 lb-ft. to 428. Helping the high mileage cause is an 8-speed automatic transmission, and the combination is good for a towing capacity of 4,400-pounds.
All Q5s come equipped with the same quattro all-wheel-drive formula found in Audi sedans and SUV’s for years, rear bias and all; and is as much about handling performance as it is about all-weather capability. Though we put the latter to test through a few weeks of what has been a very cold and snowy winter here in the Mid-Atlantic. We had no issues finding traction even in deep snow; a testament to both the quattro’s abilities and the TDI’s low RPM nature.
All of that white stuff did keep us from taking the TDI to our test track, but Audi claims a 0-60 time of 6.5-seconds and our informal clocking concurs.
As for the recently updated design, the Q5 is truly a modern Audi, from the large Singleframe grille to the LED DRL’s that started the whole phenomenon. 19-inch wheels come standard on the TDI with 235/55 all-season tires.
Both commute time ride, and weekend getaway handling are quite good. But if you’re looking to get the most out of it in the performance department, make sure you have the crossbars removed from the roof rails; as when they are in place, the ESC adjusts parameters for a higher center of gravity. That’s pretty trick!
Steering is electro-mechanical and felt very natural. Government Fuel Economy Ratings come in at 24-City, 31-Highway, and 27-Combined. We managed a quite good 29.4 miles per gallon. The Energy Impact Score is average for all vehicles at 14.1-barrels of oil used and 6.4 tons of CO2 emitted annually.
You’ve heard our rave reviews before about recent Audi interiors, and the Q5 does nothing to dampen our fondness for the high quality materials, simplicity of design, and ease of use of its many high tech features; including the updated MMI Navigation Plus system.
Front seats are very supportive and comfortable, and there’s good room for 3 in the back seat. All passenger’s get plenty of light thanks to the standard panoramic sunroof. Cargo space is 29.1 cubic-ft. with rear seat backs in place, but expands to 57.3 cubic-ft. with them folded.
It’s not all good news, however; as a TDI Q5 will cost you $47,395. That’s almost 10-grand over a base Q5 which starts at $38,195. Our tester, with options, was over 50-grand.
Is the TDI worth all of that extra coin? Well truth be told, our SUV money would probably go elsewhere as there are a lot of mid and even full-size choices for that kind of money. Although, if you’re even contemplating stepping up to a turbo diesel, but are hesitant due to price; our advice is don’t even test drive one. Because, once you get a taste of all the torque that the 2014 Audi Q5 TDI has to offer, you might get addicted too.
Torque: 428 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 6.5 seconds
EPA: 24 mpg city/ 31 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 14.1 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 6.4 tons/yr