In a segment that includes the Range Rover Evoque, BMW X3 and Benz's GLC (for Autoblog's comparison tool of similar vehicles, click here), Audi's Q5 is a mature, upscale entry for grown-ups with little interest in pretense or posturing. Sitting on a 111-inch wheelbase and stretching to almost 184 inches, the Q5 is available only with quattro all-wheel drive and has an Outback-like 8.2 inches of ground clearance. And its 252 horsepower is distributed, depending on road conditions, in varying proportions front to rear, as needed, via its new quattro ultra-tech drivetrain.
Available in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels — we're opting for the midlevel Premium Plus, which supplies you — for its $4K "premium" — a standard sunroof, seat memory, Audi Side Assist and Pre Sense rear with cross traffic sensors, full LED headlights, key/keyless start and a hands-free tailgate. Base MSRP is $45,500 plus transportation, but with a judicious use of the option boxes we can keep it under $50,000.
Our silver paint choice costs $575, but a light metallic color doesn't show dirt too badly during long winter stretches between car washes. And for summers, Audi offers its Warm Weather package for $1,450, with front seat ventilation, a sportier bucket profile with four-way power lumbar and sunshades (manual) on the rear windows. Finally, what we think should be standard — rear side airbags — we'll opt for, with a $350 surcharge.
With destination, that brings our total to just under $49,000. With 10 percent down, plus taxes, title and license, look for 60 payments to run about $800/month. Audi also touts a 36-month lease — with $6K out of pocket — at $523/month, allowing 12,000 miles a year. Neither number is a screaming deal from a math standpoint, but both are valid approaches for a completely credible crossover.