Shop for a compact, luxury SUV and you’ll find the segment offers many choices. The Audi Q5 has served the market since 2009 and the Volvo XC60 since 2010. Both vehicles offer consumers a solid choice in a European SUV, but there are some clear differences that favor the Audi over the Volvo. Read on as we explore the highlights of these two five-passenger SUVs before we render our verdict.
Audi Q5 Highlights
Like other manufacturers, Audi groups its models in families. Thus, the Q5 shares its platform with the three-row Q7. The cost savings advantage from the manufacturer’s perspective is apparent. This also means consumers save money on long-term repairs because of common parts. Gone are the days of completely unique models with the attendant high repairs costs.
The Audi Q5 has certain features that make it worthwhile. Firstly, you get standard all-wheel drive. This offers Audi a distinct advantage in all things handling, especially on slippery roads. Secondly, you’ll find a pair of engine choices, beginning with a 2.0-liter twin-turbo four-cylinder engine generating 252 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque. The second engine choice is the performance master, as it is a twin-turbo V6 engine with 354 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque. Audi pairs both engines with a seven-speed automatic transmission.
The Q5’s handsome styling makes it a strong player in the segment. The interior package is top-notch, with beautifully crafted materials and superb fit and finish. Once you get used to Audi’s infotainment system you’ll appreciate its detail and usability. Look for such features a dual-zone climate control, heated seats, ambient lighting and ample storage space.
Volvo XC60 Highlights
Volvo has quietly been remaking itself over the past few years, transitioning from an also-ran premium make to a bona fide luxury marque. Its Chinese ownership has worked well, ever since Ford sold the company to Geely. Volvo has been even more intentional in its new products than most manufacturers, by utilizing just one platform across its model range.
The XC60 is built on a front-wheel drive platform with available all-wheel drive. This means the Volvo doesn’t enjoy the rear-wheel drive handling bias of the Audi. At the same time, steering is quite good with the Volvo and the base engine, a turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder delivers 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. You also have a choice of a turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter engine, generating 316 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. There is also a plug-in hybrid variant, delivering 400 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque. All three engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The XC60 is a new model and benefits from Volvo’s latest changes. It is reflected in an overall handsome design with the available hammer of Thor lights, stylish sheet metal and beautiful wheels. Inside, the Scandinavian influence is strong with its soft colors, premium woods and high-end materials. The big improvement this year is found in its Sensus infotainment system, which is much easier to use than before. Depending on the trim selected, you’ll find such features as a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, zone climate control and a serene cabin.
Nice work by Volvo in offering a much more competitive and better-designed vehicle than before. We understand the appeal of all things Volvo, but we also know that consumers want certain performance capabilities and luxury features that favor the Audi (although the PHEV does give Volvo an edge). Ultimately, consumers will choose features that resonate with them, something we’re certain the Q5 delivers.