2014 Audi Q5 Named
2014 Earth, Wind & Power's
~ Most Earth Aware - SUV of the Year ~
Score a big one for covering all the bases. Here's Audi with a sleek, sensible, swift and not the least bit bashful entrant into the world of do-all, achieve-all, earth aware vehicles without losing any of its Audi-specific luxury characteristics and you have the 2014 Audi Q5. Try saying that in one breath.
Mark Del Rosso, EVP & COO Audi America accepts 2014 Most Earth Aware SUV of the Year for Audi Q5
OK. So we got a little carried away with descriptors. Maybe it's like trying to eat only one kernel of popcorn. But then there's so much to savor with this right-sized, smack-down good-looking, environmentally-conscious and just plain fun utility vehicle. With those attributes to consider, Earth, Wind & Power (EWP) judges could think of only one word to wrap it all up: Winner! Winner, that is, of the 2014 Earth, Wind & Power – Most Earth Aware SUV of the Year!
As automakers pour billions of dollars into developing the most fuel efficient, most environmentally-cleansing vehicles to get us around, receiving recognition for those efforts would seem to be in the best interest of everyone. That was the impetus that led to the establishment of the Earth, Wind & Power Truck/Utility of the Year Award six years ago.
“With climate change and dependence on foreign oil a major concern, more people than ever are turning to fuel-efficient or alternative powered vehicles,” said Caldwell. “It’s become of vital interest to consumers, automakers, and the future of the Earth to produce vehicles that are compatible with our planet."
With those factors in focus, judges have sought out vehicles aimed at being in the forefront of improving rather than complicating the environmental situation. So when they learned of the Q5's multiple earth-conscious personalities, they knew it demanded a try.
If covering all your bases is possible, it seems that Audi has taken the high road with its offering of a hybrid version of the Q5 and a new diesel powered one, as well as its petrol-only staples. We won't address the dynamics of the new high performance SQ5 here (155-MPH top track speed), as that could be seen as anathema to the Eco-friendly side.
Judges, understandably, were a bit divided on the Q5's split personality when it first sprinted into view. Everyone has a favorite shade of green it seems. But we had no doubt about its status. For those with hybrid preferences, the Q5 has that. For those who prefer clean diesel, the Q5 has added that as well for 2014. And for those who simply want a fuel efficient, less polluting, gasoline powered, real live Audi with a more realistic budget in mind, the Q5 hasn't forgotten those drivers either. The base, 2.0-liter inline-four version achieves 20 city/28 highway miles per gallon, or 23 combined on the same premium fuel used by all Q5s except the diesel model. And even this one can hunker down for the same 130 MPH max speed, flat-out run as three other siblings when track time play is in order.
But in the spirit of creating a vehicle that people actually are willing to buy and enjoy, sometimes going green isn't aimed only at better fuel economy. If it doesn't catch one's eye, it is likely to be ignored. You might say that sometimes it's getting the best available fuel economy without losing an ounce of aaahhh or oomph in the process. That applies to both the newest 2014 Audi Q5 clean diesel luxury compact crossover or its hybrid stable mate. We'll let you decide
We were smitten at first sight of the sassy, sporty 2014 Audi turbo-diesel when it showed up at our doorstep. Our test model was Glacier White Metallic and sported a large "TDI" on each front door for a sophisticated, no-nonsense announcement of its capabilities. So much for not blowing one's own horn.
A flared front end with sultry headlamp "eyes," anchored by those famed four interlocking grille hoops sniffing down the road balances the trim tush in the rear and announces in no uncertain terms this is a coveted Audi.
For those who need to transport five in luxurious comfort, the Q5 could be an ideal choice. The priciest of the fuel conscious versions (which seems like a no-brainer) is the hybrid Q5 that uses a 2.0-liter 245-horsepower inline four engine paired with an electric motor for a combined 245-horsepower and 254-lb. ft. of torque. It clocks in with a $51,300 base price, earning EPA ratings of 24 city/30 highway miles.
Of the five engine offerings for the Q5 (in addition to the gasoline-only inline four and V-6) the 3.0-liter V-6 turbo diesel as tested is the next and newest Q5. Generating 240-horsepower and a hefty 428 lb. ft. of punch-you-away-from-a-standstill torque, it earns 1 more highway mile than the hybrid at 31, but stays the same at 24 mpg for city driving for a combined rating of 27. The TDI's base pricing is a more budget-minded $46,500. As tested, ours ran considerably higher, at $55,445. But that included more than $7,500 in special packages including Audi's MMI Navigation plus, with voice control, and Audi parking system plus, with rear view camera.
Those high ticket items point out what every wannabe Audi owner certainly knows—that no matter how environmentally conscious one might be in choosing a vehicle, when you're paying premium prices you expect to get premium perks out of the deal.
So what can the Q5 offer in the way of amenities, both in driving manners and the way it strokes the owner on the upmarket side?
Once inside, besides keyless start, there's leather (luscious Milano leather when fitted with comfort seats), aluminum and all-natural walnut trim and a heated/cooled cup holder to ensure drinks are kept at optimal temperature. Driving at night is a kick even if the only reason is to see the glow of red from all those buttons and controls that jump to life when activated.
The hybrid version gets Audi's Bang & Olufsen 505-watt premium Sound System with 14 speakers as standard equipment. "Audi connect" can mate with as many as eight wireless devices at one time.
And the TDI gets something that's becoming a vanishing breed in many vehicles as precious interior space is diverted for heavy battery storage and a bit more cargo space. That's an actual compact space saver spare tire, designed for temporary use.
Navigation and side assist to monitor blind spots and to sense rapidly approaching vehicles adds safety to the internal luxury mood. Seats recline and comfort controls are operated independently to ensure a maximum "aaaahhhh" factor. Gray instruments with white needles, aluminum pedal inserts and a sporty, three-spoke flat-bottomed steering wheel with paddle shifters remind one of Audi's "own-the-road" character, even while behaving environmentally.
A Q5 biggie is "quattro" drive on all versions. That's Audi talk for its permanent all-wheel-drive system, and a clear indication this is a go almost anywhere vehicle when driving conditions get tough, such as during a Northern midwinter blizzard or blazing through pools of water on rain slicked roads. All Q5 power plants mate to an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic for smooth, supple handling and a stingier need for fuel in the process.
Technology under the hood of the hybrid is fed from a weighty Lithium-ion battery pack. And despite its earth friendly demeanor, it can blaze from 0 to 60 in a respectable 6.8 seconds, so it won't be left behind at stoplights.
We can attest to the punch the diesel fuel-drinking TDI can deliver when rubber meets the road. It rates at an even feistier 0 to 60 in 6.5 seconds.
|Presenting the 2014 Most Earth Aware SUV of the Year award to Mark Del Rosso, EVP & COO, Audi America, are Courtney Caldwell, editor, Road & Travel Magazine; and Mike Martini, president Bridgestone OE Americas, and EWP award sponsor.
Audi calls the Q5 "sporty and sophisticated, spacious and functional." We agree. Its green attributes and the strength of its Audi character were pointed out by Mark Del Rosso, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Audi of America. “In addition to its excellent fuel economy, the Audi Q5 combines the sportiness of a sedan with a variable interior and many practical solutions for everyday and recreational use. With 2013 year to date sales up 40.8% compared to 2012, it’s clear that consumers are continuing to respond positively to the Audi Q5’s sportiness and sophistication, spaciousness and functionality.”
“We are honored to accept the Earth, Wind & Power Award for Most Earth Aware SUV of the year, which recognizes the environmental friendliness and fuel economy of the Audi Q5.” said Del Rosso.
The Q5 has some unexpected goodies, like trailer hitch pre-wiring on our test TDI should venturing beyond the shopping center beaten path or local express roads be the norm. And with driving dynamics a priority, even in the glow of green, a sophisticated safety feature is added for 2014 to ensure that the lust for environmentally-friendly, yet sporty driving won't get out of hand. A roof rack detection system communicates with the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) when roof rack crossbars are installed. It's as if it's sending a signal that says, "Hey, we're packing luggage up here so don't go overboard on driving dynamics." The ESC adjusts for the expected shift in the center of gravity, now presumably higher up with the added load overhead. That's a nice touch for those who don't want to launch a rooftop kayak from a sudden stop at water's edge.
No wonder it won EWP's 2014 Most Earth Aware SUV of the Year!
Bridgestone, longtime sponsor and supporter of the EWP and ICOTY Awards, recognizes the significance of environmental changes that are currently affecting the planet and human life.
“Bridgestone is proud to support the Earth, Wind & Power Car of the Year awards, and applauds the efforts of these automakers that like our company demonstrate a strong commitment to innovative technology,” said Michael Martini, president, Consumer OE, Bridgestone Americas. “Through the combined efforts of everyone in the auto industry, and led by automakers like those being recognized today, we will continue to meet and exceed the demands of the motoring public.”
"We would like to thank Bridgestone Tire for sponsoring the 2014 Earth, Wind & Power Car of the Year Awards," said founder Courtney Caldwell. Their continued annual support has allowed us to honor automakers for vehicles designed and engineered with power sources that contribute to a healthier and cleaner environment.
About Earth, Wind & Power Media – The goal of EWP Media is to educate, enlighten, and empower consumers about alternative energy sources such as vehicles with high MPG and/or a small footprint, diesel and electric solar, wind, water and other natural resources so they can make informed decisions on which energy and fuel efficient vehicles to buy, improve and change their living habits. EWP aims to help educate consumers on where to find and how to use the tools necessary to convert their everyday lives into an organic and balanced state of living with and on our one and only planet.
The mission of the EWP Awards is to honor vehicles that are driven by a power source that helps improve climate change by reducing the amount of CO2 emissions poured into the Earth’s atmosphere, promote a cleaner environment, and support the ultimate mission to achieve energy independence through alternative power sources. Vehicles are judged on their progress and ability to further reduce greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere.
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