The SUV segment is the most competitive in the automotive market. Just about every car manufacturer currently has an SUV or crossover option, and it has even infiltrated luxury brands where previously people thought it unthinkable to see SUV models.
Two big competitors in the high-end market are German automaker Audi and Swedish rival Volvo, and in particular the Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60, both compact SUVs competing in a tough space. Let’s see how they compare.
The Audi Q5 has a slightly higher sticker price, which gets you superior driving dynamics and a sleeker exterior compared to the boxy Volvo XC60. However, the XC60 is more generous with standard features, and when comparing plug-in hybrid versions, the Polestar engineered T8 XC60 PHEV is all-around a better buy than the Audi Q5 TFSI e PHEV.
The Audi Q5 starts at $45,600 for the base-level mild-hybrid model, but the base PHEV model starts at $54,600.
The Volvo XC60 starts at a more affordable $42,650 for the base mild-hybrid model, but goes up to $54,250 for the PHEV XC60 T8 Recharge model.
Even though Volvo has tried to go for a sleeker look with the Volvo XC60, it is still noticeably more boxy than the Audi Q5 which enjoys rounder, softer edges. Overall the Q5 has a sleeker demeanor, especially with the black detailing package that’s optional for buyers. It looks a bit more aerodynamic and athletic, but the XC60 is still a fairly handsome car, especially if you like Volvo’s signature vertical taillight design.
On the exterior, both feature optional sunroof additions, as well as sleek-looking chrome finishes around their edges, though Audi makes greater use of these. The front end of the Audi SUV is a bit more imposing with its enlarged grille compared to the more compact and refined front-end design on the Volvo XC60.
While the Audi is arguably better looking from the outside, the Volvo XC60 does trump the Audi Q5 somewhat when it comes to the interior. To get the best of the Q5 interior one has to upgrade considerably, whereas resplendent interiors are just par for the course on the XC60.
The Audi Q5 has refinement, high-quality materials, and clean, elegant finishes, but it just doesn’t feel quite as high-end or plush as the Volvo XC60’s Scandanavian-design interior. Perhaps its biggest flaw is the tacked-on infotainment display, which doesn’t look as good as the XC60’s more integrated touchscreen display.
As one might expect from a luxury SUV, both cars are available with leather upholstery and power-adjustable driver and front passenger seats.
The standard powertrain on the Audi Q5 is a 261 horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder 2.0L engine with Audi’s Quattro AWD technology and a 7-speed automatic transmission. It gets from 0 to 60-mph in just 5.5 seconds. The PHEV version boosts horsepower to 362 horsepower in total, as well as a greater torque rating to help improve on acceleration.
The Volvo XC60 in its mild hybrid form gets up to 247 horsepower from its own 2.0L 4-cylinder engine with the standard B5 powertrain. The upgraded B6 delivers 295 horsepower, but it’s the XC60 Recharge PHEV with its T8 Polestar engineered powertrain that delivers the best combined 400 horsepower. While the XC60’s performance is outclassed by the Q5 on base models, when comparing the plug-in hybrid versions, it comfortably beats the Q5.
On the road, neither the Audi Q5 nor the Volvo XC60 can compare to the likes of a sportier Porsche SUV when it comes to handling and dynamics, but they hold their own very well and are obviously more budget-friendly while still being in the high end. Between these models, the better dynamics come from the Q5, especially in terms of damping and suspension provision. The standard suspension of the Audi Q5 performs better than most would expect.
Meanwhile, the Volvo XC60 is a good all-around cruising machine and handles itself well on corners, perhaps marginally better in some ways than the Q5, but overall the Quattro all-wheel drive system on the Q5 is a real trump card and helps it be a more fun drive.
Comfort & Practicality
Being compact luxury SUVs, both comfortably accommodate up to 5 passengers. While there are small differences in seating measurements (see full comparison table), the levels of comfort in both front seats and rear seats are fairly evenly matched.
In terms of cargo volume, the Audi Q5 is better with all the seats up at 25.85 cubic feet compared to 17.8 cubic feet on the XC60, but the latter offers greater maximum cargo capacity when you fold the rear seats down – 63.6 cubic feet compared to just 54.06 cubic feet on the Q5.
The Q5 is more capable when it comes to towing, too. The Audi offers up to 4,400-lbs of towing capacity, whereas the XC60 only manages up to 3,500-lbs.
In terms of gas mileage, the Audi Q5 gasoline model aided by its mild-hybrid system gets 23-mpg in the city, 28-mpg on the highway and a combined rating of 25-mpg. The PHEV version gets up to 27-mpg, and features an electric-only range of 19 miles. It’s MPGe rating is 50.
The XC60 mild hybrid gets 23-mpg in the city, 30-mpg on the highway and a combined rating of 26-mpg. The XC60 Recharge PHEV gets up to 19 miles electric-only range and a 57-MPGe rating for fuel consumption.
Overall, the Volvo XC60 has slightly better EPA fuel economy estimates across both mild hybrid and PHEV models.
Technology & Features
Both the Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60 have strong technological offerings. Volvo’s new Google-powered infotainment system is just now being spread throughout the range, whereas the Audi MMI system is a bit more tried and tested. The Audi touchscreen is also a bit larger at 10.1 inches compared to 9 inches in the XC60.
The Audi and Volvo both come with an impressive 12.3-inch digital cockpit and instrument cluster, which offer flawless visibility on drive data, navigation, and other information. The one difference is that on the base level Q5 you don’t get that, you have to jump to higher trim levels.
Premium audio options are also available in both, with a Bang & Olufsen system for the Q5 and a Bowers & Wilkins system in the XC60.
The XC60 gets Volvo’s standard safety package, which includes blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, forward collision warning, and automatic braking, rear cross-traffic alert, and a 360-degree parking camera. The automatic parking pilot system is available in a separate package.
Audi isn’t quite as generous with standard ADAS features. There’s automatic emergency braking and forward-collision warning, as well as blind-spot monitoring, but others need upgrades to higher trim levels to access. For instance, opting for the Premium Plus model to get adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, and up to the Prestige trim to get the driver head-up display with traffic sign recognition.
Other Cars To Consider
Other often recommended vehicles in this market segment include the BMW X3, Mercedes GLC, as well as the Lexus NX and Lexus RX.
With no pure electric versions available for either the XC60 or Q5, buyers deadset on buying a BEV will need to look into fully electric SUVs from the manufacturer which currently only include smaller models: the Volvo XC40 Electric Recharge and the Audi Q4 e-Tron. For bigger electric SUVs, look into the VW ID.4 and Tesla Model Y.
Audi Q5 vs Volvo XC60: Verdict
The Volvo XC60 is marginally the more affordable of the two models, both for mild- and plug-in hybrid models. The XC60 is also a bit more feature-packed with Volvo throwing in more at the base level than Audi. Not everything comes as standard, though, but that’s normal.
The Audi Q5 is the more fun of the two to drive and has a more athletic, aerodynamic look. It’s also more generous on practical cargo space with the rear seats up, and it has a greater towing capacity. The XC60 is, however, more fuel-efficient, and the interior is more refined overall.
In terms of technology, premium features, and on-road performance, these two SUVs are well-matched. Those who want a warmer, more refined interior will prefer the XC60, with Audi’s elegant offering coming across perhaps as a bit cold to some tastes. Those who want a more dynamic and fun drive should opt for the Q5.
Overall, because there is no outright winner, it is worth taking both the Audi and Volvo SUV on a test drive before making any final purchase decision.
|2022 Audi Q5||2022 Volvo XC60|
|Engine||2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas||2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas|
|Horsepower||261 hp @ 5000 rpm||247 hp @ 5400 rpm|
|Torque||273 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm||258 lb-ft @ 1800 rpm|
|Transmission||7-Speed Automatic||8-Speed Automatic|
|Drivetrain||All-Wheel Drive||Front-Wheel Drive|
|Rear Wheel Size||P235/60HR18||P235/60HR18|
|Front Suspension||Multi-Link||Double Wishbone|
|Front Wheel Size||P235/60HR18||P235/60HR18|
|Turning Diameter (ft.)||38.7||37.4|
|MPG/MPGe - Hwy||29||30|
|MPG/MPGe - City||23||23|
|MPG/MPGe - Combined||25||26|
|Gas Tank Size (gallons)||18.5||18.8|
|Cruising Range - Hwy (miles)||536.5||564.0|
|Size and Weight|
|Max Width (in.)||74.5||74.9|
|Front Seat Leg Room (in.)||40.9||41.5|
|Front Seat Head Room (in.)||39.6||38.0|
|Front Seat Hip Room (in.)||-||56.4|
|Front Seat Shoulder Room (in.)||57.7||58.2|
|Rear Seat Leg room (in.)||38.0||38.0|
|Rear Seat Head Room (in.)||39.3||38.0|
|Rear Seat Hip Room (in.)||-||55.4|
|Rear Seat Shoulder Room (in.)||56.5||56.3|
|WiFi Hotspot||Not Available||Standard|
|Satellite Radio||Optional||Not Available|
|Entertainment System||Not Available||Not Available|
|Premium Sound System||Not Available||Optional|
|Auxiliary Audio Input||Standard||Standard|
|Smart Device Integration||Standard||Not Available|
|Hard Disk Drive Media Storage||Not Available||Not Available|
|Premium Synthetic Seats||Standard||Standard|
|Leather Steering Wheel||Standard||Not Available|
|Woodgrain Interior Trim||Standard||Not Available|
|Rear A/C||Standard||Not Available|
|Seat-Massage||Not Available||Not Available|
|Head-Up Display||Not Available||Optional|
|Automatic Parking||Not Available||Not Available|
|Navigation System||Not Available||Not Available|
|Power Driver Seat||Standard||Standard|
|Cooled Rear Seat(s)||Not Available||Not Available|
|Hands-Free Liftgate||Optional||Not Available|
|Heated Rear Seat(s)||Not Available||Optional|
|Remote Engine Start||Not Available||Standard|
|Cooled Front Seat(s)||Not Available||Not Available|
|Heated Front Seat(s)||Standard||Optional|
|Power Passenger Seat||Standard||Standard|
|Remote Trunk Release||Standard||Standard|
|Heated Steering Wheel||Optional||Optional|
|Adaptive Cruise Control||Not Available||Optional|
|Navigation from Telematics||Not Available||Not Available|
|Universal Garage Door Opener||Standard||Standard|
|Steering Wheel Audio Controls||Standard||Standard|
|Night Vision||Not Available||Not Available|
|Rear Parking Aid||Standard||Standard|
|Blind Spot Monitor||Standard||Standard|
|Cross-Traffic Alert||Standard||Not Available|
|Lane Keeping Assist||Not Available||Standard|
|Tire Pressure Monitor||Standard||Standard|
|Lane Departure Warning||Standard||Standard|
|Knee Air Bag||Not Available||Standard|
|Driver Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Seatbelt Air Bag||Not Available||Not Available|
|Passenger Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Rear Head Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Rear Side Air Bag||Optional||Not Available|
|Front Head Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Front Side Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Basic||4 Years / 50,000 Miles||4 Years / 50,000 Miles|
|Corrosion||12 Years / Unlimited Miles||12 Years / Unlimited Miles|
|Drivetrain||4 Years / 50,000 Miles||4 Years / 50,000 Miles|
|Maintenance||-||3 Years / 36,000 Miles|
|Roadside Assistance||4 Years / Unlimited Miles||4 Years / Unlimited Miles|