Used Guide: 2009-2016 Audi Q5

Buying a secondhand Audi Q5? Shop smart with these 5 tips

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The first-generation Audi Q5 entered the market for model-year 2009, tempting luxury shoppers with spirited driving manners, the latest high-end feature content, available diesel power, and Quattro AWD. Today, second-hand Audi Q5’s are popular with shoppers upgrading to a crossover that’s equal parts comfortable and capable.

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Long-distance drivers may tend towards diesel-powered units, which offer improved torque output and improved fuel economy. For most drivers, the standard-issue 2-litre turbo four will be sufficiently responsive and reasonable on fuel. Expert ratings often peg the Q5’s reliability around ‘average’, and problems reported by owners tend to be electronic, not mechanical in nature.

Premium feature content included a Bang and Olufsen stereo system, rear-seat entertainment console, adaptive cruise control, turn-signal mirrors, blind spot monitoring, and more.

Follow the related links for more information, specs, pricing, news and reviews on the first-generation Audi Q5, and read on for 5 tips to help you find the best used Q5 you can for the dollar.

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2018 Audi Q5
2018 Audi Q5

Tip 1: The Drive Mode Selector

The Audi Q5 is equipped with a feature called Audi Drive Select, which allows the driver to control how the vehicle responds by selecting between modes like Comfort, Dynamic, Efficiency or Auto.

Be aware of the engaged drive mode on your test-drive, noting that the use of certain modes may limit performance response from the engine. If you detect any hesitation or sluggishness, even with sportier drive modes engaged, have the vehicle seen by a technician before you buy. 

Tip 2: Under the Hood

Some Audi Q5 owners have reported engine trouble; most have not. Many owners report trouble-free long-term operation, while others report problems with failed turbochargers, carbon buildup, cooling system trouble, and more.

Note that some owners of TDI-powered Q5s have reported water pump failure, which is a good reason to consider a professional inspection before you buy.

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Some members of the owner’s community suggest opting for a model with the 3-litre supercharged V6, because of a lower number of reported problems compared to the 2-litre turbo engine. In reporting on many used Audi’s over the years, my research points in this direction as well.

Many repeat buyers prefer to get their Q5 through a dealer Certified Pre Owned (CPO) program, which requires vehicles to meet higher quality standards than units sold privately.

Buying a used luxury crossover without a professional assessment is not recommended.

2018 Audi Q5
2018 Audi Q5

Tip 3: The Sunroof

If rattles irritate you, be sure to perform this check carefully.

After confirming satisfactory operation of the Q5’s sunroof, quiet the cabin and listen closely overhead while travelling over a bumpy surface. 

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Many owners have reported irritating clicking, buzzing or rattling noises from the sunroof, sometimes even at low miles. Owners say a fix may be hit and miss, with lubrication, shimming and new parts sometimes failing to solve the problem on the first attempt.

Tip 4: Clunk Test

Find a big, open space where it’s safe to maneuver the Q5 around at parking-lot speeds, and quiet the cabin.

Start by reversing carefully at a reasonable speed, and tapping the brakes quickly, several times, with a fast and moderate press. 

Next, maneuver the Q5 in some tight figure-8 maneuvers, in both DRIVE and REVERSE. 

Finally, park the car, centre the steering, and wiggle the steering wheel back and forth rapidly, about an inch or so, from centre, for a few moments. 

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The tests above can coax unwanted sounds and vibrations from the Q5 that signal trouble with one or more vehicle systems. These problems could cost you money, so be sure to have the vehicle seen by a professional before you buy.

2017 Audi Q5
2017 Audi Q5

Tip 5: Body and Windshield Damage

Carefully check the exterior of the used Q5 you’re considering for signs of damage to (or misalignment of) the front and rear bumpers. 

The Audi Q5 you’re considering has sensors embedded within the bumpers, and problems with vehicle safety systems can result if the bumper is damaged, improperly seated, or improperly repaired after a collision.

Note that windshield damage may impede the operation of vehicle safety systems as well, and that windshield replacement may be more involved and costly if advanced safety systems are involved.

Final Thought

These tips are designed to help test-driving shoppers more easily identify possible trouble areas reported by some owners. An attentive test-drive and shopping process that focuses on the areas above can help you find a first-class example of a second-hand Audi Q5.

2017 Audi Q5
2017 Audi Q5

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