Audi Q5 A Guide to Its Best and Worst Years! [Data-Backed]

Audi Q5: A Guide to Its Best and Worst Years! [Data-Backed]

Audi’s dedication to injecting the spirit of the German luxury brand into any shape or form of the automobile is evident in its best-selling Q5 compact crossover.

But just because something is a bestseller doesn’t mean it earns a perfect score for every single year it’s been out, and this more so applies to pre-owned models.

That said, the Audi Q5 has its best years and worst years, and we’re going to uncover each one of them using facts and stats for your own buyer’s delight!

What are the best and worst Audi Q5 model years?

The best Audi Q5 model years are 2009, 2017, 2019, 2020, and 2023, while the worst ones are 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2018.

The best and worst Audi Q5 model years are determined by their consumer and expert ratings, reliability reviews, notable features, and the number of complaints for each year.

Throughout the years, Audi has made efforts to extend its own embodiment of German luxury and performance to every vehicle category, and the Audi Q5 has since taken a good spot in the compact luxury crossover class back in 2009.

Despite being a fairly new nameplate, the Q5 already made its mark in the used market with a couple of noteworthy model years to purchase even for the first-time Euro car owner.

But in the same vein, the luxury SUV has also left a sour taste in the mouth of many owners who’ve had the misfortune of buying some of its not-so-noteworthy and unreliable years.

Luckily, you only have two generations of the SUV to pick any year from, and some of their best years that we’ve determined are the 1st-gen 2009 and 2017 models, and the 2nd-gen 2019, 2020, and 2023 models.

The worst years you should avoid, on the other hand, are mostly made up of 1st-gen models, including the 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 models. In addition, the 2nd-gen 2018 model is also known to be a bad-performing year for the SUV.

Now that we’ve completed the list, read on as we look into the facts and stats that answer why you should or shouldn’t buy any of these Audi Q5 years!

What are the best Audi Q5 model years?

The best Audi Q5 model years include 2009, 2017, 2019, 2020, and 2023. These years have received either the highest average consumer/expert ratings, the fewest reported complaints, or a mixture of both compared to other years.

2023 Audi Q5 (80A)

2023 Audi Q5 (80A)

The 2023 Audi Q5 is one of the best model years of the German SUV if you don’t mind spending more for the latest luxury features and promising reliability.

Ratings for this 1-year-old model are fairly good at the time of this writing, with experts from KBB and Car and Driver scoring it 4.5/5 and 8/10, while consumers from Edmunds and J.D. Power give it a 3.7/5 and 76/100.

But since it’s technically still a new model at this point, ratings and reviews for the 2023 Q5 are highly subject to change, as are the few reported complaints that it currently has.

Nonetheless, comparing the stats does show that people mostly prefer this model year over the 2021 and 2022 models, suggesting that there’s an improvement in reliability that’s also accompanied by the added features.

For the 2023 model year, the Audi Q5 already comes standard with adaptive cruise control for all trims, a Bang & Olufsen sound system for the Premium Plus trim, and a new “Chronos Gray” exterior paint color.

In general, this model is just extra icing over an already solid platform since the 2021 facelift, which carries over one of the most premium-feeling interiors filled to the brim with a trifecta of safety, comfort, and entertainment features.

While there are several great powertrains to choose from, the 45 TFSI 2-liter turbo I4 gives the best balance with plenty of usable oomph, very linear power delivery, and decent mpg ratings.

2020 Audi Q5 (80A)

2020 Audi Q5 (80A)

Another notable Audi Q5 model year that will make a good purchase is the 2020 model thanks to a good track record for reliability and a considerable amount of modern features at lower prices.

Ratings for the 2020 Audi Q5 are slightly divided between consumers and experts. Case in point, KBB and Car and Driver experts give it scores of 4.7/5 and 8/10, while Edmunds and J.D. Power consumers give it lower ratings of 3.4/5 and 75/100.

Despite this, it only has 23 complaints on CarProblemZoo, which is the fewest out of any Audi Q5 model year excluding the 2024 model, which speaks of its long-term reliability even against other 2nd-gen model years.

While it doesn’t have all the post-2021 facelift goodies, it still very much has that modern Audi flair with tech like a user-friendly infotainment screen, heated front seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a Pre-Sense Basic collision-avoidance system.

What’s more, the 2020 model was also released with a new 2-liter turbo I4 plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain option, offering a substantial increase in power and overall range over the standard non-hybrid 4-cylinder.

2019 Audi Q5 (80A)

Going back just one year earlier, we arrive at the 2019 Audi Q5, which is a very strong contender for one of the best years of the 2nd-gen model.

Much like its 2020 counterpart, it’s a cheaper model year for the Q5 80A that you can take advantage of while still having some of the finest Audi tech to play around with.

As for its consumer and expert ratings, the 2019 model actually fairs better compared to the succeeding year. While it ties the 2020 model on KBB (4.7/5) and Car and Driver (8/10), it scores significantly higher on Edmunds (4.5/5) and J.D. Power (78/100).

It has slightly more complaints than the 2020 model on CarProblemZoo, though the difference is very negligible at this level, especially since it easily dominates the 2020 model when it comes to positive consumer reviews on Edmunds anyway.

Minus the PHEV option, you still get a potent turbocharged 2-liter I4 powertrain for this year while having extras like a 7-inch display, heated front seats, aluminum window trims, wireless phone charging, and other new standard features.

2017 Audi Q5 (8R)

2017 Audi Q5 (8R)

The 2017 Audi Q5 is the last hurrah of the 1st-generation “Typ 8R” model platform and also happens to be a prime year for the German luxury SUV.

Possessing a combination of impressive automotive technology and Audi’s efforts to learn from and alleviate the numerous problems that have plagued earlier years, the 2017 Q5 gives a premium yet refined experience at non-premium price tags.

Apart from an extreme drop in complaints compared to earlier years, it also benefits from fairly high ratings on average, such as 4.4/5 on KBB, 4.2/5 on Edmunds, 81/100 on J.D. Power.

Car and Driver gives it a passable 6/10 as acceleration performance could be better and the lack of a USB port is quite out-of-place for a luxury SUV, although these don’t detract from the fact that it’s still an edge above every model year below it feature-wise.

If you do prefer to fill the small gap in power that the base 4-cylinder engine leaves, then the supercharged 3-liter V6 powerplant can effortlessly do just that and then some.

Similar to the 2nd-gen models, the 1st-gen 2017 comes with a similarly-sized 7-inch screen, but this time around, it’s controlled by a knob and some buttons either on the dashboard or on the center console.

Other than its nicely decorated luxury interior that’s still updated for its time, the 2017 model is big on handling and ride quality, which can be described as sporty for an SUV, but not too much to leave you with a stiff neck.

2009 Audi Q5 (8R)

2009 Audi Q5 (8R)

The 2009 Audi Q5 is a living testament that any vehicle can debut with a grand entrance and still consistently deliver great reliability and value for money over a decade down the road.

Albeit not being the most sophisticated or in-your-face luxury SUV out there, remember that you’re still climbing into an Audi that’s arguably ahead of its time with just a 4-figure price tag on average used.

Ratings are quite scarce for the Q5’s debut model year, so we’ve only been able to include Edmunds consumers’ score of 4.7/5, which is impressively high for any year, especially one this old.

What’s even more impressive is that it only has 35 complaints on CarProblemZoo, most of which concern its Takata airbags. As prevalent of a recall as the airbags have been, statistics for this specific year make the issue the smallest concern.

As expected, you don’t get any fancy automatic collision-avoidance tech on board, yet this model year is known for its good safety ratings thanks to things like stability control, traction control, blind-spot alert, and front, side, and rear airbags.

With it being the debut year for the US market, you’re stuck with the sole 3.2-liter V6 FSI option for the 2009 Audi Q5, and fuel economy isn’t exactly its forte. Paired with Audi’s Quattro AWD system, however, it shines when you put your foot down. 

What are the worst Audi Q5 model years?

The worst Audi Q5 model years include 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2018 due to receiving lower consumer/expert ratings, a higher number of complaints, and poorer reliability reviews.

Recalls, technical service bulletins, and safety ratings are also considered when looking for the worst Audi Q5 years.

2018 Audi Q5 (80A)

2018 Audi Q5 (80A)

If you’re thinking of buying any used 2nd-gen Audi Q5, then a rule of thumb is to avoid the 2018 model so you don’t ever have to deal with different electrical issues that plague this particular year.

Although high expert ratings of 4.8/5 (KBB) and 8/10 (Car and Driver) may keep this model afloat in standings, consumer ratings for the 2018 Q5 tell a different story with “average” scores of 3.7/5 (Edmunds) and 79/100 (J.D. Power).

Moreover, this is also the worst year in terms of complaints, amassing a total of 208 reports on CarProblemZoo, a number that beats even the most problem-prone 1st-gen models listed on the site.

The 2018 Audi Q5 is most notoriously known for developing electrical malfunctions as a result of water leaking into the various wirings and modules in the trunk or rear panels due to clogged sunroof drains.

Some of the most commonly reported electrical issues are faulty exterior lights, starting difficulties, illuminated dashboard warning lights, random alarm activations, the instrument panel going blank, and sudden engine shutdowns.

Even the “Pre-Sense” collision-avoidance system is known to malfunction and suddenly slow down the car without any obstacles around, which adds another big safety risk to driving the 2018 model. 

2013/2014 Audi Q5 (8R)

20132014 Audi Q5 (8R)

The 1st-gen Audi Q5 “8R” doesn’t have the best reputation for reliability, and it’s because of subsequently bad model years like the 2013 and 2014 models that this negative outlook still remains intact for the SUV’s debut generation.

Stats-wise, the 2013 model received ratings of 3.9/5 from KBB experts, 4.1/5 from Edmunds consumers, and 81/100 from J.D. Power consumers, whereas the 2014 model was given similar scores of  3.8/5, 3.9/5 from, and 81/100.

While these scores can be considered average or even above average and the complaints aren’t as high as that of earlier years, we still wouldn’t recommend either model year due to the nature of their issues.

The 2013 model logged a total of 137 complaints on CarProblemZoo and CarComplaints combined, with the most common issues being excessive oil consumption, timing chain problems, and cooling system problems.

In comparison, the 2014 model has 154 complaints from the same two sites and also suffers from the same issues from the previous year.

Steering-related problems are also a concern for both model years, and while less widespread than the other issues mentioned, suddenly losing the ability to steer or control your vehicle is still a possible risk.

2012 Audi Q5 (8R)

The 2012 Audi Q5 is pretty much near the bottom when it comes to the best model years to buy, which is another way of saying to not be bothered with buying it at all.

Ratings of 3.9/5 on KBB, 4/5 on Edmunds, and 80/100 on J.D. Power may give the impression that this year is still okay to buy at your own discretion. You’re still free to do so, however, its numerous reported problems say it’s wiser not to.

With 183 complaints on CarProblemZoo and an additional 46 on CarComplaints, the 2012 Q5 is no stranger to the inescapable Takata airbag problem and a handful of engine-related issues.

Such airbags, which are known to come with inflators that can rupture and eject metal fragments into the cabin, are already big enough of a concern to avoid the 2012 model, and to make matters worse, plenty of owners have yet to receive a fix.

As for engine problems, owners typically complain of misfires, excessive oil consumption, low oil pressure, timing chain issues, engine stalling, and complete engine failure.

2011 Audi Q5 (8R)

2011 Audi Q5 (8R)

Similar to its 2012 counterpart, the 2011 Audi Q5 is another model year worth avoiding if a nice and reliable iteration of the luxury SUV is on your wishlist.

Even with consumer ratings as high as 4.1/5 on Edmunds and 79/100 on J.D. Power, the 2011 model also has an equally high number of complaints that are among the highest for any Audi Q5 model year.

A total of 203 complaints on CarProblemZoo and CarComplaints makes it part of some of the most unreliable years of the Q5, not to mention that the complaints involve important safety features and major engine components.

Once again, this model year is also fitted with the infamous rupturing airbag inflators, though there are also reports of the airbags failing to deploy in the event of a crash.

You can also potentially get the same engine issues that later years developed, such as the engine using too much oil and timing chain/tensioner problems.

Some owners of the 2011 Audi Q5 also report experiencing fuel system issues like the smell of gas fumes from inside the vehicle, faulty fuel injectors, and a leaking fuel pump flange.  

Audi Q5 Best and Worst Years Per Generation

Generation/Model YearsBest YearsWorst Years

1st Generation (8R) (2009 to 2017)

2009 2017
2011 2012 2013 2014
2nd Generation (80A) (2018 to 2024/Present)2019 2020 2023

Consumer/Expert Ratings for All Audi Q5 Model Years

Audi Q5 Model YearKBB Expert Rating Edmunds Consumer Rating Car and Driver RatingJ.D. Power Consumer Rating

What are the common problems of an Audi Q5?

What are the common problems of an Audi Q5

The Audi Q5 is known to develop engine problems such as excessive oil consumption and timing chain issues. Airbag problems and other electrical issues are also common for the SUV.

Leaks from a faulty fuel pump flange are commonly reported to occur in several model years of the 1st-gen Audi Q5.

Engine Problems

A common downside of getting a 1st-gen Audi Q5 is the possibility of developing engine issues at less than 100,000 miles, especially if you opt for one from 2011 to 2014.

Commonly reported in the turbocharged 2-liter I4 engine, the Audi Q5 is prone to excessive oil consumption, with owners experiencing low oil pressure warnings and oil leaks, forcing them to top up with a few quarts of oil every several hundred miles.

Timing chain issues are also fairly common for this engine, which include a jumped chain and tensioner failure. Such issues can cause damage to the cylinder heads and other internal components, potentially resulting in complete engine failure.

Electrical Problems

While no Audi Q5 is truly free of electrical problems throughout its lifespan, they can become increasingly frequent due to other unrelated issues, like in the case of the 2018 model and its clogged sunroof drains.

The clogged drains are known to leak water into the rear of the vehicle, which causes different wirings and modules placed therein to get wet and short-circuit.

The resulting short-circuit causes a cascade of issues including but not limited to faulty exterior lights, different warning lights showing up on the dash, alarms randomly activating, and even the vehicle shutting off completely.

Airbag Problems

Airbag-related problems are among the most prevalent issues observed in multiple model years of the 1st-gen Audi Q5.

The notorious Takata airbags fitted in early Audi Q5 models are predominantly to blame due to their faulty inflators that can potentially rupture upon deployment, which can cause ejected metal fragments to injure the occupants.

On occasion, the airbags can also do the exact opposite, which is failing to deploy in the event of a crash, posing another big safety concern.

Unfortunately, because of the sheer amount of vehicles affected by the Takata airbag recall worldwide, plenty of 1st-gen Audi Q5 owners supposedly “covered” by it have yet to receive a fix or replacement for their airbags.

Fuel Leaks

Certain 1st-gen Audi Q5 models have yet another concern with fuel leaks, which initially start with the strong smell of fuel from inside the vehicle.

The main culprit of the leak is a crack in the fuel pump flange, and according to the manufacturer’s recall, affected vehicles will have their flanges replaced and installed with butyl tape free of charge.

While the 2011 and 2012 models are the worst off when it comes to the fuel leak issue, other models from 2013 and 2017 have also exhibited fuel leaks of their own albeit not as frequently.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What year Audi Q5 is most reliable?

The Audi Q5 has several model years notable for their good reliability such as the 2009 and 2017 1st-gen models, and the 2019 and 2020 2nd-gen models. 

The 2023 model has also shown improved reliability over the 2020 and 2021 models due to its fewer complaints, though more time is needed to better gauge its reliability in the long run.

In general, good reliability can look slightly different for each model year. For instance, some years may possess higher reliability ratings, while others have received fewer complaints concerning major issues.

What is the most common problem of an Audi Q5?

One of the most common problems of the Audi Q5 is excessive oil consumption, which was observed to occur frequently in 1st-gen models from 2011 to 2014 with the 2-liter I4 turbo engine.

Other common Audi Q5 problems worth looking out for include timing chain issues, electrical problems due to water damage, a clogged sunroof, defective airbags, and a leaking fuel pump flange. 

Is the Audi Q5 high maintenance?

According to RepairPal’s estimates, the Audi Q5 will cost $928 per year to maintain, which is $276 more expensive than the annual maintenance cost average for any vehicle at $652.

Unsurprisingly, this is quite expensive since it’s a luxury brand. However, maintenance costs for the Audi Q5 also depend on factors such as its age and mileage, driving habits, location, and the shop you choose to have it serviced.

Is the Audi Q5 fuel efficient? 

The Audi Q5 generally has respectable fuel efficiency across its lineup of engines, with the base 2-liter I4 40 TFSI powertrain achieving EPA-rated estimates of 23 mpg (city) and 29 mpg (highway).

Opting for the 55 TFSI plug-in hybrid model gives you up to 28 miles of pure electric range and 26 mpg (combined) on gas alone. This results in a combined gas + electric fuel economy rating of 60 MPGe.