Should I Buy an Audi Q5 or Volvo XC60?


I can't decide whether to buy an Audi Q5 or a Volvo XC60. The details: Not white or black. I'd prefer silver or grey as we live in a dirt road. We commute 1000 kilometres each week into the CBD. We bought a Mercedes-Benz GLA a few months ago, but it's too small. We still owe $40k through Mercedes-Benz finance. We want an auto diesel with standard features: Bluetooth, reversing camera camera etc. I have one three-year-old boy and a 'seven-foot' husband (and an old golden retriever). We do country road driving but mainly freeway into the city for work.

Thanks, Kelly. 


Both the Audi and the Volvo are acceptable vehicles that will do what you want, based upon your description above. 

However - and this is a big ‘however’, which I feel compelled to give you despite the fact that you might not like it - I really don’t think Audi or Volvo exemplify the pinnacle of high quality. They're certainly premium brands, but not the highest of quality. Independent assessment by JD Power and Associates put BMW and Mercedes-Benz significantly ahead of Audi and Volvo.

The ‘prestige’ these brands both lunch off is largely historical and imaginary. Volvo was hastily fire-sold to the Chinese by Ford in the aftermath of the GFC. Ford needed to get rid of Volvo (plus Land Rover, Jaguar and Aston Martin) to remain liquid and avoid bankruptcy. The Chinese (a company named Geely) bought Volvo so that it could acquire the safety technology for its other automotive enterprises. This has helped Geely, but not Volvo so much.

Audi has Volkswagen disease - which is to say that the Volkswagen Group (of which Audi is a part) is hell-bent on achieving its stated objective - which is to be the world’s number one carmaker by 2018. To do that in a short time, they had to start rolling out an incredible inventory of new vehicles quickly. Inevitably, R&D corners are cut, leading to range-wide quality issues - some of which are highly resistant to solution, and others of which mean the vehicle is sidelined at the dealership for weeks or longer awaiting parts.

Audi is also famous for offering a staggering range of options in an effort to upsell you at the dealership. If you get time, watch this video: (Audi Q3 Vs Mazda CX-5). A similar proposition pertains with the Q5 - and a good comparative case study would be the Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander. (You should drive that vehicle with an open mind as a benchmark just to make sure you’ve objectively assessed the market - then, if you still want the four rings up the pointy end, you know what you’re in for.)


Hyundai Santa Fe

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe a.jpg

Price: $53,240 (RRP)
Safety: five-star
Manufactured: South Korea
Warranty: 5yr/Unlimited km
Seats: seven
Engine: 2.2-litre diesel 4cyl
Power: 145kW @ 3800rpm
Torque: 436Nm @ 1800-2500rpm
Fuel: diesel
Economy: 7.3L/100km
Length: 4.69m
Width: 1.880m
Height: 1.69m
Kerb weight: 1968kg
Towing: 2000kg
Tyres: 235/55R19 on 7.5-inch alloy
Full-sized alloy spare wheel & tyre

Audi Q5
2.0 TDI

2014 Audi Q5 b.jpg

Price: $62,600 (RRP)
Safety: five-star
Manufactured: Germany
Warranty: 3yr/100,000 km
Seats: five
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel 4cyl
Power: 130kW @ 4200rpm
Torque: 380Nm @ 1750-2500rpm
Fuel: diesel
Economy: 6.1L/100km
Length: 4.629m
Width: 1.898m
Height: 1.655m
Kerb weight: 1895kg
Towing: 2000kg
Tyres: 235/60R18 on 8.0-inch alloy
Space saver spare wheel & tyre

Volvo XC60
D4 Kinetic

2014 Volvo XC60 a.jpg

Price: $59,990 (RRP)
Safety: five-star
Manufactured: Belgium
Warranty: 3yr/100,000 km
Seats: five
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel 4cyl
Power: 133kW @ 4250rpm
Torque: 400Nm @ 1700-2500rpm
Fuel: diesel
Economy: 4.9L/100km
Length: 4.644m
Width: 1.891m
Height: 1.713m
Kerb weight: 1748kg
Towing: 1800kg
Tyres: 235/65R17 on 7.5-inch alloy
Space saver spare wheel & tyre

Objectively: Base model Q5 = $63k + on-road costs with anorexic diesel engine, and almost no standard equipment. Fully loaded Santa Fe = $53k with everything that opens and shuts, two more years’ warranty, great to drive, potent engine, full-sized spare (important for regional customers) and capped-price service for the life of the vehicle. If you landed here from Alpha Centauri tomorrow and had yet to carry out your brand cachet research, the choice of which vehicle to buy would be an absolute no-brainer...

At least the Q5 is still built in Germany (unlike the Q3 - Spain - and Q7 - Slovak Republic). So that will doubtless help its build quality quite a bit. And the Volvo is built in Belgium - not exactly a world-pedigree car-making country, either.

On price, I’m going to put you in touch with a good broker. They will call you ASAP. They are experts in the new vehicle pricing area and they can help you achieve the best price on your new SUV, plus help you get a good trade-in on the GLA, and/or cheap finance if you need that.