2019 Audi Q5 vs. 2018 Subaru Forester

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Q5’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Forester doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the Q5 and Forester have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Q5 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Forester’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The Q5 has standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Forester doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The Q5 Prestige has a standard Top View Camera System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Forester only offers a rear monitor.

Both the Q5 and the Forester have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, all-wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Audi Q5 is safer than the Subaru Forester:

 

Q5

Forester

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

284

317

Neck Injury Risk

22%

22%

Leg Forces (l/r)

80/49 lbs.

310/462 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.7 inches

.7 inches

Neck Injury Risk

34%

52%

Neck Stress

134 lbs.

215 lbs.

Neck Compression

30 lbs.

134 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

90/55 lbs.

379/133 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Audi Q5 is safer than the Subaru Forester:

 

Q5

Forester

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

60

106

Chest Movement

.6 inches

.6 inches

Abdominal Force

98 G’s

150 G’s

Hip Force

279 lbs.

314 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

185

235

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

35 G’s

44 G’s

Hip Force

600 lbs.

666 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The Q5 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Forester’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The Q5’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Forester’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

The Audi Q5’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Forester’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Q5 has a standard 420-amp battery. The Forester’s 390-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Audi vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 25th in initial quality. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 26 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 24th.

Engine

The Q5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 78 more horsepower (248 vs. 170) and 99 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 174) than the Forester 2.5i’s standard 2.5 SOHC 4 cyl. The Q5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 258) than the Forester 2.0XT’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Audi Q5 is faster than the Subaru Forester (automatics tested):

 

Q5

Forester 2.5i

Forester 2.0XT

Zero to 60 MPH

5.9 sec

9 sec

6.2 sec

Quarter Mile

14.5 sec

16.9 sec

14.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94.6 MPH

83.9 MPH

95.8 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

Regenerative brakes improve the Q5’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Forester doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Q5’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Forester doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi Q5 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The Forester 2.0XT requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Q5 has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Forester (18.5 vs. 15.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

The Audi Q5 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Forester.

The Q5 offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is more internally efficient than a CVT but just as easy to drive. The Forester doesn’t offer an SMG.

The Q5’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Forester doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Q5’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Forester:

 

Q5

Forester 2.5i

Forester 2.0XT

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

11.6 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

10.8 inches

10.9 inches

The Q5’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the Forester 2.5i are solid, not vented.

The Q5 stops much shorter than the Forester:

 

Q5

Forester

 

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

180 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Q5 has larger standard tires than the Forester (235/60R18 vs. 225/60R17). The Q5’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Forester (255/45R20 vs. 225/60R17).

The Q5’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Forester 2.5i Touring/2.0XT’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Q5 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Forester 2.5i. The Q5’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Forester 2.5i Touring/2.0XT.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Q5’s wheelbase is 7.1 inches longer than on the Forester (111 inches vs. 103.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Q5 is 2.7 inches wider in the front and 2.2 inches wider in the rear than on the Forester.

The Q5 Premium Plus handles at .81 G’s, while the Forester 2.0XT Touring pulls only .75 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Q5 Prestige executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the Forester 2.5i Touring (27.2 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.6 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

Passenger Space

The Q5 has .3 inches more front headroom and .7 inches more front shoulder room than the Forester.

Cargo Capacity

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Q5’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Forester doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

The Q5’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Forester’s (4400 vs. 1500 pounds).

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Subaru. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 45% lower rating, Subaru is ranked 18th.

Ergonomics

The Q5 Prestige has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Forester doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the Q5 and the Forester have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Q5 is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Forester prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Q5’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Forester’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. With the Forester’s optional power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the Q5 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Forester can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Q5’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Forester’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Q5 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Forester doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The Q5 has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Forester has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Limited/Touring/2.0XT.

The Q5’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Heated mirrors cost extra on the Forester and aren’t offered on the Forester Base.

When the Q5 with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Forester’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Q5 has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the Forester, and aren’t available on the Forester Base. The Q5 Premium Plus/Prestige also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Forester.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Q5 Premium Plus/Prestige keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Forester doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The Q5 has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Forester Base doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The Q5 has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Forester Touring.

Both the Q5 and the Forester offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Q5 has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Forester doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

The Q5 Prestige’s Park Steering Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Forester doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Q5 is less expensive to operate than the Forester because it costs $54 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Q5 than the Forester, including $69 less for fuel injection.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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