2019 Audi Q5 vs. 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

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 Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the Q5 and Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid’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 Highlander Hybrid 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.

Both the Q5 and the Highlander Hybrid 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors 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 Toyota Highlander Hybrid:

 

Q5

Highlander Hybrid

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

22%

47%

Neck Stress

215 lbs.

509 lbs.

Neck Compression

44 lbs.

73 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

80/49 lbs.

409/517 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

187

291

Neck Stress

134 lbs.

219 lbs.

Neck Compression

30 lbs.

55 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

90/55 lbs.

387/392 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 Toyota Highlander Hybrid:

 

Q5

Highlander Hybrid

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.6 inches

.6 inches

Hip Force

279 lbs.

348 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

15 inches

16 inches

HIC

219

372

Spine Acceleration

35 G’s

43 G’s

Hip Force

600 lbs.

829 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 Highlander Hybrid’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 Highlander Hybrid’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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

Fuel Economy and Range

The Q5 has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Highlander Hybrid (18.5 vs. 17.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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 Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

Q5

Highlander Hybrid

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

12.9 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.2 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 on the Highlander Hybrid are solid, not vented.

The Q5 stops much shorter than the Highlander Hybrid:

 

Q5

Highlander Hybrid

 

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

187 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

130 feet

138 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

144 feet

146 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Q5’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Highlander Hybrid (255/45R20 vs. 245/55R19).

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 Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Q5 offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Highlander Hybrid’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Q5’s wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer than on the Highlander Hybrid (111 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

The Q5 Premium Plus handles at .81 G’s, while the Highlander Hybrid Limited pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Q5 Prestige executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Highlander Hybrid Limited (27.2 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.2 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Q5 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Highlander Hybrid (8.2 vs. 8 inches), allowing the Q5 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The Audi Q5 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 800 to 900 pounds less than the Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

The Q5 is 8.9 inches shorter than the Highlander Hybrid, making the Q5 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Audi Q5 amounts to more than styling. The Q5 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .32 Cd. That is lower than the Highlander Hybrid (.33 to .34) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Q5 get better fuel mileage.

Cargo Capacity

The Q5 has a much larger cargo volume than the Highlander Hybrid with its rear seat up (25.1 vs. 13.8 cubic feet).

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Q5’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

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 Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid’s (4400 vs. 3500 pounds).

Servicing Ease

The Q5 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Highlander Hybrid uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the Q5 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Highlander Hybrid. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Toyota. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 44% lower rating, Toyota is ranked 17th.

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 Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the Q5 and the Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid’s standard rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

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 Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid’s standard 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 Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

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 Highlander Hybrid’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Q5 offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Highlander Hybrid offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

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 Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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

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