2019 Lexus RX Series vs. 2019 Audi Q5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The RX Series has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Q5 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The RX Series offers optional Auto Brake that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Q5 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

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

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 Lexus RX Series is safer than the Audi Q5:

 

RX Series

Q5

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

53

60

Hip Force

214 lbs.

279 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

165

185

Spine Acceleration

44 G’s

53 G’s

Hip Force

594 lbs.

817 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

15 inches

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

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RX Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 100 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Q5 was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Warranty

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the RX Series 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Audi covers the Q5. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Q5 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the RX Series second among midsize premium SUVs in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Q5 isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 21 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 42 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 13th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Audi is ranked 7th.

Engine

The RX 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 47 more horsepower (295 vs. 248) than the Q5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The RX 450h’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 hybrid produces 60 more horsepower (308 vs. 248) than the Q5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the RX 450h gets better fuel mileage than the Q5 (31 city/28 hwy vs. 22 city/27 hwy).

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Lexus RX Series at emission levels ranging from “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) to “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV). The Audi Q5 is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Lexus RX Series, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the Q5.

The RX 450h has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Q5 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

The RX Series stops much shorter than the Q5:

 

RX Series

Q5

 

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

136 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

The RX Series offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Q5’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

Passenger Space

The RX Series has 3.1 inches more front legroom, .1 inches more front shoulder room, .2 inches more rear legroom and 1.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Q5.

Cargo Capacity

The RX Series has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Q5 with its rear seat folded (56.3 vs. 53.1 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

The RX Series has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Q5 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The RX Series’ standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Q5 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the RX Series has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Q5 only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The RX Series’ available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Q5’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The RX Series offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Q5 doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the RX Series offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Q5 doesn’t offer cornering lights. The RX Series also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The RX Series offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Q5 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

The RX Series is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Q5 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RX Series is less expensive to operate than the Q5 because it costs $72 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the RX Series than the Q5, including $202 less for a muffler, $33 less for front brake pads, $7 less for a starter, $149 less for fuel injection, $127 less for a fuel pump and $298 less for front struts.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Lexus RX Series and the Audi Q5, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Lexus RX Series outsold the Audi Q5 by 19% during 2018.

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

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