2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid vs. 2019 Audi Q5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Highlander Hybrid has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats, which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats system allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Q5 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Highlander Hybrid’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Q5 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Highlander Hybrid 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, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid weighs 780 to 920 pounds more than the Audi Q5. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

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

 

Highlander Hybrid

Q5

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.7 inches

Neck Injury Risk

32%

34%

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, results indicate that the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is safer than the Audi Q5:

 

Highlander Hybrid

Q5

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

54

60

Chest Movement

.6 inches

.6 inches

Abdominal Force

88 G’s

98 G’s

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

111

185

Spine Acceleration

41 G’s

53 G’s

Hip Force

440 lbs.

817 lbs.

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 headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Highlander Hybrid 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

Toyota’s powertrain warranty covers the Highlander Hybrid 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Audi covers the Q5. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the Q5 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Highlander Hybrid for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Audi only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Q5.

There are over 4 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Highlander Hybrid’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 17th in initial quality. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 13th.

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

Engine

The Highlander Hybrid’s 3.5 DOHC V6 hybrid produces 58 more horsepower (306 vs. 248) than the Q5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Highlander Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Q5 (29 city/27 hwy vs. 22 city/27 hwy). The Highlander Hybrid LE gets better fuel mileage than the Q5 (30 city/28 hwy vs. 22 city/27 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Q5 requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Toyota Highlander Hybrid as a “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV). The Audi Q5 is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.

Transmission

The Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid stops much shorter than the Q5:

 

Highlander

Q5

 

60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

136 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Highlander Hybrid has larger tires than the Q5 (245/55R19 vs. 235/60R18).

Passenger Space

The Highlander Hybrid has standard seating for 8 passengers; the Q5 can only carry 5.

The Highlander Hybrid has 3.2 inches more front legroom, 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom, .6 inches more rear legroom and 2.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the Q5.

Cargo Capacity

The Highlander Hybrid’s cargo area provides more volume than the Q5.

 

Highlander

Q5

Third Seat Folded

42.3 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

25.1 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

83.7 cubic feet

53.1 cubic feet

The Highlander Hybrid’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The Q5’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

Ergonomics

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Highlander Hybrid 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.

Consumer Reports rated the Highlander Hybrid’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Q5’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

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 Highlander Hybrid’s headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Q5’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

The Highlander Hybrid XLE/Limited/Platinum has a 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.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Highlander Hybrid owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Highlander Hybrid will cost $220 to $1910 less than the Q5 over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Toyota Highlander Hybrid will be $6631 to $8224 less than for the Audi Q5.

Recommendations

Both are recommended, but Consumer Reports® chose the Toyota Highlander Hybrid as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Toyota Highlander outsold the Audi Q5 by over three to one during 2018.

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

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