2019 Toyota Highlander vs. 2019 Audi Q5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Highlander 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’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 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 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 Toyota Highlander is safer than the Audi Q5:

 

Highlander

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 is safer than the Audi Q5:

 

Highlander

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 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 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 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’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Highlander has a standard 604-amp battery. The Q5’s 420-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 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’s optional 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 47 more horsepower (295 vs. 248) than the Q5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Toyota Highlander V6, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the Q5.

Brakes and Stopping

The Highlander stops much shorter than the Q5:

 

Highlander

Q5

 

60 to 0 MPH

112 feet

136 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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

Suspension and Handling

The Highlander XLE AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Q5 Prestige pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Passenger Space

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

The Highlander 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 3.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Q5.

Cargo Capacity

The Highlander’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’s optional 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.

Towing

Maximum trailer towing in the Audi Q5 is limited to 4400 pounds. The Highlander offers up to a 5000 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Highlander 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’s headlight performance “Good” to “Very Good” (depending on model and options), 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’s headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Q5’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

The Highlander XLE/SE/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.

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Highlander owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Highlander will cost $1495 to $3025 less than the Q5 over a five-year period.

The Highlander will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Highlander will retain 56.14% to 58.2% of its original price after five years, while the Q5 only retains 52.7% to 53.4%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Highlander is less expensive to operate than the Q5 because it costs $252 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Highlander than the Q5, including $427 less for a water pump, $635 less for a muffler, $105 less for front brake pads, $227 less for a starter, $14 less for fuel injection, $28 less for a fuel pump, $324 less for front struts and $115 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Toyota Highlander will be $9037 to $12229 less than for the Audi Q5.

Recommendations

The Toyota Highlander has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

 

Highlander

Q5

Consumer Reports® Recommends

Top Pick

TRUE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

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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