Crossover & Midsize

0.4 Seconds Is the Difference Between the 2021 and 2020 Audi SQ5

Sometimes the smallest of changes to a vehicle can make a big difference. Whether it’s a tweak to the grille or the engine gets a small boost in power, it might be enough to draw in a consumer who is on the fence about buying. Audi knows this all too well.

The German automaker has made a very minor change to the 2021 SQ5. The transmission has been upgraded, and this in turn gives it a boost in speed. It’s not much, but given how fast the SQ5 already is, it makes a big difference.

The 2021 Audi SQ5 gets a new transmission

Some things don’t need replacing, especially for a vehicle that is only getting a mild refresh. That’s probably why Audi decided to stick with the same 3.0-liter turbo V6 engine that powers the 2020 model. It manages to produce 349 hp and 369 lb-ft, which is more than a little impressive.

It might not be the fastest SUV on the block, but considering it can reach 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, that’s nothing to scoff at. In fact, the 2021 model is faster than the 2020 model by 0.4 seconds. That might not sound like much of a difference, but for anyone who has ever been in a race, that can mean the difference between winning and losing.

So how did the 2021 SQ5 become faster than the 2020 model if it still has the same engine? It’s all thanks to an updated transmission.

According to MotorTrend, “Although that’s the same engine and power numbers as the pre-refresh model, the eight-speed automatic transmission has been recalibrated with new gear ratios and axle drive ratio, and the launch control has also been reprogrammed—all of this helps it achieve better performance numbers. We’ll make sure to take it to the track soon to compare our numbers.”

The 2021 Audi SQ5 has superior driving ability

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One of the factors that held SUVs back fifteen years ago was the fact that they simply couldn’t drive as well as a sedan. Sure you got plenty of room, but turning could prove to be a real pain in some vehicles, and forget about parking. There was a reason why many SUVs were left at the lower end of the parking lot. It was too big of a pain trying to squeeze into small parking spaces.

That’s not the case for the 2021 Audi SQ5. Its steering ability is smoother than ever, allowing drivers to whip around curves without feeling drag or as if the SUV is going to roll over at any moment. It has the ability to drive on the city streets just as easily as it does twisting mountain roads.

MotorTrend was not impressed with the auto stop/start system, however. It managed to cut off while the SQ5 was still slowing down, and wouldn’t cut off when the vehicle was fully stopped. This was a minor issue, however, as it can be turned off with the mere touch of a button.

The interior has been updated as well

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While the 2020’s 7.0-inch and 8.3-inch displays were nothing to sneeze about, the 2021 model comes equipped with a standard 10.1-inch touchscreen. Also standard for the 2021 model is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

While there is some hard plastic, it is well hidden. Passengers are instead treated to soft suede on the door handles and Nappa leather seats that are relaxing enough. For passengers who are riding in the back, it’s got a comfortable ride, and taller passengers don’t feel cramped. 

While most of the coveted safety tech is an optional feature that requires more money, there are a few standard features. The 2021 SQ5 comes standard with lane departure warning, high-beam assist, parking assist, and rear cross-traffic alert. 

With a starting price of $53,995, the 2021 SQ5 is anything but cheap. Still, it offers quite a bit for that price and is one of the nicer SUVs in its division.