Hybrid cars are a great option for drivers who aren’t comfortable enough (or financially prepared) to make the switch to all-electric driving. Plug-in hybrids are typically more expensive than hybrids, but they also have a decent electric range for short commutes. Models like the Audi Q5 PHEV are also still as enjoyable to drive as their gas-powered counterparts.
Good Housekeeping compiled a list of the impressive hybrids in “The Best Hybrid Vehicles of 2021.” The Honda CR-V Hybrid justifiably won Best Hybrid SUV, while the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid took Best Hybrid Sedan. And the Audi Q5 won Best Luxury SUV Plug-in despite one frustrating flaw.
Perks of owning an Audi Q5 PHEV
The 2021 Audi Q5 PHEV comes with a 248-hp turbo-four paired and a 141-hp electric motor. That’s a total of 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Good Housekeeping also appreciated that it comes with standard all-wheel drive.
According to Audi, the Q5 PHEV can reach 60 mph in a clean 5.0 seconds. In EV mode, the Q5 PHEV gets 19 miles of electric range. The vehicle defaults to EV mode on startup when fully charged, encouraging drivers to save gas. When using the gas engine, the Q5 PHEV gets 27 mpg combined city/highway.
However, it’s easy to switch between Normal and EV modes when necessary. Good Housekeeping also says the ride is quiet in both drive modes, especially EV. With a 240-volt charger, Audi promises the battery can charge in just 2.4 hours.
The Audi Q5 PHEV also has quick and responsive handling, even with a heavy battery pack. GH adds that the battery pack doesn’t detract from the vehicle’s cargo area, which totals 53.5 cubic feet. And 26 cubic feet of luggage space can be utilized with the rear seats upright.
The Q5 seats five riders on standard leather upholstery with heated seats included. Riders of all heights should feel comfortable in the backseat, and the wide door openings allow for easy access. Every Audi Q5 PHEV also comes with a standard ambient lighting package.
Good Housekeeping liked the updated infotainment system, operated through a 10.1-inch touchscreen. Drivers can also opt for Audi Virtual Cockpit, which comes with a 12.3-inch digital gauge display. This feature offers extra drive modes and displays a 3D map for the navigation system.
The Audi Q5’s minor annoyances
While the Audi Q5 PHEV’s powertrain runs smoothly overall, there’s a noticeable jolt while switching to gas power. GH engineers reported that the car acted as if the accelerator had been slammed for a brief moment. Otherwise, they had no complaints with this vehicle.
GH also consulted with Car and Driver before determining a vehicle’s final placement on this list. During C/D’s test drive, reveiwers reported that the standard adjustment options on the front seats didn’t provide much comfort. C/D still gave the Audi Q5 PHEV high praise in terms of handling, especially its cornering abilities.
The experts at TrueCar were also mostly pleased with the Q5 PHEV, though they criticized its below-average electric range. They also would have liked to have seen more features on the fully loaded trim.
How this PHEV earned its place
Good Housekeeping determines its winners through rigorous tests for ride quality, interior dimensions, and the ease of operating the infotainment system. For hybrid cars, GH places extra emphasis on the overall efficiency of the battery and the usability of the eco controls.
GH engineers also examine the price difference between the hybrid and its gas-operated sibling. The 2021 Audi Q5 PHEV starts at $51,900, while the regular Audi Q5 retails for $43,300. Considering its increased power and efficiency, it’s a nice deal for a luxury hybrid plug-in.