Performance and economy used to be mutually-exclusive tradeoffs, especially with SUVs, but no longer. The 2014 Audi Q5 TDI, which starts at $47,375 (including a $895 destination fee), gets 24 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, nearly matching that of a Toyota RAV4 2WD, but also brings a substantial 428 lb-ft of torque to the party, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard Quattro all-wheel drive, goes 0-60 in a claimed 6.5 seconds.
The Q5 is one of three 2014 Audi models to get the new 3.0-liter TDI V-6 turbodiesel engine, the others being the A6 TDI and A7 TDI. The A8 L started offering the TDI for 2013, and the Q7 SUV has offered the TDI option since 2009.
The Q5 will be the most affordable V-6 TDI model in Audi's U.S. lineup, with the A6, A7, and A8 L all starting for substantially more. It also undercuts the price of the Q5 Hybrid model, which starts at over $50,000, mating a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder to an electric motor. The Hybrid matches the diesel in city driving with a 24-mpg rating, but falls 1 mpg short on the highway rating at 30 mpg.
Hmm. Less money, more torque, better acceleration, and better fuel economy? Seems like an easy win for the TDI in our book.