Lessons learnt in our long-term Audi SQ5
It’s not been all plain sailing with our sporty SUV, as James Baggott reports
As the miles increase on our Audi SQ5 I’m really starting to get to know its great strengths and occasional weaknesses.
And that’s the real joy of these long-term tests – being able to enjoy quality time to really get to know the car you’re testing. So, over the three months that I’ve been custodian, what have I learnt?
Well, firstly that it’s really rather juicy. I’ve covered 3,179 miles and have averaged fuel economy of 25.7mpg. I admit I haven’t got the lightest of right feet – it’s a size 12, after all – but that figure’s still some way off the 34mpg claimed combined figure.
I’ve experienced a few problems, too. The first is to do with the remote key – it doesn’t always recognise it’s in my pocket and refuses to open the doors. The idea is the car senses you’re near with the key and lets you simply pull them open – the idea of then having to get the key fob out of your pocket and press a button may sound trivial, but these things should work.
The SQ5 is also fitted with Audi Pre-Sense, a system that analyses the road ahead and can apply the brakes if it feels an accident is likely. However, twice now it has applied them in an emergency fashion in perfectly innocuous circumstances.
The first was in London when tackling a busy crossroads. The road ahead had a traffic island in the middle of it and a cyclist was crossing the stopped lane of traffic and riding towards the island. A large metal barrier separated him and the flowing traffic.
The second time it activated was on a bridge that had a bend in the road. As I drove towards it, two pedestrians were walking, perfectly safely, down the pavement. But again, as I drove around the slight bend towards the bridge, the Audi surmised that they were in danger and slammed on the anchors. This second time was far more annoying than the first.
I’m all for safety systems, but this one seems overly sensitive – and doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence for autonomous cars of the future.
I’ve also learnt a few new tricks with the Audi, thanks to a recent passenger who has an RS4. He showed me how to change the sat nav from a standard mapping screen to an overlay of Google Maps, which is very cool. He also explained how you can set up the asterisk button on the steering wheel to do a variety of things.
I opted to get it to change the adaptable driving modes so I can switch from Driving The Little One To School mode to Driving Down The Back Roads mode without taking my hands off the wheel. Handy.
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