Is the 2021 Audi Q5 Plug-in Hybrid a Good Car?

The 2021 Audi Q5 Plug-in Hybrid is certainly a speedy SUV—but it doesn’t offer quite as much fuel efficiency as other PHEVs in its class.
Written by Jacqulyn Graber
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
The 2021
Audi Q5
Plug-in Hybrid has a lot to offer: luxury style, impressive speed, and just as much cargo space as the gas-powered trims. But does its fuel efficiency truly live up to its PHEV label?
If you’re in the market for a plug-in hybrid (or PHEV) vehicle, then you’re probably looking to save some money on gas. And with a relatively reasonable starting price of $52,895, the 2021 Audi Q5 seems, in many ways, like a great luxury option. Unfortunately, while this family-friendly SUV has lots of outstanding perks, its fuel efficiency isn’t one of them.
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2021 Audi Q5 plug-in hybrid

Not long ago, hybrid, plug-in hybrid (PHEV), and all-electric vehicles were known for looking futuristic and, sometimes, a bit dorky. In recent years, however, the hybrid and electric vehicle marketplace has exploded with stylish options—and the 2021 Audi Q5 PHEV is just that.
This family-friendly SUV offers drivers and passengers an upscale experience, thanks to fashionable styling both inside and out. But looks aren’t the only thing that matters—let’s go through all of the nitty-gritty details to decide if the Q5 is the right PHEV for you. 
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The 2021 Audi Q5 PHEV starts at $52,895 for its lowest trim level—not a bad price for such a luxury SUV, especially when considering the host of premium features standardly included. 
Plus, if you're the proud owner of an all-electric Audi vehicle or an Audi plug-in hybrid that was purchased new in or after 2010, you may be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500—making the purchase price that much more desirable. 

Performance and fuel economy

When it comes to performance, the 2021 Q5 PHEV doesn’t disappoint—it's the fastest option in the Q5 lineup
That’s thanks to the PHEV’s impressive powertrain, comprised of a 261-hp turbocharged four-cylinder, a seven-speed automatic transmission, and Quattro all-wheel drive—standard on all Q5 SUVs—plus an 11.3-kWh battery pack and a 141-hp electric motor. Altogether, the Q5 puts out a combined 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque.
As a result, you’ll be able to hustle from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds. That’s impressively quick for a luxury SUV, especially compared to the non-PHEV Q5, which takes 6.1 seconds to do the same job. 
Unfortunately, though the PHEV trim adds in significant speed, it doesn’t ramp up the Q5’s fuel economy by a significant amount. It has an all-electric driving range of just 19 miles—much shorter than similar vehicles in its class—and an uninspiring combined fuel economy of 26 mpg.
With the non-PHEV Q5 earning a 25 mpg EPA rating, it’s certainly questionable whether that 1 mpg jump is worth the added cost.

Exterior styling

When it comes to making a vehicle that looks luxuriously expensive, Audi doesn’t disappoint. The 2021 Q5 Plug-in Hybrid is extremely attractive, thanks to newly updated front and rear bumpers, headlights, and grille, as well as your choice of unique 19- and 20-inch wheel designs
You’ll also get to choose between one of ten gorgeous colors, ranging from Audi classics like Brilliant Black and Ibis White to more distinct options like District Green Metallic, Ultra Blue Metallic, or Florett Silver Metallic

Interior and comfort

The Q5 offers seating for five total individuals. Realistically, the Q5 offers plenty of room for four adults to enter and exit with ease and to ride in incredible comfort thanks to split-folding 40/20/40 rear seatbacks with adjustable recline
Even at the lowest trim, this PHEV offers plenty of upscale features, but opting for a higher trim will allow passengers to access quite a bit more. You’ll also get to choose between a range of seat colors, including beige, black, brown, and gray.
In terms of cargo space, the little Q5 isn’t too impressive, offering 25.8 cubic feet of rear cargo space with the second row of seats up, and 54 cubic feet with them folded. Fortunately, the PHEV trims do not sacrifice any of this space—a common complaint against many of Audi’s hybrid competitors. 


Regardless of trim level, you’ll have access to the impressive technology that Audi buyers expect. Standard features include an intuitive infotainment system displayed on a dashtop 10.1-inch screen with a Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto capability.
You’ll also enjoy standard safety-minded features likelane departure warning and Audi side assist, a tire-pressure monitoring system, and power-adjustable, heated exterior side mirrors, as well as heat-insulating side and rear windows.
Naturally, moving up trims allows for even more interesting features—notably a reconfigurable digital gauge cluster that Audi has named their Virtual Cockpit. This shows a wide, 12.3-inch view of the navigation map plus a customized combination of media, phone controls, trip computer, speed, and/or tachometer.
Other optional technology includes a top view camera system, a head-up display with traffic sign recognition, and a Bang & Olufsen sound system with 3D sound.

Warranty coverage

The warranty coverage on a 2021 Audi Q5 PHEV is, admittedly, pretty average. You’re quite likely to find more impressive warranties with other manufacturers.
Here’s what it includes:
  • Limited warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles
  • No complimentary scheduled maintenance

Trim levels and options

Each variation of the 2021 Audi Q5 generally comes in three different trims: the Premium, the
Premium Plus
, and the
—and the PHEV powertrain is no exception. Here are your three plug-in hybrid options:
  • Premium 55 PHEV: $52,895
  • Premium Plus 55 PHEV: $56,795
  • Prestige 55 PHEV: $62,695
All of these trims offer quite a few standard features inside and out, but upgrading even just one trim to the Premium Plus offers quite a few bonuses including standard leather seats, a power panoramic sunroof, and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit.
The top-of-the-line Prestige trim offers a host of exclusive features, such as matrix design LED headlights that have built-in headlight washers, added beverage holders in the cabin, a multi-color interior ambient/contour LED lighting package, rear sun shades, park assist, and more.

The bottom line

The Audi Q5 has become a classic go-to for those in the market for a luxury compact SUV. If you’re looking for an upgrade that will increase power and performance, then the 2021 Q5 PHEV does not disappoint, regardless of which trim you choose.
However, if you’re specifically looking to save big on gas, then this plug-in hybrid might not be worth the investment. It barely improves the standard gas-powered Q5’s fuel efficiency, despite costing several thousand dollars more. 

2021 Audi Q5 PHEV vs. 2021 Lincoln Corsair PHEV

To get a better idea of how well the Audi Q5 PHEV performs, let’s compare it to one of its primary competitors—the 2021
Corsair PHEV.
The 2021 Lincoln Corsair plug-in hybrid model pairs a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor, a CVT, and AWD. This powertrain is not nearly as powerful as the Q5’s, taking 7.0 seconds to get from 0 to 60 mph and producing some unrefined sounds. However, the Corsair has the Q5 beat on fuel economy. It achieves an estimated 28 miles of all-electric driving range and averages 33 mpg in combined driving.
Starting price
Fuel economy (gas only)
Fuel economy (gas + electric)
Driving range
Charging time (Level 2)
Hybrid battery warranty
2021 Audi Q5 PHEV
26 mpg
50 MPGe
19 miles
2.5 hours
4 years/50,000 miles
2021 Lincoln Corsair PHEV
33 mpg
78 MPGe
28 miles
3 to 4 hours
6 years/70,000 miles
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2021 Audi Q5 PHEV vs. 2021 Lexus NX450h+

Another major competitor for the 2021 Q5 is the
NX450h+. It has a slightly higher starting price of $57,225 but outperforms the Audi in terms of fuel economy.
This luxury SUV borrows its 302-hp plug-in hybrid powertrain from the
RAV4 Prime
and comes standard with all-wheel drive. Most impressively, it offers up to 36 miles of electric driving per charge. And with a top-notch hybrid warranty that lasts 8 years or 100,000 miles, you can be sure that this Lexus will take you quite far.
Starting price
Fuel economy (gas only)
Fuel economy (gas + electric)
Driving range
Charging time (Level 2)
Hybrid battery warranty
2021 Audi Q5 PHEV
26 mpg
50 MPGe
19 miles
2.5 hours
4 years/50,000 miles
2021 Lexus NX450h+
36 mpg
84 MPGe
36 miles
4.5 hours
8 years/100,000 miles

How to save money on car insurance

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