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Here Are The Audi Q5 Years To Avoid

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Green Audi Q5

Source: Pixabay

Compact SUVs and crossovers have become the go-to vehicle for millions of American families. At the same time, many car buyers want something beyond the Honda CR-Vs, Toyota RAV4s, and Ford Escapes that fill today’s parking lots and driveways. And upscale automakers like Audi are happy to meet this need. Its first entry into this highly competitive segment, the Q5, quickly has become the brand’s best-selling vehicle. So, it’s natural to consider an Audi Q5 if you’re looking for a used premium SUV. With this in mind, we’ll look at what Audi Q5 years to avoid.


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Read on as we explore what has to say about each Q5 model and check out what’s been reported to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).  

Essential Info on Audi Q5 Years To Avoid

This year-by-year review includes owner-reported issues, official manufacturer recalls, and technical service bulletin (TSB) reports. Also known as “secret recalls, TSBs are manufacturer-generated repair instructions that don’t have the same legal force as a recall. A TSB-related issue can involve simple matters such as updating maintenance procedures to dealing with significant mechanical problems. It’s also not uncommon for an automaker to issue dozens if not hundreds of TSBs for a single model year, as modern vehicles are complex machines.

Audi Q5 Generations

Audi has produced two generations of the Q5. The first one was built from 2009-2017, and the second version has been in production since 2018. We’ll skip the 2019-2022 model years as information is limited on these newest Q5s.  

Audi Q5 Years To Avoid: Problem Counts By Model Year

Here are Audi Q5 owner critiques as filed with and NHTSA.



2009 Audi Q5

2009 is the debut model year for the Q5, and generally, avoiding the first year of an all-new vehicle is good advice. Although there are only 32 consumer complaints (see above chart), this low number may be due to less than 14,000 Q5s sold in the U.S. during its debut year. In contrast, Audi delivered almost 70,000 Q5s in 2018.

With 606 TSBs for the 2009 Q5, it’s difficult to cite one overwhelming trouble area. Most owner-reported issues center around airbag and seatbelt problems, followed by fuel system issues. So, it’s no surprise that all six recalls deal with these issues. But, if you have a malfunctioning 2009 Q5, it’s wise to first check the TSB reports for a possible cause and solution.

2010 Audi Q5

TSB reports for this model year increase to 759. Complaints increase, as does the sales volume for the 2010 Q5, and reports continue to mention the same airbag, seatbelt, and fuel system troubles. Of course, the four recalls for this model year deal with these problems. As a result, 2010 is one of the Audi Q5 years to avoid. 

2011 Audi Q5

The same recalls that affect earlier Q5s also continue with 2011 models. At the same time, reports of engine problems such as excessive oil consumption start to pop up. This 60% increase in complaints (191 for this model year) is something to pay attention to, as are 895 TSBs. 2011 is another year to skip for the Audi Q5.


We walk you through the previous and current generations of the Audi Q5. Which model is the most reliable year of Audi Q5? Which ones should you avoid?

2012 Audi Q5

Complaints (now up to 206) are also reported for the 2012 Audi Q5. These issues are repeats of what owners encountered with earlier models, plus we see problems such as engine failure and sunroof failure (a recall was issued for this) appear. The automaker also releases 985 technical service bulletins. Of all the Audi Q5 years to avoid, 2012 is the one.

2013 Audi Q5

Complaints about the 2013 Audi Q5 are down to 100, but some owners experienced electrical and steering problems. These are newer issues not seen with any significance in older Q5s. TSBs are up to 1309, the most for any Q5 year. In comparison, the 2013 BMW X5 has 363 TSBs. Recalls for this model year include corrections for the electrical and cooling systems. Tread with caution if you’re considering a 2013 Audi Q5.

2014 Audi Q5

For the first time, Consumer Reports gives a “good” reliability rating to a Q5. But don’t rely solely on this review when shopping for a used car. Has a mechanic checked out the vehicle? Nonetheless, 111 reported complaints about ordinary things like excessive oil consumption are still present.

2015 Audi Q5

For the 2015 model year, the Q5 turns a corner. Complaints and TSBs (867) are down, and Consumer Reports gives the SUV a “fair” reliability rating. At the same time, reports of common problems (steering and oil consumption, to name a few) have also dropped. There’s less to be concerned with a 2015 if you’re shopping for a used Q5.

2016 Audi Q5

A 2016 Q5 is a good contender for a used Audi as the trend of reduced complaints and TSBs (672) continues. Consumer Reports give the model year a good rating, and individual complaints are primarily spread over various issues. In other words, there isn’t one overwhelming problem as there’s been in past years.


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2017 Audi Q5

The final year of the first-generation Q5 is another good option for a used Audi. Complaints are a fraction of what was reported in the first years of the Q5, and the vehicle even gets a “very good” rating from Consumer Reports. Similarly, TSBs are modest (compared to other Q5 years) at 473. It’s not uncommon for the final model year of a car to have many kinks worked out at this point.

2018 Audi Q5

As the 2018 Q5 is an all-new model, you’ll want to consider if buying a used one makes sense carefully. Complaint frequency is modest, and the 2018 model gets a thumbs up (good rating) from Consumer Reports. Most grievances center around various electrical issues with no common trouble spots. A used 2018 Q5 may still be under the factory warranty. If this is the case, review manufacturer service and repair records.

Common Audi Q5 Problems

According to RepairPal, the Audi Q5’s reliability rating is 3.0 out of 5.0, rated Average. If you’re going to buy a used Audi Q5, here are some of its most common reliability woes:

  • Defective timing chains: 2011-2012 Q5’s timing chains were reportedly prone to early failure. Specifically, it’s an issue with the timing chain tensioner, which ensures the chain is tightly wound to the gears and pulleys. A lawsuit was filed for this particular issue, and Audi settled it.
  • Excessive oil consumption: Numerous Audi models with turbocharged engines, including the 2011 Q5, struggled with excessive oil consumption. Once again, a lawsuit was filed to target this specific issue, and Audi had to settle without admitting fault.
  • Defects in the Start-Stop system: Frustrated owners of 2017-2020 Q5 models complained about problems with the vehicle start-stop system. Reported issues like delayed acceleration response and power steering and brake shut-offs make the car dangerous to drive.
  • Leaking fuel pump flanges: According to reports, the fuel pump flange supplied to Audi developed hairline cracks that resulted in small leaks. This was quite a difficult issue because small amounts of flammable liquid hitting the internal components can spark a flame.
  • Automatic transmission failure: The 2009-2010 and 2012 Audi Q5 models have reported transmission failures, including issues with sudden transmission lockup, rough shifting, and, in some cases, complete transmission breakdown, necessitating expensive repairs or replacements.
  • Sunroof leaks and failures: Sunroof leaks and operational failures, reported in the 2009-2017 models, can lead to water ingress, damaging the interior and affecting electronic components. According to frustrated owners, the problem often stems from faulty seals or drainage issues.
  • Faulty steering: Dismayed owners of the 2014-2017 Audi Q5 have complained about steering issues, including a stiff steering feel and unusual noises during low-speed maneuvers or while the vehicle is stationary.
  • Electrical issues: A range of electrical problems have plagued the 2009-2016 models, affecting everything from dashboard warning lights and exterior lighting to the infotainment system and electronic rearview camera. 
  • Suspension woes: The 2009-2012 models have faced suspension-related complaints, with premature wear of suspension components leading to noise, reduced ride quality, and handling issues. These problems necessitate repairs or replacements, often expensive due to the Audi Q5’s nature as a luxury vehicle.
Are Audi Q5s typically reliable?

While the Audi Q5 is a beautiful and sharply styled crossover, this workmanship doesn’t always translate into reliability. There are many Q5 model years that have a history of problems. 

How much does a used Audi Q5 typically cost?

Audi has been selling the Q5 in the U.S. since 2009. So, prices for older models will certainly be lower than newer editions. A recent report from CoPilot Price Pulse shows that a 2009 Q5 has an average asking price of $9,818. Meanwhile, a 2020 Audi Q5 goes for $35,054, which reflects a 12% premium due to high market demand for crossovers and tight used car supplies. 

Is the Audi Q5 a good car to purchase?

The Audi Q5 can be an excellent buy if you stay away from the problematic model years. You’ll also want to focus on the Audi Q5 year that offers the best value to maximize your purchasing power.

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