Rear seat heaters are standard, which is great if you like your kids zonking out while you drive (or if you’re amorously adventurous). For $300, you can add rear-window sunshades. It will keep the sun out of the kids’ eyes for a better sleep (and nosy passersby out of view for those amorous adventures). Three-zone climate comfort offers similar benefits. In summer, when you’re trying to cool so much space without freezing yourself, it’d be a godsend.

How much space is back there? Well for a ‘compact’ luxury SUV, it feels more luxurious than compacted. A longish wheelbase of 2,807 mm contributes to decently spacious backseat legroom of 950 mm. There’s cargo capacity of 824 L. Those heated seats fold down in a 60/40 split blessedly easily, although they don’t quite flatten. They’re controlled by levers near the tailgate. Simple! Incorporated in the 60 portion is a little skier’s door. Drop the front down between the two backseats to reveal an armrest whose sliding door, with a gentle touch, deploys a pair of cup holders. It’s pretty but looks delicate to be so accessible to curious children.

2013 Audi Q5 Hybrid2013 Audi Q5 Hybrid2013 Audi Q5 Hybrid2013 Audi Q5 Hybrid
2013 Audi Q5 Hybrid. Click image to enlarge

An early issue with hybrid vehicles was where to store that clunky electric system. The first generation Toyota Camry Hybrid had almost no trunk space. Rather than carrying a spare tire onboard, the electrics reside beneath the trunk. Instead, the Q5 hybrid has a small cache above the rear passenger-side wheel, containing a tire mobility system, the contents of which would fit in your daughter’s Dora the Explorer backpack. It temporarily re-inflates and seals a tire long enough to get you to a dealership.

Complaints? Not many more than the few mild criticisms above.

The power tailgate is extra sensitive and slow, a bad combination because you think it hasn’t noticed your first touch on the button. Then it begins opening and stops because it thinks you requested a pause.

Remote start and a heated steering wheel would be nice for that price. Climate change which begat hybrid technology aside, in Canada you can depend on a few months of cold mornings every year.

For all the enjoyment it provides, it’s still a bit big for typical city life. Certainly you don’t need this much car if the majority of your driving is commuting solo to work. But if you can afford to leave the city most weekends with your family and want a safe crossover that’s not vulgarly large but pampers the passengers with comfort and the driver with constant feedback from road, don’t hesitate to put it on the list.

2013 Audi Q5 Hybrid
2013 Audi Q5 Hybrid
2013 Audi Q5 Hybrid. Click image to enlarge

Pricing: 2013 Audi Q5 hybrid
Base price (Q5 hybrid): $56,600
Options: Ice Silver Metallic $750; Rear Door Sunshades $300; Fine Grain Ash Natural Brown $500; Bang & Olufsen Sound System $1,000; Comfort Front Seats with Milan Leather $2,500
Freight: $1,995
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $63,745

Mercedes-Benz GLK 250 Bluetec
Acura RDX
Audi Q5
Infiniti EX37
Land Rover LR2/Range Rover Evoque
Volvo XC60

Crash test results
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

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