The Volvo has a smaller engine of the two and its definitely not a sports SUV. Delivering 185bhp, it’s a jump in and go, practical SUV. Its 5-cylinder 2400cc engine is mated with a 6-speed automatic transmission delivers un-interrupted torque on tarmac. And so much more home when off-road. The XC90 does 0-100kmph in 8.9 seconds, not outstanding but for that massive engine, but it’s exceptionally good for a seven-seater.
Automatic gearbox is not very pretty, but the All-wheel drive system makes this Swedish SUV a driver’s off-roader. In India we think of practicality and with rising petrol prices, a diesel motor is more worthy, especially if the roads are in off-roading conditions most time of the year, and the XC90 has good torque delivery. 400Nm@2000rpm is really amazing, besides it gives 9km to the litre on highways.
The Audi’s answer to the Volvo is the Audi Q5 TDi. It’s smaller than the Q7 but is no European firmness. It is a more dynamic and capable SUV of the two. It has a larger engine, more horses, and the 7-speed S-tronic dual clutch transmission is definitely smoother than the XC90 6-speed automatic. It wont win you traffic drag races but 235 horses will get you gloriously off-road. The 0-100kmph is 2.4secs faster than the XC90 and it has higher top speed.
The handling is good for an SUV but it lacks the sense of confidence you need to go off-roading. It is the same as in Q7, its light and lacks feel. It is less forgiving than the Volvo. It corners with agility and reasonable grip. Not the best in class but at 1995kg it’s a humongous SUV.
The massive three-litre TDi might sound like burning a hole in your pocket. But this is a rather practical SUV. It gives 12.2kmpl on highways which is better than the 9kmpl of XC90 and with a bigger engine. And that’s the purpose of a diesel car, to cut cost and this Q5 knows it better.
However, is it any smarter? Fitted with seven-speed S-tronic automatic transmission, which selects different set of clutches for different gear ratios, the Q5 is definitely smarter.
Looks and interior:
The Audi Q5 maybe stronger when it comes to under the hood power plant, but the Volvo XC90 has much more to offer you than a massive mean engine. It is big, but from the outside, you couldn’t tell it would seat seven people. It has the Swedish understatement with all the exterior features- pronounced wheel arches, over-sized headlamps, contour bumpers and good ground clearance begging you to take it off-road. The calm and confident look of the Volvo XC90 makes the Audi look like a bad boy car. And a bad boy car it is.
The Audi has its European firmness and the front fascia adopted from the A4, it is a compact SUV. While on interior, they both feature leather upholstery. The seats of XC90 are more up-front, giving your more confidence in driving, while the Q5 is more like a comfortable couch. Audi Q5 has seats, which move about in every manner to suit your every need, but looking at its massive size, 5 seats is not the best utilization of space against XC90, which has 7 seats.
Other differences being, Audi has climate control, which is absent in Volvo. The Audi also has a TV screen which supports your iPod and USB. There is no TV in the Volvo. But they have in common the less everyday accessed features like Satellite Navigation system. I mean when was the last time you used the Sat Nav system in your car? They both have seat heating and hands free.
Both the cars come with a 2-year warranty. The XC90 has 2 airbags, while the Q5 has 8, making it safer for driving your children to school. They both employ ABS, TCS, Adjustable steering, the more obvious features in the new generation SUVs.
They both are equally competent with top-notch quality and uncompromised power. While one is more practical, the other is more loaded.
The Volvo XC90 is a very practical SUV. Not the more powerful competitor, but it definitely has a better ride quality. And it offers you more seats without compromising stability or performance. You can take drive to work everyday and go off-roading on weekends and still feel home.
The Audi is the bigger and badder machine here. It is faster, quicker, more powerful, and more fun to ride. But its India we are talking about. The purpose of a diesel car is to cut cost. This one here has a 3.0 litre TDi engine. This makes it thirstier, or does it. If you see the figures, it has 12.2kmpl mileage, marginally more than the less powerful XC90. So, the Audi is powerful and less thirsty of the two. But that’s not all, it has only 5 seats to offer against the 7 seats in Volvo. The Q5 can go faster and further but it does not seem to offer room as the more spacious Volvo.
It’s a tough call, so its not down to cost. The Volvo XC90 costs Rs 51,98,000. While the Q5 is priced at Rs 55,50,000. And what does the Audi have to offer you in Rs 3.5lacs extra. Climate control system, Television screen, 8 air bags, better ergonomics, more refined power and fewer seats.
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