Behind the Wheel

2019 Audi Q8 Review: Two-row SUV carves out its own space in a crowded field, falls short on power

The Audi Q8 stands out for its high-tech features but it has a significant downside.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The new 2020 Audi Q8 has defied the odds and carved out its own space, not just in the Audi lineup, but in the luxury SUV market with its precision craftsmanship and non-invasive technologies.

The Audi Q7 is a luxury three-row SUV but the Audi Q8 is not. Defying common nomenclature logic, the Q8 is a fastback two-row SUV. The differences between the two are not just a row deletion. The Q8 is a thoroughly modern vehicle that offers finer appointments and a new take on the typical center stack interface that is shockingly easy to use.

On the outside, it has Audi's freshest design language that verges on boring as you move from the face to the side, but reaches its apex at the rear where Porsche-inspired black fascia elements set the model apart from everything in Audi's stable but the E-Tron. It's modern, new, and completely inoffensive.

2020 Audi Q8 face front grille headlightsThe face of the Audi Q8 sports the automaker's new take on a grille.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The most disappointing aspect of the 2020 Audi Q8 is its 3.6-liter V6 engine, which is sufficient but far from inspiring. Putting the accelerator to the floor results in a disappointing too-long pause before the car takes off. It achieves middling fuel economy.

On the inside, it's clear that the Q8 is an Audi with horizontal lines, modern technology, and straightforward design. The overall aesthetic is the best that Audi currently offers. It's well appointed, with excellent fit and finish, which is expected from the luxury manufacturer.

Its seats are more comfortable than those in its German counterparts and there's a suitable amount of head-, hip-, and legroom in the two rows of seating for four adults. The SUV's trunk is spacious enough for daily driving or road trips.

Four big suitcases also fit at the rear though they significantly disrupt the view out the back window. As is the case with other SUVs, the second row's middle headrest significantly encroaches on rear window visibility.

2019 Audi Q8 interior seats back rear8The Q8 has enough space in its back seat to comfortably seat two adults during a road trip.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The car employs two infotainment screens. The top features traditional radio and navigation functions. The lower controls the climate controls and seat comfort systems. They have just the right amount of haptic feedback and noise to mimic traditional controls, requiring a genuine push to activate certain functionality. The screens are easy to navigate, even for a novice, with little to no learning curve.

The Audi does get itself tripped up when it comes to dimming the infotainment system and driver information screen. There is no physical control for interior lighting and so it takes multiple menus to find the right menu choice.

2019 Audi Q8 interior cabin infotainment screens wheel shifterThe interior of the Audi Q8 is its high point.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The Q8 comes with a long list of standard and available safety technology that is unobtrusive and acts as advertised without any invasive wheel jerking or hard braking when the conditions are less than ideal for the sensors. It is the best behaving overall safety system in a luxury SUV today.

As tested, the 2019 Audi Q8 came in at $79,340 with about $11,000 in safety and technology upgrades over the base price of $67,400. It's a price that makes sense when looking at the vehicle's competitors. Still, its engine holds it back from being the best SUV you can get for the price tag.

Trending News

 
 

Subcompact SUV

Honda details all-new 2023 HR-V

The Honda HR-V is all-new for 2023.

Honda

The HR-V is Honda's smallest and most affordable SUV, slotting into the automaker's catalog beneath the long-running CR-V. The entry-level HR-V got a complete overhaul for 2023 that brought a new powertrain, updated technology, and refined styling that aligns closely with the new Civic Sedan.

2023 Honda HR-VThe new SUV features more refined, upscale styling, better tech, and new safety features.Honda

Honda offers the HR-V in three trims: LX, Sport, and EX-L. While the 2022 HR-V got a 1.8-liter four-cylinder, the 2023 model gets a larger 2.0-liter engine that produces 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque. It's mated to a continuously variable transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. The new SUV comes with hill descent control for the first time in a Honda, and three drive modes are included.

Inside, a 7-inch touchscreen comes standard that runs Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A larger 9-inch screen comes in the top EX-L trim that adds wireless smartphone connectivity. The EX-L trims also gets wireless charging and navigation. Both touchscreens come with a physical volume knob for easier interactions with the system. All models are wider and longer than before, which improves interior passenger and cargo space.

All 2023 HR-Vs come with Honda Sensing safety equipment. The package has been updated for 2023 with a traffic jam assist feature and traffic sign recognition. Honda offers blind spot monitoring for the first time in an HR-V, and a driver attention monitoring system comes standard.

2023 Honda HR-VThe HR-V picked up sleek styling for the new model year with hints of Honda Civic sprinkled in.Honda

The new HR-V starts at $24,895, including a $1,245 destination charge. The range-topping EX-L all-wheel drive model starts at $30,195. Honda says the new SUV will go on sale soon.

Trending News

 
 

New subcompact crossover

Honda announces freshened HR-V for 2023

The new HR-V is based on the Civic.

Honda

With the release of the all-new Civic and its performance variants, Honda's lineup grew more exciting this year. Even so, the automaker can't forget about its bread and butter models, which in the United States means SUVs. Its smallest, the HR-V, is getting an overhaul for 2023 with fresh styling and a more responsive powertrain. Honda hasn't elaborated on pricing or given out an exact release date for the HR-V, but we know the SUV is coming this summer.

2023 Honda HR-VThe new HR-V gets fresh styling and a more responsive powertrain.Honda

The 2023 HR-V gets a new grille with a longer hood and sweeping roofline. Honda notes that the new HR-V is based on the Civic, so while we don't have full powertrain and tech details for the new SUV, we can draw some inferences from that information. The new Civic comes standard with a 158-horsepower four-cylinder engine and a CVT, which would be a reasonable choice for the HR-V. As it did in the Civic, the base will likely also bring a lively driving experience and confident handling to the HR-V.

2023 Honda HR-VThe HR-V will hit the streets this summer.Honda

Honda says the HR-V features a large greenhouse with door-mounted mirrors and a low cowl for better visibility. LED headlights and tail lights are standard, and the new rear-end design features a more rounded, grown-up shape than the previous model.

Trending News