Until recently the Q5 was Audi’s best-selling car at the rate worldwide of 220,000 vehicles per annum. This second generation model follows very closely the design parameters of the original model, updating this model with the latest Audi design language as they say. It is lighter, more aerodynamic and slightly more fuel efficient.

The model tested here is the best seller, comprising a 190 bhp TDI four-cylinder engine combined with a seven-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive, priced at £42,125.

Audi’s quattro 4WD system provides permanent four-wheel drive unlike that found in most other SUVs, including Volkswagen’s 4 Motion and the Land Rover Discovery Sport, where both systems put all power to the front wheels until some slippage is detected when power is then diverted momentarily to the rear wheels. Quattro provides power to all wheels as no initial slippage is required. This principle is also found on the Discovery and Range Rover.

I prefer this system, though Audi is changing it to ‘quattro on demand’ whereby it is two-wheel drive until four-wheel drive is required. In fact, all models now come with automatic gearbox and ‘quattro on demand’.

The model range is usefully slim, comprising either a 2.0 litre diesel (from £39,075) or petrol (from £39,840). The six-cylinder TDI version costs £46,890 and top of the range petrol SQ5 £51,995. Coil springs are standard but air suspension is available as a £2,000 option which provides greater clearance for off-road driving.

The vehicle I tested came with air suspension and some other goodies, bringing its list price to £48,450. However I would say it is one of the nicest riding and handling cars I have driven. The engine, gearbox, and suspension all combine to make this a most comfortable vehicle and one that handles well. It would be interesting to compare it to a steel spring version to ascertain how much the optional air suspension contributes to its excellent ride and handling.

The boot is 550 litres (same as a Range Rover Velar) and extends to 1,550 litres when the rear seats are folded (same as the new Volvo V60 Estate). The dashboard is standard Audi design and perhaps a little bit fussy for my liking. The fuel gauge is obscured by your hand on the steering wheel.

The standard fuel tank is 65 litres but a 70 litre one is a no-cost option. The AdBlue (urea) tank holds 24 litres and is now becoming standard on many diesel engines to help to reduce exhaust emissions.

The engine provides plenty of power from its 190 bhp and 295 lb-ft torque. It sounds not too bad and in my hands it averaged 40 mpg. Interestingly, the engine holds 4.7 litres of oil and the cooling system 12 litres. The vehicle weighs 1,770 kg and can tow a 2,400 kg braked trailer. It is 4,663 mm long, 1,893 mm wide and 1,659 mm tall.

With the increasing popularity of SUVs among the general public, manufacturers are making them more on-road focussed and less off-road enhanced. For many foresters the variety, workability and economies (both in purchase price and benefit-in-kind tax) of current pickups makes them their first choice. Sales of pickups in the UK are booming, with over 50,000 sales annually.

However, if you fancy a nice SUV, the Q5 with air suspension is one of the best. Yes, please!