If you click, on "Automotive and Tires" on the main page of the Costco website, you will see a large advertisement for the QuickJack portable lift featuring a stunning photo of my old SQ5 in my garage. Over the years, I have been fortunate to have formed some wonderful relationships with some of my favorite retailers. The team at QuickJack and I have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship since I first added a QuickJack to my garage back in the Spring of 2016 and I am pleased to see these amazing shots getting some good press.
I am confident there is no place worse, no place more challenging, no place more frustrating to keep a clear clean than Calgary, Alberta in winter. Even with my garage converted into a detailing studio, I just can't keep up. But, I won't stop trying. Here's a video that demonstrates how I go about keeping a tidy interior despite Mother Nature's efforts to ruin me.
A concerned YouTube viewer raised some concerns over my wheel hub collar. From the video, it appeared my collar was cracked. I was pretty sure it was just the design, but the user went to the effort of capturing a screen shot from the video and highlighting the areas that raised his concerns, so I decided to pop the opposite wheel off to investigate. It appears that Audi has carved some notches into this specific part for some reason. Maybe it has to do with weight reduction, but who knows. I want to thank David for taking the time to reach out and share his concerns. It is very nice knowing that people are looking out for each other. Here are some photos that demonstrate the notched hub design I am referring to.
Hand washing a car in the garage may not be everyone's idea of an epic Saturday night, but I had been looking forward to this all week. The Flames were up against the Hawks and I had a dirty SQ5 that needed some love and attention. Here's a video that demonstrates how two or three hours in a garage can be quite enjoyable and productive. Enjoy.
Back in 2010 or 2011, I can't remember, I saw a commercial for the newly introduced Kia Optima SX. That commercial kickstarted my appreciation for the new design language of the company. I ended up purchasing a 2011 Optima SX and drove it for a year and a half before we became a one-car family. I just saw a new commercial for the Stinger GT starring Steven Tyler and I have to give Kia kudos. They definitely know how to design and market cars. Check it out:
For years, I contemplated the purchase of a roof box for my car. I resisted the urge to purchase one because the need wasn't strong since our family of three doesn't haul huge amounts of cargo. But, now that my son is getting bigger and we are traveling to various hockey tournaments, I decided to splurge. I picked up a Thule Convoy box at Canadian Tire back in November. I removed the crooked Thule decals and applied some "Vorsprung Durch Technik" decals down the side and a along Quattro gecko on the back. I am considering having a friend do a full vinyl wrap, but all in good time. I am enjoying the appearance and functionality of my new roof jewelry.
Storing a big roof box had always been a concern of mine. I purchased some wall mounts from Rhino Rack and they are perfect. I had to do some re-engineering of the wall, but I am happy with how things turned out.
I can handle snow. I can handle the dirt and muck that comes with snow, but I can't handle the gravel that the City feels the need to spread all over our roads. Today, an oncoming car kicked up a bunch of rocks as it passed by and my windshield suffered its first chip. I took it to Crystal Glass and they filled the chip for $40. You can still make out where the contact happened, but it's virtually gone. I tried to take a clear "after" shot from inside the car but my camera struggled to find its focus on the impact area. The final two shots do a fairly decent job of showing the outcome.
Before - inside looking out
After - inside looking out
After - outside looking in
Overall, there is so much that I absolutely love about the second generation SQ5. The exterior styling, performance and interior are all beyond reproach. That said, there are a few things that irritate me. They aren't major, but they just don't sit right with me considering the amount of money this thing cost. I have a feeling a few of these shortcomings are due to the highly expensive settlement the Volkswagen Group made with various world governments. Regardless, here is a list of five things I love and five things I don't.
Five things I love
Heated steering wheel
At first, I thought it was gimmicky, but I don't think I could own a vehicle that doesn't have one. It's such a luxury on a cold winter day.
Directional rear indicators
Overall, I am very impressed with the exterior and interior lighting packages on the SQ5. I particularly like the directional rear indicators. Watching them flash when I lock the car never seems to get old.
Heated/cooled cup holder
Another unnecessary option, but I'm amazed how many times I have used it. I mostly use the heating function since I like my travel coffee mug hot. They could have made both cup holders heated/cooled. My wife and I sometimes compete for the only heated/cooled cup holder.
Yeah, I know the Ford Escape comes with this option, but it doesn't take away from the fact that it is convenient. There have been many occasions in which I have used it. Usually when I'm loaded up with the little guy's hockey equipment.
I really enjoy the ambient lighting throughout the SQ5's cabin. It makes driving at night more visually dramatic and interesting. I keep it set on "Audi Sport" so the color scheme changes day to day. The family and I get a kick out of it and it lends the cabin a more sophisticated appeal.
Five things I don't love
Lack of flat-bottom steering wheel
When you equip your SQ5 with the winter package, which is standard on all SQ5's destined for Canada, Audi deletes the flat-bottom steering wheel. Apparently they haven't figured out how to add the heating option to the flat-bottom wheel. The round wheel is very nice and I love the way it looks and feels, but as much as I have tried to convince myself it is as cool as the flat-bottom one, it just isn't. Sad.
Cheap wheel maintenance kit
The maintenance kit that they threw in the trunk is a collection of the cheapest tools I have ever set eyes on. The plastic case they come in is even more embarrassing. The wheel anchor on the first generation SQ5 had a quality feel to it, but the new one is made out of pathetic plastic. I wish I would have kept the kit from my old one. Honestly, I would be surprised if Audi's cost on this bag of junk is more than 5 euros.
The two blank buttons on my console are a constant reminder that some other SQ5 drivers are driving around their countries with more things than me. It's an insult. I'm still trying to figure out what goes in these two spaces. I think one is the on/off button for the auto-park feature which isn't available to Canadian buyers, which takes me to my next point...
Unavailable features for Canada
Where are my front directional indicators? Where is my auto-park function? Where is my dynamic steering option? These, and a few other features, were available to buyers from other countries. Apparently, the Audi Canada brass decided we didn't need such features.
No exhaust tips
Sure, it was a chore keeping my exhaust tips clean on my previous SQ5, but is eliminating them altogether the best solution Audi designers and engineers could come up with? There's no getting around the fact that the faux exhaust idea is lame.