The two hottest trends in the automotive world these days are SUVs and electric vehicles. The new Audi Q4 50 e-tron quattro sportback checks both boxes as an all electric midsize SUV aimed squarely at America’s ever-growing market.

The Q4 sportback sets itself apart with its distinctive styling, particularly its sharply raked rear hatch, which at first glance makes it look a lot sportier than the typical square back SUV. It also improves aerodynamics, which in turn increases driving range, always a positive for an electric vehicle. The negative is that the slope of the hatch limits the height and volume of cargo that can be carried and slightly impinges on rearward visibility. Since most people don’t have to carry that much stuff that often, the tradeoff seems pretty reasonable. The other most appealing quality of the Q4 is its size: not too big, not too small; easily maneuverable yet with interior volume that provides plenty of room and comfort for occupants and space for a modicum of cargo.

Audi interiors have set the standard for automotive interiors for many years now, and it’s easy to see why. Rich leather covers the moderately bolstered heated front seats and the manual tilt/telescoping steering wheel while controls and the dash design are pleasing to the eye. Easy to use hard buttons are used for the dual automatic climate control. Audio controls are a bit different, with a circle in the center console over which you can run your finger to control volume and press left or right to go control the radio dial. The touchscreen at the top of the center console blends nicely into the dash and is usable, with hard buttons to the left of the screen that let you choose which mode to enter such as audio, navigation, etc. Two large sunroofs over the front and rear passenger compartments create an airy cabin. The front one opens and tilts. The rear seat is very roomy; there’s a surprising amount of leg room for a relatively small SUV, and rear seat passengers get their own air vents and USB ports. The cargo area has a nice large electric hatchback opening with a tonneau cover and offers a decent amount of cargo space. The rear seat folds 40/20/40 for additional capacity.

One of the greatest benefits of an electric car is the instantaneous torque from the electric motor, which basically means that you have access to all your power the second you step on the accelerator. The Q4’s 82 kWh battery propels it to 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds and it’s quite a trip. Power is sent to two electric motors, one in front, one in back, providing the Q4 with all-wheel-drive stability through an automatic transmission.

The downside to battery power is that the batteries are heavy, meaning that moving all that mass from side to side or trying to stop it takes a bit more effort than it does in a lighter internal combustion engine vehicle. That said, thanks to its relatively demure size, the Q4 handles more than adequately for an SUV, and though the brakes aren’t quite as firm or strong as they would be on a lighter vehicle, braking is more than adequate for daily driving and adds the benefit of regenerative braking, which can recharge the battery from the force of the braking mechanism. Regen braking can be adjusted to suit the driver’s taste, ranging from hardly at all to bringing the vehicle to a gradual full stop when the foot is removed from the accelerator.

A myriad of safety features insure passenger and vehicle safety, including front and rear parking sensors, a rear view camera with guidelines, forward collision warning with auto braking, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic warning with auto braking, a heads-up windshield display, adaptive cruise control, and available park assist that allows the car to park itself into a perpendicular or parallel parking space.

According to Michael Caros (great name for someone in the car industry), salesman at Plaza Audi, “The Q4 e-tron is a great new electric alternative in its size segment. The GPS system can tell you where to charge so you don’t have to worry about running out of power.”

Price: Base $59,400 including delivery, as driven with options $66,200
Range: 242 miles
Drivetrain: all electric; all-wheel drive; 82 kWh batter; 295 horsepower; automatic transmission

Robert Paster ( is also an attorney in private practice, concentrating in estate planning and probate.