Audi Q7 Review
If you’re after a practical, comfortable seven-seat SUV that’s as posh as it is well-equipped, the Audi Q7 should be right at the top of your list. If only it was a little more fun to drive…
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In the world of big, seven-seat SUVs, there are plenty of ways to stand out. Some cars go for classy, elegant styling while others try to be as sporty and as athletic as possible. The Audi Q7, with its angular headlights and Hannibal Lecter-style grille, looks like it plumps for the latter, but peel back its aggressive-looking outer layers and you’ll find this big seven-seater errs on the side of comfortable, rather than cannibal…
Audi’s designers haven’t just made merry with the Q7’s exterior – they’ve been busy beavering away with its cabin too. Gone is the old car’s outdated dashboard with its ugly retractable infotainment display. Instead, you get a trio of high-resolution screens and some of the plushest materials of any seven-seat SUV on sale.
Sure, the BMW X5’s infotainment system is easier to use and the Mercedes GLE’s widescreen display looks a bit more futuristic, but the Audi Q7 comes with all the sat-nav and smartphone mirroring features you could ask for and its digital driver’s display is still the best in the business.
The Audi Q7 has the competition licked when it comes to boot space, too. With the standard third row of seats (which cost extra in some SUVs) flipped down, you’ll be able to cram in more luggage than in the BMW or Mercedes and there’s loads of room for lofty passengers to get comfy in the middle row thanks to the Q7’s high roof and reclining seats.
The new Audi Q7 takes the outgoing car’s tried-and-tested recipe of impressive practicality and high levels of comfort and adds plenty of modern tech and some sharp new looks.
Combine these roomy, supportive seats with the Audi Q7’s standard air suspension, and you’ve got yourself a seriously comfortable SUV to travel in. It’s very quiet at motorway speeds and the Q7’s two diesel engines are smooth and even relatively economical thanks to some clever mild-hybrid tech
One thing the Audi Q7 won’t do, however, is put a particularly big grin on your face on a quiet country road. Sure, the adaptive sports suspension in Black Edition and Vorsprung cars helps make them feel slightly more agile, but even they can’t disguise their large size as well as the sportier BMW X5.
Head into town, however, and the tables turn in the Audi Q7’s favour. You get a great view out through its large windows and the four-wheel-steering that comes as standard in high-spec Vorsprung cars means they can shrug off a tight U-turn like a seasoned political spin doctor.
It’s a shame only top-spec cars get a full complement of driver assistance systems – including adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist – as standard, but don’t let this put you off. Even in entry-level guise, the Audi Q7 is one of the very best large SUVs on sale.
The Audi Q7 has a seriously practical cabin with plenty of neat features that help make it easy to live with. Despite its large size, those rearmost seats are still pretty cramped, though.
Sacrifice the rearmost seats, and the Audi Q7 has one of the biggest boots of any SUV on sale. Reconfiguring the load bay is a doddle, too, and you even get six Isofix anchor points as standard.
There’s loads of space for you to get comfortable in the front of the Audi Q7. The door sills are low enough that shorter drivers can climb in easily and there’s ample seat adjustment to help you get a good view out – regardless of how tall you are.
Both front seats come with electric adjustment as standard and include adjustable lumbar support to help reduce backache during long stints behind the wheel. They also come heated – just the thing for frosty winter mornings – and a memory feature to stop anyone messing around with your prefered settings.
Go for an S Line model and these seats come with more supportive bolsters, while top-spec Vorsprung cars get the most body-hugging ‘super’ sports seats as standard. These high-spec models also get a massage function to help you while away long drives and heated outer seats in the middle row, too.
On the subject of the middle row, you’ll find there’s plenty of space for lofty adults to get comfortable behind an equally tall driver in the Audi Q7. There’s loads of space for passengers to slide their feet under the front seats (even in their lowest position) and there’s plenty of headroom, even in Vorsprung cars with a panoramic glass roof. The seats recline a decent distance too, so passengers can nod-off on particularly long journeys.
Three adults won’t feel too cramped back there either, thanks to the Audi Q7’s broad central seat and ample shoulder room. Sure there’s a wide lump in the floor in front of the middle seat, but at least there’s space on top to rest a pair of size tens.
All Audi Q7s come with a third row of seats in the very back. These are easy to access by flipping the middle seats forward and sliding them out of the way, and they can be folded and unfolded electrically using a set of handy buttons by the back doors, and another by the boot opening.
There’s space in these seats for kids to sit comfortably, and – if you slide the middle row forwards – there’s space for shorter adults to sit without feeling too hemmed-in.
Unusually, the Audi Q7 comes with Isofix anchor points for the front passenger seat and all the rear seats. As a result, you can safely fit it with six child seats – should you ever need to. Sure, lifting a bulky rear-facing seat into the rearmost row isn’t particularly easy, but at least the Audi Q7 gives you the option of doing so – unlike almost all other SUVs.
The Audi Q7’s practical cabin comes with a decent number of handy cubby spaces to help you keep it looking neat and tidy inside. The glovebox is nice and large, the front door bins can hold a one-litre bottle each and there’s space for two large cups of coffee in the cupholders beside the gear selector. It’s a bit annoying that the folding cover for these opens towards the passenger, however.
There’s more space under the central armrest, but this shallow storage tray is only really deep enough for a phone. Under here you’ll also find a wireless charging pad and two USB ports.
You get two more USB ports for those in the middle seats, alongside – in Black Edition models and above – the controls for the four-zone climate control. There’s also a folding rear armrest with some built-in cupholders and a set of (rather cheap-feeling) netted cubbies on the back of the front seats.
Those sitting in the rearmost seats get a cupholder each, but that’s about it.
With all seven seats in place, the Audi Q7 has enough space left in the boot for a couple of suitcases and a few soft bags. Flip the rearmost seats down – using the buttons by the boot opening, and the Q7’s carrying capacity grows to a whopping 865 litres. That’s a massive 200 litres more than you can fit in a BMW X5, Mercedes GLE or a Range Rover Sport.
The boot opening is nice and wide, and there’s no annoying lip to get in the way when you’re loading very heavy luggage. There’s a metal scuff plate to protect the paintwork on the rear bumper too, and the boot floor is completely flat so it’s a doddle to push luggage all the way up behind the middle seats. Although, you’ll have to be careful not to lose smaller items down the gap that appears when you slide these seats forward.
If you need to carry very large items – such as a few IKEA bookcases – you can flip the middle row down in a three-way (40:20:40) split to open up a van-like 2,050-litre loadbay. That’s roomier than the X5, GLE and Range Rover Sport can manage, and only just pipped to the post by the cavernous Volvo XC90.
It’s a little awkward having to fold the seats down using handles by the back doors, but once they’re latched in place, the Audi Q7’s load bay is long, flat and easily big enough to swallow a few mountain bikes with all their wheels attached.
Unfortunately, there isn’t anywhere to store the Audi Q7’s parcel shelf under the boot floor if you need to remove it, and you only get one shopping hook – not exactly enough to secure a weekly haul of groceries. You do get a couple of tethers to strap down fragile luggage and a netted cubby to one side.
The Audi Q7 is a very comfortable SUV that’ll think nothing of cruising across continents in comfort, but there are only two engines to choose from and alternatives are more fun to drive.
The Audi Q7 won’t put as big a grin on your face on a twisty country road as the likes of the BMW X5, but it’s more relaxing to drive for long periods and easy to drive for such a big car, too.
You can get the Audi Q7 with two diesel engines in 45 TDI and 50TDI guise – both of which come with four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox as standard.
The entry-level 45 TDI model comes with a 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel V6 engine that produces 231hp. This engine’s a little loud when you accelerate hard, but once you’re cruising at motorway speeds it settles down into a whisper-quiet hum.
It isn’t the fastest SUV around – accelerating from 0-60mph takes a little more than seven seconds – but it’ll have no trouble blasting past slow-moving traffic with seven people on board.
If you plan to carry plenty of passengers – or ever intend to use your Audi Q7 for towing a trailer – you’ll want to consider the more powerful 50TDI model instead. It uses the same basic 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine as 45 models but produces 286hp – enough to launch this whopping-great SUV from 0-60mph in less than 6.5 seconds.
Whichever engine you pick, you’ll find the Audi Q7 returns around 30mpg in normal driving conditions. This is fairly respectable for a large SUV and comes thanks (in part) to the Q7’s mild-hybrid system. This feature uses a beefed-up starter motor to assist the diesel engine when you accelerate and recoup energy from braking that would otherwise go to waste.
You get a great view out over other cars from driving seat of the high-riding Audi Q7. The relatively thin pillars and large windows mean this huge SUV isn’t particularly difficult to drive in town either, and you get front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera as standard to help you avoid bumps and scrapes in tight car parks.
Top-spec Vorsprung models are even easier to drive in town thanks to their 360-degree surround-view camera system and clever four-wheel steering that makes the Audi Q7 impressively manoeuvrable for such a big car.
Even without these features, you’ll find the Audi Q7’s light steering and smooth automatic gearbox means you can slink along at slow speeds with ease. The standard air suspension does a better job ironing out monstrous potholes around town than the Mercedes GLE and BMW X5, too – even in top-spec cars with 22-inch alloy wheels.
Head out of town, and you’ll find the Audi Q7 is very relaxing to travel in at motorway speeds, too. You’ll hear very little wind or tyre noise and the seats are very comfortable – just the thing to stave off an aching back on long drives. Cruise control and automatic emergency braking come as standard across the range, but you’ll have to pay extra in all but Vorsprung cars if you want adaptive cruise, lane-keeping assist and cross-traffic warning.
Speaking of Vorsprung model, these top-spec cars – along with Black Edition models – come with adaptive sports air suspension as standard that lets you switch between more comfortable setups for long motorway drives, and stiffer, sportier settings for twisty backroads.
Don’t go thinking this one change turns the Audi Q7 into a high-riding sports car, though – it’s still a big, heavy SUV, but at least it’ll carve from corner to corner without a great deal of body lean so your passengers shouldn’t have any reason to feel car sick on long drives. If you’re desperate for a tall seven-seat SUV that feels sporty to drive, you should take a look at the BMW X5 instead.
It’s a similar story if you plan to take your Audi Q7 off-road. Sure, it comes with quattro four-wheel drive as standard, so it’ll traverse a muddy field without too much bother, but show it anything more taxing and you’ll start to wish you’d bought a Land Rover Discovery.
That said, the Audi Q7 is still an excellent all-rounder and one of the most comfortable and relaxing seven-seat SUVs on sale.
The latest Audi Q7’s interior makes the outgoing car’s cabin look like belongs on an episode of Antiques Roadshow, but it’s a shame the infotainment system isn’t all that easy to use.