Audi Q7 (2015-2019) review
The Audi Q7 is a plush seven-seater SUV that’s comfortable, surprisingly good to drive and packed full of tech, but it’s a pity the third row of seats is only really suitable for kids
What's not so good
Audi Q7 (2015-2019): what would you like to read next?
The Audi Q7 is a luxurious SUV you should buy if you want a car that’s posh but also very practical – or because you want an SUV that’ll make you feel (almost literally) on top of the world.
That’s certainly how you feel when you’re sat in the Audi Q7’s driver’s seat and looking at its fabulous interior, with its awesome build quality and extremely clever technology.
The optional Virtual Cockpit is a must-have that transforms the instrument binnacle into a huge sat-nav display and comes as part of the Technology Pack that starts from £1,195 depending on the model you pick.
Fortunately, seven seats come as standard and although the third row in the Audi Q7 is only really suitable for children, the seats in the middle would do the job in a luxury limo. All three recline individually, as well as sliding forwards and backwards independently, and having their own air-con vents and 12V power socket.
The Audi Q7 has a useful 295-litre boot even with all seven seats in use. It can easily swallow a few bags of shopping. Fold down the back row of seats and the Audi’s capacity increases to 770 litres, which is more than enough for a couple of weeks away with the family. There’s no load lip so you can easily slide heavy items into place and, if you pay £2,000 extra for the Adaptive Air Suspension, the Audi Q7 can even low its rear end to help you load it.
The air suspension may be expensive, but it makes the Audi Q7 glide over bumpy roads – it’s even more cosseting than the comfy regular setup. Factor in an interior that is almost pin-drop quiet, a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP and there aren’t many cars that provide you family with the same level of comfort and security.
The Audi Q7 resembles a posh ocean liner for comfort, space and sheer presence
It’s even surprisingly agile in bends for such a large machine, although if you want a Audi Q7 that’s actually sporty you’ll need to go for the bonkers quick SQ7. If you’d rather save fuel than shave seconds off your journey time then the e-tron hybrid model is worth a look, but for most purposes the 272hp 3.0-litre diesel ticks all the boxes. It has a silky smooth power delivery, feels pretty quick and can return around 35mpg in the real world. Pretty reasonable for a huge SUV!
The Audi Q7’s electric front seats adjust easily and middle seat-passengers’ seats recline and slide forwards. The back row is tight though and the boot’s small with seven people aboard
The Q7’s about the same size as a three-bedroom detached house and it can accomodate the same number of people
Getting comfortable in the front of the Audi Q7 is as simple as one-two-three. Even basic SE cars come with electrically adjustable seats that remove the effort of having to manually move your chair. Backache sufferers will be glad to hear that they’re also heated and have lumbar adjustment. Getting comfortable behind the steering wheel is just as simple thanks to a steering wheel that adjusts for height and reach, and front seats that also adjust for height.
To get the most cosseting chairs Audi Q7 has to offer, you’ll need to go for the £3,500 Comfort seats with perforated Valcona leather. Up front, they can be ventilated to cool your body on hot summer days, and they also have a memory function that means the seat can automatically return to your exact position after someone else has used it.
The seats in the middle row aren’t available with all those options – although you can have them heated for an extra £400 – but they do offer more space than you’ll get in the likes of a Land Rover Discovery or Volvo XC90. There’s loads of knee and headroom, and all three can slide forwards, backwards or recline individually. Getting in is helped by the Audi Q7’s huge doors and the fact that you can simply slide into your seat because the big Audi sits at the perfect height.
It’s even reasonably spacious with three people sitting in the second row. The Audi Q7’s width means there’s plenty of space for your passengers’ shoulders, the middle seat is supportive and the car’s large footwells ensure there is room for everyone’s feet.
Even younger kids are looked after – every passenger seat is fitted with Isofix points. Fitting a child seat to the middle row is easy largely because there’s so much space to manoeuvre in, the big doors give great access and the Isofix points are easy to access behind a large removable pad.
In fact, the only blot on the Audi Q7’s copybook is its third row of seats. Accessing them is a less-than-elegant process requiring you to fold the outer seats on the middle row. The gap left to clamber through isn’t huge and once you’re in place even average-sized adults will feel confined, meaning the sixth and seventh seats are really only suitable for kids.
The Audi Q7’s massive interior is packed full of useful smaller storage spaces so you can store enough Evian to keep a football team watered. There are cupholders galore and the glovebox is also pretty big. In front of the gearstick you get a tray that’s ideal for change or keys and under the front centre armrest there’s a space that’s plenty big enough for your phone and has two USB plugs and an Aux port.
Go for the £1,195-1,695 Technology Pack – which includes the essential Virtual Cockpit – and you also get wireless charging for your compatible mobile phone, so there’s no need to have messy cables trailing through the cabin. The same pack also means you can hook two phones (not one) to the car’s Bluetooth phone connection.
The Audi Q7 has a reasonable amount of boot space even with all seven seats in place. Its 295-litre capacity is a little less than you get in the Volvo XC90 (314 litres), but it’s roomy enough for a baby stroller or a large suitcase with a couple of soft bags. You also get a smaller netted cubby that makes it easier to keep the boot tidy and a 12V socket that’s useful for powering electricals such as a portable vacuum.
Fold down the rearmost row of seats – easily done because they drop electrically via a button in the boot – and you’re left with a 770-litre capacity that’ll happily swallow four suitcases and have room left over for a variety of bags and boxes. It has all the space you’ll need for a family holiday for five people and the lack of a load lip means heavy luggage can simply be slid into place.
Annoyingly, the middle row of seats has to be dropped down manually from the rear passenger doors but the resulting 1,955 litres is more than you get in a Volvo XC90 (1,868 litres) and will shame some vans, too. Its ideal if you have a big job like a house move or a trip to the skip, but also means you can easily carry a couple of bikes without having to dismantle them.
Specify the £2,000 air suspension and big jobs are even easier because the back of the car can drop down on its suspension to ease loading.
The Audi Q7’s an incredibly comfortable cruiser that feels more agile in corners than you would expect given its size, but alternatives have more advanced self-driving technology
Being a passenger in the Q7 is so comfortable it’s a bit like being carried on the back of a giant wearing Nike Air Max trainers
The Audi Q7 is available with a choice of two 3.0-litre, six-cylinder diesel engines, with either 218 or 272hp.
The 272hp model offers noticeably more performance with a negligible cost to fuel economy. It gets from 0-62mph in a mere 6.5 seconds, yet fuel economy of 48mpg (or around 34mpg in the real world) should be possible. In other words, the huge Audi Q7 will keep pace with a Golf GTI off the lights but, perplexingly, will also be cheaper to run.
The Audi Q7’s forte is being super comfortable on long drives. Its light controls, smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox and decent all-round visibility mean it’s easy to drive for such a large car. Plus the interior seems to be quiet no matter what speed you’re doing, helped by the silky smooth power delivery of the Audi’s six-cylinder diesel engines, which don’t clatter like the four-cylinder diesels in the Land Rover Discovery and the Volvo XC90.
Stick with the standard suspension and you’ll find it shrugs off big bumps with ease, but if you want to make the Audi Q7’s interior even more comfortable then the £2,000 air suspension is worth the price. With it fitted the Q7 glides over the bumpiest of roads and the coarsest of surfaces with ease (avoid the optional 21 and 22-inch alloy wheels for best results) making it more comfortable than the Land Rover Discovery.
The air suspension’s adaptive dampers also equip the Audi better for hustling down country roads, where it reins in the Audi Q7’s big body surprisingly well. Around bends the Q7 feels easier to drive than the Volvo XC90.
And although it doesn’t have the clever autonomous driving kit that means the XC90 can pretty much drive itself, the Audi Q7 still achieved five stars for safety when it was crash-tested by Euro NCAP in 2015. Automatic emergency braking, which will stop you having low-speed shunts in town at speeds of up to 19mph, is fitted to all models.
Not that that should really be an issue because the Audi Q7 is pretty easy to drive in town thanks to the brilliant view you get out the front. Front and rear parking sensors are standard (unlike in the Land Rover Discovery), so reverse parking isn’t too much of a pain and the automatic gearbox doesn’t lurch at low speeds.
Venture from the city to the great outdoors and the Audi’s standard four-wheel drive system means it can tackle light off-roading without any problems. But, if you’re looking for a proper off-roader you’ll be better off with the near-unstoppable Land Rover Discovery. The Land Rover also makes a better tow car – it can pull a 3,500kg trailer compared to the Audi Q7’s 2,800kg limit.
The Audi Q7 interior feels like it’s built from solid rock and technology that would put a spaceship to shame