Choosing the perfect car for a big road trip takes some thought – your chosen vehicle needs to be big enough to carry your mates and their luggage, comfortable enough that you’re not at each other’s throats after a few hundred miles, quick enough to be effortless, but also economical enough to not need constant fuel stops.
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It’s not going to come as an astonishing revelation to hear that the Audi Q7 isn’t just big – it’s blooming massive! It’ll carry seven people comfortably after all, but it’s best sampled with the third row folded flat. That way you still have room for five adults and – with no fifth and sixth seat to eat into boot space – the 770-litre load bay is big enough to go missing in.
Its fuel tank is big
Relatively speaking, the Q7’s fuel tank is just as big – handy if you have loads of road-trip miles to cover. You’ll lose days of your life chugging 85 litres of diesel at a time into the Audi’s empty fuel tank, but your reward is being able to soldier through countries without having to constantly stop at the pumps – it means a 650-mile range should be achievable even if you’re caning it.
It has a brilliant engine
And that’s impressive, because the Q7’s lusty six-cylinder 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged diesel is no slouch. With a colossal 443lb ft of pulling power, a fully loaded Q7 can surge effortlessly past slower-moving traffic and keep going to well beyond the UK’s legal limit. It even sounds nice with a muffled growl and a butter-smooth delivery that makes the rattly four-cylinder diesel engine in the Volvo XC90 sound and feel like it had a past life pulling ploughs.
It’s very comfortable
And if you like the sound of the Audi’s refined engine, then you’ll love the Q7’s comfy £2,000 optional air suspension. It makes riding in the Audi feel like you’re cruising with Aladdin as it floats over bumps and broken surfaces – taking the edge off even the UK’s terrible roads.
And it’s very quiet
You can complement the suspension’s comfort with the luxury of silence by treating yourself to the Q7’s optional double glazing (£525). It cuts out noise so well you have to wind down the window to fully appreciate the road, wind and general traffic noise it stops from disturbing the cabin – making the Q7 an extremely calming place to sit when you’re faced with multiple hours behind the wheel.
It has powerful headlights
On top of the Q7’s quietness and comfort it also has some very clever kit that takes the stress out of long journeys. Take the £950 Matrix LED headlights, for example, they can light up the road around other motorists – so you get great visibility without blinding them. The lights can even dip when they detect street lighting and illuminate corners using information from the car’s satellite-navigation system.
The infotainment system is great
And while we’re on the subject of sat-nav, a decent navigation system can really make or break a long drive, and thankfully the Q7’s MMI system is one of the best. It has a crystal clear 8.3-inch screen and Audi’s MMI Touch system that lets you write postcodes in with your finger using a touchpad on the centre console. It’s quick to calculate routes and can flick between menus without stuttering like the system you get in a Jaguar F-Pace.
The Virtual Cockpit is still a game changer
Choose it and your conventional instrument binnacle gets replaced with a 12.3-inch screen – like binning a basic colour TV for an all-singing, all-dancing 4K model. Its brilliant widescreen map mode shrinks the rev counter and speedo in favour of a huge sat-nav display that makes you feel a bit like you’re sitting at the helm of HMS Queen Elizabeth.
The Technology Pack is even more attractive because includes a fighter-jet style head-up display that projects the car’s speed, navigation and other useful info onto the windscreen – so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.
It’s just plain lovely to sit in
Let’s forget the tech for a moment though, and focus instead on the Q7’s high-quality feel that makes it a rather nice place to sit. From the spongy plastics to the expensive metal trim pieces and the standard leather seats, everything feels built to last and looks great.
Not that a quick visit to the options list – for the £280 Extended LED Interior Lighting Pack – can’t improve things. It bathes the Q7 in more mood lighting than a trendy London nightspot and helps the cabin look special even in the dark.
It does all this and it can go off-road
But behind all the glitz, at its heart, the Q7 is still a tough off-roader which means it should chug on even if your road trip turns into an off-the-road trip… Even if you plan to keep your Q7 firmly on Tarmac, its quattro four-wheel-drive system makes it a great tow car (it’ll pull up to 2,800kg) and means you can power away from junctions without having to worry about uncouthly spinning the wheels.
Not convinced the Q7 makes for a great road-trip car? Then tell us why in the comments below and share which car gets your vote.