|Positives: Built like a bank vault, nearly seamless interior, ample room for all occupants, strong acceleration, astounding handling for something this heavy, everything feels premium inside|
|Negatives: Clean styling is on the bland side for a $75K premium SUV, steering needs more feedback.|
|Bottom Line: The new Q7 does just about everything very well, including performing on curvy roads. It's very German in that it's a bit low on drama but extremely high on overall competence. It's easily one of the best premium 7-passenger SUVs out there, but for this kind of coin, you expect a bit more styling excitement.|
The Q7 is one of the best 7-passenger SUVs to drive, along with the Mazda CX-9. Our optional 333-hp 3.0-liter supercharged V6 is a great engine and authoritative with its power. The Q7 also has to carry around less weight than before thanks to the use of VW's latest MLB II architecture. The extensive use of aluminum means that the big Audi is lighter than before (but still on the heavy side). The combination of reduced weight, great handling, and the potent mill equate to an excellent driving experience. It drives much smaller than it actually is.
Ride Quality: One of the best rides in a bigger SUV. Its Audi Drive Select means you can go sporty or cushy, and the Q7 is at home in both places.
Acceleration: It's a quick SUV, and the supercharged V6 moves this 5K pound monster to 60 in the mid five-second range. It's a gnarly engine that doesn't quit.
Braking: Good, progressive brakes. No guesses here as to when and where you'll stop.
Steering: Though the light steering lacks some feedback, turn-in is good, and it's definitely on-center.
Handling: Brilliant for a such a big beast. The combination all-wheel drive, torque-vectoring, and the $4,000 Adaptive Chassis package make the Q7 corner flat. It's hard to believe for something this heavy.
Audi pays serious attention to their in-car tech, and it shows. Not only are their systems attractive, but they're also great to use. Now, with the onset of their optional Virtual Cockpit, the Q7 is an utter pleasure to use with its massive and crisp 12.3-inch instrument cluster/navigation window/information center.
Infotainment System: As if an 8.3-inch center mounted screen that rises from the dash wasn't enough, Audi went and gave the Q7 the option of the Audi Virtual Cockpit’s that's customizable, useful and very entertaining to use. The entire system is a pleasure to operate, and it's not confusing like some systems we've used.
Controls: The MMI controller, touchpad with handwriting recognition and corresponding buttons and switches are simple and intuitive.
Bluetooth Pairing: Easy pairing and re-pairing upon entry. No problems here.
Voice Call Quality: Very clear and loud on both sides of our numerous phone calls.
There isn't much on the Q7 that we don't like. The body lines are crisp, the proportions are right, and the front and rear are well-excecuted. But for some reason, it's not greater than the sum of its parts in terms of overall appeal. In fact, some would say it's a little vanilla for a premium SUV. It's even been compared to a Dodge Journey, of all things. We think it looks good, but it's not exactly a head-turner thanks to its docile overall look. Our recommendation would be to get in a darker color so the lines and creases show up, giving the car more drama. White is not a good choice.
Front: The big fascia is prominent with huge grille, flanking headlights and big lower vents. It's very Audi in its angularity but perhaps not distinct enough.
Rear: Again, the lines are clean and crisp like the rest of the car, and the taillight pattern is attractive, but the whole of the rear is just not distinctive. It's not unlike a German Kia Sorento back there. It's not an insult, but for Audi, there should be more.
Profile: The cut lines, wheel arches, and body creases get lost with the white paint, and the rather standard shape doesn't help things. No one will call it ugly, but they certainly won't fall in love.
Cabin: Audi continues to make some of the best interiors in the business. Everything looks attractive, from the big seats to the dash and center console.
Audi and Volvo are doing the best interiors in the business right now, and the Q7 is no exception. The materials quality is superb, and everything looks appealing and feels good to the touch. The wood, aluminum and leather have all been well chosen and come together with nary a gap in sight. Coupled with the beautiful look of the tech, it's a paradise to occupy.
Front Seats: Supportive with good bolstering for those turns. The seating position and adjustability are also very good.
Rear Seats: Comfortable for tall passengers with ample head and legroom. The middle passenger's backrest is a bit too flat, and 3rd row passengers aren't for taller adults.
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): Library quiet and zero vibrations. The Q7 keeps noise in check even at high speeds.
Visibility: Outward visibility is very good for the driver and passengers thanks to thin pillars and the low dash cowl.
Climate: Supremely comfortable for front and rear passengers. Excellent climate controls, too.
The Q7 is a very safe vehicle in terms of crash testing and standard and available safety features.
IIHS Rating: The Q7 earns a Top Safety Pick thanks to good ratings in the small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints, and a superior rating for front crash prevention. It missed the Top Safety Pick+ because its headlights only scored "marginal".
Standard Tech: Two great features included on the Q7 are the pre sense city and pre sense basic. For the city, the car will scan the road for cars and pedestrians at up to 100 meters and at speeds up to 52.8 mph. If there's a threat of a collision, the system will warn the driver and apply the brakes fully if required to avoid or reduce the impact of a collision. Pre sense basic detects hazardous driving conditions and automatically tightens the seatbelts, closes the windows and sunroof and also switches the hazard lights on.
Optional Tech: None on our tester.
Though it's no Dodge Durango in terms of overall storage cubbies, the Audi Q7 has well thought-out and decently sized spaces for gear storage, and more than capable rear cargo space, as well.
Storage Space: The open compartment in front of the armrest is just about perfect for keys, phone, etc., and the armrest itself is decently sized. The compartment in front of the shifter has a retractable door for smaller items. The cupholders in the front to the right of the shifter are oddly small, though.
Cargo Room: The Q7 has 37.5 cubic feet of cargo room with the third row folded, and 71.6 cubic feet with both rear rows folded.
If you want a more efficient Q7, there really isn't one. Even the 2.0T four-cylinder engine isn't much better, netting 1 more mpg city. That being said, we didn't expect huge efficiency from the Q7's V6.
Observed: 19.6 mpg combined in suburban and highway driving.
Driving Factors: We kept our Q7 in Dynamic mode the entire time to extract the most driving fun from the big SUV. Any highway gains were compromised by spirited local driving.
The upgraded Bang & Olufsen Surround Sound System is one of the best ones we've tried over the past year with excellent sound quality, good bass and clarity and zero distortion. It's worth the price of the Prestige Package. Oh, and just watch those tweeter towers rise out of the dash on startup.