The best driving seven-passenger SUV out there.

2017 Audi Q7 3.0T quattro tiptronic Review

A sporty, luxurious, seven-passenger SUV

By: Wade Thiel

Web2Carz Senior Staff Writer

Published: June 24th, 2016

Audi has refined its vehicles to the point that we're almost sick of them being so good. The new A4 is a perfect example. It drives nice, is attractive and luxuriously comfortable , but it's almost too safe a move for Audi to be truly interesting. The Q7 is cut from the same cloth. It's a new, but safe take on the luxury, seven-passenger SUV. It's so good, so logical and rational that it's almost annoying. When you sit down to really contemplate this SUV, it's hard to find any faults or surprises, and the vehicle's predictability allows you to trust it and get the most out of it in every situation.

The Q7 takes on some tough competition in the luxury large SUV segment and comes out looking really good. It's sportier than basically all of its competition, making for one of the best three-row SUVs to drive. We got to spend a week with the Q7 and we put it to the test by taking it around Chicagoland's copious suburban environments, on the highway and then downtown for some heavy traffic and tight spaces. Here's what we found out about this big German SUV.

  • Driving Impressions

    No matter the size, Audi always seems to give its vehicles superb handling characteristics. The steering is tight and responsive but just a little numb, and the ride smooth and sporty. The Q7 is a big vehicle at almost 200 inches in overall length, but it doesn't feel like it's as big actually as it is thanks to its light weight and easy to see out of cabin. Also, the rear-view and top-view cameras make maneuvering this large vehicle into parking spaces easy no matter where you are.

    Audi put the Q7 on a diet until it lost 717 pounds. The weight reduction gives it with superb handling characteristics, but it also helps acceleration. The Q7 feels more like a sporty wagon than a big 'ol SUV and it makes 60 mph in under 6.5 seconds, which is impressive for a vehicle in this class.

    • Ride Quality: The Q7 is all about a smooth yet sporty ride that soaks up the bumps well. In sport mode, when you really get on it, the vehicle can buck a little bit over the bumps, but even then, its pretty smooth.
    • Steering: The electromechanical speed-sensitive steering instills confidence in corners that you wouldn't usually feel comfortable whipping a seven-passenger vehicle around. The steering is well-tuned in basically every other situation as well, though it can feel a little numb.
    • Acceleration: The Q7 is surprisingly quick. It's likely due to the vehicle's weight loss, but even without it, we have a feeling the 3.0-liter V6 would move the vehicle along pretty well.
    • Braking: The brakes are powerful. It's almost like the guys in charge of the brakes forgot that the Q7 was losing over 700 pounds. This means you come to a stop pretty quick so have a light foot when it comes to the brake pedal.
    • Handling: The Q7 features minimal body roll in the corners, though it's no sports car. You can have some real fun in this SUV, and it will feel stable well beyond where most people will push it.

  • Technology & Safety

    Audi certainly didn't skim on technology in the Q7. Everything you could possibly want is at your fingertips. The vehicle has Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel audio and vehicle information controls, adaptive cruise control, active lane assist, automatic headlights and high beams, traffic sign recognition, Audi's virtual cockpit and more.

    The virtual cockpit is awesome because it puts everything you need to know right in front of you. While it can seem like an overwhelming amount of information at first, once you're used to the system, your eyes don't have to do as much traveling to learn what you need to know. This makes for a safer and better driving experience.

    • Infotainment Screen Size/Quality: The infotainment screen and the virtual cockpit screen are some of the best out there. They're clear, large and function smoothly. Other automakers should take note.
    • Bluetooth Phone Pairing: No issues with phone pairing. Connecting was easy and our phone always reconnected upon reentry to the vehicle.
    • Voice/Sound Quality: Calls were clear on both sides and the speakers work extremely well for radio and music.
    • Controls: Audi seems to have one of the best interior designs in the business. The controls are very easy to use and always within reach. While other automakers continue to struggle with the placement and function of controls, Audi seems to know what works.
    • Safety: The Q7 has plenty of safety features, including driver and passenger front and side-mounted airbags, side curtain airbags, 3-point safety belts, active and passive rollover protection and more.

  • Exterior Design & Styling

    The only real let down for the Q7 is the exterior, and it's a minor letdown. The styling is almost a little too conservative for our tastes. Don't get us wrong, it's attractive, but the new Q7 look so much like the old that the Average Joe probably won't be able to tell the difference. While we weren't exactly thrilled with the new styling, we understand why Audi went this route. It's the same move they made with the A4 and it's the same move they're going to make up and down the lineup. It's smart to keep brand consistency, we just wish they'd make things a little more interesting.

    • Front: The large, signature Audi grille is the most prominent feature of the Q7. Other than that the mildly aggressive, rectangular headlights that look like they were lifted from the A4 and enlarged a bit are the main features of the front.
    • Rear: The changes to the rear are even more subtle. The Q7's large taillights look almost identical to the previous model, and not much else has changed. This is not a bad thing as the rear of the previous Q7 was clean and attractive.
    • Profile: The profile has also not changed much. It's a bit more rakish than the previous gen, looking a bit more like a sport wagon than a large 3-row SUV.

  • Driver & Passenger Comfort

    The entire interior in the Q7 is very comfortable. There's plenty of room in the front and second row, everything is well-placed ergonomically, the seating position is not too high or low and the seats themselves feature high quality leather. The dash layout in the Q7 is arguably the best in Audi's entire lineup. It's a simple, clean and modern. There aren't many layers and it's as smooth and sleek as the rest of the SUV.

    Out only gripe about the Q7's interior is the third row of seating. There isn't much room back there. The seats, while comfortable don't offer enough headroom and legroom to be truly viable for adults. If you're planning on using them only for kids they'll work just fine.

    • Front Seats: Seats: Frim, supportive foam with plenty of seat adjustment and bolstering. You can sit in the Q7's cockpit for hours on end and not get an achy back or numb limbs.
    • Rear Seats: The second row seats offer plenty of legroom and comfortable seats with foam on par with the front seats. The third row seats offer similar padding but are a bit cramped and not suitable for adults.
    • Visibility: Visibility is a high point for the Q7. It's easy to see out the front and back. None of the vehicles pillars are poorly placed allowing you to feel comfortable no matter where you go.

  • Storage & Cargo Room

    Audi isn't exactly known for spacious storage compartments and large cup holders. The Q7 is no exception. The interior is more about providing an ergonomically correct and comfortable space rather than tons of pockets to put your junk. Still, the cup holders are well placed and the little tray behind the gear shifter, while small, is really nice for your phone, keys or anything else in your pockets.

    • Storage: The tray behind the shifter, the small bin underneath the armrest, glove box and door pockets are really all there is to speak of. It isn't much, but should be adequate for most people.
    • Trunk/Cargo Room: The Q7 features 15 cubic feet of cargo space, but the power folding third row seats make it easy to expand that space and if you need even more space, fold the second row down for some serious cargo room.

  • Final Impressions

    The Audi Q7 is a comfortable SUV that's sportier than the competition. That's it's selling point. While it won't exactly dazzle you from the outside, the inside will make you fall in love. Driving this SUV is a dream in any environment and it has the handling capabilities of a much smaller vehicle. If you're looking for a seven-passenger SUV that's comfortable and fun to drive, this is it.

    The Q7 isn't without some compromises, though. If you have to tow a huge trailer that weighs more than 7,700 lbs and need a third row capable of comfortably seating adults, you'll probably have to go with a different SUV equipped with a more powerful V8 engine. This is a small minority of the SUV market, and the Q7 meets the needs of the vast majority of the market and blows most of the competition away in terms of driving dynamics.

  • Price & Specifications

    Engine: 3.0-liter supercharged V6

    Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic automatic

    Drivetrain/Layout: All-wheel drive, front engine

    Power Output: 333 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque

    Fuel Economy (mpg): 19 city / 25 highway

    Base Price: $54,800 (3.0T quattro tiptronic)

    As Tested: $68,925 (incl. $950 destination charge)

    Standard Features: 255/55 all-season tires; TPMS; Xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights and taillights; power tailgate; panoramic sunroof (2 panel) with electric sunshade; auto dimming interior mirror with compass; heated exterior mirrors, power folding with memory; heated, 8-way power front seats with driver memory and lumbar; power-folding 3rd row, including LATCH for 2nd and 3rd row; 7 passenger seating; leather seating surfaces; three-zone automatic climate control; parking system plus with rearview camera; MMI Radio with Audi sound system; SIRIUS satellite radio; 3-spoke leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel w/ shift paddles; garage door opener (HomeLink); preparation for mobile phone (Bluetooth); Audi presence basic; Audi pre sense city; rain & light sensor; USB Audi music interface, AM/FM/HD radio; Alu-optic roof rails; driver and front passenger front airbag supplemental restraint system; driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbag supplemental restraints; SIDEGUARD head curtain airbags; front and second row outboard 3-point safety belts with automatic pretensioning and force limiters; active and passive rollover protection; lower anchors and tethers for children in rear; front and rear impact body crumple zones; anti-theft vehicle alarm system and ignition immobilize

    Options on our test vehicle: Florett silver package; black interior; Premium Plus package: Audi advanced key, Audi MMI navigation plus with MMI tough, Audi Connect PRIME & PLUS, Audi connect CARE, Audi smartphone interface, Audi side assist with pre sense rear, electric tilt/telescoping steering wheel, heated, auto-dimming, power folding-exterior mirrors, LED interior lighting package, stainless steel trunk sill; Driver assistance package: adaptive cruise control, Audi active lane assist, high-beam assistant, traffic sign recognition; Vision package: Audi virtual cockpit, full LED headlights, top view camera system; Warm weather package: four-zone auto climate control, diffuser vent with Alu-optic trim, ventilated front seats with four-way power lumbar, sunshades for rear door side windows and tailgate; BOSE 3D surround sound; 20" 10-spoke star designed bi-color wheels; cold weather package: heated steering wheel, heated rear seats: high-gloss black/gray oak inlays; front filler panel

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