Audi Q7 4x4 full 9 point review
Few SUVs are as civilised as the Q7. It’s an exceptionally refined car, with a diesel engine that’s supremely smooth and quiet. The eight-speed automatic gearbox shifts seamlessly, and the fact that the gearbox disengages the engine at speed to save fuel also adds to the peaceful ambience in the cabin. Wind noise is minimal and there’s not much road noise, even on versions with wide 21-inch alloy wheels.
Initially, the Q7 is available with a choice of two 3.0-litre V6 diesel engines, both of which are mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. So far, we’ve only driven the higher-powered version, which provides effortless pace. Rapid acceleration is never less than a gentle prod of the foot away. The lower-powered version has less torque, but at lower revs, so on paper it promises to be only slightly slower. A plug-in diesel hybrid version will be added to the range in 2016.
Ride & Handling
The Q7’s standard suspension is firm, but provides good control at speed. The optional air suspension provides different settings that make it much comfier, or sportier, in an instant. It’s a worthwhile, if pricey, option. Standard four-wheel drive gives good traction and the Q7 handles well. It’s not as nimble as some rivals, however, and feels its size on twisty roads. The steering is very light; this is a bonus when parking but can make it feel a bit vague at high speed.
Buying & Owning
It’s a fairly expensive car to own, yet the same is true of most rivals. Prices are average for the class, although decent dealer discounts are available and residual values are expected to be particularly strong. The diesel engines are efficient on paper, but the higher-powered version didn’t perform well in our True MPG tests; rivals with four-cylinder diesel or hybrid powertrains offer useful tax advantages. Insurance costs are on the high side but fixed-priced servicing deals are available.
Quality & Reliability
You can’t fault the Q7’s interior for quality – it looks the business, with plush materials and outstanding attention to detail throughout. Authentic metal trim inserts enhance the ambience and the controls all feel satisfyingly well engineered. Time will tell whether the latest Q7’s charms are more than skin deep: the previous model performed poorly in our most recent customer satisfaction survey and the Audi brand was near the bottom of the pile in the latest What Car? Reliability Survey.
Safety & Security
The Q7 achieved a five-star Euro NCAP rating when tested in 2015. Standard active safety equipment includes stability control and Audi Pre-sense city – a brake assist function that can brake automatically to avoid or mitigate a collision. Adaptive cruise control and a Trailer Assist system are options. Front and side airbags are standard but there’s no driver’s knee airbag and the curtain airbags only protect those in the front two rows. All six passenger seats have Isofix child seat mountings.
Behind The Wheel
The driving position in the Q7 is excellent and all versions come with an electrically adjustable driver’s seat. There’s plenty of adjustment for the steering wheel, too, and the seats themselves are comfy and cossetting. Audi’s MMI control system is second only to BMW’s iDrive for ease of use with a large display screen mounted at the top of the dash. Visibility is pretty good and front and rear parking sensors are standard; a reversing camera and heated windscreen are optional extras.
Space & Practicality
All five of the front seats provide ample head and leg room for tall adults. Access is excellent thanks, while the three second row seats slide and recline individually to suit requirements. The two rear-most seats offer less space but are fine for children with easy access. The five rear seats all fold completely flat for more load space. In two-seat mode there’s van-like space, although most people will be satisfied with the vast boot in five-seat mode. The tailgate is electrically powered.
We’d stick with cheaper SE trim, because it supplies everything that you’re likely to want. Standard kit includes sat-nav, part-leather upholstery, Bluetooth, electric front seats, a powered tailgate, front and rear parking sensors and xenon headlights. The premium for S Line models is significant and, other than sophisticated LED headlights, most of the extra equipment is merely cosmetic. Full leather trim and air suspension are optional extras that are worth paying for.