Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
The Audi SQ7 is a pricey cash buy, no doubt, but it’s quite a bit cheaper than the BMW X7 M50i, Range Rover Sport SVR and Porsche Cayenne GTS. Residual values, meanwhile, are impressive (you should expect the SQ7 to retain more than half its value over three years of ownership) but it doesn't do quite as well for depreciation as the premium-badged Cayenne and SVR.
Audi claims the SQ7 will return 23.3mpg in mixed conditions, but just be aware that if you work the engine hard, fuel economy will quickly drop into the low teens. In other words, you will be spending a lot of your time at the fuel pumps, but the same is also true for the SQ7’s closest rivals. A lower list price than the X7 M50i means the SQ7 will cost company drivers less in benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax, but it's still in the top 37% tax bracket.
However, once you’ve accepted the relatively dramatic costs involved, you can at least enjoy the long list of luxuries and gizmos that come as standard. There are Valcona leather seats, sat-nav and Audi’s fantastic virtual cockpit system, as well as 21in alloy wheels and a sporty body kit to help it stand out from lesser Q7s. Black Edition trim adds to that generous equipment list with visual enhancements including larger 22in wheels, a black styling pack, adaptive sports air suspension and polished oak interior trim. It also gets four-zone climate control which allows rear-seat passengers to dial in a different temperature to those in the front.
If you really splash out and go for the Vorsprung edition and you'll also get huge 22in wheels, adaptive cruise control, a panoramic glass roof, a black styling pack, matrix LED headlights, a full leather interior and a punchy Bang & Olufsen premium sound system. It is significantly more expensive, but if you were planning to raid the options list anyway, it does make sense.
Euro NCAP awarded the SQ7 a five-star safety rating, but the Porsche Cayenne does a fractionally better job of protecting front passengers from chest injury in a frontal collision. To help you avoid an accident in the first place, it comes with active safety equipment including low-speed automatic emergency braking (AEB), which alerts you to potential frontal collisions with cars or pedestrians and applies the brakes if necessary. However, the Vorsprung variant adds heaps more standard safety aids, including high-speed AEB, rear cross traffic alert, traffic sign recognition and active lane-keeping assistance.
Passive safety comes in the form of standard front and side airbags, plus curtain airbags that protect those in the front and middle seats. There’s no driver’s knee airbag, but rear side airbags for the middle-row passengers are on the options list, while all six passenger seats have Isofix child seat mounting points as standard.
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here
The Volkswagen Touareg R is comfortable, well-equipped and eff...
Sports SUVs get no better to drive, but the...
Awesome acceleration and impressive handling, but the Por...
An outrageously fast sports SUV that corners with co...