Feature

Audi Q7 vs Lexus RX 450h

The luxurious Audi Q7 has beaten the best diesel SUVs, but would you be better off with Lexus's petrol-electric RX450h hybrid?

Words ByWhat Car? team

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Audi Q7 dashboard

What are they like inside?

There’s one major difference here: the Lexus RX has five seats, whereas the Audi Q7 has seven. This distinction is likely to prove decisive for anyone with a large family, particularly given that the Q7’s sixth and seventh seats are genuinely accommodating enough for adults and lanky teenagers – they’re not just occasional perches for small kids.

In fact, the Q7 is the more spacious car in almost every respect. It has more head and leg room in its front and second rows of seats and, with its third row seats folded into the floor, it has the bigger boot by far. Whichever way you slice it, the Q7 is a much more practical family car.

Both of these SUVs have electric front seats, which make it relatively easy to dial in a comfortable driving position. That said, the Q7’s are firmer and more supportive, particularly around the shoulder area.

Less impressive is the fact that here’s no memory function, so you have to manually reset everything when someone else has been driving. The RX, by contrast, can reposition the seat and steering wheel for you automatically.

These SUVs are both suitably upmarket inside. You won’t find any cheap-feeling bits of plastic trim in either, although the Q7's interior is finished with even more upmarket materials and its build quality shames most luxury limos. The buttons, switches and dials all feel more solid than their equivalents in the Lexus, too, which makes interacting with the Audi a more pleasant experience.

Both cars come with sat-nav, a DAB radio, Bluetooth and a punchy sound system, but the Q7 has the more user-friendly infotainment system. You scroll through the on-screen menus using an intuitive rotary dial mounted just behind the gear lever; there’s even a touchpad that can decipher your handwriting to make it easier to punch addresses into the sat-nav. However, we’d recommend stumping up an extra Β£600 for the optional Virtual Cockpit. Conventional dials are replaced by a large digital display that brings more information, including the sat-nav map and list of radio stations, closer to your eyeline.

Navigating your way around the RX’s infotainment system is much harder work. You use a device that resembles a broken joystick to move a mouse pointer around the 12.3in screen, before pressing a button to make a selection. It takes a fair amount of concentration even when you’re parked up, let alone while you’re driving.

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Review

Lexus RX

What Car? SaysRated 3 out of 5
Owners sayRated 4 out of 5

The Lexus RX is comfortable, well equipped and easy to drive. It’s also good value for money – particularly if you’re a company car driver and choose the RX 450h.