Behind the wheel
Driving position, visibility, build quality
Naturally, these large SUVs all provide you with a suitably lofty view of the road ahead, but there are key differences in how comfortable and confident they make you feel.
All three have front electric seats and the X6 and Velar even have electrically adjustable steering columns (a £400 option on the SQ7). Most drivers will find it easiest to get comfortable in the Velar, though; its driver’s seat has plenty of lower back and underthigh support and its pedals line up neatly with the seat.
Disappointingly, the X6 is the only one to miss out on adjustable lumbar support (it’s a £275 option), so expect lower back support to be less than ideal unless you add it. On the plus side, the seats in both German cars have bigger side bolsters than the Velar’s, so they hold you in place more effectively when cornering.
Unlike the boxier full-sized Range Rover and Sport models, the Velar’s driving position is slightly lower relative to its window line. However, forward visibility is still very good, with slim pillars and deep windows ensuring roundabouts and junctions can be tackled confidently. The view behind is more obstructed, mainly by those thick rear pillars and that rising window line.
Like the Velar, the X6’s forward view is generous, but its pinched rear end hurts over-the-shoulder visibility. The SQ7’s more uniform roofline front to back means a better view out in all directions. Happily, all three cars come with rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera as standard to help with reversing.
When spending this sort of money, a luxurious, high-quality interior should be expected. Audi is the best in the business and the SQ7 is one of the company’s best efforts to date. Dense, soft-touch plastics dominate the dashboard and slick chrome accents help create a wonderfully classy ambience inside, while well damped knobs and switches bring a reassuring air of quality.
The Velar isn’t far behind, especially with our test car’s Extended Leather Pack (£1165), which wraps its dashboard top, instrument binnacle and door tops in sumptuous material. It isn’t all for show, though, because the Velar’s interior feels solidly constructed. Only a few bits of scratchy plastic lower down on the dashboard, doors and around the front centre armrest seem out of place in such a pricey car.
As the oldest model here, it’s perhaps no surprise that the X6 feels the least luxurious inside, but its recent facelift has brought it within striking distance of the others. There’s a pleasing amount of leather on the dashboard and doors, along with classy silver accents, but the cheaper-feeling plastics lower down and a few flimsy switches stand out.
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