New Land Rover Discovery vs Audi Q7 vs BMW X7: practicality

The Audi Q7 and BMW X7 are among the elite of sumptuous seven-seat SUVs. Can the revamped Land Rover Discovery usurp their authority?...

Land Rover Discovery 2021 rear seats

Space and practicality

Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot

With our combatants ranging from extra-large to supersized, front space is as generous as you’d expect; even occupants well over six feet tall will easily be able to get comfy. The X7 and Discovery provide more storage space than the Q7, though; the latter’s fancy touchscreen temperature controls rob it of a useful cubby in front of the gear selector, and there isn’t a great deal of space under the central armrest.

Move to the second row and once again six-footers won’t feel squeezed, with all having plenty of head room – especially the Discovery. It has the least leg room, though; those with particularly long pins will find their knees rather close to the seats in front of them if someone equally lanky is sitting up there. While the Q7 is more generous in this respect, the X7 goes even further, with limo-like levels of leg room to really let you stretch out.

Audi Q7 2021 rear seats

In fact, the only black mark against the X7 in this area is that its flat middle seat is the least comfy of the trio. By contrast, the Discovery benefits from a well-shaped centre seat, a flat floor and generous width, making it the best for three adults in the second row.

If you’ll be carrying adults in the third row on a regular basis, the X7 is clearly the best choice. With plenty of head room, the most leg room and the comfiest seats, it makes even long journeys back there an agreeable experience. It’s trickier to clamber into the Discovery’s third-row seats, but once there, you’ll find a reasonable amount of knee room and more head room than in the X7. Adults will find it preferable to the Q7, which is the tightest all round.

You can slide the second row back and forth (to prioritise rear leg room or increase the size of the boot in five-seat mode) and recline the seatbacks in all three cars. This is done electrically in the X7 and manually in the Q7, while the Discovery’s seats slide manually and recline electrically. Raising or lowering the rearmost seats is done electrically in all three.

BMW X7 2021 rear seats

The Q7 comes with Isofix child seat mounting points on all six of its passenger seats, while the Discovery has five and the X7 four.

All three have loads of room for a family’s clutter. In five-seat mode, the X7’s vast boot can swallow a whopping 11 carry-on suitcases below its load cover, compared with the Q7’s 10 and the Discovery’s nine. In the Q7 and X7, the middle-row seatbacks have a versatile 40/20/40 split that betters the Discovery’s more traditional 60/40 arrangement.

While the Q7 and Discovery have large, conventional tailgates, the X7’s is split horizontally, with a short lower portion that drops down to provide a little seat or a ledge to help when you’re loading heavy items. The Discovery has a similar flap that folds out when its tailgate is up, but in both cases, these make reaching all the way into the boot tricky if you’re short.


Boot space

Land Rover Discovery

Land Rover Discovery 2021 boot

Boot 629-2406 litres Suitcases 9


Audi Q7

Audi Q7 2021 boot

Boot 770-1955 litres Suitcases 10


BMW X7

BMW X7 2021 boot

Boot 750-2120 litres Suitcases 11