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Used test: Audi Q7 vs BMW X7 vs Land Rover Discovery interiors

You can save up to £23,000 on these luxurious SUVs if you buy at two years old instead of new. But which of them should you choose?...

Audi Q7 2021 dashboard


Driving position, visibility, build quality, practicality

Both the BMW X7 and the Land Rover Discovery seat you far above the asphalt, giving you a commanding view of the road ahead. The driving position in the Audi Q7 also raises you above most other folk, but not quite to the same degree.

All have full electric seat adjustment with a vast array of movement, so getting comfortable is easy, although the Discovery’s seat is a little flat, especially compared with the Q7’s highly supportive one. The pedals are slightly offset to the right in the Q7 and X7, but it's not likely to cause any discomfort.

BMW X7 2021 dashboard

The Q7 has a feature-packed 10.1in touchscreen with sharp graphics. It reacts promptly to inputs, but some of the icons are a bit too small to hit accurately on the move.

You can’t get any better than the X7's system. The high-mounted 12.3in screen is not only well positioned for easy viewing but is also clear and responsive to inputs. You can control it by touch or using a dial between the seats that makes for much easier and safer operation when you’re on the move. 

The facelifted Discovery has a large, 11.4in touchscreen with sat-nav and phone mirroring, and it’s a huge step on from the pre-facelift car's system. It responds quickly to commands, looks great and has logical menus and handy, easily reached shortcut icons.

Land Rover Discovery 2021 dashboard

Our contenders all come with sharp digital instrument panels, with the Discovery’s now being virtually a match for the excellent Q7’s. Their entire displays can be reconfigured in a variety of ways, whereas the X7’s only lets you change what’s shown in a small area, plus it’s highly stylised and not all that easy to read at a glance.

Forward visibility is good in all three, although the high bonnets will make you glad front parking sensors are standard. Big windows are a help with rearward visibility, but our contenders all have chunky rear pillars and lots of metal hanging out behind their rear axles. Thankfully, in addition to rear parking sensors, you get a 360-degree camera in each case that makes parking in tight spaces less fraught.

Which of our trio feels the most luxurious, though? By some margin, it’s the X7, thanks to lashings of leather on the seats, dashboard and doors, as well as high-quality plastics lower down and controls that work with delightful precision.

Audi Q7 2021 boot

The Q7 isn’t quite as upmarket inside as the X7, but it’s still super-classy, with the Vorsprung getting a similar extended leather package. The Discovery, meanwhile, is well finished, but it doesn’t come with extended leather on the dashboard and has the cheapest-feeling plastics.

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

Six-footers won't feel squeezed in the second row of any of these cars, either, and they all have plenty of head room, especially the Discovery. It has the least leg room, though: if you have particularly long limbs, you might find your knees rather close to the seat in front, if someone equally lofty is sitting there. While the Q7 is more generous, the X7 goes even further, with limo-like levels of leg room to really let you stretch out.

BMW X7 2021 boot

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 often, 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.

Land Rover Discovery 2021 boot

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 is better than 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.

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