Used test: Audi SQ7 vs BMW X6 vs Range Rover Velar interiors

These luxury SUVs are fast, spacious and ooze desirability, but is the Audi SQ7, BMW X6 or Range Rover Velar the best used buy?...

New Range Rover Velar & Audi SQ7 vs BMW X6


Driving position, visibility, build quality, practicality

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 BMW X6 and Range Rover Velar even have electrically adjustable steering columns (an option from new on the Audi SQ7). Most drivers will find it easiest to get comfortable in the Velar: its driver’s seat has plenty of lower back and under-thigh support, and its pedals line up neatly with the seat.

New Range Rover Velar & Audi SQ7 vs BMW X6

Disappointingly, the X6 is the only one of our trio to miss out on adjustable lumbar support (although it was available as an option when new). Expect lower back support to be less than ideal unless you find one with 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 in the boxier full-sized Range Rover and Range Rover 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 the thick rear pillars and the rising window line.

The X6’s forward view is generous too, but its pinched rear end hurts over-the-shoulder visibility. The SQ7’s more uniform roofline mean you get a better view out in all directions. Happily, all three cars came with rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera as standard to help with reversing.

 Used Range Rover Velar 17-present

When spending this sort of money, a luxurious, high-quality interior should be expected. In this regard, 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. Well-damped knobs and switches bring a reassuring air of quality. 

An 8.3in colour infotainment screen is standard and is controlled using a rotary dial and a selection of shortcut buttons between the front seats. Navigating the various menus is a doddle and the on-screen graphics are super-crisp. There were two optional sound systems available when new – a Bose system or a Bang & Olufsen one – but the standard system is more than punchy enough.

The Velar's interior is not far behind, especially with our test car’s optional Extended Leather Pack, which wraps its dashboard top, instrument binnacle and door tops in sumptuous material. It's not all for show, and 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.

Land Rover Range Rover Velar 2017 RHD infotainment

The Velar gets not one, but two 10.0in touchscreens. The first, on the face of the dashboard, controls infotainment features and its angle can be adjusted. The second screen below takes care of driving modes and climate control. Both displays have crisp graphics and react reasonably quickly, but many of the icons are small and hard to hit accurately, and you don't get Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone mirroring.

The X6 is the oldest design here, so it's perhaps no surprise that it feels the least luxurious inside, but this facelifted version is 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.

The BMW iDrive infotainment system has a similar rotary dial and menu shortcut set-up to the SQ7’s, but you get a larger 10.3in screen. It’s even easier to use than the Audi system because the menus are slightly more logical – handy when you’re in a rush or on the move. Wireless charging was an option when new (although not all phones were compatible).

New Range Rover Velar & Audi SQ7 vs BMW X6

The Velar has the narrowest interior, but two adults won’t feel at all hemmed in up front, and won’t want for head room, either. Really lanky drivers might find their seat doesn’t slide back far enough on its runners, though. The X6 and SQ7 offer even more front leg room.

Our X6 test car was fitted with an optional sunroof, which reduced front head room to the extent that the X6 was the worst of the three, although a couple of tall adults sitting in the front won’t exactly be cowering.

Adults sitting in the back are unlikely to have an issue with head room in any of our contenders, although the SQ7 has the highest ceiling and the X6 the lowest. Mind you, the X6 actually has the most rear leg room – even with the SQ7’s sliding rear seats (a unique feature in this company) pushed all the way back.

New Range Rover Velar & Audi SQ7 vs BMW X6

Only in the Velar are taller adults likely to find their knees resting against the back of the front seats, especially if someone similarly lofty is sitting in front. The Velar and SQ7’s rear seatbacks can be reclined to different positions – the Velar’s electrically, the SQ7’s manually – whereas the X6’s are fixed in place.

Unlike the other two cars, the SQ7 has a third row of seats that rise electrically from the boot floor. Two adults will just about fit in them, although they’re really best left for kids unless the journey is short. To gain access to its rearmost row, the SQ7’s middle row can be tumbled forward manually. All three cars come with split-folding rear seats (or middle-row in the SQ7) that divide in a practical 40/20/40 configuration.

With its rearmost seats folded away, the SQ7’s boot is biggest. It’s the longest, widest and tallest, and is a practical shape from front to back.

New Range Rover Velar & Audi SQ7 vs BMW X6

That’s not to say the X6’s boot is a poor effort: it’s a similarly practical shape and, in our carry-on suitcase test, managed to swallow nine cases (the same as the SQ7) beneath the parcel shelf, including one in the generous underfloor storage area. That said, the X6’s boot has the narrowest opening and the most pronounced lip at its entrance.

Trailing in third place for boot space is the Velar. Its load bay is actually slightly longer than the X6’s but is narrower and shallower, making a difference in our carry-on suitcase test. We managed to squeeze in just seven cases – one fewer than in a Seat Ateca.

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