THE NEW Q7

Words and pictures by: Syed Galib

The Q7 is the best choice among Audi’s athletic line-up of tech-packed luxury vehicles and SUVs. The Q7 retains the fun-to-free essence of a car, in spite of its three rows of seats and a slightly stubborn style.

The new redesign of the seven-seat SUV from Audi, this time grafted on and into parts of the big-brother Q8. So you get the huge stretched octagon of single-frame grille that denotes the current Audi family up front. Think of this as a proper facelift, not as anything new, even if it’s worth improving. It might drive Audi a bit forward, mind with Audi’s argument that Q7 ‘redefines luxury for 7 seats.’

There’s also a change in the face, the rear bumper has new side inlets, a rear end fettling on the rear bumper. A series of changes that are all daunting when you’re more than 30 meters away and not a great deal to talk about, even though everything’s very pleasing.

How it drives

This isn’t a sports car but what the Q7 does well, is cruising around easily carrying people and things.

They are equipped with adjustable and adaptive air suspension; you also have the familiar Audi Drive Select controller to play with, which includes seven pre-sets: Auto, comfort, dynamic, off road, all road and user-chooser individual. It might not be an off-roader, but it’ll manage a wet field or two – there’s a self-locking center diff if things get slippery, and generally the Q7 just gets on with things.

It has excellent body control over a surprising grip, a grip that gradually disappears when over-committing.  The steering mumbles and the brakes produce zero feel, contributing to a smooth drive. Which is probably the point. This is genuinely a very nice place to cruise around inside, quiet, calm and spacious.

The Vision is good for such a big car, although the C-pillar blind spot can be a problem in some situations but Audi provides a 3D camera to see everything around you which makes maneuvering around tight spaces easy.

The Interior

Five decent seats, two slightly smaller pop-up ones in the rear. With the standard seats-up (rearmost two folded) space comes around to about 865-litres (plenty) with 2050-litres with every chair put away. This is a big car. This is a big car. And while the two rear seats are upright and pewish, you can get a 6 footer inside, as long as you move the middle bench a bit. Interestingly, all seats bar the driver’s come with ISOFIX mounting points – handy if you are Charlie Hinton from Daddy Day Care.

Up front it’s as per all the latest Q models now, with haptic twin-touchscreens in the middle. Everything is configurable, customizable, and normally falls deep into the menu options, but it works very well once you get it set to your favorites.

There’s also BOSE sounds on offer and various bits of useful standard kit from an electric tailgate to keyless entry, a town center’s worth of CCTV color-changing LED ambient lighting, climate, electric everything, Audi pre-sense.

Fuel economy

Not surprisingly, the V-6 powertrain comes with worse fuel economy. The EPA fuel-efficiency ratings are 17 mpg city, 21 mpg highway, and 18 mpg combined, which accounts for drops of 2 mpg across the board when compared to the turbo four-cylinder model.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

The Q7 earned five stars for its crashworthiness from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and aced the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) crash tests. Several driver-assistance features are either standard or optional on the Q7, which will make it attractive to buyers transporting precious cargo. Key safety features include:

  • Standard automated emergency braking and forward-collision warning
  • Available lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
  • Available adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving mode

Our Verdict

So far as it is a nice-appointed seven-seat SUV with an important practical attraction if you are usual. It makes plenty of sense with its fresh exterior and refreshed interior. The truth is that Audi has been doing good updating but it is not necessarily innovative in terms of extracting interior space from a small size – after all, it is five meters long.

The Q7 is a great car and will put up a fight against the new BMW X5, Volvo XC90, and Mercedes-Benz GLE.