2017 Audi Q7 review with video
Base price: $65,200 + taxes
As tested: $90,800 + taxes
Average fuel economy over our week of testing: 10.3 L/100 kms (23 MPG)
Competition: Acura MDX, BMW X5, Volvo XC90
Audi has just stepped it up in a big way with the new 2017 Q7. The largest vehicle for the brand hasn’t seen a wholesale redesign since its inception in 2007. And while the previous generation of the Q7 did a remarkably good job of still looking current a decade after it was launched, the new lines look more refined than ever. It’s also lighter, more fuel efficient and more exciting to drive. In an interesting twist, the Q7 has actually gotten
smaller on the outside while many other cars are ballooning in proportions. But despite the downsize, some clever engineering still results in more interior space.
And what an interior it is! In fact, the features available to you in the Q7 now outstrip the sort of tech and comfort that you can find in the A8, which is Audi’s flagship sedan. I was really impressed by the refined, minimalist interior with soft touch surfaces all through the cabin. Standard features on all trims of the Q7 include:
- Quattro all wheel drive
- Three rows of leather seating
- A massive panorama sunroof
- Parking sensors
- And a basic level of Audi’s Pre-sense safety technology
I was pleased to see three row seating come standard on the Canadian version of the Q7 as it’s a costly add-on for European buyers. But don’t expect to fit anyone beyond a preteen kit back there. It’s a squeeze for both legroom and headroom. And having the third row up zaps you of almost all of your trunk space. Consider the third row a jump seat for times when you’re in a pinch but a long road trip would feel very long indeed while sitting in the third row. Meanwhile, the second row fits three full-sized adults without issue and this row can also slide forward to give third row passengers a little more space or offer up more cargo capacity.
Bump up into higher trim levels and you’ll get features like:
- A bird’s eye view parking camera
- Four zone climate control
- Audi’s new digital virtual cockpit – which is amazing!
- And some serious safety equipment that helps keep you safe when you don’t react quickly enough to changing road conditions or slowing traffic up ahead
It’s great to see Audi keeping pace with other luxury SUVS like the XC90 from Volvo in the safety department – an effort that’s gained the new Q7 a Top Safety Pick Plus rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Our tester for the week was kitted out with almost every bell and whistle you can plug into the Q7 which brought the total price to over $90,000 – the most expensive vehicle we’ve ever tested – but some of my favourite features in the tester include:
- The $3750 luxury package which includes perhaps the most comfortable Valcona leather seats I’ve ever settled into and a massage function for the front two passengers
- The $3900 dynamic ride package. This includes four wheel steering which decreases the turning radius of the Q7 by a metre and makes it much more nimble in the city. This package also has adjustable suspension which lets the driver change the height of the vehicle depending on road conditions. The Q7 can essentially go from a low-slung roadster to a capable off-roader with the touch of a button.
- The $3,400 Driver Assitance Plus Package with heads up display which projects important information such as speed and the next turn for your navigation system on the windshield. You also get lane assist technology which keeps the car within the lines of the road and adaptive cruise control in this package.
- And the $5100 Bang and Olufsen 3D sound system. That’s a lot of coin for a car stereo but I can’t deny it sounded absolutely remarkable… for serious audiophiles only, though. Talk radio doesn’t do it justice!
Regardless of the trim that you choose, you’re going to find it’s powered by the same 3-litre turbocharged engine coupled with an eight speed automatic transmission. And this is one peppy seven passenger SUV! In fact, it’s really easy to forget how big this vehicle is when you’re gearing down into a corner with the standard-equipped paddle shifters. It’s a quiet and smooth ride, despite the run flat tires which can often be quite noisy. But when you want it to be, the Q7 can also tense up in sport mode and become a real blast to drive. I was generally pleased with the fuel economy of this vehicle for its size. Over a week of driving, we average 10.3 litres per 100 kms. But in the city, it gets much thirstier as the turbo spools up to haul you off the line in stop and go traffic. If you’re looking to improve your fuel economy, the staff at Glenmore Audi in Calgary who supplied this tester say the diesel version of the Q7 is expected to be released in June 2016. Another surprise, considering that the Q7 is not based on a truck chassis, is its towing capacity. It can haul up to 7,700 lbs of boat or RV behind it which is an impressive feat in this class.
While the driving feel and fit and finish of the new Q7 is very impressive there are some things I found bothersome over the week:
- The cup holders in both the first and second rows are tiny and didn’t fit our reusable coffee cups or water bottles
- The scratch pad feature on our tester allows the driver to use his/her fingertip to input a phone number or address into the infotainment system but it’s clunky and time consuming and just takes up unnecessary space in the centre console. Using the voice recognition software is faster and easier
- And while some might love having an infinitely customizable vehicle – everything from the colour of the LED accent lighting around the doors to the sensitivity of the lane keeping assist technology can be tweaked to your liking – it is very easy to get lost in a sea of menus on the Q7’s infotainment system. I found the touch screen tablet style system on the Volvo XC90 more intuitive
But these are picky beefs and the Q7 comes in at a cheaper starting price than the equivalent BMW or Mercedes with some pretty impressive standard kit. The brand’s world famous all wheel drive system and a serious nod from Consumer Reports earlier this year naming it the best made brand for 2016, make it a very worthwhile option. But be mindful and choosy of the various packages that are available with the Q7 because the price can balloon rather quickly. If it were my money, I’d look at the middle of the road Progressiv trim of the Q7 and match it up with that amazing Dynamic Ride Package to get the most out of this car’s performance and improve its ability to weave through the urban environment – where, let’s be honest, most of us would be driving this SUV anyway!
Family Wheels driver comfort score: 4.5/5
Family Wheels interior layout score: 4/5
Family Wheels infotainment system score: 3/5
Family Wheels interior noise score: 4.5/5
Family Wheels performance score score: 4/5
Family Wheels rear passenger score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels trunk test score: 4/5
Family Wheels fuel economy score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels build quality score: 4.5/5
Family Wheels value score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels overall score: 39/50= 78%