The Audi Q7 is due for a big update soon, but we tested the existing model.
The Audi Q7 disappeared from sale for a little while, but now it's back before a comprehensive update arrives in the second quarter of 2020. It's diesel-powered, has seven seats, has all-wheel drive, and offers plenty of practicality and luxury, too.
The Audi Q7 disappeared from sale for a while. You mightn’t have noticed it, but the brand certainly did, with sales slumping over a 12-month period because the regular Q7 models were unavailable to purchase.
The company pulled all of its non-SQ7 variants from sale in October 2018, and they only arrived back on sale locally in August 2019. That meant a sales slide of about 40 per cent. And what a time to have a slide, too…
The Q7 only arrived back on sale locally in August 2019.
The reason for the stop-sale was because of emissions. Or, more correctly, emissions management. The AdBlue system required an overhaul because it didn’t meet requirements, and that lead Audi Australia to remove the Q7 from sale for the best part of a year. If you’re not sure what AdBlue is, it’s a urea-based solution that breaks down harmful nitrous-oxide exhaust gas into nitrogen and oxygen.
Audi Australia has moved to correct the sales slide now, with the Q7 45 TDI and 50 TDI models back in the line-up. These versions have been reintroduced before a facelifted model arrives in the first half of 2020, but we thought we’d see how this version stacks up.
Is there anything interesting about its design? 7/10
The Audi Q7 first went on sale in this shape in 2015, so the design isn’t exactly fresh. In fact, there’s a heavily facelifted model coming in the second quarter of 2020, and it looks a lot more modern and aggressive, with a few harder edges and more off-road inspiration to its look.
But the current one has aged well, with nice lines running front to rear, and the seemingly ever-present S line sporty styling bits to help it have some appeal compared with newer, flashier rivals. This 50 TDI version stepped up to a 20-inch wheel instead of 19s, too.
The Audi Q7 first went on sale in this shape in 2015.
Its a pretty big thing - dimensions are 5052mm long (on a 2994mm wheelbase), 1968mm wide and 1741mm high - but it carries off its size well. One mum I spoke with said “it doesn’t look big enough to be a seven seater”… How very deceptive, because it’s one of the roomier sever-seat SUVs on the market.
You won’t be disappointed if you’re buying an Audi Q7 for its practicality.
It has one of the roomiest seven-seat SUV cabins in this part of the market. Sure, if you go up to a BMW X7 or Mercedes GLS you’ll have a little more room available to you, but in terms of packaging smarts, the Q7 is a bit of a genius.
The Q7 has one of the roomiest seven-seat SUV cabins in this part of the market.
The second row features 40:20:40 split folding seats with individual sliders.
The room in the rearmost row is excellent.
All Q7 models have electric folding third row seats, which take about ten times longer to raise and lower than conventional pull-tab or handle-operated rear seats, but the room in the rearmost row is excellent.
The second row features 40:20:40 split folding seats with individual sliders, meaning you can tailor the space in the second and third row to suit the size of the occupants you’re carrying. At 182cm I was able to comfortably sit in the third row behind Richard Berry (191cm), with a little bit of second-row slide adjustment. We both had enough head, knee and toe space to be comfortable.
The boot is still big with seven seats.
There's 295 litres of space in this configuration.
As a seven seater the Q7 will fit a pram or two suitcases.
The boot is still big enough with seven seats up that it will fit a pram or two suitcases (if you're into the figures, there's 295 litres of space in this configuration), while if you lower the third row and run the Q7 as a five-seater, there's enough room for a full set of luggage, plus a pram, plus even more (total: 770L).
Lower the third row to run the Q7 as a five-seater.
As a five seater there is 770L of space.
There's enough room for a full set of luggage plus a pram.
And the great thing about the Q7 - an element plenty of its rivals can’t match - is that there are so many child seat anchor points! It has five ISOFIX child seat anchor points and top tether points, meaning it’s possible to fit a child seat or baby seat in any of the rear seats. Yep, you could theoretically fit five child seats in here. It might a hassle in practice, but it’s possible.
There are nice comfort and convenience features as well, with plenty of cup holders and bottle holders through the cabin, and air vents to all three rows. There’s even quad-zone air-conditioning to allow different temperatures in different parts of the car.
Up front the Q7 feels pleasant. It doesn’t have the same ‘wow-factor’ as the GLE, nor as clinical as a Touareg. But there’s a nice amount of usable storage space, and the design of the dashboard is nice, even if that pop-up media screen looks a bit dated, especially the sat nav graphics.
Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with? 7/10
The Q7 line-up starts with the 45 TDI at $102,990 plus on-road costs, while this 50 TDI version is listed at $111,950 plus on-roads.
That puts the Q7 in an interesting spot compared to some rivals. The five-seat-only VW Touareg - which shares a lot with this Audi - is considerably more affordable, starting from $79,490. The BMW X5 range starts at $99,900, and the Mercedes-Benz GLE line-up kicks off at $99,900.
The standard equipment list consists of 20-inch wheels, tyre pressure monitoring, a tyre repair kit (no spare), and the standard lighting system is xenon with LED daytime running lights and LED rear lights. It has auto headlights and wipers.
Standard equipment includes 20-inch wheels.
Media is covered with a retractable 8.3-inch media screen with touchpad and rotary dial controller, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, DAB digital radio, a 10-speaker sound system and wireless smartphone charging. The system also has the new Audi Connect system (requires a data SIM) and sat nav with available updates.
There’s ‘Cricket’ leather seat trim, electric front seat adjustment with memory settings for the driver, heated front seats, quad-zone climate control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, smart key and push-button start, smart boot opening with electric tailgate, and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit 12.3-inch fully digital instrument display for the driver.
Media is covered with a retractable 8.3-inch media screen with touchpad and rotary dial controller.
There’s a surround view camera and a semi-autonomous self parking system fitted for ease of use, but as for the rest of the safety gear fitted, see the safety section below.
Our car was fitted with an array of packages, including the Assistance Package (adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist, active lane keeping - $3850), the S line Style Package 4 (LED headlights and dynamic LED tail-lights, privacy glass, S line exterior styling and 21-inch wheels - $4600), the Comfort Package (ambient lighting, electric steering column adjust, rear window sunblinds, brushed aluminium inlays - $3650), as well as adaptive air suspension ($4690), a panoramic sunroof ($3990), gloss black interior finishes ($1600) and metallic paint ($2250).
All told, our Q7 had an as-tested price of $136,850. Did it feel worth that much? Not quite.
Colour options include blue, grey, beige, silver and brown - all of which are optional metallic options - and there’s also two no-cost option paint finishes, which are black or white.
The real-world fuel consumption I saw when I took the figures at the pump was 9.9L/100km. Note - I wasn’t hauling seven people around for my test, which included highway, urban and back road driving. Your fuel economy will suffer if you fill all seven seats.
But still, less than ten litres per hundred is a good real-world return.
As mentioned, this model also has an AdBlue tank to help combat harmful exhaust emissions. The tank capacity is 24 litres, which is theoretically enough to last about 14,500km before it needs refilling. Interestingly, the pre-pay service packs for the Q7 include AdBlue top-ups, which is a nice convenience for owners.
What's it like to drive? 7/10
The Audi Q7 is a comfortable seven-seater. Is it amazing to drive? No. Is it fun? Not really. But does it hit the target for what most people buying this type of car will want? Yeah, it does, mostly.
The air suspension allows for a soft and cushy ride for the most part, though the 21-inch wheels do pick up the sharper edges in the road surface. At highway pace, in either the Comfort or Auto drive mode, the ride is really quite good, while at lower speeds over speed humps it does a fine job, though it’s not exceptionally smooth.
The body control is not quite as good as a Touareg or X5, but better than a Lexus RX or Mercedes GLE. It doesn’t wobble too around much despite being tall and heavy, but nor is it super flat through corners if you’re pushing harder than most parents would.
The Q7 is refined and quiet, without too much diesel clatter.
The steering is light and easy to judge in most situations but can be a little too heavy at lower speeds - like when you’re negotiating multi-storey car parks. Its responsive enough at pace, just not as inspiring or enthralling as some rivals.
The engine is the strongest part of the Q7’s equation. The 3.0-litre V6 has a nice, healthy wad of pulling power in the mid-range, despite a little bit of lag below 2000rpm. There’s effortless grunt for overtaking moves, and it easily has enough power in reserve to get you moving.
The transmission is hard to fault, too, proving smart, smooth shifting and during my time in the car it never made a wrong move.
But it is refined and quiet, without too much diesel clatter, not a lot of wind noise and a hushed amount of tyre rumble, too.
Warranty & Safety Rating
3 years / unlimited km
ANCAP Safety Rating
What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating? 8/10
The Q7 line-up has ‘Audi pre-sense city’ with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and pedestrian detection (but not cyclist detection, which is required to obtain five stars under 2019 criteria), blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert with acoustic warning and brake jolt when “critical”. There’s no standard-fit radar cruise control. There are dual front, front side and full-length curtain airbags fitted.
The Q7 was awarded the maximum five-star ANCAP score.
There’s also Audi’s ‘Exit Warning System’ that can detect cars and cyclists and warn occupants, plus all models have hill descent control.
As mentioned, the 50 TDI gets a surround view camera, and all models have parking sensors front and rear, plus a semi-automated parking system.
The updated model due mid-2020 is expected to increase the safety gear levels even further.
What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered? 7/10
Audi’s ownership plans saw a boost in 2019, with new pre-pay service plan options rolled out. There is the choice of a three-year plan for the Q7, which is priced at $2310, or five-year cover that’ll set you back $3120. Servicing is due every 12 months/15,000km, and you’ll be covered for oil change, filters, brake fluid, AdBlue, remote batteries and more.
The current version of the Audi Q7 proves to still be a comfortable and practical luxury SUV for those who value space and versatility.
The heavily updated version coming mid-2020 will no doubt be even better and potentially offer significant spec and safety upgrades, but buyers after a good deal could find attractive prices on the pre-facelift model up until the newer-look version arrives - and they could do a lot worse than to go for it.
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