Range Rover VS Audi Q7
- New tech is cool
- Supreme road feeling
- Luxurious interior
- Engine power so-so
- Cost of options
- Cabin is super practical
- Proper third-row seats
- Strong diesel engine
- A little expensive compared to rivals
- Updated model due soon
- Not exciting to drive
Range Rover. Straight away, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Despite a growing model line-up that now includes the Evoque, Velar and the Range Rover Sport, just about everyone on Earth pictures the brand's big bruiser whenever they hear the name.
A true motoring icon, it might have started life as a posh farmer's tool, but it is now a fixture on suburban driveways everywhere. Big and bold, it's now far more stylish than the utilitarian original, yet still manages to be super-impressive off-road. I know this because I once drove one up a river. Not across, but up. Against the current, in water almost a metre deep.
For 2018, the Range Rover's interior has scored an upgrade and, as ever, a minor tweak in the specifications. But it's still a car that has few genuine rivals.
|Engine Type||3.0L turbo|
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…
There have been new versions of the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Lexus RX and VW Touareg all released in the past year or so, and that has rubbed a bit of salt into the sales wound for the Audi Q7. Not even the all-new Audi Q8 has helped out that much in terms of sales.
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.
|Engine Type||3.0L turbo|
The Range Rover is a car everyone knows - it's amazingly capable off-road, actually seats five full-size humans and casts a (huge) stylish shadow like no other. Now well into its sleeker fourth generation, it's ageing well and still holds its position as king of luxury SUVs, despite pretenders piling in from all corners.
I wasn't expecting to like the Range Rover. I knew I would respect it, but like? It turns out it's super-quiet, relaxed and, if you spend a few more bucks, has all the gadgets you need to manouevre it about and enjoy the ride, long or short.
Is the Range Rover still top of the pile? Tell us what you think in the comments.
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.
One of the extraordinary things about Land Rover and sister company Jaguar is the sheer consistency of the design teams over the past decade or so. The Range Rover is a hefty machine, and while it looks big, it does not look as overbearing as a car five metres long and over 180cm tall could.
No, it's not a lithe CX-9 approach, but it maintains the muscular Rangie look with the blacked-out pillars and floating roof and the now-signature laid-back grille and lights. And on our black car, the blacked-out gills on the front doors looked terrific - sometime the lighter-coloured versions look a bit cheap.
Inside is swathed in leather with wood or, if you prefer, metallic finishes. Everything looks and feels substantial. The new 10-inch screen looks a lot more modern than the older version, and it sits atop a redesigned centre console with the new HVAC controls. The old dials on the steering wheel have also been replaced with touch-sensitive dials with digital displays. It's a nice mix of traditional shapes with advanced tech.
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.
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.
From the get-go, it's huge inside. There is lounging-room aplenty in the first and second rows, and rear seat occupants score their own set of climate controls.
Storage is everywhere, with two deep bins in the front and two front cupholders that slide away to reveal a space big enough for a beagle (okay, slight exaggeration). The rear also features two cupholders and each door will hold a bottle.
Boot space starts at a massive 639 litres and expands to 1943 litres with the rear seats down. There's a ton of space in the boot for things or a hefty dog.
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.
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 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).
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.
The system itself is decent, though the lack of touchscreen capability means phone mirroring tech like CarPlay and Android Auto largely hampered. You have to use the rotary dial to control the screen, which isn’t the way it was designed to be used. If you can overlook that, or if you just prefer to use the in-built media system, then it’s fine.
Price and features
The Vogue TDV6 starts at a fairly hefty $190,000. You might think that's a lot of money for a seven-seat SUV - and you'd be right.
You do alright for your money, though. The list contains 20-inch alloys, climate control, keyless entry and start, a comprehensive safety package, twin-view front screen, dynamic dampers, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, digital dash, electric heated front seats, auto LED headlights, auto wipers, acoustic heated windscreen, heated rear seats, partial leather seats, head-up display, active air suspension, heated steering wheel, powered gesture-activated tailgate and a full-size spare.
The new 'InControl' system now pairs with an all-new 10-inch touchscreen, and it looks terrific. The system is finally making some inroads (sorry) into the German competitors' in-car multimedia dominance.
Obviously it has sat nav, but it also has DAB, a Wi-Fi hotspot, a TV tuner, app connectivity (iffy, if I'm honest), and various off-road based stuff. The 13-speaker stereo is a belter, but, frustratingly, no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. JLR keeps saying "watch this space", and after Mazda recently proved me wrong, it's a claim I'll take a little more seriously.
The car I had for the week also had the 'Pixel Laser' LED lights ($6490), 22-inch gloss black wheels ($5110), sliding panoramic roof ($4420), adaptive cruise ($3600!), black exterior pack ($2730), 'Vision Assist Pack' (foglights, interior ambient lighting and around-view cameras; $2040), Park Pack (rear cross-traffic alert, and side parking sensors; $1280), laminated windows ($830), 'Drive Pack' (blind-spot monitor; $820), wade sensing ($600), ebony headlining ($680), and few extra bits taking us to a grand total of $222,440.
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.
So it’s not the most affordable SUV in this space. But here’s what you get for your money.
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.
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.
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.
Engine & trans
Being a Range Rover, it's obviously all-wheel drive with a centre differential for the rough stuff. The TDV6 designation tells us it has a 3.0-litre turbodiesel good for 190kW and 600Nm to shift its substantial frame, weighing in at 2249kg. The dash from 0-100km/h comes up in a surprisingly spritely eight seconds dead, and towing capacity is a muscular 3500kg for a braked trailer.
The Q7 50 TDI model we’ve got is the top-spec in the standard Q7 line-up. It shares the same 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 engine with the lower-grade 45 TDI, but the 50 TDI has the higher-output engine tune.
This model produces 200kW of power (at 3250-4250rpm) and 600Nm of torque (from 1500-3000rpm). It uses an eight-speed automatic transmission and permanent quattro all-wheel drive. Audi claims the 0-100km/h time for this model is just 6.5 seconds. That’s quick!
If you don’t think you need that, the 45 TDI would likely be perfectly fine. It still has 160kW and 500Nm, an eight-speed auto with AWD, and a 0-100 time of 7.3 seconds.
Both Q7 grades are rated to tow a 750kg un-braked trail or a 3500kg braked trailer. The gross vehicle mass (GVM) is 2940kg, and the gross combination mass (GCM) is 6440kg.
Land Rover's official combined cycle figure for the Vogue is listed at 6.9L/100km, but in my week with the car doing largely suburban running about, with some highway mixed in, we didn't event get close, returning 12.3L/100km.
Even so, the huge 86-litre tank will ensure you won't have to visit the servo too often.
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.
A Range Rover drives like no other car. It feels big, but with that upright driving position, it's oddly relaxing. Despite needing a little extra attention to keep the car in the lane, the view out over the flat bonnet is pretty unique.
The air suspension provides a plush ride, but can occasionally get itself into a bit of a heaving-sea movement - as it did along a particular road near where I live. The rest of the time it completely insulates you from the road.
Of course, if I'd had the bravery to tackle some serious off-roading, the air suspension can lift the car from its low-riding city stance to 22cm, meaning you can wade through 90cm of water, which is around half the car's height. The people down the road weren't keen on me testing it in their pool. Spoilsports.
You can't easily escape the fact it's exactly five metres long - it squeezes into parking spaces, and the big mirrors help, too. At least the height is rather more commonplace than it was a decade or so ago, so you're less likely to bang into low ceilings.
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 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.
The Vogue sports six airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, rollover-stability control, hill-descent control, forward-collision warning, forward AEB, corner-braking control and trailer-sway control.
The Rangie scored a five star ANCAP safety rating in 2013.
The Audi Q7 was crash-tested in 2015 and was awarded the maximum five-star ANCAP score as a result.
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.
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.
Range Rover offers a three-year/100,000km warranty with roadside assist for the duration, which is now starting to look a bit skinny. The website assures me that not only does it cover the usual stuff, but you'll also be rescued if you're on four-wheel-drive only tracks, too.
You can cap your service prices with a service plan of up to five years/130,000km, and servicing is required every 12 months or 26,000km.
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.
Audi backs its models with a three-year roadside assist plan as part of its warranty cover, as well as three years of map updates for the sat nav.
At the time of writing, eligible Q7 models are being sold with a nice little value enhancement - a five-year/75,000km servicing plan included at no cost, as well as five years of roadside assist.
Got concerns about issues, problems, faults, recalls or other common complaints? Check out our Audi Q7 problems page.