Test Drive Notes Library
- Driving Experience. One of the best-driving large SUVs we’ve ever tested. It drives much more like a good, European car than a seven-passenger vehicle. It doesn't have the “roll” or the “bounce” as so many large SUVs. Steering is precise, cornering is mostly flat and always feels well controlled. Bump absorption is excellent. Great combination of comfort and driving qualities.
- The three-liter (333 hp) supercharged six-cylinder engine provides plenty of power, even for this 5,000 pound behemoth, making it feel zippy under pretty much all conditions. We haven’t driven the 2.0 four-cylinder Q7, but wonder how it would feel in such a heavy vehicle. The eight-speed transmission was very smooth, although not quite as imperceptible as BMW’s high-end eight-speed automatic. The Q7 comes standard with all-wheel drive.
- Luxury car interior. As usual for Audi, the cabin is first class. Seats are firm but very comfortable, the materials are all high quality, and the interior is peaceful rather than too busy. There’s good room up front, and plenty of room for adults in the second row. It’s also extremely quiet inside, especially for an SUV.
- Good visibility up front. With reasonably thin A pillars and low shoulders, there’s lots of glass up front and you can see particularly well through the large windshield and out the driver and passenger windows. Looking behind you is the typical story these days; you’ll need electronic help, but Audi provides it. The backup camera is a good one, with both a standard view and a bird’s eye view. The regular camera figures out when you’re parking and shows you a front view as you inch forward, too.
- Good highway cruiser. Between the ride, the quiet, and audio system, you could happily drive a long distance in this thing.
- Ergonomics are pretty good. The heating and cooling controls use hard knobs that are clear and simple. Volume is adjusted via a knob next to the shifter. Once you get used to it, it’s easy to reach and use. Audi’s MMI touch pad lets you draw letters with your finger to, for instance, enter a destination into the navigation. We tried to enter “S” and it kept showing “5.” So, not perfect, but easier than spinning a wheel until you get to the right letter, and the touch pad allows you to keep your eyes on the road more of the time (you still have to check and see if it registered the correct letter). The rest of the infotainment controls mostly make sense. The screen pops up out of the dash, which makes it easily visible. The Q7 comes with Apple Car Play and Android Auto.
- The virtual cockpit works. Audi has been spreading its virtual cockpit across the model line, and the new Q7 has it. It’s a video screen that “creates" the instrument panel in front of the steering wheel, with the tachometer, speedometer, and other stuff. You can modify it, for instance, making the speedo and tach smaller, so you can see navigation directions instead. Or you can display the navigation map in its entirety instead of the instruments. I’m guessing all cars will have “virtual dashboards" at some point, as they become cheaper than actual instruments.
- Great use of blind spot warning. We noticed this inadvertently. After parking at the side of a busy street and turning off the ignition, as we were about to open the driver's door, we noticed that the blind spot traffic warning on the driver’s rearview mirror was lit up. What a great use of the blind spot monitor! It stays on after you turn off the ignition, and lets you know if you’re about to open your door into an approaching car. We assume it would work for a bicycle, too. Brilliant. We haven’t noticed if other cars leave the blind spot monitors on after the ignition goes off, but they should all do this.
- All of the safety stuff you want. Forward-collision warning and automatic, emergency braking are standard. Highway speed emergency braking and blind spot monitoring (both highly recommended) are only available on higher trim levels.
- Stealthy looks. It looks rather plain. This might appeal to certain people. If you’re one of those folks who doesn’t want to broadcast that you dropped 70 large on a car, the Q7 is your ride. There’s nothing bling-y about it on the outside. Clean, classy, but not flashy.
Test Drive Notes Library
- It claims to be a seven-passenger vehicle. We’d call it a five plus two. The “two” being sub-ten-year-old-kids. There’s just enough room between the third row seat and the back of the second row seat for an eight-year-old tibia to fit.
- Our well-equipped Q7 with the Premium Plus package and some other goodies lists for $69K. If you really want all of the things it offers, it could be worth it. But it is a lot of schkarole for most people.
- The virtual cockpit is new. We don’t know what it’s reliability will be and what it will cost to replace out of warranty, should that be necessary.
- Mileage is nothing great. Not any worse than other seven-passenger SUVs, but it’s rated at only 19 city and 25 highway, with 21 overall.
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