"The seven-seat Q7 is more about performance, space and status than it is about going off-road.”
Audi's enormous Q7 is imposing to look at, while its high driving position offers a commanding view of the road ahead. The seven-seat interior is huge, although the rearmost seats are a bit short on legroom. The Q7 wafts along quietly at speed, and while the suspension is quite stiff and the ride is firm, the gutsy V6 diesel and V8 petrol engines never feel short of power. Diesel versions have the upper hand, though, as they’re cheaper to run and good for towing. The interior is hard-wearing and well built, as all Audi cabins are.
The Q7 is simply enormous – it weighs over two tonnes and takes up a serious amount of space on the road. It's tough to park, and is a struggle to manoeuvre down narrow city streets. However, there's plenty for long-distance drivers to celebrate. The car corners well and offers plenty of grip, and the driver can choose between Comfort and Sport suspension settings, too. Twisty lanes aren’t really where the Q7 belongs because of its sheer bulk, although on open roads it feels controlled and responsive.
Adjustable air-suspension (pictured below) means that the Audi's firm ride is at its best on smooth surfaces. Set it to Comfort mode and it glides along with absolutely no fuss whatsoever. There's plenty of space for those in the front seats but, as with most seven-seaters, the second row of chairs isn’t quite so generous, while the final row is aimed at children more than adults. As an option, you can specify a Q7 with five seats, but this dents its versatility.
Reliability is a byword at Audi and the company prides itself on producing tough and dependable cars. With that in mind, the Q7 is a safe bet. It's a good idea to test all the electrical gizmos in the car, though, because they can be expensive to fix if you only notice a problem after your warranty has run out.
No car the size of the Q7 could be called impractical. In five-seat mode, there's a 775-litre boot. This space expands to a massive 2,035 litres with rear chairs folded flat, so whether you are moving anything from suitcases to pieces of furniture, there's very little that the Q7 won’t swallow. What's more, there's plenty of cubby space in the cabin, too.
Value for money
Make no mistake – the Q7 isn’t a cheap car. Even so, entry- level 3.0-litre V6 TDI models do represent a value for money entry point into this upmarket class of cars. It's also worth pointing out that you get a reasonable amount of standard equipment for your money. Resale values are strong, too, so the Q7 will hold on to its value better than rivals such as the Land Rover Discovery 4 and BMW X5.
The diesels are by far the best choice when it comes to fuel economy. Audi introduced a Clean Diesel TDI version in 2010 that returns an average of 31.7mpg – not a bad figure for such a big machine. The petrol models make less sense, as most of them return little more than 20mpg on average. Road Tax costs are hefty, no matter which version you choose, as all models fall into Band L or above.