If we’re about to sound a little down on the Q7, it’s because this three-row SUV is getting seriously long in the tooth — and frankly, it wasn’t one of our favorites when it was new. Not that there’s anything wrong with the Q7, but it’s a vehicle that was clearly conceived in a different time, and there are now much better choices. From behind the wheel, the Q7 feels enormous, and its nearly 5600-pound curb weight explains why. In response to high gas prices, the Q7 received a number of powertrain revisions last year. The V-8 got the ax, leaving a trio of 3.0-liter
V-6s to choose from. The base gasoline engine is a
280-hp supercharged V-6 hooked to an intelligent eight-speed automatic; the combo is good for a 7.7-second scoot to 60 mph. S line Q7s receive a
333-hp version of that engine, knocking the sprint off in 6.9 seconds with no penalty at the pump. Our choice would be the torquey turbo-diesel, which can hit 60 mph in a brisk, drama-free 8.0 seconds. It’s too bad that the diesel’s EPA ratings don’t show much of a fuel-economy benefit. Like other Audis, the Q7 is sharply dressed inside and out, and its infotainment system has been upgraded for 2012 to include Audi Connect. The system can overlay Google Earth images over maps, provide real-time traffic information, and act as a mobile Wi-Fi hot spot for up to eight devices. It also allows the driver to perform Google Voice local searches for navigation destinations.
Trim levels: Q7 3.0T Quattro, Q7 3.0T S line Quattro, Q7 TDI clean diesel Quattro
Body style: SUV/crossover, 5-to-7-passenger
Engines: 3.0L turbo-diesel V-6, 225 hp, 406 lb-ft
3.0L supercharged V-6, 280/333 hp, 295/325 lb-ft
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Passenger Volume: 133.2 cu ft
Cargo space: (behind third/middle/front seats) 10.9/42.0/72.5 cu ft
New for the Q7 this year is an S line plus package that includes massive titanium-finish twenty-one-inch wheels and matte black roof rails and window surrounds. Also, Audi expects two new white paints — one metallic, one nonmetallic — by the end of the year. It just doesn’t get much more exciting than that.
Dual-stage front, side, knee, and three-row side curtain air bags; ABS; and traction and stability control are standard. All windows have pinch protection. Rear side air bags; blind-spot monitoring; and adaptive headlights are optional.
All: 16-17 mpg city/22-25 mpg highway
- Decent fuel economy
- Good power
- Hugely overweight
- Inefficient packaging
- Old design
Big, but definitely not our favorite Audi.
- BMW X5
- Infiniti QX
- Lexus LX
- Mercedes-Benz GL-class