Review: 2017 Audi Q7 offers families style, performance – Detroit Free Press
It’s about to be a good time to be part of the silver-spoon-and-juice-box set. A flood of new crossover SUVs from luxury brands will raise the level of design, luxury and technology for the popular family haulers.
The ★★★ 2017 Audi Q7 is the latest — and sportiest thus far — in a flood of new large luxury crossover SUVs that began last year with the outstanding Volvo XC90.
While Audi prides itself on its technical and design creativity, upstart Volvo wins on most counts, just as the XC90 swept major awards last year, including Detroit Free Press Truck of the Year and North American Truck/Utility of the Year. They’ll slug it out for bragging rights in the brutally competitive Montessori pickup lane this year.
Other luxury crossovers with three rows of seats — six, seven or eight seats, if you’re counting, and owners are — include the Acura MDX, BMW X5, Buick Enclave, Infiniti QX60, Land Rover Range Rover Sport and Mercedes GL. Surprisingly given that competitive set, BMW, Cadillac and Lexus don’t offer a three-row crossover. That will change soon, because the vehicles are madly popular and profitable. All three brands will add models to cash in on over the next two or three years, and the other brands have new models in the works.
Caddy and Lexus will also continue to build their popular three-row truck-based SUVs, the Escalade, GX 470 and LX 570, because nobody ever went broke by offering American drivers too many trucks and SUVs to choose from.
The 2017 Q7 just began arriving in dealerships. It uses an all-new aluminum-intensive body and architecture. It’s about 250 pounds lighter than the previous Q7. The old Q7 felt ponderous and heavy compared to the sprightly new model. That first-gen Q7 was also somewhat longer and wider than the new model.
All 2017 Q7s come with all-wheel-drive, a 333-horsepower supercharged 3.0L V6 and eight-speed automatic transmission. The Q7 seats seven.
Prices start at $54,800. I tested a well-equipped Q7 that had adaptive cruise control, Bose audio, automatic braking, leather upholstery, navigation, a big sunroof and more. It cost $67,975. All prices exclude destination charges.
Q7 prices are competitive with the XC90, less than the GL 450 and Range Rover Sport and more than the MDX, QX60 and Enclave.
The Q7’s size puts it in the middle of that group, but its rear seat is among the least useful. It’s hard to get in and out and provides little legroom. Like the XC90 and Range Rover Sport, the Q7’s third row of seats are for occasional and brief use. Cargo space is also at the small end of the pack.
The front seat is roomy and attractive, however, and the middle row is comfortable.
The latest version of Audi’s MMI rotary controller runs navigation, audio, phone and many other features.
The lack of a touch screen leads to an inelegant application of Apple CarPlay, the feature that projects selected functions from your iPhone onto the Q7’s display screen. You use Audi’s rotary controller to select icons for music, phone, and so on.
Asking drivers to use CarPlay without a touch screen is like an airline loading passengers onto a 747 and making them taxi from New York to L.A. You’ll get there eventually, but this is not the best way to do it.
The supercharged 3.0L V6’s 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque are among the most powerful in the segment. The engine’s output tops all competitors but the GL 450 and Range Rover Sport. The Q7’s 5.7-second 0-60 m.p.h. time leads the class.
Audi’s Drive Select system lets the driver program the steering, suspension, engine and transmission settings they like. The steering is quick and responsive. The suspension holds the 199.6-inch long SUV level and stable in enthusiastic maneuvers.
The EPA rates the Q7 at 19 m.p.g. in the city, 25 on the highway and 21 combined. That’s in the middle of its class, the same as the MDX, 1 m.p.g. less than the XC90 and QX60, 2 m.p.g. better than the more powerful GL 450 and Range Rover and 3 m.p.g. better than the Enclave. The Enclave uses less expensive regular gas, though so the EPA expects its owners to pay less for fuel than Q7 drivers.
It’s surprising an all-new vehicle from a technically accomplished brand like Audi isn’t a clear leader in more fields, but the Q7’s looks and sporty character will please its owners, as long as the grownups remember the rear seat is scaled to Baby Mozart.
Contact Mark Phelan: 313-222-6731 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mark_phelan.
Behind the Wheel
2017 Audi Q7
All-wheel-drive seven-passenger crossover SUV
Price as tested: $67,975 (excluding destination charge)
Rating: ★★★ (Out of four stars)
Reasons to buy: Looks; power; handling
Shortcomings: Poor application of Apple CarPlay; rear seat; luggage space
Competitive EPA fuel economy ratings
(Automatic transmission, all-wheel-drive models)
Audi Q7 Quattro: 19 m.p.g. city/25 highway/21 combined. Premium gasoline.
Acura MDX SH-AWD w/Advance & entertainment: 18/26/21. Premium gasoline.
Buick Enclave AWD Premium: 16/22/18. Regular gasoline.
Infiniti QX 60 AWD 19/26/22. Premium gasoline.
Land Rover Range Rover Sport: 17/23/19. Premium gasoline.
Mercedes GL 450: 17/21/19. Premium gasoline.
Volvo XC90 T6 Inscription: 20/25/22. Premium gasoline.
Comparative base prices (excluding destination charges)
(Automatic transmission, all-wheel-drive models)
Audi Q7 Quattro: $54,800
Acura MDX SH-AWD w/Advance & entertainment: $57,230
Buick Enclave AWD Premium: $49,515
Infiniti QX 60 AWD: $43,800
Land Rover Range Rover Sport: 17/23/19. $69,950
Mercedes GL 450: $65,200
Volvo XC90 T6 Inscription: $55,400
Specifications as tested
Engine: 3.0L 24-valve supercharged V6
Power: 333 horsepower @ 5,500-6,500 r.p.m.; 325 pound-feet of torque @ 2,900-5,300 r.p.m.
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 117.9 inches
Length: 199.6 inches
Width: 77.5 inches
Height: 68.5 inches
Curb weight: 4,938 lbs.
Where assembled: Bratislava, Slovakia
Key features on vehicle tested
Standard equipment: Antilock brakes; stability control; curtain air bags; front seat side air bags; electronic brake-force distribution; brake assist; front-seat side air bags; backup camera; pre sense city safety package; LED daytime running lights and tail lights; two-pane sunroof, auto-dimming mirrors, power mirrors, windows and locks, push-button start; heated 8-way power front seats; power folding third row; 7-passenger seating; leather seating surfaces; parking sensor; multi-function steering wheel with shift paddles; Bluetooth phone and music compatible; rain and light sensor; USB interface;
Options: Bose audio; high-gloss black oak trim; 20-inch aluminum wheels; heated steering wheel; heated rear seats; LED headlights; topview camera system; four-zone climate control; ventilated front seats; virtual cockpit instrument panel; adaptive cruise control; lane-keeping assist; auto high beams; traffic sign recognition; LED interior lights;
Florett silver metallic paint; navigation; touch pad; Audi connect; smartphone interface; side assist; pre sense rear; power tilt and telescoping steering column.