Audi Q7 Review 2022

Andrew Brady

Written by

Andrew Brady

Audi Q7
Audi Q7

1/10

1 / 10

00/10
heycar rating
"Brilliant seven-seater luxury SUV"
  • Launched: 2015
  • SUV
  • Petrol, Diesel, PHEV

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Quick overview

Pros

  • Comfortable and quiet on the road
  • Cabin is practical and great on quality
  • Lots of luxury equipment

Cons

  • Distracting touchscreen infotainment system
  • PHEV version only has five seats
  • Newer rivals are perhaps more fashionable

Overall verdict

On the inside

Driving

Cost to run

Prices and Specs

Common questions

Overall verdict on the Audi Q7

"Large and expensive it may be, but the Audi Q7 is simply unmatched for its all-round ability, practicality and attention to detail. Even several years on from launch it remains one of the best cars in its class."

Audi Q7 Review 2022: Exterior Front

The Audi Q7 we're reviewing here isn't a car that'll win favour with environmentalists. They'll look at its huge size and muscular design and think you don't care about climate change or, worse still, might be overcompensating for something.


That's the main drawback out the way, however, and certainly not one unique to the Q7. You see, there isn’t a single area in which Audi’s big seven-seater SUV doesn’t do a thoroughly brilliant job. That’s what makes it the best all-rounder in the class, and - even though it's getting on a bit - one of the best SUVs on sale. 


Key rivals for the Audi Q7 include its biggest competitor, the BMW X5. But there is also close competition in the form of the excellent Land Rover Discovery and Volvo XC90, plus the Mercedes-Benz GLE.


First and foremost, it’s a brilliant car for a big family. It’s among the roomiest cars of its type, with generous space surrounding each of its seven seats, and with so many different options over how much of the space is used for seating and how much is used for cargo, it’s also incredibly versatile. Those on board will also feel spoiled due to the impressive cabin quality and generous luxury kit.


Just as importantly, it’s an ideal family car in the way it drives. On all sorts of roads, the Audi Q7 stays comfortable and quiet, keeping life relaxed and peaceful on every journey.


And despite its impressive comfort, it’s still impressively agile in corners, keeping things safe and settled for passengers, and surprisingly entertaining for the driver. One quick caveat here: the best Audi Q7s ride on air suspension. This was standard on post-facelift cars of 2019 onwards, but optional before that. If you’re buying an earlier car, check it has air suspension fitted, because you definitely want it.


The engines, meanwhile, give an impressive blend of performance, economy and refinement, while lots of safety equipment and a five-star Euro NCAP rating means your family will be well looked after. Any complaints? Well the touchscreen infotainment system on post-facelift cars is a bit fiddly and distracting, and the automatic gearbox could be quicker to respond at times, but other than that, there’s very little to grumble about.


When this car was first launched back in 2015, some members of the motoring press criticised it for being dull, and lacking character. We disagree, but everyone’s entitled to their opinion. Besides, who needs character when it's absolutely brilliant at everything else? 

Is the 2022 Audi Q7 right for you?

Ask yourself one question: Do I want arguably the best all-round seven-seat SUV you can buy? Of course you do. Why wouldn’t you? If that’s the case, then the Audi Q7 is it.


It’s not the biggest car of its type, or the cheapest, or the newest, or the most practical or the most ergonomically sorted. However, in those areas in which it doesn’t lead the class (there are plenty in which it does, but the way), it’s still right up there with the cars that do. This makes the Audi Q7 an unbelievable all-rounder that’ll slot seamlessly into the daily life of any well-heeled family, instantly making it easier, more relaxing, more comfortable, more entertaining and more sophisticated.


Granted, if you’re after a luxury off-roader with seven seats, rather than an SUV, then the more rugged Land Rover Discovery will suit you better. If you’re like most SUV buyers, though, and you never venture further into the countryside than the muddy car park of your local farm shop, then the Q7 will be the perfect family car.

What's the best Audi Q7 model/engine to choose from?

Whatever vintage of Audi Q7 you’re considering, we’d recommend one of the 3.0-litre TDI V6 diesel engines. The more powerful of the pair is worth paying extra for if you can afford it thanks to its extra muscle and more relaxed performance, but in truth, most drivers will probably be fine with the weaker one.


If you’re considering the older car, then there isn’t much you’d want that the entry-level SE car doesn’t give you, so we’d stick with that to keep the price down. If you can, though, try to find a car with optional air suspension fitted, because it truly transforms how the Audi Q7 behaves on the road. Post-facelift cars had it as standard, so happy days, and again, stick with the entry-level trim, from then on known as the Sport.


Of course, if you want your seven-seat SUV to become a road rocket once you've finished the school run, there's always the Audi SQ7. Pre-facelift models came with a thumping great twin-turbo diesel V8 with 435PS, delivering huge low-rev punch and semi-respectable fuel economy. However, that was changed for the facelift to the Audi SQ7 TFSI, which instead used a 507PS twin-turbo petrol V8. Although it's thirstier than the diesel, it's much more responsive and sounds better - and, really, nobody is buying something like an SQ7 for fuel economy. 

What other cars are similar to the Audi Q7?

As a big, luxurious seven-seat SUV, the Audi Q7’s most obvious rivals are the Volvo XC90 and Land Rover Discovery. Obviously, you can’t talk about an Audi offering without mentioning BMW and Mercedes, and although the BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE are five-seaters as standard, both are also offered in seven-seat form as an option.


Step up a level on both size and cost, and you might also consider the BMW X7 and Mercedes GLS from the same stables. The Lexus RX-L would also be competing for your custom in the premium sphere, while more affordable alternatives include the Peugeot 5008, Skoda Kodiaq and Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace.

Comfort and design: Audi Q7 interior

"What you see inside your Audi Q7 will very much depend on how old it is. The main difference between pre- and post-facelift cars is the infotainment screens, but there are some spec changes too. Overall, and Q7 is a superb place to sit, with excellent quality and plenty of space."

Audi Q7 Review 2022: Interior

Early versions of the 2015-on Audi Q7 had conventional knobs and buttons slap-bang in the middle of the dashboard to control the ventilation and various other bits and bobs, while an infotainment screen popped up electrically out of the top of the dash. The various buttons and dials were clearly marked and worked well. The instruments were digital items rather than the traditional analogue dials, and these also presented all sorts of other information and functionality to the driver, and they worked well, too. 


The dashboard design changed unrecognisably after the 2019 facelift, though. This integrated the infotainment screen into the dashboard itself and replaced the physical ventilation controls with another touchscreen panel, bringing the design into line with Audi’s newer luxury offerings such as the A8 limo and e-tron electric SUV.


If we’re honest, it was a backward step in terms of ergonomics. While you could find the old controls by feel, that’s not the case with the screen, and you have to stare intently at the small on-screen icons to make any changes, distracting you from the road ahead. That said, it does all look very cool, and the 'haptic' feedback (which gives a pulse through the screen to confirm your selection) does help matters. 


All versions have supportive seats that move electrically to help you find a comfy driving position. You sit up high and get a nice clear view of the road ahead, but wide rear window pillars can hamper your rear view. At least every version comes with front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera.

Quality and design

This area is an Audi trademark, so it’s no surprise that the Q7 absolutely smashes it here. All of the materials on view - whether they’re dense soft-surfaced plastics, stitched leather, glossy veneers or genuine metallic trims - are extremely high-grade, and they’re blended thoughtfully and tastefully to deliver a sense of effortless class.


You have to delve very deep into the lower reaches of the Audi Q7's cabin before you find a single panel of a quality that doesn’t quite measure up to the high standards of the rest, and even then, the differences are miniscule. 


The precision and solidity with which everything is bolted together, plus the slick, deftly-damped way all the switches and controls work, also help toward providing a level of sophistication that is unsurpassed by any of the Q7’s rivals, even bigger, pricier ones like the BMW X7 and Mercedes GLS. True, newer models feel a little more high-tech than the older ones due to the extra screen, but both versions are pretty much flawless when it comes to quality.

As we’ve already said, the Audi Q7’s interior and infotainment system changed completely during the 2019 facelift, so we effectively have two systems to talk about here.


The earlier one was great. An 8.3-inch screen rose electrically from the top of the dashboard, and you scrolled through the logical on-screen menus using a rotary dial controller and a handful of shortcut buttons. Simple, intuitive and not distracting. There was also a touchpad provided that allowed you handwrite instructions, which was rather more of a faff, but there was nothing you couldn’t do without it if you chose to ignore it.


With the 2019 facelift, though, the motoring world’s obsession with touchscreen technology took over, and this system was ditched for a new twin-screen arrangement that was controlled by jabbing fingers at a screen. In fairness, it’s not bad as touchscreens go with sharp graphics and quick responses. However, some of the on-screen icons are a bit small and tricky to hit, and the fact remains that touchscreens are way more distracting when you're driving than physical controls.


All the functionality you’d expect in a luxury car is covered, though, including DAB radio, navigation, wireless phone charging and various connected services.

Space and practicality: Audi Q7 boot space

Even in the context of large, luxurious seven-seat SUVs, the Audi Q7 is about as good as it gets in practicality terms. Perhaps that's no surprise given the sheet size of the thing.


In terms of external dimensions, the Audi Q7 is 5,063mm long, 1,968mm wide and 1,741mm tall. That's over 100mm longer than the Land Rover Discovery and Volvo XC90, although a BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS are longer still. Nevertheless, you'd never call the Q7 agile or compact - unless, that is, you lived in North America.


Inside the Audi Q7 there's loads of space up front, obviously, and the three individual chairs in the middle row are very generous on both headroom and legroom, so tall adults will fit comfortably. There’s enough shoulder space to sit three adults across the rear bench, too, and the middle seat is almost as wide as those either side, but whoever’s in the middle will have to sit with their legs splayed either side of a bulky transmission tunnel.


Each one of the middle-row chairs slides and reclines independently, and the outer ones tip and tumble far enough out of the way to allow pretty easy access to the third row. The space surrounding these rearmost seats is among the most generous in the class: not quite as much as in a Land Rover Discovery or a BMW X7, but it easily has the beating of a BMW X5 or Mercedes GLE. Adults of a reasonable size will fit, but those much over six foot will probably want to bagsy one of the chairs further forwards on long journeys.

 

With seven seats in place, there’s more boot space in the back of an Audi Q7 than in many rivals at 295 litres - enough for a few large shopping bags. The rearmost chairs drop flush into the floor to give you a massive 865-litre boot in regular five-seat mode, enough for pushchairs, kids’ bikes, or anything else a family could think to carry. The middle row also drops flat into the floor, leaving you with an extended load-bay that’s level and true, not to mention massive.

Handling and ride quality: What is the Audi Q7 like to drive?

It's worth noting that the Audi Q7 is at its best with air suspension, which was optional on earlier cars and standard on facelifted models. It's an option well worth seeking out as it improves the driving experience no end.

Audi Q7 Review 2022: Driving Front

The earliest examples of this generation of Audi Q7 weren't fitted with air suspension as standard. While these are far from bad, the standard suspension allows a bit too much body lean and doesn't offer as smooth a ride at lower speeds as you might expect from a luxury SUV. 


However, find yourself a car equipped with optional air suspension, or go for a post-facelift car that got it as standard, and the Q7’s balance of abilities here become seriously impressive. Most importantly in a car designed to carry large families, it’s extremely strong on comfort.


The suspension absorbs bumps of all shapes and sizes pretty much imperceptibly, making this one of the most cosseting and soothing cars in the class. Given this incredible comfort, it’s perhaps even more astonishing that the Q7 feels so agile in the corners. It has huge grip levels and uncannily strong control over body movements, and this means that the car feels like it shrinks around you on a twisty road. Steering that’s responsive, accurate and well weighted even lets you have a bit of fun occasionally.


Black Edition and Vorsprung versions also get air suspension, but it’s lowered by 15mm. As a result, the ride isn’t quite so effortlessly plush as it is in Sport and S line models, but it’s still more comfortable than it has any right to be. That becomes even more impressive when you consider that the Vorsprung has gigantic 22-inch wheels, yet it still keeps you comfy. The SQ7’s suspension is sportier still, and combined with the big wheels it does sacrifice some rolling comfort. 

What engines and gearboxes are available in the Audi Q7?

Early on in the Audi Q7's life, you had the choice of two 3.0-litre V6 diesel engines with either 218PS or 272PS. We never drove the former, but the latter was great. Whether you were getting away from the mark or picking up speed on the move, it managed to hustle the enormous Q7 along with a surprising amount of urgency, and your progress always felt as effortless as it did brisk. 


Later, these engines were upgraded to deliver 231PS or 286PS, and rebadged to become known as the 45 TDI and 50 TDI, respectively. The more powerful one feels pretty much indistinguishable from the one we’ve just described, just with the undetectable advantage of a few tenths against the stopwatch. 


The lower powered version, meanwhile, will be strong enough for most drivers, but it does have to work a wee bit harder for equivalent performance, which is why the more powerful option edges it as our favourite.


The sole 'normal' petrol option is the 55 TFSI, which uses a 340PS 3.0-litre engine. We've yet to try it, but it's likely to lack some of the low-down grunt of the diesel, needing to be worked harder.


At the top of the range, the Audi SQ7 range-topper has been offered in two flavours throughout its life. The earliest version has a 435PS 4.0-litre diesel V8, which has loads of low-end punch and feels really muscular, giving the SQ7 an impressive turn of pace and - at a cruise - half-decent fuel economy. It even sounds good, although throttle response isn't the best.


Later SQ7s, badged TFSI were instead fitted with a 507PS twin-turbo petrol V8 instead. These offer more performance over a broader rev range than the diesels, and respond better to throttle inputs. They are, however, noticeably more thirsty - although if you're in the market for an SQ7 thats might not be a big issue. 


Finally, there’s also a diesel plug-in hybrid version that combined the V6 diesel engine with an electric motor to give 258PS, and the ability to run on all electric power alone for a few miles. We've yet to try that version, however, and not many are on the market.


All versions are mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, which slushes up and down the gears quickly, smoothly and easily. However, it’s sometimes hesitant to respond when you ask for a sudden burst of acceleration. That’s something you can say of most cars like this, but it’s particularly noticeable in the Q7.

Refinement and noise levels

Another area in which the Audi Q7 does a super-impressive job. Even on a coarsely surfaced motorway, you hear very little in the way of road noise, and wind noise is also very well isolated. You’ll barely hear a peep from the suspension, either, even when bumps in the road are doing their best to upset the calm. 


The engines we’ve tried, meanwhile, finish the job off spectacularly well. You’ll hear a bit of a clatter when you first fire them up, but that melts away once they’re warmed through, and from then on, they’re fabulously quiet and smooth. You only really hear them if you really get your clog down, which you seldom need to thanks to the engines’ prodigious muscle, and even then, the faint noise you hear is more satisfying than troublesome. 


It's worth noting, however, that models fitted with the biggest wheels and lowest-profile tyres (such as the SQ7) do suffer from a bit more road noise. It's hardly intrusive, however. 

Safety equipment: How safe is the Audi Q7?

The Audi Q7 has scored the maximum five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests, and when you look at the amount of standard safety kit it gets, that’s really no surprise. There’s LED lighting front and rear, a shedload of airbags, tyre pressure monitoring, automatic emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning and no fewer than six Isofix mounting points for child seats


The roster doesn’t change too much as you move up the range, either, although the range-topping Vorsprung version does get a head-up display and a huge suite of autonomous driver assistance systems that’ll pretty much drive the car for you under certain circumstances.

Electric range and charging

The Audi Q7 plug-in hybrid is said to have a maximum theoretical range just shy of 40 miles on electric-only power, but what you actually get will depend on a number of factors: how you drive, the temperature, traffic conditions and so forth. In unfavourable conditions, you shouldn’t bank on getting more than 25-30 miles. A full charge of the battery will take around three hours on a 7kW wallbox charger or a little over twice that on a domestic three-pin plug.

MPG and fuel costs: What does an Audi Q7 cost to run?

"The latest versions of the Audi Q7 use mild-hybrid technology to eke out a few more miles per gallon. The V6 diesels are best for running costs, while it's no surprise the V8 and petrol models can be pretty thirsty."

Audi Q7 Review 2022: Driving Back

The Audi Q7s wide choice of engines means there's pretty much something for everyone. Don't expect any version to be as economical as, say, a large estate like Audi's own A6, however. 


Despite their difference in power, both the 45TDI and 50TDI diesel engines have an identical maximum figure of 33mpg on the WLTP combined cycle, while the 55TFSI petrol gets about 26mpg. Matching these figures in the real world will be difficult, but you should get reasonably close if you drive sensibly. Which in a sensible car like the Q7, you probably will. 


The E-Tron PHEV will be the exception, though, as it has an official (NEDC) figure of 156mpg. Good luck with matching that unless you can charge the battery up at home before every journey. 


The flagship SQ7 in V8 diesel form is capable of up to 37mpg officially, although real-world driving should see around 30mpg if you don't use all of its performance too often. The petrol SQ7, however, can only manage 23mpg combined on the newer official test, which seems a fairly realistic figure. 

How reliable is the Audi Q7?

Audi should benefit from the efficiencies of the wider VW Group, as its cars use a number of components shared across numerous brands and models. Despite this, Audi is one of the lowest performing VW Group brands in the 2021 HonestJohn.co.uk Satisfaction Index, with only SEAT in a lower position.


The Audi Q7 in particular is one of the brand's most complex and high-tech models, particularly if it's fitted with tech such as air suspension. That increases the possibility of expensive problems, but so far we've not heard of any major issues bar the odd problems with faulty sensors. 

Insurance groups and costs

On post-facelift Audi Q7s, insurance groups start at 35 for the 45 TDI Sport, and rise to 49 for the fire-breathing SQ7. However, the majority of versions sit in groups 40 or 41, so somewhere in the middle.


That means premiums won’t exactly be cheap, but then again, you wouldn’t expect them to be on a big, expensive car like the Q7, and they will at least be very competitive with those of rivals.

VED car tax: What is the annual road tax on an Audi Q7?

Due to new tax rules that came in on April 1st 2017, all Q7s registered after that date will pay annual tax of £475 per year between years two and six of the car's life (the 'premium' car tax charge for cars over £40,000), and annual bills will drop to £150 after that. The one exception is the E-Tron PHEV, which gets a discount of precisely a tenner thanks to its clever hybrid drivetrain - big deal. 


Cars registered before this date vary tremendously, however. E-Tron buyers pay absolutely nothing, while annual road tax charges on the other versions range between £165 on the entry-level diesel to £305 for the SQ7.

How much should you be paying for a used Audi Q7?

"The relative popularity of the Audi Q7 means there is plenty of used examples around, helping prices settle to a more reasonable level. This is no bargain motor, however - prices start from around £30,000."

Audi Q7 Review 2022: Driving Front

The earliest examples of the latest Audi Q7, which launched in 2015, kick off from around £30,000. That'll get you a diesel model in S-Line trim with around 70,000 miles on the clock. It's a price broadly comparable with rivals, and there's plenty of them around. 


Petrol versions are much more scarce, although more have emerged in the last couple of years as diesel falls out of favour in the new car market. Expect to pay around £55,000 for a 2020 55 TFSI in S-Line trim. 


The Q7 was facelifted in 2019, although it's not always easy to spot one just from the outside. It's best to check interior images to see if the newer touchscreen is installed. Prices for those start at around £43,000 for a 50 TDI S-Line.  SQ7s start from around £42,000 for a 2016 model. 


Trim levels and standard equipment

The trim levels available - and what came with them - has changed a bit during the Audi Q7’s life. Here, we’ll concentrate on post-facelift cars, so bear in mind that there will be differences on earlier examples. The entry-level Sport version is the one to go for, because it gives you all the items of kit you could want, plus a few more besides.


That includes air suspension, leather upholstery, a powered tailgate, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, keyless go and front and rear parking sensors. S line cars don’t get much more other than sports seats in upgraded leather and a few styling bits, but nevertheless, this is still the most popular trim. 


The Black Edition adds a few more styling bits, along with sports suspension and four-zone climate control, where the Vorsprung is packed with pretty much anything your average luxury car owner could think of. Soft-close doors, four-wheel steering, heated rear seats, a BOSE sound system, a head-up display and autonomous driving aids are all provided.

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

Is the Audi Q7 a good car?

The latest Q7 is not the most distinctive SUV, but it’s incredibly comfortable, luxurious and practical inside, with a huge array of standard equipment and some excellent engines too.

Andy Brady

Answered by

Andy Brady

Does an Audi Q7 come with seven seats?

Yes. Just like its rivals the Volvo XC90 and Land Rover Discovery, the Audi Q7 has seven seats as standard, but enough space in the third row that even shorter adults will be comfortable. It also comes with six ISOFIX child seat mounting points, for those with two pairs of triplets.

Dan Powell

Answered by

Dan Powell

Where is the Audi Q7 made?

The current generation of Audi Q7 was launched in 2015, but given a big styling and interior makeover in 2019, however both are built at Volkswagen’s Slovakian facility, in Bratislava.

David Ross

Answered by

David Ross

How much is road tax for an Audi Q7?

The Audi Q7 gets a double sting from the taxman, since its list price starts well above the £40k threshold, attracting an additional £465 per year for the first five years of ownership. For the diesels (which emit 180-184g/km of CO2) you also have to pay £855 in the first year too.

heycar editorial team

Answered by

heycar editorial team

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