- Stylish exterior design
- Elegant interior
- Carlike ride and handling
- Available third-row seat
- Efficient, long-range diesel
- Gas mileage isn't great with the supercharged V-6
- It's heavy, and feels like it
- Prices can rise quickly with options
The 2013 Audi Q7 is a premium, lavishly-appointed three-row utility vehicle with great on-road manners and capability, plus towing ability--without the off-road style or pretense.
The Audi Q7 is a luxury crossover that focuses on comfortable seating for the whole family, as well as its on-road manners.
Not that you're likely to need much in the way of off-road capability, anyway, of course. On-road, the quattro all-wheel drive will tackle harsh conditions with grace. Don't let the extra size of the Audi Q7 compared to the related Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne fool you; if anything, the extra wheelbase improves ride quality and composure while maintaining (most of) the relative nimbleness for a large SUV.
From the curb, the Audi Q7 is an attractive, elegant vehicle, without any of the rock-crawling, safari-driving pretensions you'll find elsewhere. Crisp lines and smooth surfaces combine for a look that's adult and sophisticated with being stodgy. Inside, you'll find one of the best interiors in the class, with rich leather, suede, and wood creating a warm and refined environment. The controls are largely sleek and uncluttered, though the climate and audio controls can be a bit daunting at first glance.
Carrying forward 2011's reshuffling of the Q7's powertrains, the 2013 model offers no V-8, replacing it with a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 in two power levels. The base engine is rated at 280 horsepower, providing strong acceleration and throttle response, while the upgraded model offers a stout 333 horsepower, improving both acceleration and response. A V-6 TDI diesel, rated at 240 horsepower and 407 pound-feet of torque, is also available, and with its solid 19/28 mpg city/highway, it's a great alternative to the gasoline burners--and plenty of fun to drive, too. Audi's quattro all-wheel drive is standard on all models of the Q7.
In 2015, Volkswagen admitted diesel engines in this model illegally cheated federal tests and polluted beyond allowable limits. As part of unprecedented settlements with federal and state governments, Volkswagen agreed to buyback from owners diesel-equipped models of this vehicle. To determine eligibility for all affected Volkswagen, Porsche, and Audi models, Volkswagen set up VWDieselInfo.com for owners. (Owners of affected vehicles can enter their VIN numbers to see if their cars are eligible for buyback.)
While you might not rate handling as a top consideration for a full-size SUV, the seven-passenger/three-row Q7 is very capable. A firm but comfortable ride comes from a four-wheel independent suspension and careful tuning, plus an air ride system that allows the driver to dial in sport, comfort, and automatic modes to suit the conditions. Tow ratings up to 6,600 pounds are available with the right equipment, making it easy to tow the boat or jet skis to the lake as well.
Inside the Q7's cabin, the well-designed and beautifully appointed interior isn't just pretty--it's comfortable, too. The front seats are well-suited to longer-legged occupants, with plenty of thigh support, and the second row is adult-sized as well. A large panoramic sunroof brightens the interior, keeping the rear of the Q7 from inducing claustrophobia. The third row is best-suited to children, though, with less leg room than you'll find elsewhere in the SUV. Both the second and third rows fold down, opening up a total of 88 cubic feet in cargo space, accessed by a power-operated tailgate. The one caveat of the large load space is the relatively high cargo floor.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) scores the essentially identical 2012 Q7 with top marks of "good" in front and side impact crash tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hasn't crash tested the Q7 yet. In addition to the good IIHS marks, the 2013 Audi Q7 offers a full suite of safety equipment, being one of the only vehicles in the class to offer rear side thorax airbags. Other available safety equipment includes a lane-departure warning system, rearview camera, and blind-spot warning.
While the Audi Q7 is well-equipped even in base trim, a set of available upgrades can bring the SUV into true high-end premium territory, including an available Bang & Olufsen audio system--complete with tweeters rising magically from the dash on startup--plus Audi's internet-connected MMI interface with navigation, Eoogle Earth, local search, and WiFi hotspot capability.
2013 Audi Q7
The 2013 Audi Q7's understated, sophisticated exterior design and rich, sculpted interior mark it as a different breed of large crossover.
Despite the large, in-your-face grille, the overall look of the 2013 Audi Q7 is understated and sleek, particularly for a full-size crossover. For some, the big grille will spoil the look, echoing the chrome-heavy decorations of some American full-size SUVs, but for others, it gives the low-key Q7 some character.
Whichever side you're on regarding the grille, the rest of the Q7 is well-proportioned and tastefully sculpted, however. The silhouette is long and low, especially by comparison to some competing luxury crossovers, and the details at the front and rear are modern and high-tech looking.
Inside, the Audi Q7 offers an attractive, elegantly styled cabin, with some of the least-cluttered, most seamlessly integrated accessories in the business. Color, texture, and materials quality are all top-notch, with plenty of available customization options to make the Q7 fit your personal style.
2013 Audi Q7
The TDI diesel version of the 2013 Audi Q7 is fun to drive and delivers great gas mileage, while fitting the Q7's easy-going character well.
Three available engines, all sharing quattro all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission, give the buyer a range of choice with the 2013 Audi Q7.
The base option, a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 rated at 280 horsepower, is potent enough to secure 7.7-second 0-60 mph times. Gas mileage is just 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway--not terrible for a full-size, three-row crossover, but not particularly impressive.
Upgrading to the 333-horsepower S line version of the supercharged V-6 comes at no gas mileage penalty, though it will cost $13,000 extra--but offers a wide range of upgrades to equipment, appearance, and other features. Audi says the S line Q7 is good for a 6.9-second 0-60 mph run.
The diesel Audi Q7 TDI's 3.0-liter turbocharged engine is a much milder $5,000 upgrade from the base model. The real story with the diesel, however, aside from the improved fuel efficiency, is the 407-pound-foot torque rating, which gives the big Q7 plenty of acceleration and pulling power, feeling as strong or stronger than the higher-power gasoline engines in most circumstances.
Whichever engine you choose, the Audi Q7 is surprisingly nimble for its size, driving more like a car than an SUV. Standard quattro all-wheel drive gives the Q7 good all-weather capability and dependable traction in general. The power steering is well-weighted and confident, with better feedback than you'll find in some sedans. Ride quality is very good, thanks to the suspension design and air ride system, which allows the driver to select comfort, dynamic, or automatic modes to suit the mood and road conditions.
2013 Audi Q7
Comfort & Quality
Richly made and well-constructed, the 2013 Audi Q7 offers two spacious adult-sized rows plus an optional kid-friendly third row.
Nearly equivalent to a full-size SUV in its exterior dimensions, the two- or three-row Audi Q7 offers luxurious accommodations with ample room for adults in the first two rows, plus extra seating for kids in the third--but it can be pricey depending on the options configured.
The Audi Q7 uses its large size well, with ample space up front, including head and leg room, plus comfortable seats for the long haul, even for a range of heights and body types. The comfort extends to the second row as well, though there's not quite enough width to the seat for three-abreast seating for longer trips. The second row's sliding seat offers easy adjustments for more or less leg room as needed, and an option to get a pair of bucket seats instead of a bench gives flexibility for those that don't need full seven-seat capacity.
The optional third-row seating is fine for children, but isn't large enough for regular adult use. When not in use, the third row can be folded nearly away, opening up the cargo area. Maximum cargo space is 88 cubic feet with both the second and third row (if equipped) folded down.
A power tailgate makes getting to the cargo area easier, though the high load deck and lack of a power-folding third row seat, as found in some competitors, means it's not the easiest access in the class.
2013 Audi Q7
The crash test scores aren't in for the 2013 Audi Q7, but a competitive set of safety features are offered.
Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hasn't crash-tested the Audi Q7 in its latest form, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates the nearly identical 2012 Q7 with top marks of "good" in front and side crash tests.
Standard safety equipment on all Q7 models includes: dual front, side and side curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; and stability and traction control. Rear-seat side airbags are an available option--a rarity in American crossovers or SUVs.
There's a range of high-tech safety equipment available, too, including: a lane-departure warning system, blind-spot warning system, and a rearview camera. Visibility, in general, is good from within the Q7, thanks to plenty of glass and a good seating position, but the thick roof pillars can limit awareness near the corners.
2013 Audi Q7
The 2013 Audi Q7 offers first-rate connectivity with a mobile WiFi hotspot, Google Earth, and live maps.
In the high-stakes game of family-oriented luxury vehicles, the Audi Q7 stands out with an array of technology and features not just aimed at satisfying the kids, but taking care of the adults, too.
Standard features in all Q7 models include power windows, locks and mirrors; keyless entry; automatic climate control; cruise control; and 18-inch wheels. Stepping up to the more power S line trim adds a panoramic sunroof and power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, too.
On the higher-tech front, the Q7 gets HD radio and available satellite radio; a revised MMI infotainment system with joystick controller and myriad functions including Bluetooth, in-car WiFi hotspot access, Google Earth maps, and Local Search functions. The Q7 with these options upgrades to rolling tech center, the on-the-go web access enabling fly-over views for the navigation system, wireless gaming for the kids, and more.
The MMI system can be a bit tricky to learn; its many options mean there are many menus, sometimes not in the places you'd expect, but it's much improved over years past. Many functions that MMI once replaced entirely are back with their own buttons and switches for easier use.
If you're an audiophile, Audi's upscale options, like the Bang & Olufsen sound system, are worth the cost. Automated tweeters rise out of the dash when the car is keyed on, and the sound is impressive. Cold-climate users can opt for heated front and second-row seats and a heated steering wheel. For those with kids that can't ever agree on where to set the thermostat, the Q7 even offers four-zone climate control.
2013 Audi Q7
The 2013 Audi Q7 TDI diesel is the best pick for gas mileage, and there's no real downside to performance.
Three powertrains are available in the 2013 Audi Q7, but one stands out as the clear green gas mileage choice: the TDI diesel.
While the base 3.0-liter supercharged V-6's 280 horsepower and the S line's more sharply-tuned 333 horsepower (from the same basic engine) deliver more serious sport, the 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V-6, newly reengineered this year, is just about as much fun--and considerably more fuel efficient on the highway.
The gasoline versions of the Q7 rate 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, while the TDI diesel scores a more impressive 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. No large crossover is going to win a green-car gold medal, but among the three choices, the diesel is the clear winner.