- Sportier, more carlike look and feel
- Finely detailed cabin
- Innovative rear-wheel steering
- Weight loss and better mpg
- Best tech features limited to top trim
- Third row not all that usable
- Potentially very expensive
The 2017 Audi Q7 gets a rakish new sport-wagon look, a finely detailed, tech-savvy interior, and serious chassis advancements underneath—including a dramatic weight loss, available rear-wheel steering, and a plug-in hybrid version.
Most models with a third row really put a damper on most kinds of driving enjoyment, whether that be zigzagging through tightly mountain-road esses, or just maneuvering through the parking lot of your local supermarket.
The 2017 Audi Q7 is the rare exception to that. As the new, second-generation version of this full-size crossover, an eager powertrain, some sophisticated steering and suspension engineering, a lighter-weight body structure, and a lowered center of mass go a long way toward helping this seven-seater feel more planted and confident in corners, as well as more maneuverable everywhere else.
We give it a score of 8.0, with room to rise in its safety score. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Audi Q7 styling and performance
In retrospect, the Q7 was a true trendsetter, eschewing all the rugged, truck-influenced cues in favor of a look that’s always looked far more like a tall sport-wagon than a traditional SUV. While many of its crossover peers have been either playing catch-up or looking for new, faux-rugged directions for styling, the 2017 Audi Q7 appears to take on a look that’s even more sport wagon-influenced than before. It’s a familiar look and profile, but with a somewhat more chiseled look to the details, a more prominent beltline, and a roofline that looks "canted back." Up front, it gets a brighter take on the corporate "Singleframe" grille, with thick crossbars and a little more sculpting—plus DRLs that are arrow-shaped.
Inside, the Q7 takes on a horizontally oriented instrument-panel theme, contrasted with a cockpit-like layer of controls just ahead of the driver. The shift knob and center console have been cleaned up yet finely detailed, with the Multi-Media Interface (MMI) touchpad and controller now has haptic feedback and is located just ahead, in an even better location than before. Directly in front of the driver there's a version of Audi's Virtual Cockpit, a sophisticated display on its own, while a standalone screen atop the dash can stow away when it's not needed.
Structurally, the big news is that the Q7 is now built on a multi-material design that uses more ultra-high-strength steel, as well as aluminum castings—and aluminum, exclusively for the front fenders, doors, hood, and hatch. That helps save nearly 500 pounds versus the outgoing version.
The Q7 will launch with only one powertrain: a 3.0 TFSI supercharged gasoline V-6, rated at 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. A short time later there will be versions with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4, while a Q7 e-tron quattro model (with more than 30 miles of range on a charge and 0-60 mph times of under 6 seconds) are likely to arrive next model year.
Each of those powertrains incorporates an 8-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic manual control, and there’s a driving dynamics system that now works with the optional adaptive air suspension for up to seven drive programs, including allroad and lift/allroad modes. Underneath, the Q7 now has five-link front and rear suspension designs. Top models in the lineup have a new all-wheel steering system that can turn the rear wheels up to five degrees (to counter the direction of the front wheels during parking, or turn gently with them at higher speed), while a sophisticated adaptive suspension can access up to 9.3 inches of ground clearance (raised 2.4 inches), access more wheel articulation, and lower the body by as much as 1.2 inches from normal at very fast highway speeds.
Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system normally sends 60 percent of power to the rear wheels, but it can send up to 70 percent to the front or up to 85 percent to the rear. The Q7 isn't a purpose-built off-road rig by any means, but it has the means for making its way up slippery trails and through deep snow.
Official EPA ratings for the 3.0-liter supercharged V-6, paired with the 8-speed automatic and all-wheel drive, are 19 mpg city, 25 highway, 21 combined.
Q7 comfort, safety, and features
The 2017 Audi Q7 is slightly shorter (1.5 inches) and narrower (0.6 inches) than its predecessor, but the cabin itself is longer and there’s more head room (there's some dimensional magic, through a thinner seat design and a lower cargo floor allowed by the new rear suspension design). It’s fitted an array of "premium acoustic insulation" to keep the Q7’s reputation for quietness and a refined ride.
While the 2017 Audi Q7 has received the highest IIHS' Top Safety Pick+ honors and it offers a very strong complement of advanced safety features, as well as a highly engineered modern passenger cell and a full set of standard airbags. And a suite of available active-safety features can help avoid accidents entirely; examples include one that will keep you from backing into traffic, help you avoid pedestrians, keep you at a safe following distance, or even keep you from opening your doors into cyclists.
The Q7 is a technology powerhouse in terms of features; its Virtual Cockpit display system in front of the driver and its MMI infotainment system at the center screen both have their own powerful T30 NVIDIA graphics processors, for example, and Audi has brought in better voice controls and integration with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Other feature highlights include a full stop-and-go adaptive cruise-control system, a trailer assistant, a head-up display, and a 1,920-watt, 23-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system. In back you can opt for up to two Audi tablets with 10.1-inch screens, allowing those in back to have access to media, navigation, and some vehicle functions.
2017 Audi Q7
The new Audi Q7 looks more wagon-like than ever, while offering the space and utility of a crossover—a win-win.
The exterior of the new Q7 is, if anything, less SUV-like and more wagon-like than before. Exterior dimensions are similar to the first-generation Q7, but the new Q7 wears them in a sleeker, lower, more modern package. The large hexagonal Audi grille and LED lighting give a clear branded look and significant road presence.
We give it kudos for styling, especially in the cockpit, in the form of an 8 for styling. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
If you grew up in a larger family, the thought of moving up to a three-row vehicle likely brings flashbacks to mammoth Ford Country Squire land yachts is you grew up in the ’70s, or the Chrysler minivans or hulking SUVs if you’re a child of the '80s or '90s. But the Q7 isn't that at all; it impresses as attractive inside and out yet definitely conceived with function as much in mind as form.
Inside the Q7, you’ll find a very familiar environment if you’ve sat in any of Audi’s recent sedans. The dashboard is wide and thin, the controls are low and sparing, letting the infotainment system take most of the load. The driver’s instrument panel is a single high-resolution screen, capable of displaying everything from traditional gauges and trip info to full navigation and more.
Throughout the cabin, the Q7’s appointments feel sumptuous and warm, and the look is curvaceous and influenced by modern (or retro-mod) furniture. Lighting plays a part in both the decor and the communication to the driver, with light piping that flashes brightly (or blinks) with various safety and assistance features.
2017 Audi Q7
The 2017 Audi Q7 is one of the best-handling utility vehicles on the market; and the four-wheel steering and active suspension systems help make the most of it.
We give the Audi Q7 an 8 for performance. Its drivetrain is strong, and handling is very good considering its all-weather and towing capability. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
For now, the 2017 Audi Q7 comes with a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 engine, making 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, and mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The supercharged V-6 and 8-speed are a great pair for this vehicle, with this engine revving with sport sedan-like authority to the top of the tachometer. In fact, hustling it up (or down) a long series of switchbacks is just about as satisfying as it would be in a wagon of similar proportions—there’s none of the tall, tippy feeling you get in a typical SUV or crossover. In other words, it’s a satisfying driving experience, even for those who like to push a bit harder at times.
The real keys to this friskier driving feel in the Q7 is a body that's hundreds of pounds lighter, an upgraded suspension design (multi-link at all four corners), better, more nuanced chassis tuning—including some technology workarounds that you get with the available adaptive air suspension and four-wheel steering. As such, the Q7 can be much more nimble than you’d expect.
The air suspension might help both high-speed fuel efficiency and driving ease on the trail or in heavy snowfall, as it raises the ride height 2.4 inches in the "Offroad" setting and automatically lowers the height an extra 1.2 inches below normal in high-speed (99-mph-plus) driving. Towing capacity is 7,700 pounds, provided you’ve ordered the towing package, and that capacity is the same whether you have the rear-wheel steering system and air suspension or not.
The Offroad setting is one of five modes of Audi Drive Select, which lets you choose the personality of the Q7 to suit the road. A Comfort mode is the one you might choose for the comfiest ride and most relaxed responses, while Dynamic sharpens the responses for all vehicle systems—engine, transmission, steering, and suspension. With an Individual setting you can change each of those variables to suit, while Auto impressively studies up on all the parameters and intuits the best for each in real time.
Q7 2.0T models, with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4, are expected to join the model lineup later in the model year. The Q7 3.0 TDI models are long gone, the automaker pulled the engine after admitting it cheated emissions tests.
2017 Audi Q7
Comfort & Quality
Roomy, modern, well-built, and luxurious, the cabin of the 2017 Audi Q7 is a great place to be, wherever you're sitting.
The 2017 Audi Q7 is a step sportier than the previous model, but it doesn't give up any utility and usability for comfort. In fact, the ride quality and quietness of the Q7 is remarkable; it’s one of the quietest, smoothest utility vehicles we’ve driven in the past year, at any price.
We give it an 8 for its excellent first two rows of seats and for the lovely level of fit and finish. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Passengers—whether in the front, second, or third rows—will have no objections to the Q7’s ride quality. Third-row passengers will have to be children, and fairly small ones at that, as there’s just not enough leg room for anyone larger.
The third row is easy to deploy and stow, however, thanks to automatic raising and lowering via buttons in the rear cargo area. Second-row occupants will find plenty of comfort with ample leg room even for 6-footers, as well as reclining seat backs (which also fold flat for more cargo space).
Throughout the cabin, materials are primarily leather and metal, or metallic-finished plastic, all of which offers a substantial, quality feel. Gaps between panels are minimal, stitches and seams are straight, and the overall build feels solid and free of rattles or vibrations. And Audi has topped off this top-notch cabin ambiance with some old-fashioned noise insulation and smart sealing throughout; they’ve managed to pull off such a quiet cabin without the use of active noise cancellation technology.
Packaging has been rejiggered—mostly for the better. in the Q7, with the second and third rows both placed farther back within the cabin and lowered slightly. Through some other dimensional magic, including a somewhat thinner seat design, the Q7 makes some significant gains in passenger space. The lower cargo floor, enabled by better suspension packaging in the new platform, help bump cargo space behind the third row up to 14.8 cubic feet.
There's only one exception: In seat folding, Audi should take a long look at its Japanese and American luxury rivals. You'll find no convenient one-hand operation here, and getting to the real space-maximizing cargo layout requires multiple steps.
2017 Audi Q7
The 2017 Q7 offers impressive occupant protection, plus some breakthrough active-safety items that should help save you from trouble.
The 2017 Audi Q7 has so far received top scores from the insurance industry-funded IIHS, but hasn't yet been crash tested by federal officials. The IIHS gave the Q7 top scores on all its crash tests, including a Top Safety Pick designation for 2017. Its only impediment to a TSP+ award is the "Marginal" performance of its headlights.
It earns a safety score of 8 on our scale, even before all the data is in. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
It offers a very strong complement of advanced safety features, as well as a highly engineered modern passenger cell and a full set of standard airbags.
It even outdoes some of its luxury-loaded, three-row rivals in offering some truly innovative tech items that might help even save you from yourself—individual tech features, employing a suite of sensors, that will keep you from backing into traffic, help keep you from hitting pedestrians, help you brake for hazards, and keep you at a safe following distance.
Specifically, the ones available in the Q7 that you might not encounter in other luxury vehicles include Turn Assist, a feature that will scan oncoming traffic and actually save you from yourself if you try turn left at what it judges to be an inopportune time, and Vehicle Exit Assist, which is a feature that scans traffic on the left and keeps you from opening the door when a vehicle is approaching (or “dooring” a cyclist).
Among the other advanced safety features offered in the new Q7 include adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assistant, cross-traffic assist, blind-spot monitoring, active lane control, rear-end collision mitigation, parking assist, and night vision.
All versions of the Q7 have all-wheel drive, and they have all the tough, all-weather capability most families would want for the weekend ski trip.
2017 Audi Q7
From safety to entertainment and convenience features, the 2017 Audi Q7 makes it better by pushing the tech boundaries.
While the 2017 Audi Q7 appears, at first blush, to knock all of the basics of a luxury SUV out of the park, there’s a whole other side to this Audi: it’s a high-tech wonderland. From the consumer-geek side of Audi's newest Multi-Media Interface (MMI) to the engineer-in-a-white-coat aspect of the driver assistance systems, the new Q7 places Audi back among the head of the class when it comes to in-car tech.
That's why we give it a 10. There's no sensual stone left unturned in this luxury SUV. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The Q7’s safety smorgasbord is ample. It offers everything from adaptive cruise control and stop-and-go traffic jam assist, to a “predictive efficiency assistant” that reads the terrain (drawing on its navigation data, even when route guidance isn’t being used) to suggest slowing down in advance of sharp turns, low speed limits, or other reasons to lighten up on the throttle and save some fuel.
There’s also a lane-keeping system, collision avoidance, left-turn assist monitoring, as well as a city assistance package that includes low-speed lane-change assistance and blind-spot monitoring, a rear "Pre Sense" collision system which takes proactive measures if it senses an impending rear-end collision, cross-traffic assist, and a new trailer maneuvering assist, which takes the steering control and places it on the MMI knob—much like the system Ford recently announced in the new F-150.
Other high-tech features available in the new Q7 include a parking assistance package, which bundles automatic parallel and perpendicular parking and departure, using surround-view cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors, which can also be used by the driver for precise views when parking manually.
A night vision option uses long-range infrared cameras to detect objects up to 984 feet away, as well as detecting people and larger animals at distances up to 328 feet, highlighting the people or animals with yellow markings on the display screen.
The Q7 is offered in Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige models. While surfaces and trims get upgraded on those upper-level models, stepping up to them isn't something you'd do as much for the additional features as for the potential options. For instance, some of the best tech features (like the Adaptive Chassis package and its four-wheel steering and adaptive suspension), and the 23-speaker, 1,920-watt Bang & Olufsen BeoCore sound system, are only available on the Prestige. But option up a Q7 Prestige with those items plus the Luxury Package with its power-closing doors and contour seats, plus a few other extras, and you can end up pushing the price toward $85,000—quite a distance from the $56,000 base price for a Q7 Premium 3.0T.
2017 Audi Q7
The 2017 Audi Q7 isn't leading in its efficiency, but there are some higher-mileage models on the way.
Now with two powertrains on sale in the U.S., the 2017 Audi Q7 is on par with others in its class.
Its gas mileage in the most common form earns a 6 score on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Official EPA ratings for the 3.0-liter supercharged V-6, paired with the 8-speed automatic and all-wheel drive are 19 mpg city, 25 highway, 21 combined. The EPA rates the new 2.0-liter turbo-4 at 20/25/22 mpg. It should be noted that both engines require premium gasoline.
That's not segment-leading, in any way, but we've seen some evidence that real-world numbers are impressive. Over around 250 miles of pretty rapid twisty-road driving, over several vehicles, we saw an average around 20 mpg in the 3.0T.