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Audi Q7 3.0 TDI SE review

Lofty driving position is a welcome asset

August 2006

picture of car from the front picture of car from the rear picture of car interior picture of car detail

Overall rating

4 out of 5 stars

Likes:

  • Cabin build quality is excellent
  • Lofty driving position is a welcome asset
  • The Q7's diesel engine is more than up to the task of powering such a big car
  • Third row of seats is a useful addition

Gripes:

  • Make no mistake - this is a big car and can prove cumbersome around town
  • More could have been made of the cabin design. It's too much like other Audis
  • V8 petrol motor is an extravagant luxury - it's very thirsty
  • Large passengers might struggle getting into the third row of seats

More is definitely more with Audi's Q7. A big beast by anyone's standards, the German firm has skipped a sector and gone straight to the heart of the premium SUV market with its seven-seat luxury 4x4. It might be big but it's also clever; quattro four-wheel drive, three rows of seats and exceptional build quality.

The premium 4x4 is a well-established sight, but the seven-seat SUV is the next level in neighbourly one-upmanship. We're all comfortable with seven-seat people carriers, and three rows in a 4x4 is the Holy Grail for makers of luxury recreational vehicles.

By their very nature such cars are big, and Audi's Q7 is no different from the growing number of SUVs in this class. The best way of describing the Q7 is to think of it as a big A6 Avant. For the considerable sum Audi is asking, you get the best of both worlds: the German firm's trademark high levels of build quality and a cabin design that is second to none in terms of ergonomics and looks.

While these are attributes that can be found in all other Audi's, the Q7 adds a third row of seats, two powerful engines and road presence that's difficult to beat. And for all the car's stylish overtones, the Q7 will perform off road. It can't match the likes of the Range Rover, but it does feel supremely confident in slippery conditions.

It's true that most cars in this class rarely get used off road, but there's no question that it would make an excellent towing vehicle. For those with an active lifestyle, the Q7 could be the ideal vehicle. It combines the luxury of a premium saloon with the versatility of an estate car and people carrier.

Our verdict on the Audi Q7 3.0 TDI SE

Only time will tell if the Q7 can demonstrate the same level of desirability that Land Rover products can command. There's no question that the Q7 is capable of equalling many of the qualities of the Solihull-produced cars. It's not quite a complete go anywhere car, but for many the Q7 is close enough. What will matter is the car's spacious cabin, exceptional build quality and the badge on its tailgate.