14th November 2017
With a 500-mile round trip to visit two of our key Partnerships, the arrival of our week-long Audi Q7 demonstrator was perfectly timed.
Our trip took us from Ipswich to the centre of Liverpool, then back down to Chester for an overnight stop. A short trip to Wrexham then a straight drive back to Ipswich. the route would be mostly motorway but with some A roads thrown in and a tight squeeze in an underground car-park.
With the third row of seats folded, each one at the touch of a button, our overnight bags disappeared into the cavernous boot as we prepared to set off. Having never had the need for a 7-seater I’m not sure when the third row of seats became electrically powered, as with all things it was probably only a matter of time, but they looked impressive!
I’ve always felt the styling of previous Q7’s has lacked that little something against the likes of the Discovery or Mercedes, but the latest evolution appears much more refined and upmarket which will therefore find a wider appeal.
Our car for the week was the Q7 272PS 3.0 litre V6 TDI engine in S-Line guise and as is often the case a list of several tempting extras to tempt you further. Around £8000 worth in the case of our car which meant that it tipped at just shy of £65000 as tested.
The slightly larger than standard alloy wheels certainly improved the look of the car and stopped short of previous incarnations that came with ultra-low-profile and impractical tyres.
The Technology Pack consisting of a Virtual Cockpit and the wireless phone charging is especially impressive. However, with so many features a simple 500-mile journey wasn’t near long enough to try them all - it took us until the end of day one to realise the car had a head up display!
The navigation screen appearing in the dash is particularly handy, especially when your co-pilot is busy trying to change the Spotify playlist through Apple Car Play and fiddle around with all the gadgets on offer.
I’ve noticed more and more cars having this feature and particularly useful is the ability for it to read out messages received and reply to them via the voice control function. The jury is probably still out as to whether this too is distracting but with the latest smartphone updates stopping notifications when in the car this potential hazard can be completely removed.
The cabin proved very luxurious with full leather electric seats, offering plenty of adjustment to make sure even the longest of journeys are comfortable. There also appeared to be plenty of legroom in the second row – even after my 6ft 3in co-pilot had completed his adjustments. The front and rear heated seats will no doubt prove their worth in the up-coming winter months.
Motorway speeds were reached with ease, if anything keeping to 70mph takes some effort as the cabin is so quiet and the car itself makes the legal limit feel somewhat sedate. The soundproofing has been further improved from previous Q7’s and with the V6 under the bonnet there isn’t “raucous” noise that still appears from some rival 4-cylinder models when accelerating.
The satellite navigation worked tirelessly to get us to our destination on time – with numerous “the route has been changed due to traffic conditions” coming forth from the speakers. I often wonder why I use the navigation as 9 times in 10 I ignore the suggestions and stick to Plan A - unless things really mess up.
Traffic wasn’t kind and who knows which of the suggested re-routes may have saved us some time but we finally arrived in Liverpool after about five hours, amazingly still fresh despite only one stop before half way. Full marks to the Q7 for an effortless yet enjoyable drive.
In some ways a vehicle like this is wasted with just two people in it. We felt like another person in the back was needed, someone who could tell us it was just as comfortable and felt the same sense of safety as being upfront - maybe next time!
Our return journey was much improved by the discovery of the head up display in the hotel car-park. An excellent accessory when encountering long stretches of average speed cameras – of which there are plenty between North Wales and Ipswich.
Perhaps our best discovery of the journey was saved until we arrived back in Ipswich. A brisk 4 ½ hour return journey with again just the one stop, had returned 41.1mpg. I’m rarely surprised by fuel consumption – but will definitely make an exception for this journey.
The rest of the week was made up of what is probably the average life of a large 4x4 nowadays - work commute, school runs, kids, friends taxi and not so much as a grassy verge to try the off-road capabilities. We did however manage to fit in the balls, cones, bibs and two kits bags for Maldon Rugby U11’s with the full seven seats still in place - that’s half a team bus sorted. Sponsors please sign here!
With the new discovery, it seems dividing opinions around Volvo’s XC90 which has established itself in the premium large SUV space. This latest Q7 had to be good and it is good. It would be a hard push right now to choose between the car we tested and the XC90 D5 R-Design Pro - might just have to try them both again to decide!