Mr FD does most of the driving on family days out so it seemed only right we hear his opinion on driving the Audi Q7.
Mr FD Audi Q7 review:
As this is a family blog I won’t cover the usual ‘car review points’ as you can find them by the dozen on any car site. Suffice to say that both the Q7 vehicles we tested (petrol and diesel) were fantastic at wafting you effortlessly around any road type in a very cosseted manner. But, if it was needed, it also offered the ability to simply move into ‘sport mode’ and to further change the whole cars set up.
And you’ve got to love the Quattro and air suspension combination via the Audi MMI (multimedia interface) that changed the luxury ride into a fast, agile and exhilarating machine.
From the family perspective, I wanted to cover the things that made trips out with our large family far more enjoyable, easier and above all safer.
To me, the most important part of chauffeuring the little ones around is that the vehicle is safe and offers as many driver-assist features as possible. And I want these features to offer additional safety to ensure that I don’t get too blasé about road awareness.
The seat belt warning on the virtual cockpit covered every seat which meant that before moving off I knew straight away that the 4-year-old had, as usual, undone the seatbelt carefully put over her booster seat even though she was in the back seats and quite well hidden.
Seat belts sorted, I could then ensure that I had control of each door individually by simply selecting the doors and windows that could be operated from the inside – a major step up from setting up child locks.
The MMI and virtual cockpit working together – particularly using the satellite navigation system – was fantastic. The map and route was the background to the driver’s dashboard and you could select multiple view options giving you larger or smaller speedometers, etc. Having the map right in front of you, and not having to glance left to the centre console, was, for me, amazing and was what I considered one of the smartest and safest features.
As you would expect, the Q7 came with a host of other features such as Lane Assist and adaptive cruise control that was reassuringly advanced. And, at night, the super-advanced lighting kept the road safely lit.
Audi Pre-sense offered intelligent pop-ups of potential hazards ahead allowing you to ease back or prepare ahead of time, as well as initiating emergency braking. Many other pop-ups on the MMI offered great feedback and forward-planning advice, but mostly it told me that I needed to keep both hands on the wheel as I had a tendency to let the wonderfully-balanced and powerful power steering do all the work with one lazy hand.
Another great feature was the door puddle lights which light-up the road/pavement for you when you open the door ensuring safe footing but also reminding you that you drove an Audi (see below).
All in all, you could tell the car was very well put together and just the weight of the doors reassured you that should you be unfortunate enough to have an accident that you and your passengers were encased in a very tough safety cage with a 5* NCAP rating (European New Car Assessment Programme).
The MMI also offered a variety of other access to ensure the car and your internal environment was infinitely-adjustable from seat position, seat-cooling/heating, audio options, 4-zone temperature setting, etc. And all of that was backed up with an intuitive touchscreen and even the ability to write on the lower screen with your finger.
Like us, I’m sure you may have owned a variety of people carriers or SUVs and most suffered from being difficult to get to the back seats. Cleverly, the Q7 middle seats lift easily and neatly fold out of the way. It allows simple egress for the rear passengers but more importantly allowed us oldies easy access to place youngsters safely in the seats.
While we are talking about the back seats, the Q7 has another very neat trick. If you’re not carrying several small humans, then you are probably usually holding either food shopping or taking the kids to somewhere with lots of kit. (We are avid surfers so generally the boot fills with surfboards, bodyboards, etc.) Incredibly, the rear seats in the Q7 electrically fold perfectly flat. Then add on top of that the remote opening/closing powered boot lid and the ability to lower the suspension to its lowest point using a button fitted just inside the boot. You soon get the picture of how parent-loading friendly it is.
The boot with the back seats folded is vast and on inclement days when we get some child-free ‘me time’ was great to sit and watch the ocean while drinking some well-deserved coffee. Or you could just use it to transport huge quantities of whatever you need to haul but I prefer the ocean/coffee scene as it’s far more chilled.
The high ride height of the Q7 is also a bonus when wrestling small children into car seats. There was no more backache from being bent over lifting, and the cabin space is deceptively huge from the outside vehicle appearance. We found all seven of us had a comfortable and relaxing ride with plenty of personal space and those infinitely positional and beautifully ergonomic seats. Add the wonderful 4-zone temperature controls, additional rear USB sockets, deep cup-holders and ability to control the music (if we allow it!) and you have child travel nirvana.
The Q7 has another major advantage: it is built to last. Everything is solid and very well put together. Great design is in abundance but not at the expense of practicality or durability. We all know that having kids in the car means that things get trodden on that are not meant to be trodden on, and things get pushed and pull and twiddled and tested over and over again. With the Q7 I was confident that it would all hold together, carry on working and still look good many years down the road.
Overall, if you are looking to purchase a large family vehicle then I would without hesitation recommend the Audi Q7. It is deceptive both in size and agility. It is beautifully constructed and will give many years of faultless service. Its packed with a myriad of safety features both active and passive. It works with you to get your family where you need to go with the minimum of fuss and the most wonderful, relaxed drive. Its in-car entertainment coupled with the MMI meant that
journeys were refined and informed.
But above all, it looks great and with massive amounts of optional features and extras that you can order and customise to look perfect on your drive. It’s a real step up from the tired people carrier.
We took lots more photos (and videos) during our test drive. Do have a look at our Audi Q7 Instagram Highlights collection to see more.
Disclosure: We were loaned the Audi Q7 for the purpose of this review. Our opinions are honest.