Another year has come and gone, yet the aging 2015 Audi Q7 continues to stay the course. The Q7 is a seven-passenger luxury SUV that features an upscale driving feel and a plush interior, but it hasn’t changed that much since it was introduced in 2007. With newer competitors offering clear advantages in various respects, the 2015 Q7 is difficult to recommend.
To be fair, there are still some things to like about the 2015 Audi Q7. The interior really is quite nice, with high-quality surfaces and excellent build quality. A big part of what earned the Audi Q7 an SUVS "B" rating involves its cozy and quiet interior. As far as engines go, the optional TDI diesel-powered V6 delivers an extraordinary 28 miles per gallon on the highway, along with a healthy wallop of torque for passing or hill climbing. The Q7 is also surprisingly nimble for such a large vehicle, inspiring confidence where some other three-row luxury SUVs would feel bulky and out of sorts.
But if you desire a car that prioritizes interior space and versatility, Audi’s big crossover comes up short. Ample exterior dimensions notwithstanding, the Q7 has a rather cramped third-row seat, and there’s not nearly as much cargo space as you’d expect. Also, the Q7’s other engine besides the diesel is a gasoline-powered supercharged V6 (offered in two states of tune), and it’s not a fuel-sipper, eking out a modest 22 miles per gallon highway. That would be more forgivable if the acceleration were class-leading, but it’s just average.
Notable Q7 competitors include the 2015 Acura MDX, which represents a better value with its roomy cargo area, feature-rich interior and efficient gasoline V6. The 2015 Land Rover LR4 may be a gas hog, but it compensates with spacious seating for seven, plenty of cargo room and true off-road ability. The 2015 BMW X5 offers superior performance and handling, while the somewhat pricier 2015 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class boasts a wide range of engines, generous three-row accommodations and the biggest cargo hold of the bunch. The 2015 Audi Q7 is a nice SUV, no doubt, but it’s no longer a top choice in its class.
The base 3.0T engine serves up respectable passing power in the 2015 Audi Q7, while the more powerful S line version delivers extra punch with no penalty at the gas pump. Unfortunately, the penalty is pretty stiff to begin with — the MDX, for example, gets 5 more miles per gallon on the highway, and it’s also a few tenths faster to 60 mph. The pick of this litter is the TDI diesel, as it’s relatively fuel-efficient and has plenty of torque for most situations.
The Q7 is best on the open road. It is whisper-quiet on the inside (even with the diesel engine) and has surprisingly quick reflexes that make this big crossover seem smaller than it really is. The drive quality, however, may be a bit too firm for some shoppers, in which case we recommend the Prestige trim’s optional air suspension with adjustable comfort settings.
The 2015 Audi Q7 is a full-size, seven-passenger luxury SUV offered in six trim levels: 3.0T Premium, TDI Premium, 3.0T Premium Plus, TDI Premium Plus, 3.0T S line Prestige and TDI Prestige. The 3.0T models come with the gasoline V6 engine (with extra output for the 3.0T S line Prestige), while the TDI models get the diesel V6.
The 3.0T Premium comes standard with 18-inch wheels, xenon headlights with LED running lights, LED turn signals and taillights, rear parking sensors, roof rails, a power liftgate (with programmable opening angle), heated mirrors, automatic wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, eight-way power heated front seats (with four-way lumbar), a manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, burl walnut inlays, a sliding and reclining 40/20/40-split second-row seat and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Technology features include Bluetooth phone connectivity, Audi’s basic MMI with a 6.5-inch display screen and an 11-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and an iPod interface.
The TDI Premium gets the same standard equipment, with the addition of 19-inch wheels.
The 3.0T Premium Plus and TDI Premium Plus add a panoramic sunroof, a rearview camera, front parking sensors, auto-dimming and power-folding exterior mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a color trip computer, driver memory functions, blind spot monitoring, Bluetooth sound connectivity, a 14-speaker Bose surround-sound sound system with HD radio and an upgraded version of MMI ("MMI navigation plus") with a 7-inch display screen, a navigation system, voice controls and Audi Connect (enhanced Web-based navigation and information services along with WiFi hotspot capability).
The 3.0T S line Prestige adds 20-inch wheels, sport-themed exterior styling details, adaptive headlights, a corner-view camera system, ventilated front seats and the Warm Weather package (optional on Premium Plus), which includes deep tinting for the sunroof, four-zone automatic climate control and manual sunshades for the rear doors and tailgate.
The TDI Prestige goes without the sporty exterior flourishes (they’re optional), but is otherwise similarly equipped.
Some of the standard features on the upper trim levels are available on the lower trims as options. The Offroad Style Plus package (Premium Plus only) includes different 20-inch wheels, front and rear skid plates, rugged-looking fender flares and bumpers and "black optic" exterior trim. The Sport Style Plus package (Prestige only) is similar to the Offroad Style Plus package, but substitutes 21-inch wheels and different fender flares and bumpers.
Additional options for Prestige models include an adaptive air suspension, adaptive cruise control, a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen surround-sound sound system and a Luxury package (synthetic suede headliner and extended leather trim). The 3.0T S line Prestige is eligible for an S line interior package that adds a black headliner, brushed aluminum inlays, an S line shift knob and an S line three-spoke steering wheel with shift paddles; the TDI Prestige’s S line package bundles these items with the 3.0T S line Prestige’s exterior add-ons.
Optional on all trims are rear side airbags, a Towing package and a Cold Weather package, which adds heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.
The 2015 Q7’s interior is par for the course with Audi, which means plenty of top-notch materials and a well-designed dashboard layout. The front compartment is clearly built around the driver, creating a cockpit-like feel that’s unusual in a large SUV. The MMI electronics interface boasts logical menus and crisp graphics, although we still prefer BMW’s iDrive or Mercedes’ COMAND for overall ease of use. The difference in quality is particularly noteworthy when you know that the MMI system in the Q7 is the smaller, older version. Other Audis have a more recently upgraded version that is larger and easier to read.
As for space, adult-sized passengers will have plenty of it in the Q7’s first two rows, and they’ll appreciate that the second-row seats both slide and recline to enhance long-haul comfort. The third row, however, is suitable only for kids, which is disappointing in this class. Cargo space likewise lags behind that of the competition, with only 72.5 cubic feet of space with the second and third rows folded flat — about the same as a Honda CR-V. When both rear seating rows are in use, the rear cargo area measures a paltry 10.9 cubic feet.
Standard safety features on the 2015 Audi Q7 include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and rear parking sensors. Front parking sensors, a rearview camera and a blind spot warning system are standard on the Premium Plus and Prestige trims. A corner-view camera system is a Prestige exclusive. Second-row side airbags are optional on all trims.
In SUVS brake testing, a Q7 3.0T equipped with all-season tires came to a stop from 60 miles per hour in 133 feet, which is longer than expected for this class. A Q7 TDI with wider summer tires came to a stop from 60 miles per hour in a much more respectable distance of 111 feet.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Q7 its highest rating of "Good" in its moderate-overlap frontal-offset and side-impact tests. The Q7’s seat/head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
Powering the 2015 Audi Q7 3.0T Premium and 3.0T Premium Plus is a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 280 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The 3.0T S line Prestige’s version of this engine cranks out 333 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard.
In SUVS performance testing, a 3.0T Premium went from zero to 60 miles per hour in 6.9 seconds — an average time for this segment. EPA-estimated fuel economy for both versions of the 3.0T is an unimpressive 18 miles per gallon combined (16 city/22 highway).
The Audi Q7 TDI is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V6 that produces 240 hp and a robust 406 lb-ft of torque. The diesel engine is also paired with an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. EPA-estimated fuel economy clocks in at a laudable 22 miles per gallon combined (19 city/28 highway). During SUVS performance testing, a 2015 Audi Q7 TDI went from zero to 60 miles per hour in 8.0 seconds, which is a bit slower than average for the class.
Properly equipped, the Audi Q7 can haul up to 6,600 pounds, a competitive rating for a large luxury crossover.
Premium interior; sophisticated driving character; strong and fuel-efficient TDI diesel engine.
The 2015 Audi Q7 is a likable seven-passenger luxury SUV, but it’s showing its age. Newer competitors are generally more desirable.