Audi Q7 (2006 – 2015) Review

Audi Q7 (2006 – 2015) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The Audi Q7 is a vast seven-seat SUV with undoubted kerb appeal. The cabin is superbly screwed together and ergonomically excellent, and a wide range of engines allied to quattro all-wheel drive give it real ability and appeal.

+Massive road presence. Seven-seat interior. Lusty engine line-up.

-Sheer size can be a headache. Interior looks dated now. Limited off-road ability

Insurance Groups are between 37–50
On average it achieves 79% of the official MPG figure

When it first broke cover in 2006, the Audi Q7’s imposing looks and seven-seat interior made it a popular, if pricey, choice. Although some elements of the interior now look rather dated, the question remains today: What’s not to like? Our Audi Q7 review will illustrate why it’s still worth considering.

Granted, this vast SUV is marred by the ubiquitous Audi Big Grille – the face of an inflatable doll wearing chrome lipstick. But it does exactly what it says on the tin, and has a classy, well made, ergonomically superb cabin that ably demonstrates why Audi was at the time, and for many remains, the industry yardstick for interior design. 

More surprising perhaps, is the number of rivals lined up against the Audi Q7 right from the off: The Mercedes ML, representing the global best-seller in the segment; the Range Rover Sport with proper off-road credentials; the Lexus RX 450h SE-L exuding the strongest eco credentials; the Porsche Cayenne, at the time a frog in desperate need of a princess; and the BMW X6, busy outselling the BMW X5 in Italy.

The Audi Q7’s ace-in-the-hole was, alone in this company, a seven-seat interior, which equipped it with a versatility that even the upmarket Range Rover could not compete.

With all seven seats in place you could still unearth 333 litres of loadspace. Fold the two third-row seats flat and this volume grew to a chunky 775 litres, whilst folding the second tier out of the way created a cavernous 2035-litre capacity.

With an extraordinary £37,775 to £99,370 price range, the Audi Q7 offered a range of petrol and diesel engines which, in harness with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive, were chosen to shift the Audi Q7’s considerable bulk – even the lightest model weighed in at 2300kg – with a measure of vim appropriate to the car’s premium status.

Pick of the bunch for us remains the 248PS 3.0 litre V6 diesel for its blend of pace and efficiency, and with sufficient torque on offer to give the Audi Q7 a towing capability of 750kg unbraked, and 3200kg braked.

Over the course of its six year, pre-facelift life, the Audi Q7 also offered buyers a bewildering range of trim levels built around a reasonably comprehensive entry-level standard equipment specification.

This included adaptive air-suspension, cruise control, parking sensors, seven seats, leather upholstery and a 6.5-inch colour infotainment screen with DAB radio and a single CD player. However, sat-nav was reserved for a trim level price hike of nearly £5000.

The enormous size of the Audi Q7 is both a blessing and a curse. Even though the third row of seats is only really suitable for children over any distance, you can’t argue with the amount of space given to front and middle-row passengers, with so much shoulder room that three adults can comfortably sit in the latter.

However, driving around town, the car feels excessively long and wide. All models have parking sensors, but that’s not much help in tight parking bays. Narrow roads with width-restriction bollards can be a particularly fraught experience.

On the open road, the Audi Q7 demonstrates a surprising ability to handle quite tidily, and there’s a deal of pleasure to be had bunging a car this big down a twisting A-road.

The trouble is, the stiffness of suspension needed to deliver this makes for a poor ride, even with adaptive air-suspension in play.

So what should be a pretty imperious high-speed cruise is unsettled by any road surface imperfections whatsoever. Indeed, on poor, rapidly undulating surfaces, the car’s composure falls apart entirely.

Used prices for this generation of Audi Q7 range from about £1500 to a whisker under £20,000. A 2009 upgrade makes later cars a more appealing proposition. As ever, and assuming all things mechanical are in order, the higher the equipment specification, the better you’ll do for your buck.

In the company of these rivals, the Audi Q7’s a given if you need seven seats. If not, the choice of Porsche, Mercedes or BMW will come down to badge preference.

Ask Honest John

My used car has an oil leak. Can I reject it?

"I bought a 2011 Audi Q7 but spotted an oil leak a few days after buying. The seller is repairing it for me. Can you advise regarding my rights to return the car? "
You don't say whether it's a private seller or a dealer, but you'll have more rights with a dealer. If there is a problem with your used car soon after you bought it - and that problem is not to be expected based on age or mileage - then you are entitled to a free repair or replacement as long as it's within 30 days. If you need further help, I'd recommend speaking with Citizen's Advice. To see all your rights, go here:
Answered by Georgia Petrie

High mileage cars - will they go on forever?

"I work abroad quite a bit and I am considering buying a high mileage Audi Q7, the cars I have looked at are in excellent condition with full service histories, but have high mileage. Some are at 100,000 - 160,000 miles. Would I be buying a maintenance nightmare or do these things go on forever?"
No, they don't go on forever and the high cost of fixing them is reflected in the prices asked. You could be in for a lot of very expensive replacement parts, and won't get the money back on resale.
Answered by Honest John

What should I replace my Honda CR-V with?

"I am replacing my 2007 Honda CR-V. I like the Honda and feel it has a high specification, especially when compared to BMW/Audi. I find the BMW X3 to be too small, while the X5 and Audi Q7 are too big. What do you suggest I buy? Should I buy a diesel or petrol? And should it be a manual or automatic? "
After driving 1300 miles in a BMW X3 through blizzards and right across Europe, I do not consider it to be "small" compared to a Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV-4 or Mazda CX-5. You don't mention your "mileage profile", but I can tell you that a CX-5 2.2 Skyactiv 150 diesel auto should average about 45mpg, based on the 51mpg I'm getting out of a Mazda 6 2.2 Skyactiv 150 diesel auto. You'll do 5-10mpg better with a manual.
Answered by Honest John

Do I avoid this Q7?

"I am looking to buy a particular Q7 so I did a check on the reg with the DVLA after I had tried to check on AutoTrader and they said they didn't recognise the reg. I then went to the AA site to organise a vehicle inspection and they to said they did not recognise the reg. Why is this and what do I do - stay well clear of the vehicle or wait?"
Yes. Stay clear. Lots of other Q7s out there and if this one was especially cheap it was cheap for a reason.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Audi Q7 (2006 – 2015) cost?