Saturday, January 5, 2008

Q7 is No Turkey


This review is being written a few days after Thanksgiving. I hope each of you enjoyed some quality time with your families. My family has a tradition where each Thanksgiving we all load up our cars and head to Bethany Beach, Delaware for the entire Thanksgiving week. This annual journey provides an excellent opportunity for me to put an SUV through its paces. This year I spent my week driving the 2007 Audi Q7, which is an SUV that shares a common platform with the Volkswagen Toureg , and was introduced last year as a 2007model. It was initially offered with a 4.2-liter V8, however a 3.6-liter V6 has now been added as well.


My tester came with the standard V6 powerplant. While clearly not as powerful as the bigger V8, I found the V6’s 280 horsepower plenty powerful to pass slower moving traffic on Maryland and Delaware’s many two lane state roads. The six-speed automatic transmission does a great job of keeping the V6 in its wheelhouse, so that when the power is needed, it’s there. However, because this V6 needs to downshift to access the available muscle, engine noise can be a little distracting from passenger conversation.


The Q7 comes standard with Audi's all-wheel-drive system. Considering that the Q7 weighs just over 5,000 lbs., it feels quite nimble. Furthermore, the Q7's ride quality is quite good, being a pleasant compromise between sportiness for the curvy sections and soft ride over bumpy roads.


Since I had the opportunity to get feedback from nearly two dozen family members, I took full advantage. Responses were somewhat of a mixed bag. Nothing negative was said, but there were quite a few ho hum responses. Personally, I think its exterior is one of the sharper-looking designs within its class. It features an even more prominent front grill than that found on Audi's sedans. As I said before, the Q7 is based on the Toureg, although it’s been stretched 13 inches to accommodate the third-row seating. The interior on my Q7 was reasonably well appointed and comfortable. However, instrumentation is difficult to learn, and a little distracting while driving.


Overall, I enjoyed my time with the Q7. It is a livable SUV with good cargo space, third-row seating, and is relatively inexpensive for its class. However, I found both the engine noise and instrumentation somewhat of an annoyance for an otherwise enjoyable SUV.

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