Enthusiasts, myself included, are quick to turn our noses up at three-row midsize SUVs. No other body style in the market encompasses everything that’s wrong with buyers and the automotive industry than three-row midsize SUVs. That’s the mentality I carried with me to a week with the 2022 Audi Q7 55 TFSI Prestige, and even I, an enthusiast who curses at every midsize SUV I pass on the road, still came away impressed with Audi’s family hauler.
What makes the Q7 so noteworthy is just how luxurious and plush it feels. Luxury brands really have thrown everything into their arsenal to ensure their vehicles are more upscale than ever, as mainstream brands like Mazda, Kia, and Jeep have all stepped things up immensely to where they feel like they’re on par with luxury vehicles from just a few years ago. With how much tech and luxury the Q7 is packing, it feels more like a budget-friendly version of the incredibly high-end Bentley Bentayga than a gussied-up Kia Telluride.
The Audi Q7 55 TFSI Prestige is a damn fine SUV that will fill your neighbors with envy and be the talk of the town at the local coffee shop. However, there are a few things that may have you looking at one of the Q7’s many competitors. Here’s our Audi Q7 review with what we love about the SUV and a few things that we hate.
Audi interiors don’t usually do it for me. Don’t get me wrong — they’re nice, but against the truly opulent designs of Mercedes-Benz or the sporty look of BMW, Audi is stuck playing third fiddle. That’s not the case with the Audi Q7 interior, at least not with the Q7 Prestige.
The SUV looks and feels like a high-end vehicle. Audi’s used gorgeous materials throughout the cabin, and the front two rows of seats are so freaking comfortable. The seats also have a massage feature that works well to stop you from getting sore on long drives.
Another one of the Q7’s standout qualities is how quiet it is. Despite pushing 3-digit figures on the highway, the Q7 remained eerily quiet. Like you-can-hear-your-passenger-breathing kind of quiet. When you get tired of the silence, you can tune the available Bang & Olufsen audio system to create your own mobile symphony.
Tech for days
Audi flexes its roided-out tech muscles with the Q7. The SUV has an impressive roster of screens that includes an 8.6-inch lower touchscreen, a 10.1-inch upper touchscreen, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. The way the screens are integrated into the dashboard seems well thought-out and not like something a designer penned on a late night after putting a bottle of gin to good use. I also absolutely love how customizable and gorgeous the Q7’s digital instrument cluster is. Plus, the touchscreens’ haptic feedback feature is snazzy.
Smooth like ghee
Never heard of ghee? That’s a shame. Unlike butter, ghee is clarified, has a higher concentration of fat, and tastes richer. Unlike the chunkiness that is cold butter, ghee is silky smooth straight off the shelf. Just like ghee, the Q7 is a smooth operator.
That quality mostly comes from the available adaptive air suspension. It brings a cushy ride quality that never feels harsh and that absorbs every imperfection in the road. It’s almost like the Q7 glides, like ghee in a red-hot pan, down the road.
The 55 TFSI powertrain brings a major upgrade over the base turbo-four with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that’s paired with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. At 335 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, the V6 isn’t the sexiest engine in the class, but the heavyweight feels brisk in a straight line. Highway speeds come and go quickly, and fuel economy isn’t awful either.
No, you’re not going to go on a canyon-carving run in the Q7. Maybe the SQ7, but not the Q7. Opting for a model with the adaptive air suspension and four-wheel-steering systems, though, makes the Q7 feel surprisingly lithe. The adjustability of the air suspension system gives the driver some flexibility to lower the ride height and stiffen the dampers. The result is an SUV that remarkably drives like a large wagon around corners.
Better off as a five-seater
As with a lot of three-row SUVs on the market, the Q7 is more of a seven-seater only for when the need arises and not a true seven-seater. The power controls for the third row are useful and tie in with the luxurious feel, but there’s no getting around the fact that adults will be cramped in the third row.
Requires an IT degree
Don’t get us wrong — we like the Q7’s tech features, but they are so difficult to comprehend and get used to. A three-screen system is the equivalent of having three iPads binging and bonging at you at the same time. When you add having to drive into the mix, things get hectic. The Q7 is one of those vehicles where you have to spend at least an hour sitting in the garage or driveway and learning how to sort through all of the menus and different pages to learn where things are so that you don’t get into an accident while you’re driving.
It costs how much?!
Audi kindly sent us the Monroney for the Q7 we drove. I’m not lying when I say that my jaw dropped when I saw the price for the first time. I let out one of those overly dramatic Hollywood gasps. The well-equipped Q7 55 TFSI Prestige we drove rings up at $80,890 with destination. Words cannot even begin to describe the emotions I felt when I saw that figure.
Midsize luxury SUVs are expensive — everyone knows that — but $80,000 for an Audi? Jesus. What has the world come to? Is the Q7 55 TFSI Prestige worth that much? I’m struggling to justify spending $5,000 on a busted-up Mazda Miata that’s 20 years old, so to this auto enthusiast, the answer is a resounding no. For the executive, manager, lawyer, or otherwise well-off family person, I could see how they can justify the Audi Q7’s hefty price tag and be incredibly happy spending every day in comfort. For the rest of us, though, not so much.
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