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Audi Q7: Best Mid-Size Luxury SUV It's good at pretty much everything.

Audi Q7: Best Mid-Size Luxury SUV

Few vehicles are as well rounded, well executed, and vice free as Audi’s Q7. In the mid-size luxury class, nothing comes close. Some challengers have an acute focus on practicality; others go all in on performance. Common among them is the sacrifice of one competency for another.

The Audi forgoes nothing sliding into our graces, ferrying people and things as well as it drives. A 252-hp turbocharged inline-four engine is standard and punches above its weight by moving the Q7 with surprising alacrity. The available 333-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 effortlessly punts the Audi to 60 mph in about six seconds flat—near the top of the class—and comes with an increased towing capacity of 7700 pounds, up from 4400 with the 2.0T. Every Q7 includes Quattro all-wheel drive.

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On curvy roads where other crossovers disappoint, the Q7 distinguishes itself with spry athleticism. Sitting on its baseline steel springs or the optional air springs, the Q7 tightly controls body motions and roll. Accurate steering with just-right quickness parks happily on-center for locomotive-steady tracking on freeways. The chassis returns the most satisfying handling and best cornering grip this side of two-row, performance-minded SUVs such as BMW’s X5 M, Mercedes-AMG’s GLE63, and Porsche’s Cayenne, all of which cost more and sit beyond the mainstream. Yet the Audi rides exceptionally well, its wheels traversing bumps with a luxurious fluidity.

Wrapped around this excellent hardware is a stout body stamped into a well-tailored, modern shape. Volvo’s squarer-bodied XC90 holds slightly more cargo—second- and third-row seats folded, the Volvo can accommodate 27 carry-on-size suitcases against the Audi’s 25—but otherwise the Q7’s versatility sits at the front of the mid-size pack. Second-row accommodations are top-notch, and those seats fold and flip forward to open relatively wide pathways to the third row. While the Audi’s tight third row is a bit of a demerit, such seats are typically occasional-use bonuses in this class, not the norm. Those planning to frequently haul seven or more people should consider either a full-size SUV or a minivan.

Few vehicles match the Audi’s exquisite interior. Caliper- and force-meter-wielding fans of measuring panel-gap consistency and soft plastics’ deflection coefficients will love it. You needn’t wander from the base Premium model to bask in the Q7’s inherent luxuriousness, either, while extra-cost trimmings and features only enhance what is an extremely nice space to spend time. The reconfigurable Virtual Cockpit display that replaces the analog gauge cluster and can show a full-width navigation map is an essential and visually impressive bauble.

Luxurious, dynamic, and of extremely high quality, the Q7 is precisely what a mid-size luxury SUV should be. —Alexander Stoklosa

Specifications

VEHICLE TYPE:
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 4-door hatchback
BASE PRICE:
$50,875–$57,375
ENGINES:
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve 2.0-liter inline-4, 252 hp, 273 lb-ft; supercharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve 3.0-liter V-6, 333 hp, 325 lb-ft
TRANSMISSION:
8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
CURB WEIGHT (C/D EST):
4800–5100 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST):
Zero to 60 mph: 6.0–7.0 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 14.5–15.4 sec
Top speed: 130 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY:
Combined/city/highway: 21/19/25 mpg

The Ground Rules

To determine our 2018 10Best Trucks and SUVs, we followed our usual 10Best procedure of inviting the previous year’s winners plus vehicles that are all new or significantly updated within each segment. Competing vehicles must have a base price of less than $80,000 and be on sale by January 31, 2018. Each competing vehicle is driven and fully evaluated by our entire editorial staff during our weeklong test, and winners have been determined via editors’ votes for which entrants best deliver across three key areas: value, driving enjoyment, and overall mission fulfillment.

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