In the automotive industry of today, premium crossovers and SUVs have, for the most part, replaced executive sedans as the go-to luxury vehicles. With the exception of the Mercedes-Benz S Class; BMW 7-Series, Audi A8, Lexus LS, Jaguar XJ, and all other iconic luxury sedans are all outsold by their crossover siblings. As a result, automakers compete fiercely for this high profit segment of cars. The Audi Q7 has been a dominant force in this market; let’s see how Audi has fared while redesigning it for the 2020 model year, to keep up with the ever-increasing competition.
The looks of the last generation Audi Q7 did not do it any favor. Indeed, it looked like a tarted up minivan that had been raised above the ground and could not stand up against the competition that included the ostentatious BMW X5, Volvo XC90 and the Land Rover Range Rover. It is no secret that buyers in this segment of cars demand visual appeal, so it is nice to see Audi heavily revising the exterior styling of the Q7. The front fascia has now been updated to accommodate the latest iteration of Audi’s signature hexagonal front grille, accompanied by redesigned LED headlights which can optionally include laser high beams. These new headlights play a ‘welcome dance’, when you walk towards after unlocking or away after locking the vehicle. A similar story can be seen out back where minor revisions have been made, that bring the Q7 more in line with contemporary Audi’s, these revisions most notably include the vertically oriented LED lights in taillight assembly and the chrome bar that runs across the entire width of the car. The exterior has also been “toughened” up with more pronounced wheel arch extensions, sharper body creases, an overall boxier profile and plastic body cladding; all of which add up to give the car a more masculine look. The finer design elements and details are still very much Audi; fans and buyers should have no trouble identifying the Q7 from rivals even if it was de-badged. Overall, Audi has done a good job; the new Q7 certainly has more visual appeal than the previous generation, which I think is important for a car that goes after this market.
The last generation of the Q7, was undoubtedly the king of the hill when it came to interior design, build quality, craftsmanship, material quality and sheer volume. It is good to see that Audi has even managed to improve on that. Like the exterior, the interior has been moderately revised with tech and design elements from more modern Audis. The MMI infotainment system that was operated with a clickable knob in the previous generation has now been replaced with dual touch screens, the shape of which mimics the exterior front grille. The lower touchscreen controls functions such as climate control and vehicle settings, while the upper screen handles audio, navigation, and other functions. It makes for a more streamlined dashboard design but it may come at the expense of being difficult to operate while driving (something that the knob design excelled at) as touchscreen controls are often fiddly. The two touchscreens do feature haptic feedback, which gives the impression of a button being pressed, but it is never quite the same as having actual physical buttons. Aside from this, things are comparable to the last generation, which is no bad thing. Material and build quality are top-notch, the design is suitably posh and the interior volume is absolutely gargantuan. You can easily fit 7 adults into this 3-row SUV, which cannot be said for many of its rivals. In summary, Audi largely took the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” approach with the interior of the new Q7 which, in my opinion, was the right approach to take.