FINAL REPORT Home and away, it’s been a blast with 429bhp SUV
Updates on the Audi SQ7 and Mitsubishi L200
AFTER nearly seven months, we’ve waved farewell to our Audi SQ7 super-suv. And as we consider its report card, it’s fair to say there was a marked difference in its performance home and away – just like my football team…
Firstly, away from home, which in my case is congested north London. Outside the capital, I found the 429bhp twinturbo giant absolutely brilliant.
On the motorway, its unflinching appetite for blistering acceleration ensured a couple of 600-mile trips to the north of Scotland were completed in exemplary fashion. I never tired of its ability to blast past lighter, more agile cars, while the exquisitely built cabin and spacious rear seats meant my family travelled in supreme comfort.
Over the years it’s a journey I’ve done on countless occasions, and I can honestly say that no car has made it easier than the SQ7.
Given its size, it was pretty satisfying to drive in the countryside around my parents’ home in Montrose, too. Yes, you were always aware of its 2,330kg bulk, but when I switched the drive mode from my default setting of Comfort – where the ride was genuinely, er, comfortable – to Dynamic, the SQ7 really did handle adeptly. The optional Dynamic Pack, which adds all-wheel steering, a sports differential and active anti-roll bars, undeniably makes this Audi one of the better SUVS to drive spiritedly on a B-road. At £5,700 it’s not cheap, but if you’ve got the money to buy an SQ7 in the first place it’s unlikely to put you off.
Back in London, it was more of a mixed bag for the Audi. In March I moved house and here the SQ7 was in its element. Its full seven seats were used on a couple of occasions to transport family assisting with the move, and I was pleased to find that the rearmost ones were easily accessible and able to accommodate adults for short journeys.
Then when ultimate capacity was needed for trips to the recycling centre, it was simplicity itself to fold the five rear seats and free up a 1,890-litre capacity.
Those same trips to the dump, however, did highlight one of the drawbacks of the SQ7 on home territory in London – its sheer size. My local recycling facility has a height restriction on vehicles to stop commercial waste being dumped, and at 1.75 metres it was perilously close to the Audi’s 1,741mm. I couldn’t risk damaging the panoramic roof, so each visit necessitated a wait for a special gate for outsized vehicles to be opened, which was rather tiresome.
Traffic calming width restrictions were also a game of roulette. At 1,968mm, the SQ7 is very wide and I encountered two – both on private land – where the Audi wouldn’t squeeze through without folding the wing mirrors in, delaying vehicles behind me.
I didn’t really warm to the sat-nav either, whether in London or elsewhere. While the mapping was clear, and a choice of routes was always offered, on a number of occasions it kept changing its mind about potential traffic problems, which ultimately led to tortuous routes being followed.
And while the £1,500 Parking Assistance Pack ensured manoeuvring in tight spots was straightforward thanks to its surround cameras offering clear guidance on the full colour 8.3-inch display, the need to drive gingerly on packed residential roads was always apparent. On the whole, though, I’m sad to see the SQ7 go. As a super-fast, super-practical SUV it has few peers.