The base model of the AUDI Q7 ticks all the boxes of a desirable SUV: powerful, spacious and functional.
Brutal Effort: Rick Owens Furniture is bold, beautiful, and ballsy.
The Q7 is the first SUV from Audi. Introduced in 2006, the model has gone through different iterations since, but has always positioned itself to be a luxurious option for those looking for a crossover SUV.
Last year, I got behind the wheel of the Q7 and drove it in the steep and rocky hills near Mount Arayat in Pampanga. The unit had a 3.0-liter diesel V6 TDI engine producing 272 horsepower and 600 Nm of torque and was outfitted with Audi’s virtual cockpit, or a full digital screen located directly in front of the driver just behind the steering wheel.
This time, the local Audi distributor handed me the keys to the 2017 model, with a 2.0-liter TFSI turbo-charged four cylinder gas engine (252 hp/273 lb-ft of torque). Instead of taking it out for an off-road adventure, I chose to see how it would behave in the concrete jungles of Manila.
There’s nothing quite like the smell of a brand-new vehicle. In the Q7’s case, the soft leather seats gave off a tantalizing scent that only heightened the driving experience. The scroll wheel input controller made selections in the digital dashboard simpler and faster;
there’s still the 12.3-inch display screen that retracts into the center console; and the Bluetooth connection with my iPhone was a breeze, just like before. Playing a song on Spotify through my phone, the audio was crisp and clear. When I got off the car, the system remembers the song and it automatically picks up exactly where I left off and plays it the next time I climbed in and turned the ignition on. I didn’t even have to restart the connection. It’s a smart and timesaving feature that should be standard with all vehicle audio systems.
As an SUV, the Q7 is naturally a big vehicle. Driving on EDSA, other cars seemed to spontaneously defer to it—which is fine by me. This version of the Q7 is a few millimeters smaller and several hundred pounds lighter compared to its predecessor, but remarkably, it felt like the interior was much roomier. It’s still a seven-seater, although the third row can comfortably accommodate only small children. When not in use, both the second and third row seats can be folded to accommodate bigger cargo. I didn’t really need for all that room in the few days I had the Q7 with me, but it’s good to know that it’s there for anyone who needs to stretch or space to transport anything from suitcases, golf clubs and moving boxes.
The Q7 might be a bit too big for a single guy in the city, but for a family of three to five, it’s more than adequate. Audi says it can zoom from zero to 100 kph in about seven seconds and can reach a top speed of 233 kph, but it was a little hard to test these numbers if you have to deal with mind-numbing traffic during rush hour on EDSA. Still, the slightest nudge on the accelerator pushed the vehicle forward significantly, which told me all I needed to know about the power the Q7 was packing under the hood.
One other thing that deserves mention: the suspension system is exceptional. It’s a well-known fact that Manila’s roads are far from perfect, but the Q7 ran over holes, cracks and bumps with ease, reducing the usual crashing sounds into into dull thumps.
One thing about Audi is its options to personalize and make your vehicle truly your own. Custom paint finishes, interior trims and technological upgrades— the German marque offers pretty much anything you can dream up to help you realize your dream car.
When it came time to return the Q7, I discovered I had no complaints. On and off-road, it’s an SUV that retains much of the qualities we love about Audi— aesthetics, performance and reliability.
The Audi Q7 navigates Manila’s concrete jungle with relative ease and a modicum of street-worthy style.