Living with an Audi Q7: First report

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Audi's giant Q7 SUV has joined our fleet and as the resident family man, I've
become the lucky keeper of the keys.

I've been promised three months to get to know the 3.0-litre TDI model, both the
good and the bad, and I've already managed to pile on 800 miles in the name of
testing.

So what's to love? Well, the seating configuration is a real bonus. The centre
row slides back and forth independently and each reclines too, which makes them
a comfortable place to spend time in, even on long journeys.

It's also useful when you need to call the rear-most pair into action as it
gives those in the back a little more legroom.

The way the seats rise and fall out of the boot floor at a touch of a button is
super smart and does away with the Crystal Maze-style challenges other
manufacturers set you when you want to use their folding sixth and seventh
seats.

I've called the rear seats into action a number of times – at a recent wedding,
even all 6ft 4in of me managed to fold into one.

I much prefer things in the driving seat, though. Audi knows the Q7 is a big car
and has added a whole host of parking aids for you to slot it into even the
tightest spaces. They use a host of cameras to give you a bird's-eye view that
is so good you can almost use them solely to park it.

The digital dashboard is a joy to use too. First introduced on the Audi TT, you
can manipulate the size of the dials and even have a full
sat nav screen displayed in front of you. It works incredibly well. In fact, the
entire multimedia system on the Audi is a joy. It's one area where I really feel
the manufacturer is excelling compared with its other mainstream premium rivals.



The driving position is comfortable, but a little more cramped than a Range
Rover around the legs. Perhaps this is down to the fact Audi wants it to feel
sporty, but it's noticeable nonetheless and who really wants a sporty SUV?

Over the few weeks we've had to get acquainted, I've found the steering to be a
little on the light side and the eight-speed automatic gearbox a little sluggish
to respond, but both niggles have eased as my mileage in the car has increased.

One thing that really stands out in the Q7, though, is the build quality. I've
taken lots of passengers from all walks of life for trips in the Audi and
they've all mentioned how nice it is.

And it really is. Nice is such a terrible word, but the Audi's classy touches
such as the soft neon mood strips across the interior, the classy switchgear and
the smart leather seats really do make it a lovely place to spend time.

I'm not quite sold on the looks, though. It's certainly better looking, smarter
and more grown-up than its predecessor, which seemed to be around forever, but
this model's slab sides and sharp creases don't quite do it for me.

I'm probably in the minority. Since I've been lucky enough to be custodian of
our £65,250 long-termer I've seen lots around.
Mostly driven by women, near schools. I'll let you make the connection.

Right now the only thing the Audi needs is a thorough clean. My five-year-old
daughter likes spending time in it as much as I do, but she never seems content
on one seat. That means there's crisp detritus and chocolate smudges (sorry
Audi; even more sorry Mummy) spread liberally around each of the Q7's seven
seats, which will make cleaning a lengthy job. I'd better get on with it.

FACTS AT A GLANCE

Model: Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Quattro S Line
Price: £65,250
Engine: 3.0-litre, TDI
Power: 268bhp
Max speed: 145mph
0-60mph: 6.5 seconds
Emissions: 153 g/km
MPG: 48mpg (combined)
Mileage this month: 800
Highlight: Picking up the keys to a £65k SUV