I've spent quite a lot of time as a passenger in my long termer in recent weeks – and it's been quite a revelation. So much so that I even took a few notes on my phone when my fellow travellers had something to say to share with you here.
You see, when you've been driving a car for a while – as I have been with the Audi Q7 – you start to get used to it. You stop looking for the new things and just enjoy the familiar surroundings. It's not until someone else jumps in and starts fiddling that you learn something new – or question why something is as it is.
Before Christmas we had a big staff event that meant car sharing made sense. Feeling boss like (for once) I decided being driven would be far more sensible, so I jumped in the back of my SUV while two of my colleagues jumped in the front.
'Do you watch the TV much?' asked Jon. Well, er, this is a little bit awkward – because I didn't even realise it had a TV. Cue much laughing. Apparently, hidden away in the multimedia system is a digital TV that only works when you're parked up. I argued I hadn't found it as usually when I'm parked up I've left the car, unlike Jon who mostly watches TV in car parks while eating McDonald's.
After a particularly long stretch of stop start traffic, Jon added: 'It's no nonsense this car. It's functional and definitely better than a Range Rover.' And you know what, I'm inclined to agree with him. That's a bold statement and I've long regarded the Range Rover as one of the best cars going, but the Q7 is pipping it pretty much everywhere in my book. It feels more spacious, it drives better and the technology is far, far superior.
Since my last report I've covered a whopping 3,753 miles. I know this because I reset the long-term memory on the digital dashboard. It helpfully clocks up the MPG I've achieved too and, more worryingly, the amount of hours I've sat behind the wheel.
Any guesses as to how many hours those 3,753 miles took? A scary 87. The Audi did manage to return 30.7mpg over that distance which, although is a little way shy of its 48mpg combined figure, is still not too disappointing considering the spirited manor in which I've been driving.
Although I'm still very much in love with the Q7 – especially with its ability to seemingly swallow anything I need it to carry – the last few weeks have not been without their issues. I recently returned to the Audi in an airport car park to find a green car had scraped along the passenger side door handle. I know it was green as it left a telltale sample of it in the once-silver paintwork. Very frustrating.
There have been a few problems with the multimedia system too. The Bluetooth streaming seems to have a habit of cutting out every now and again. It's annoying and seems to only be fixed by turning Bluetooth off on my phone and reconnecting.
Thankfully the noisy engine I reported last time seems to have got better, though. I'm pinning the blame on a particularly cold snap. I celebrated by giving the Audi a thoroughly good clean – with all those motorway miles the dirt was becoming a bit of a feature, so an extra long jet wash returned it to almost-showroom shine.
Sadly my time with the Q7 is drawing to a close, but to mark its departure I've got an epic 1,500-mile pan-France tour to the Alps planned as a swansong – more on that adventure in my next report.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
Model: Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Quattro S Line
Engine: 3.0-litre, TDI
Max speed: 145mph
0-60mph: 6.5 seconds
MPG: 48mpg (combined)
This month's highlight: Scrubbing off four weeks of grime