Critic’s Notebook: 2016 Audi Q7

It was my birthday. Not an event birthday, just another milestone in the inexorable march toward senility, liver failure, and being eaten by Millennial zombies. So I decided to rent out a mid-century motel on the San Andreas fault-line in the California desert, invite some friends, and sit in the famous healing waters that bubble up from a crack in the earth’s core. We needed a vehicle big enough to transport nine starved middle-aged homosexuals (and allies!) to the supermarket and liquor store. Also, one dinner in which we planned to eat sashimi out of a grapefruit. Desert sushi. You can even eat the dishes.

Since I was driving its platform-mate, the Bentley Bentayga, that week, I decided on the all-new, seven passenger Audi Q7. In the category, the Audi is a standout. It’s impeccably refined (save for a mildew scent located somewhere around the sunroof gasket). It has a supercharged V6 that makes enough power (if there aren’t eight people full of grapefruit sashimi inside). It has the cool, biomorphic, color LCD dash from the TT Roadster, along with a redundant second screen and doubly redundant heads-up display. And it has fancy chocolate leather seats and lovely wood veneer. But I don’t really care for the category. If I was going to get a big truck, I’d get a big truck. For $75,000, I could have an Escalade. 

Also, like the Bentayga, the Audi is handsome and well appointed but lacks road presence. Waiting for the valet to bring around the Q7, one of my friends point and said, “Ah, there’s our car.” Except he was pointing at a white Kia Sedona. I scoffed at first, but then had to admit the similarity; Kia did acquire their current designer, Peter Schreyer, from Audi, so point earned. That crossed crossovers off my list.

2016 AUDI Q7


MPG: 19 mpg city/25 mpg highway/21 mpg combined

POWERTRAIN: 3-liter supercharged V6, 333 horsepower, 325 lb-ft torque; all-wheel-drive, eight-speed automatic transmission

Kia Sedona Resemblance: High