2009 Audi Q7 Rating Breakdown
2009 audi q7
EPA est City/Hwy
17/25
Starting at
$50,900
Engine
3.0L Diesel
Power
225 hp

Starting at

$50,900

Engine

3.0L Diesel

Power

225 hp

City/Hwy

17/25

Seats

7


The Car Connection Expert Review
Trevor Wild

Trevor Wild

Author

DISLIKES
  • Fuel economy (except TDI)
  • Very heavy
  • Pricey—V-8 model can top $80,000
audi q7 2009

The 2009 Audi Q7 makes a break from the SUV norm with its sleek silhouette and rich interior.

Easily the best-looking of a trio of SUVs from Germany—including the VW Touareg and Porsche Cayenne—that share a common set of pieces, the 2009 Audi Q7 has a classy, stylish appearance that hints at ruggedness, yet is decidedly urbane. Sharp cutlines give athletic definition to the profile, and the body curvature on the rear end around the taillamps manages to look clean and simple when it's really a complex set of shapes.

Cars.com says the Q7 “looks a lot like a tall, bulked-up wagon; it's about six inches longer and 10 inches taller than an Audi A6 wagon,” while MyRide.com points out that it is "more tasteful and elegant than either of its platform mates, the Porsche Cayenne or VW Touareg." They approve of the way the "horse-collar grille works...on this high-riding SUV, and...like the tapered greenhouse which maintains the familial resemblance with the Avant wagons." ForbesAutos also expresses admiration for the Q7, declaring, “There’s no mistaking a Q7 in your rearview mirror…with its V-shaped prow and enormous mesh grille bisected by a black bar.” The sport-ute’s “coupe-like roof arch” gives it a racy look, they contend, and it looks best from the side.

Car and Driver is the odd one out here; they clearly think the Q7 is overwrought and describe the Q7 as a “doodle pad for the design department, wherein every detail from the roof rack to the load-floor molding has been sculpted, massaged, and polished until it delights everyone on the Christmas-card list.”

Inside, the 2009 Audi Q7 bears a rich, inviting cabin. Cars.com feels “the cabin features first-rate materials and an attention to detail seen in relatively few mass-produced vehicles.” Edmunds simply calls it "sharp” and says it has a “superior interior design, while Car and Driver exclaims, “You haven't seen gorgeous until you've beheld the dried-herb sumptuousness of the Cardamom Beige interior.”

The 2009 Audi Q7 makes a break from the SUV norm with its sleek silhouette and rich interior.

The 2009 Audi Q7 is bulky, yet it’s very enjoyable to drive—and the new clean-diesel option soothes fuel economy worries.

No getting around it, the 2009 Audi Q7 is heavy; that said, it’s surprising how well it performs and how enjoyable it is to drive—especially with the economical new turbodiesel offered for ’09.

A 280-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 is the base engine on the Q7, and Audi promises it will accelerate to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds. Edmunds says “the 3.6-liter V6 is noticeably lacking in oomph.” In either version, Cars.com warns “it'll be saddled with a lot of mass to haul around”—up to 5,500 pounds. Hence, neither Audi Q7 is great on gas; the V-8 is rated at 12/17 mpg, the V-6 at 14/20 mpg. A diesel version coming for the 2009 model year is expected to lift highway fuel economy into the mid-20-mpg range.

The next step up is the brand's smooth, forceful 4.2-liter V-8, which churns out 350 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque in the top models. Though it's tuned for better low-end torque, the strongest impression the eight-cylinder leaves behind is the muted hammering it barks out above 4,000 rpm. The Audi “isn’t especially quick or athletic,” ForbesAutos admits, while Cars.com says, “The V-8 engine moves the Q7 capably despite the SUV's substantial bulk, and there's fluid power for high-speed acceleration and passing.”

Later in the model year, a diesel model will join the Q7; simply called the 2009 Audi Q7 TDI, it comes with a 221-horsepower, 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 engine. What makes the engine so noteworthy is that it achieves a hefty 406 pound-feet of torque and returns EPA fuel economy ratings of (tentatively) 17 mpg city, 25 highway, yet can get to 60 mph in about 8.5 seconds.

Reviewers have almost unanimously positive remarks about the diesel. Automobile Magazine observes that “the ample torque made the big Q feel ready to accelerate at any moment,” calls it “comfortable and quick,” and notes the lack of diesel soot and smell. Edmunds says that the diesel has a bit more “growl” when maneuvering around parking lots or at low speed, but they point out that once up to speed, it’s actually quieter than the gasoline engines. “Background noise levels measure a decibel or two lower than the V8 when cruising at freeway speed,” they report.

“We recorded a 22.7 mpg average in just over 1,500 miles of our usual mixed ‘normal’ driving,” observes Edmunds, later noting that they saw an even better 24.1 mpg in a 110-mile route without any freeway miles. Automobile Magazine points to another positive: driving range. With the TDI, you should easily be able to go 600 miles on a tank on the highway, the reviewer declares, “so you'll want to be sure to hit the restroom before you leave.”

The transmission across the 2009 Audi Q7 model line is a six-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox, which does a good job of managing the power if you decline to use its sport-shift mode. “The transmission features a manual mode and adapts to driving style,” ForbesAutos observes. “For instance, if a driver is accelerating aggressively, the transmission will downshift sooner and hold gears longer for stronger acceleration.” Edmunds reports “the six-speed automatic transmission is also not the smoothest in the world, providing a jerky response when accelerating slowly.”

“Standard towing capacity is 5,500 pounds,” ForbesAutos says. “A $500 tow package increases it to 6,600 pounds.” And though its quattro all-wheel-drive system is designed mostly for on-road use, the Q7 proves to be “extremely capable while driving off-road through a narrow forest trail in upstate New York,” they add. With quattro, “up to 65 percent of engine power can be sent to the front wheels or 85 percent to the rear wheels by means of the self-locking center differential,” Cars.com explains.

The Q7's power steering, with lovely effort and feedback, is hydraulically actuated. MyRide.com says it has "Sublimely fluid and linear steering with perfect assist levels" and yields a "comfortable ride both on and off the road." ForbesAutos feels “There’s certainly plenty of handling grip, especially with the huge, optional 20-inch wheels and tires. But the steering, while well-weighted, feels noticeably numb just off center, and this big Audi is reluctant to change directions quickly.” Cars.com contends “the steering wheel itself turns with relatively little effort and amazing smoothness, but the driver is deprived of any feedback.” Edmunds notes, “placed in 'Dynamic' mode, the vehicle can be hustled relatively easily on a curvy road.”

An all-independent suspension and quattro all-wheel drive grant the 2998 Audi Q7 comfortable, capable handling. The Q7 also has an optional three-mode air suspension—sport, comfort, and automatic—that varies the damping of the vehicle according to conditions and the speed of the vehicle. It also raises the vehicle in off-road driving and lowers it at highway speeds. The Cars.com reviewer “spent most of my time switching between the softest available setting, Comfort, and the tautest, Dynamic. In Dynamic mode, the ride is so firm you might find yourself wondering if the suspension is damping anything at all; all bumps and holes in the road are keenly felt.”

The 2009 Audi Q7 is bulky, yet it’s very enjoyable to drive—and the new clean-diesel option soothes fuel economy worries.

An exceptionally rich interior in the 2009 Audi Q7 makes up for a cramped third row and a few missing details.

The 2009 Audi Q7 is a bit roomier than its Volkswagen and Porsche relations; it has three rows of seats and, Audi says, 28 seat/cargo configurations. Yet as TheCarConnection editors and various reviewers find, the third row isn’t all that usable.

The 2009 Q7 seats two in the front buckets, three across in the second row, and on most models, two in the third-row seat. “All but the base 3.6 Q7 come standard with a third row,” Edmunds explains, “providing either six- or seven-passenger capacity depending on whether the buyer selects second-row captain's chairs.”

In front, “The seat servos into the posture of your choice,” Car and Driver says. “I was able to get comfortable in the Q7's leather front bucket seats,” Cars.com’s reviewer reports, “though very tall drivers might wish they could move farther back.” In the second row, “There's generous foot and legroom,” and “these seats recline and slide fore and aft.” ForbesAutos notes “a $1,200 'Luxury Six-Seater Configuration' replaces the center second-row seat with a storage console. “

MyRide.com calls the third row "a penalty box," echoing sentiments expressed by most Q7 reviewers. “As with many vehicles in this category, the third-row seat is cramped and useful for children only,” Edmunds explains. “Considering the Q7's size, this is a little disappointing.” In a comparison test, the Q7 ranks lowest at Car and Driver with the Cadillac Escalade, since “entry and exit are contortionist exercises in both of them.”

The 2009 Audi Q7 has decent cargo space, but it’s not as convenient as in some other luxury utes. The third-row seats fold flat, and the second-row seats move back and forth 4 inches to create more legroom, as well as fold flat. The power-operated tailgate is skinned in lightweight aluminum for easy access. Audi says the cargo hold, with two seats up and two rows folded, leaves 88 cubic feet of space for ferry duty. “The seats fold down into an intricately interlocked set of panels, as flat as the deck of a Nimitz-class carrier,” Car and Driver reports. “But you can’t erect them while standing at the tailgate,” ForbesAutos moans. “Instead, you’re forced to walk around to the rear side doors, which can be annoying.”

“Like other Audis, the Q7 is a model for high-quality construction and materials,” Edmunds says. “If you buy one for its luxurious interior alone, you won't be disappointed.” The 2009 Q7’s interior appointments are lauded by even the most critical reviewers. ForbesAutos describes a cabin in which “aluminum trim is mated to a choice of three wood inlays: burr walnut, olive ash or dark, mahogany-like tamo.” Cars.com contends “the cabin features first-rate materials and an attention to detail seen in relatively few mass-produced vehicles,” and Car and Driver sums it up: “Sometimes gorgeous is its own reward, and this is one of those times.”

An exceptionally rich interior in the 2009 Audi Q7 makes up for a cramped third row and a few missing details.

The 2009 Audi Q7 is about as good as it gets for safety and security in an SUV.

The 2009 Audi Q7 scores extremely well in federal crash tests, with a laundry list of standard safety features.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has not tested the Q7, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the Q7 its highest ratings for front and side impact protection. It also awards the Q7 four stars for rollover resistance.

Edmunds lists the Q7’s safety features thusly: "antilock brakes, a stability control system with hill descent control and rollover detection, traction control, front occupant whiplash protection, side curtain airbags for all outboard passengers, and front-seat side airbags. Seat-mounted side airbags for the second row are optional.”

Audi also offers adaptive cruise control, plus Side Assist, which activates a blinking light on the outside mirrors when objects appear in the blind spots.

The 2009 Audi Q7 is about as good as it gets for safety and security in an SUV.


The 2009 Audi A7 comes with plenty of features that will leave you delighted—except maybe the MMI interface.

The Audi Q7 comes with a wealth of features, including a sometimes-maligned MMI controller that is required to access some functions.

Edmunds echoes the concerns of other sources regarding Audi’s MMI: "Utilizing an LCD screen controlled by a knob and various menu buttons mounted on the center console and steering wheel, the driver can operate entertainment, climate, communications and navigation functions" through it. Edmunds adds, “the system is effective at corralling the Q7's various features and is certainly more intuitive than BMW's reviled iDrive.” ConsumerGuide notes that the driver is faced with "numerous buttons and switches, despite the aim of the MMI system to reduce such clutter" and says that something as simple as changing the radio station could be "distracting and time consuming."

Otherwise, the 2009 Audi Q7 comes with a delightfully long list of standard features. Leather seats are included in the 2008 Audi Q7, along with automatic climate control, a power tailgate, the MMI system, 18-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, and keyless entry. Cars.com adds that the base version includes “a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 12-way power driver's seat and bottle holders in each door.”

Major options include a cold-weather package with heated front- and second-row seats and a heated steering wheel, as well as a rearview camera, a DVD navigation system, and four-zone climate control. “The optional panoramic sunroof has three large panels that extend over nearly all three rows,” ForbesAutos reports. “The front panel slides open, while the rearmost panel can be raised at an angle.”

The 2009 Audi A7 comes with plenty of features that will leave you delighted—except maybe the MMI interface.

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