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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey all,

So I just saw the new Q7 earlier today (and, time permitting, will be returning tonight for a quick test drive with my wife). Considering the previous "oh no, I just saw a q7" thread, I wanted to help shed some more light on what is arguably the only direct competitor to the 2016 XC90.

LOOKS: Exterior

First of all, guys, let's be honest. The car is hardly "horrendous" or "disgusting" or even remotely resembling a hung-over rhinoceros which, come to think of it, even if it did, rhinos are kinda cute. :) The point is, it's got an undeniably beefy, muscular look, with an X5-rivaling hunkered down stance. The chiseled lines are a marked departure from the previous generation's bloated, blubbery look -- which never really applied that generation's design philosophy to such a large car very well at all -- and like it or not, is a legitimately modern, avant garde look. Typical, forward looking Audi, then. Is it beautiful? Well... it's certainly interesting. It's certainly "futuristic" and "modern" looking. Is it elegant? Well, it sort of reminds me -- again, in a somewhat X5 kind of way -- of a bouncer in a tuxedo. Where the XC90 is svelte -- some might even say a bit, er, "dainty," -- the Q7 is ... in your face. At the end of the day, it's of course a subjective preference, but make no mistake: the Q7 is NOT ugly. It's just very in your face and blunt about how it goes about strutting its stuff.

LOOKS: Interior

Inexplicably, the showroom at our local VW/Audi/Bugatti (kidding) dealership -- Sonnen VW & Audi -- only has a bare bones model on the floor, with an already-sold fully loaded one downstairs (the showroom "floats" above the lot). Suffice to say, the basic model didn't impress me. Basic leather and basic seats -- no longer thrones -- simply weren't the sort of quality that make you all warm and tingly inside. But then, the same could be said for the XC90 non-Inscription models. The fully-loaded model however, that was a different story. Immensely comfortable seats; perforated leather; leather everywhere; and, in yet again typical Audi fashion, an impressively modern interior. Again: is it pretty? I don't know. It's certainly cool. Is it elegant? Yes, very much so. But it's also far more fussy and busy than the XC90s minimalist Scandinavian design. Subjective preferences will ultimately decide what you prefer, naturally, but again, you cannot call this thing ugly. Not a chance.

FUNCTIONALITY: is it really a 3-row/7-pax seater?

In a word.... no. Sort of. Ok, that was three words. Regardless, here's the thing. Whereas Volvo have assumed that people will utilize all three rows for actual live humans (albeit those of the somewhat smaller stature for the rear), Audi assume the rear will be used only for watermelons or very small children... without legs. What I think Audi have done -- and it's clever, I suppose, if indeed you don't think you'll need the third row for much -- is that they've given the middle row several more inches of leg room to what the Volvo offers. Obviously, like the Volvo, the middle rows slide back and forward, but when fully forward, they're basically unusable for regular adults, while the rear still seems smaller than the Volvo; when slid all the way to the rear, the third row is all but unusable. A happy medium setting, therefore, results in fine second row space with a still effectively unusable third row. That said, the power-operated third row is certainly nice; on the other hand, it's also necessary as it seems far more difficult to access the third row. To wit, the XC90 is far easier and effectively renders unnecessary an electric mechanism. Would be it be nice? Sure. But in the Audi it's necessary.

CONCLUSION (at least until tonight's test drive)

I think the Audi is a great car. But then, it would be. It's an Audi. That said, I think the XC90 is simply a better car; perhaps even a vastly superior car. Sure the Q7 probably has -- and I will confirm tonight -- a beefier, sportier ride quality, a more hunkered down German stance which, frankly, I would probably love, but the XC90 has remarkably good road poise and presence as well, and in any event, is a far more complete options-packed product, not least of which because of the phenomenally cool Sensus system and Pilot Assist. Yes, the Audi has beautiful Google Maps -- which Volvo curiously lacks; software update, anyone? -- but the whole technology package offered by the Volvo is simply more, and better, too. That, and the Volvo is a more seriously legitimate 7-seater while the Audi simply... isn't.

I think we'll most certainly stick with our decision to lease the Volvo, but meanwhile, check back later tonight; I'll try to publish my thoughts on the Q7's ride.

NB. If you're thinking of purchasing, Audi too offers a Euro Delivery program. Awesomely, however, they ALSO offer Euro Delivery for leases, whereas the same cannot be said for Volvo. Shame, as we really wanted to do Euro Delivery, if only for fun, not to mention, 5% savings which more than pays for the cost of the flight (even business class if you get lucky!).
 

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You give the exterior a neutral...and the 3rd row seating to Volvo...and then you state the tech package is 'more and better' on the Volvo only because of Sensus and Pilot Assist...and from that limited set of data points you claim that the Volvo is 'vastly superior'?
 

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Claim is personal. Nothing wrong with it.

Open a poll if you want to see more opinion easily. And find a Q7 forum and open a poll there. :)
 

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Claim is personal. Nothing wrong with it.

Open a poll if you want to see more opinion easily. And find a Q7 forum and open a poll there. :)
Just trying to get underneath why he feels XC90 is superior because I didn't understand it based on the limited write up. I never said he had no right to render an opinion nor is there anything wrong with it...In my opinion, its not a conclusion you can make with the limited information provided thats all.
 

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NB. If you're thinking of purchasing, Audi too offers a Euro Delivery program. Awesomely, however, they ALSO offer Euro Delivery for leases, whereas the same cannot be said for Volvo. Shame, as we really wanted to do Euro Delivery, if only for fun, not to mention, 5% savings which more than pays for the cost of the flight (even business class if you get lucky!).
Nobody beats Volvo OSD Program's offering, good or bad I still feel like we got the best bang for our buck versus MB, BMW, Porshe or Audi's European Delivery Program.

By the way great review! I just wish you wrote this after you did some test drive. :)

This was a contender for the XC90 when we we're looking for a new car, we saw one at a car show (2015 model) and it was impressive. However, the third row is really unusable for 2 persons to sit on to and that was a turn off as well as the price. The XC90 is already "loaded" in terms of safety even on its base model that's why there's no question why I believe it's a better choice over the Q7. Also I don't like the robot-looking front fascia... YEEESH! Feels like any moment it'll mutter the phrase "Luke, I am your father." :D
 

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Just trying to get underneath why he feels XC90 is superior because I didn't understand it based on the limited write up. I never said he had no right to render an opinion nor is there anything wrong with it...In my opinion, its not a conclusion you can make with the limited information provided thats all.
I believe technically Q7 and XC90 are very close in many aspects. And one is better in some way and the other in another way. In the end people's claim could largely be based on personal preferences. Some may want 6cyl power, some may want better 3rd row seats, for example.

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Nobody beats Volvo OSD Program's offering, good or bad I still feel like we got the best bang for our buck versus MB, BMW, Porshe or Audi's European Delivery Program.

By the way great review! I just wish you wrote this after you did some test drive. :)

This was a contender for the XC90 when we we're looking for a new car, we saw one on a car show (2015 model) and it was impressive. However, the third row is really unusable for 2 persons to sit on to and that was a turn off as well as the price. The XC90 is already "loaded" in terms of safety even on its base model that's why there's no question why I believe it's a better choice over the Q7. Also I don't like the robot-looking front fascia... YEEESH! Feels like any moment it'll mutter the phrase "Luke, I am your father." :D
I think European delivery programs no longer really offer the best of anything if price is your primary motivator. Its more about the experience, the thrill of picking up the vehicle and using it as it was designed it be (the last part is a partial myth but still).

Pricing wise, Volvo is already cheaper then anything outthere, so whatever discount you get, is a bonus.
I guess the goodies and delivery center are best with BMW
Personal connection is better with the smaller delivery center w/ Volvo
The bigger mfgs offer free dropoff, and insurance is different in the way it works (i.e Volvo does not repair any damage incurred on the OSD portion, and delivers the vehicle as is minus any shipping damage, while BMW, MB, Audi will make sure the vehicle looks the same way any other new delivery looks like)
Volvo wont OSD without a purchase, others will.

In regards to the Q7. Its a busy car, but personally I loved the way it feels during the night. The TFT display graphics are just a hair better then the XC90, the google maps, the interior lightening, and of course the driving feel. But the XC90 is also good, as the OP mentioned; simple swedish design with complex engineering working in symphony.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Ok so we took the Q7 for a test drive earlier tonight... write-up follows below as promised.....

Not much to report. It's an Audi. And a very good Audi at that. Planted, solid, at one with the road. Beefy. On-road presence. Attached to the asphalt. Very German. If you're familiar with German cars then you know exactly what I mean. Transmission was nice. Not seamless at the shift points, but very smooth. Throttle modulation produced desired up- and down-shifts when anticipated. No clunky gear hunting which quickly deducts points in my book. If I'm honest, the Q7 throttle/transmission logic was definitely a bit better to the XC90's logic which, on my three limited test drives, proved a bit ... uncertain at times. Body roll was minimal. Steering input was direct, precise, and properly weighty (in dynamic mode, anyway), even if it didn't provide a tremendous amount of feedback. It is, after all, electric steering assist like the Volvo's and so many other cars' these days. That said, the Volvo's isn't particularly communicative either, on the other hand, it does feel good. Brakes, too, were easy to modulate. Definitely a marked improvement over the only other modern Audi in which I had a lot of driving experience, a 2010(ish) Q5 which, while generally a fine car, had awful, awful steering: no on-center feel, Novocaine-numb, etc.

Guys, net-net, the Q7 is a genuinely fine car. Edgy, modern -- if not truly pretty -- design. Typical Audi interior, albeit a bit fussy and busy especially compared to the starkly minimalistic XC90. On a second viewing this evening for the test drive -- and my wife concurs -- indisputably less interior volume, not just in terms of leg room, but crucially, head-room, including and especially in the rear: it's really got an almost "fastback-wagon" profile, if that makes any sense... I think that's called a shooting brake? End result: not a truly usable third row, especially if you want the second row to be comfortable. Driving comfort, seating position, ample room for left leg beyond dead pedal (for us tall drivers -- I'm 6'5"), genuinely comfortable (in both cars); great driving dynamics. Not a good price.

So yeah, we came away with a clear winner: XC90. We absolutely will not be changing our mind, all said and done, the XC90 is simply more car, with more cool tech, arguably prettier looks -- if less "in your face" -- a vastly more practical usable interior volume (not to mention larger), including and especially head room, and although the driving dynamics are, as everyone has discussed, less ... German ... it's still very very good. And oh yeah, it's priced a hell of a lot better, too.

Our approach going into this started with my original favorite large car, the X5. I had a 2001 model back in 2004. But then my wife -- who never liked large cars; she's European -- said ok, if we're going to get a large car, at least make sure it holds more people, otherwise what's the point?! So then we stated searching for true 3-row cars (i.e., a usable third row). And so on that point -- if not other -- our final thought today was "look, if we're going to get a big car, let's get A BIG CAR, with a usable third row. And so there you have it.

XC90 wins, mostly objectively, partially subjectively.

Sorry for typos and rambling .... it's 12:30 and I'm in bed falling asleep.... gnite!
 

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Thanks for the good read, crosvs
 

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It would be nice if XC90 has the power, smooth ride (suspension) and cabin silence as Q7 (it is not up to that level regretfully - and I wonder why, are the Swedish developers and engineers unable to reach that level of smoothness and silence ? ). For me, Q7 is still no option because in no way you can load so many things there like into XC90. As for 7 seats, I don't care since I don't use the car as a bus, but 95% of time I drive alone :)
 

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Thanks for the write-up, @crosvs! I have always said I think the Q7 is a great looking vehicle. They always catch my eye when I'm out and about. But, I've never driven or been inside one. I'm not surprised, though with your report. I would expect it to drive/perform well. And if that were my only objective, I would have given it (or the X5) more of a look. But, as a family of 5, we really wanted a practical, usable 3rd row. Even though, I drive it solo most of the time, I obviously wanted the ability to take the entire family out in comfort.

I'm very happy with the XC90 for our needs. And, I'll still admire the looks of the Q7 as they drive by (errrr, as I pass them!).


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crosvs - great review (your style and focus mirrors my own review style). In many ways, this reminds me of our small SUV search where we chose the XC60 over the BMW X3 and Audi Q5 (we actually drove 19 different small SUVs between my wife and I...yeah, I'm crazy that way). The driving dynamics and ride/handling/nvh balance continues to be where Volvo is a tick behind their German counterparts, but there are several area where the Volvo isn't just a better "value" in their cars, but better period. As a "car guy" I find it hard to overlook driving dynamics and ride quality since they come into play every moment you are in the car, but we ended up in the aforementioned XC60 and no one was more surprised than me! We currently have an XC90 loaner (5 days on) while our XC60 has been in the shop. It has given me a nice chance to get to know the car a bit and I respect what it has to offer. Interestingly, the first day I wasn't that impressed, but by the second day I had come to really like it!
 

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It would be nice if XC90 has the power, smooth ride (suspension) and cabin silence as Q7 (snip)
Ah - you have not ridden in my 2016 XC90 T8 with the radio off. Eerily silent ...

But seriously - I've got almost 4000 km / 2500 miles logged in a 2016 XC90 and I think they've done a fine job at a quiet ride - the next time I'm over my dealer (which is also an Audi dealer and my sales rep is into all things Audi) I'll do a test ride in a Q7.
 

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Well, here in Europe we mostly get D5 :) (as the petrol and diesel cost twice as much as in the US).
 

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Ah - you have not ridden in my 2016 XC90 T8 with the radio off. Eerily silent ...

But seriously - I've got almost 4000 km / 2500 miles logged in a 2016 XC90 and I think they've done a fine job at a quiet ride - the next time I'm over my dealer (which is also an Audi dealer and my sales rep is into all things Audi) I'll do a test ride in a Q7.
True, but I think the OP was comparing a T6 gas to a q7 gas. While the t8 maybe silent, i guess the etron maybe more of a fair comparison.

It's one thing to mention the Audi in passing when talking about the XC90, but why is a review on the Audi Q7 being posted here :thumbdown:
This one thing that people should really stop complaining about. IF your product is the best thing since slice bread, dont fear a review. The product will speak for itself, as its done here. Considering this is a direct competitor to the XC90, and a Bimmer fan likes the XC90 better then the Q7 whats the problems. Forums are places to discuss, not to deter from discussing.
 

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Up to now I've generally preferred Audis to Volvos, and I quite liked the Mk1 Q7's looks, and I have studied two of the new Q7s up close, and new cars often look better in reality than photos. But not the new Q7 unfortunately. It just doesn't work, looks-wise. As I looked at it at my local dealer my eyes were drawn to a new A6 Allroad nearby. Now THAT'S a handsome Audi, which isn't sold in the USA for some reason. The new Q7 and its equally ugly cousin the Bentayga suggest the VW Group has lost its styling mojo. But that may be a temporary ailment, judging by the handsome Audi Q6 and Prologue showcars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
All: Thanks for the (mostly!) kind words! I'm glad to see that my write-up was at least informative and at best somewhat helpful. :)
 
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