Audi Q7 2020 50 tdi quattro

2019 Audi Q7 50TDI long-term review: Country road trip

$106,900 Mrlp
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Our 2019 Audi Q7 50TDI long-termer is one that most of the CarAdvice team can’t seem to get enough of. Whenever there is the option to take it, hands go up, and no-one is too keen to get back out of it after a weekend road trip either. In that sense, it ticks the boxes required of a large, family SUV proficiently.

One other box it will need to tick just as well is that of the accomplished long-distance tourer. After all, that’s what plenty of Aussie families like to do on long weekends, during school holidays, or whenever the mood takes them. For most of us in the big cities, a picturesque country town is no more than two hours away – pending traffic of course.

Fortunately, the big Audi is effortless in traffic, too, but this update is more country-focused.

We sent the Q7 out into the NSW Riverina, Griffith specifically, by way of Wagga Wagga, to test a couple of things. Firstly, long-haul fuel use, secondly coarse-chip B-road ride quality, and thirdly comfort and flexibility.

The 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6 in 50TDI form makes an easy 200kW and 600Nm, so on paper it frames as an effortless and efficient long-haul touring SUV. As a reminder, our 50TDI starts from $106,900 before on-road costs.

We’ve been impressed by the way the Q7 is so frugal with diesel around town (just under 10L/100km), but on the open road pointed south out of Sydney, the live reading almost immediately dropped into single figures, and averaged out in the mid sevens for the duration. That’s mighty impressive for such a large SUV. Granted, it was only two-up and wasn’t stacked sky high with luggage either, but it did bring back a heavy haul of local produce (wine, fruit, local beer) to add to the touring weight on the return leg.

Still, anything under 10L/100km for a vehicle of this size and ability is noteworthy. It’s also proof the modern diesel engine is better than it's ever been, and it’s why you’ll find us so often recommending diesel engines to people who live on the rural fringe or travel into rural areas regularly. There really is no current comparison in the large-SUV space in terms of real-world efficiency.

The ride, as we’ve noted around town, is just as comfortable out of the city limits, too. The big wheels and low-profile tyres don’t come at the cost of bump absorption, and while an unexpected pothole will give you a jolt, the typical rutted, patchy rural roads we’re used to in Australia are no match for the Q7’s suspension system. Some European SUVs ride way too firm – this one certainly doesn’t.

The Q7 – according to some owners that we speak to – can feel a little big around town. I don’t necessarily agree with that, but one thing is for certain: once you get out into the country, it feels right at home. The larger, angled main-street parking spaces you see in many country towns, the wider lanes, and the general feeling of space on the road suit the big Q7 well. We're fortunate in Australia, too, that parking is rarely an issue once you get out of any of the big cities.

The Q7 is genuinely an effortless tourer, too. Long periods behind the wheel don’t result in the yawning fatigue you might experience in many vehicles. The airy cabin, broad glasshouse, excellent visibility, and comfortable driving position ensure you’ll never be uncomfortable in the Q7. That’s true whether you’re the driver or passenger also.

While the storage options and general room inside the cabin come in for mention, it’s the seats that I think are the biggest benefit here. They work for drivers and passengers of all heights, there’s plenty of room for adults in the second row – we went to dinner five-up a couple of times – and they aren’t too firm as to create aches and pains either. The Q7's ability to eat up long highway runs in comfort is impressive.

Negatives? Well, there really is only one, and it’s one that we found out by accident after we set off for our road trip because we forgot to check before. Easy to do when you cycle through as many cars as we do. There’s no spare tyre to speak of – space-saver or otherwise. Once we'd escaped the Sydney sprawl, our routine stop to check tyre pressures reminded us that there isn't a spare under the luggage floor.

Interestingly, a large nail courtesy of the builders working on the site next to CarAdvice HQ saw a tyre warning come up a week or so after we returned.

Onto a trolley jack and wheel stands in our garage it was, and we ran the wheel up to our mates at JAX Artarmon to have the puncture repaired. Fortunately, it was in a section of the tyre where it could be repaired, so a new tyre wasn’t required.

“I’ve been a builder for 20 years and I’ve never had a nail in my tyre.” Yep, that’s because they’re all falling off the back of your ute for the rest of us to drive over mate. Thanks.

While we’ve heard tales of tyre repair kits getting people out of trouble, I’d rather have a spare of some kind in the back if I get a puncture 100km out of a country town. Especially on a Sunday. At night. In the rain. With no street lights. You get the idea. It’s the one recurring bugbear of modern cars with rural buyers really. They appreciate and understand the usefulness of a space-saver spare at the very least. And country buyers don't all drive 70 Series Toyotas either. A typical rural family is likely to have a small hatch in the garage at the very least, so the full-size-spare argument is a relevant one.

If you’re planning on taking a long trip in your Q7 (or regular long trips), I’d invest in a spare and live with the space it will steal out of the luggage area. You might regret it if you don’t have one. Australia is a big country with long distances between towns, so it’s something to factor in for sure.

All up, though, the Audi Q7 makes an excellent family touring vehicle. It does the job easily, and it’s comfortable, roomy and efficient. Not everyone can afford to play up at the six-figure end of the luxury SUV market, but those who can will love the flexibility of the Audi Q7. In fact, it serves the role of sole family vehicle if you can only justify having one, too.

We’ll be testing it across other disciplines over the coming months, including towing, so stay in touch with CarAdvice for those updates.

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