• (4.6) 14 reviews
  • MSRP: $8,033–$22,469
  • Body Style: Sport Utility
  • Combined MPG: 15-21
  • Engine: 221-hp, 3.0-liter V-6 (diesel)
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel Drive
  • Seats: 5-7
2009 Audi Q7

Our Take on the Latest Model 2009 Audi Q7

What We Don't Like

  • MMI control interface
  • Lag under hard acceleration
  • Cheapo turn-signal stalk
  • Small side mirrors

Notable Features

  • V-6 or V-8
  • Seating for five or seven
  • Full-length side curtain airbags
  • Enormous panoramic sunroof option
  • Optional 21-inch wheels

2009 Audi Q7 Reviews

Cars.com Expert Reviews

These days, shoppers are spoiled with many luxury crossover choices. The options range from sprightly, quick, small ones to large, three-row beasts. The Audi Q7 TDI is definitely in the latter group. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that if the luxury crossover field were a hockey team, the Q7 is the one you'd send over the boards to fight. It's imposing, muscular and sure on its feet.

I like all those attributes, but not everyone enjoys hockey fights — which is why the Q7 TDI might be the wrong car for luxury buyers. It has its faults, ranging from a loud engine to an interior with more buttons than any other car I've seen. And it's a car you'll have to make room for, because, like an enforcer, it's more likely to change you, than be willing to change for you.

Q7 Presence
The Q7 I tested came with a variety of large decals advertising its diesel engine, but only because it's a press-fleet car; regular Q7s won't have them. Otherwise, the Q7 looks really good. It has a nice shape with just the right amount of glass — not pinched with tiny windows like some SUVs are — and, most importantly, doesn't have any frivolous body pieces. Whoever decided the Q7 did not need the kind of silly front-fender vents seen on many other cars deserves a medal.

It apparently looks tough, too. I know that because I got cut off in traffic less while driving this SUV than in any other car I can remember. That's clearly not a scientific study, but it was a nice benefit. (Maybe the diesel engine scared other drivers.) I also had a great view when cars started to cut me off, then scurried back to their lanes. Visibility was excellent.

Audi has done well with the interior, especially the black leather in the test car, the good grip of the steering wheel and, weirdly, how rich the interior looks at night. All the controls and buttons are lit in red (except the needles on the gauges), and the effect is quite nice. It made me feel underdressed.

Buttons, Buttons, Buttons
Ah, yes, the buttons. This will take a bit. The Q7 has all the usual buttons to lock doors and lower windows. Then you have the buttons for the multimedia and navigation systems. Then there's the engine-start button, an engine-stop button and a button to run a check of the car's diagnostic systems. My favorite, though, is the button that opens the glove box.

Are all these buttons a pain to deal with? No. I just don't deal with them when I'm driving. My theory on German cars is that they expect you to do one thing when you're behind the wheel: Drive!

That means you use the steering wheel, brake, gas, gearshift (if necessary) and clutch pedal (ditto) — and that's it. If you want to change CDs, find a new destination or whatever, you should pull over and do that, then resume driving.

If you come to the Q7 thinking you'll just breeze down the road changing radio stations, switching from AM to FM, you're going to be disappointed. It'll take you more than a week to become fluent with all the buttons necessary to do those simple tasks, let alone something complicated — and it shouldn't. And, really, the better thing to do is just drive. Don't fight the Audi; you will lose.

Going in Two Modes
That's not to say the Q7 is totally without options. Like many luxury cars, you have the choice of Drive and Sport modes. In Sport mode, the Q7 kicks down gears quickly when you need to pass, and there's decent engine braking, as well. The only real drawback was a clunk when first gear was engaged. If you like, there are also paddle shifters, but they felt cheap in my hands.

In regular, Drive mode, the Q7 feels much smoother overall, and there's less engine braking. I usually stayed in Drive while cruising through the city.

Whichever mode you choose, the overall impression — both as the driver and as noted by my passengers — is that the Q7 feels very powerful. It feels settled on the road and very sure-footed, giving you a secure feeling.

The problem is that the Q7 is loud — too loud for luxury buyers. I like to hear the engine when I drive, but I'm in the minority; I'd be shocked if any luxury buyer wanted to hear a peep from the engine. It's not that the diesel sounds like a clattering diesel engine of old, it's just that you can hear the motor. That's out of place for this segment.

Handling the City, Parking Lots & Highways
Simply put, the Q7 drives smaller than it is. It's easy to drive on narrow roads, and the excellent visibility simplified passing and merging on the highway because it's easy to judge distances. The drivetrain likewise made it effortless. I haven't driven the gasoline-powered Q7 enough to determine if the diesel is better, but both have enough power to be fun highway cruisers.

The diesel version I tested gets the best mileage of any Q7, with an estimated 17/25 mpg city/highway. That compares with 13/18 mpg for the 4.2-liter gasoline V-8 and 14/20 for the 3.6-liter V-6.

I recommend getting the parking assist feature — but then, I have a very hard time judging exactly where the front of any car is. (I run into parking blocks a lot.) The Q7's sensors are set very low in the bumper, so they alert you to parking blocks and save you embarrassment — or worse. The optional sensors are particularly worth the price in this car.

Safety & Reliability
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Audi Q7 its highest rating, Good, in both front and side-impact crash tests. See a list of its standard safety features here.

Consumer Reports predicts the Q7's reliability will be much worse than average.

Luxury Amenities
The Q7 TDI (Audi's diesel designation) that I tested came loaded with a number of extras, most of which were bundled into option packages. The Prestige Package ($5,900) included a parking assist system with a backup camera, a navigation system, driver's seat memory and a voice-control system for the navigation. The S Line Package ($1,200) brought brushed aluminum interior inlays, 20-inch wheels and an S Line steering wheel. It also had a three-panel panoramic sunroof for all rows of seats ($1,850), four-zone climate control ($1,150) and a towing package.

Standard features include heated front seats, an electronic stability system, eight-way power-adjustable front seats, four power outlets, rain-sensing wipers, an iPod-only interface, a power liftgate, a host of safety features and speed-sensitive steering.

While not a complete list, you get the idea: The Q7 has the standard fare for a luxury crossover these days. (For more details, check out our comparison of the 2008 and 2009 models here.) Based on its features, it clearly belongs in the ritzy-crossover neighborhood. It stickered at $62,375.

Q7 TDI in the Market
For me, the Q7's poor predicted reliability is a killer. Going back to the hockey analogy, what good is an enforcer if he's always injured?

Other people don't weigh predicted reliability as heavily, of course, and to them I say the Q7 has something many luxury cars lack: a personality. Again, it's muscular, sure-footed and strong in a way that distinguishes it from every other luxury crossover I've driven. It's got a loud engine for this segment, but given the choice between that and the bland whisperings of some other crossovers, I'd take the growl of the Audi every time.

The interior is, to my eye, probably the best of the luxury crossovers I've driven. It's comfortable and it looks like it's worth the cost of the car.

In the end, more than any other car I've driven, the Q7 is what it is — and it's not going to adapt to make you happy. Because I like a lot of what it does, I don't have a problem with that, but it's a car I recommend taking for a long test drive before buying, to be sure you can live with it.

Send Bill an email 


Read All Expert Reviews

Consumer Reviews

(4.6)

Average based on 14 reviews

Write a Review

Decent car for the price.

by zoomgirl from Baltimore, Maryland on August 30, 2017

This car was way different than i expected. the style of it may not be the greatest but it met all of my needs. The interior was a bit outdated but drove pretty well. If i had to recommend this car to... Read Full Review

Read All Consumer Reviews

4 Trims Available

Photo of undefined
Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2009 Audi Q7 trim comparison will help you decide.
 

Audi Q7 Articles

2009 Audi Q7 Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports

IIHS Ratings

Based on Audi Q7 3.0 TDI

Head Restraints and Seats
G
Moderate overlap front
G
Side
G

IIHS Ratings

Based on Audi Q7 3.0 TDI

G Good
A Acceptable
M Marginal
P Poor

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
G
Overall Rear
G
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
G

Moderate overlap front

Chest
G
Head/Neck
G
Left Leg/Foot
G
Overall Front
G
Restraints
G
Right Leg/Foot
G
Structure/safety cage
G

Side

Driver Head Protection
G
Driver Head and Neck
G
Driver Pelvis/Leg
G
Driver Torso
G
Overall Side
G
Rear Passenger Head Protection
G
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
G
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
G
Rear Passenger Torso
G
Structure/safety cage
G
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers. IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests. IIHS also evaluates seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts.

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Audi Q7 3.0 TDI

Overall Rollover Rating

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Audi Q7 3.0 TDI

Overall Rollover Rating
Driver's
Passenger's
Side Barrier Rating Driver
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. NHTSA provides vehicle safety information such as front- and side-crash ratings and rollover ratings. Vehicles are rated using a star rating system from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

Recalls

There is currently 1 recall for this car.


Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $4,100 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

Bumper-to-Bumper

48mo/50,000mi

Powertrain

48mo/50,000mi

Roadside Assistance Coverage

48mo/unlimited

Free Scheduled Maintenance

12mo/5,000mi

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained

Bumper-to-Bumper

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

Powertrain

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

Roadside Assistance

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

Other Years