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2022 Audi Q7 impressive

ANDREW MUZAMHINDO
AUDI’S answer to the three-row family SUV is the Q7. The 2022 Audi Q7 impresses with extensive tech features and a luxurious cabin (aside from the tight third row). Driving manners are polished, if not thrilling, but the Q7’s fuel economy is below average.

According to www.news.com, luxury car drivers are mostly self-centered men who are argumentative, stubborn, disagreeable and unempathetic and are much more likely to own a high-status car such as an Audi, BMW or Mercedes. High-powered cars such as Mercedes-AMG C 63S Coupe are often driven by self-centered men, according to the study.

Audi target market is the most affluent consumer for the most part, and they do have the youngest consumer with an average age of somewhere around 47 years old, whilst most of its competitors are deep into the 50s.

I would say Audi is mostly for well to do men, who are rich but do not want to show off that they have riches. They want to be subtle about their life style.

If you see someone driving the new Audi Q7 you are not likely to go wow! Unlike if they were driving a Range Rover, Toyota Landcruiser or Mercedes Benz. I estimate that this is a ride that will offset your balance sheet by anything close to US$200 000.00 landed in Zimbabwe. What would you get for all that money?

With its estate car-like body you would be correct in assuming Audi’s Q7 is the largest of the premium SUVs now on offer. At 5,603mm nose-to-tail, it is the most substantial in the niche, making it arguably the most practical out of many rivals.

Continuing the spacious theme is a luggage area that offers more space than you could ever need. With the second row of seats erected, boot space is a more than generous 865 litres, but expands to 2 050L when said seats are folded flat. In either specification, the Q7 can easily absorb one’s luggage on long family vacations.

In creating the spacious cabin, Audi made sure that its Q7 is the right size. As such, the SUV is almost 2.0 metres (1 970mm) wide, 1 741mm high, and 5 063mm long. These measurements are crucial to the SUV’s positioning in the market as it aims to convince buyers of its prowess.

Boot capacity with the seats up is also the most cavernous at 863l. Fold down the rear seats and this jumps to 2,050l, a figure closely beaten by the 4,925mm long Mercedes-Benz GLE. The Benz also matches the Audi’s 2,995mm wheelbase.

It is definitely a boon for those Easter and Christmas holidays to Zimbabwe’s beautiful tourist resort areas or just a dash for peace kumusha.

It would be a perfect SUV to take to my rural area, Muzamhindo Village that is blessed with a stunning scenic picturesque valley between Ruwombwe and Mupambawashe mountains in Nyazura.

The road to and from Harare will provide the perfect test route with tared highway to Nyazura township. From the township you will plough into the rugged roads providing the perfect 4×4 course, not to mention the rugged steep climb into our village valley.

As soon as you conquer the valley you will get this sense of achievement only motoring enthusiasts can identify with. It would be even more awesome in an Audi Q7. Passengers who like to stretch out will be hugely impressed with the Q7’s accommodation. The dash, with its glass-effect surface screens with haptic feedback and Audi’s virtual cockpit, mimics other new Audis I have driven. The festival of lights that glows after nightfall, and created by its huge screens, mood lighting and its active matrix LED headlights is one of its many high points, as is a thumping and crisp-sounding Bose multi-speaker entertainment system.

It is a luxurious and techy place to be and the experience is heightened by high-quality finishes, incredibly effective noise cancellation measures and optionally sold, height-adjustable dampers. It has Comfort, Individual, Dynamic and Auto modes.

Thanks to four-wheel steering the Q7 steers smoothly and effortlessly around obstacles. An army of sensors give prompt audiovisual warning when you get too close to obstructions. It also has the option of a tow hitch that is electronically tucked underneath the rear bumper to prevent injury when opening the rear tail gate. Towing capacity is 2,700kg.

It is in its element driving the open roads where it displays little body roll, and appears to be planted just about anywhere you travel. You’d have to possess Herculean restraint to keep it in that docile journey state because the 3.0l V6 TDI with its meaty 183kW and 600Nm, distributed by a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, will tempt you to pile on more speed.

The power from the 45 TDI engine harmonises with stately progression as it does for charging down any road. Another perk is that it sips on the contents of its 75l fuel tank, which can be optioned as an 85l reservoir that promises more than 1 000km of driving range when you want to overland.

There is a whiff of lag in the engine before it bullets off and its Dynamic mode varies the steering and damper parameters for a touch of stiffness which brings a surprising sweetness to the large SUV’s reactions. Grip is plentiful too thanks to the quattro all-wheel drive and makes the Q7 an unlikely fun drive that’s unaffected by its 2.1-tonne weight. It also felt high enough to tackle challenging terrain.

It also looks fabulous in S-Line trim with well-balanced amounts of decorative chrome to keep it away from looking kitsch. The new vertical slat grille also a gets a thumbs up as a domineering style icon. Of course, the Q7 is no performance SUV — for that, there is the SQ7 — but this is an SUV that will shorten any journey. The eight-speed automatic gearbox is as smooth as they come and contributes to making the Q7 a must-consider vehicle in its segment. And when fitted with the optional air suspension, ride quality is definitely something worth writing home about.

  • andrew@muzamhindo.com.

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