Driven: Audi Q7 is the ultimate reason to take a long road trip
I’d never been to Springbok in the Northern Cape, but an invite to a birthday party in Oukiep meant I finally got to see Springbok and also travel there in luxury.
The Q7 has presence. It is also more streamlined and leaner than the bulkier original, which doesn’t mean it is any less imposing at first glance.
Its exterior can intimidate you but the interior will only excite you. Once the door was opened it was the equal of being transported into another world of wonder.
The interior is like a first-class international flight cabin and my daughter, on getting into the front passenger seat, described it as the best plane she’s been in.
If asked to summarise the Audi Q7 in just one word, it would absolutely be “comfort”.
The interior is impressive for the driver and passengers: There is just so much space. The leather upholstery screams quality and the design echoes class. The interior is easy on the eye and inviting.
You want to sit in the chair. You want to admire the finishing and you want to explore the touchscreen sat nav and information system.
The driver has ample legroom and ditto for the passengers, who were intrigued by the additional row of seats that also double as the boot. The Q7 can take up to seven, including the driver, which makes it so attractive as a family car investment.
We were three in total, so we didn’t require the use of the secondary seating and what luggage couldn’t make it into the boot easily found a home on the passenger seats and in the spacious leg room area that separated the back of the driver’s seat and the front of the passenger seat.
The high centre console and dashboard are complemented by elevated positioning for the driver, and it made me feel that much more in control, especially when navigating unpredictable turns on those stretches where a lack of concentration could have consequences.
Driving from this elevated seat position gave me a sense of ownership of the road, which is not to be misread as entitlement - as much as I appreciated the quality of the ride, I also respected what I was driving.
I was careful and concentrated on the drive, comforted by the absence of any form of traction on my hands.
The drive was smooth and tranquillity never seemed to be compromised, whatever the speed.
The Q7 has the latest safety technology and independent crash test experts, Euro NCAP, awarded the Q7 the maximum five stars for safety.
The drive, performance, interior, engine and general comfort factor made for a five-star experience.
The Q7 comes with quattro all-wheel-drive as standard, and the 3-litre V6 diesel engine (with 183kW and 600Nm) ensures brisk performance, and there's ample power for overtaking.
The stretch from Clanwilliam to Oukiep allowed me to play with the accelerator and while the surge from 100 to 130, for example on an overtake, is a momentary rush, the speed transition from 150 to 200 on those wonderfully flat Northern Cape stretches is without chaos.
A drive that was estimated at five and a half to six hours was completed in four and half.
If the interior is all about comfort then the drive, despite the high speeds, was about calm.
It seemed effortless from the moment the engine started as the Q7 purrs more than it roars.
Price: R1 094 000