The Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7 are two flagships that have been competing for more than a decade. Each vehicle demonstrates stable work and has numerous fans. The first generation of Volvo SUVs was replaced in 2014, and Audi introduced a novelty in 2015, turning the page in the confrontation history. Read our comparison to define your winner.
Despite approximately the same dimensions, these cars remain fundamentally different. If you choose between the second generation Audi Q7 or the updated Volvo XC90, focusing only on the aesthetic component, then the Swedish SUV seems more attractive. The new Q7 visually is practically no different from its predecessor. The usual forms remained on the side and back, so you can’t even tell right away if this is a novelty. Only the front has changed: the manufacturers added the recognizable hexagonal Singleframe radiator grille with seven silver slats and changed the optics and air intakes. The stern remained intact, as did the glazing. The Audi Q7 seems very wide from the back – the tailgate bent to the sides and the lights protruding beyond it provide this visual effect. The Q7 Volvo SUV will completely satisfy old fans because the former strength and brutality remain in it. But the question is whether it will attract new ones because if comparing the appearance of the Audi Q7 and the Volvo XC90, the Scandinavians have a clear advantage.
In Volvo, it is generally hard to guess the belonging to the Swedish concern, which is only indicated by the logo on the bumper. The unusual futuristic design of the front is the highlight of this SUV. The shape of the hood, headlights, and foglights has changed. The XC 90 from the 2014 model year and newer seems a different car, not the one that was pleasing its fans for twelve years. This Volvo SUV looks especially impressive with metal bumper protection, silver running boards, and clearly designed wheel arch extensions.
With all the novelty of Volvo, Audi looks more visually inflated on the sides. Wide A-pillars and a low windshield edge limit Volvo’s visibility. Ingolstadt also focused on the elongated side glazing, which emphasized the already impressive dimensions.
|Audi Q7||Volvo XC90|
|Clearance||9.4 inches||9.2 inches|
|Wheels||255/55 R19||235/60 R18|
The Audi Q7 interior, compared to the Volvo XC90, looks more sophisticated. The horizontal row of air deflectors across the entire width of the cabin is impressive. There is no front console here, and only a small influx, where the climate control unit is comfortably located, reminds of the classic design. The center of attention, of course, is the transmission tunnel, which features a square selector surrounded by control buttons and two large cup holders.
In Volvo, everything is more prosaic: just a huge front panel with a built-in touch screen, surrounded by small central air vents. The front console has too much empty space.
Light shades in Audi attract more attention and significantly expand the inner space. In Volvo, you immediately find yourself in a dark, narrow interior, feeling squeezed from all sides. If you compare the size of the front row of two cars, Audi has a much larger one. The driver’s and front passenger’s seats differ in size: Audi has more compact ones, which, combined with increased legroom, gives real freedom. At the same time, Volvo is much more comfortable because it has better seat ergonomics and provides several options for longitudinal adjustment. All other functions are identical, so changing from one car to another and trying to adjust the seats for yourself, you do not immediately understand whether you are in the Volvo XC90 or the Audi Q7.
Q7 and XC90 SUVs are sold in five and seven-seater versions. The classic second row in both models is adjustable closer or further from the driver’s back, with all seats independent. Audi loses to the opponent because the German has a too hard passenger sofa, a high floor tunnel, and no sockets and curtains on the windows. But there are also positive aspects: if the front passenger seat is moved back in the Volvo, the knees of the person sitting behind will simply rest against the back. In Audi, there is no such problem: no matter how you move the front row, the passengers sitting behind will not feel the slightest discomfort. But the third row of seats in both cars can hardly be called full-fledged because only children or teenagers will feel comfortable there. The Swedes, of course, tried to improve the situation by adding stamping on the ceiling above the third row.
Few cars can compete with Audi’s luggage compartment. As many as 14.2 cubic feet behind the third row of usable volume and 35.7 cubic feet with these seats folded down. However, Volvo can offer 15.8 cubic feet behind its third row, 41.8 cubic feet with seats folded.
Comparing the finishing, the Volvo XC90 seems better than the Audi Q7 because the top version offers leather on the seats, doors, and dashboard. Only the quality of the seams let us down. Otherwise, everything looks expensive and respectable. Audi has more finishing options – wood or aluminum trim, a combination of Alcantara fabric/artificial leather, or an all-leather interior of the highest quality.
2022 Audi is being sold in the US with three types of engines: mild electric and two gasoline, and all cars are all-wheel drive. But Volvo decided to do it with an emphasis on gasoline, offering a front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive cars.
All Swedes have four-cylinder engines, but the Germans did not stint and put V6. Transmission in both models is eight-speed automatic: Aisin-Warner for Volvo and ZF for Audi. Both cars are equipped with a start-stop system that saves fuel when coasting and stopping.
Both vehicles work with a drive mode selection system. The Audi Drive select has six options, and any of them responds to automatic smooth switching. Even in Dynamic mode, when you press the gas pedal, the engine does not roar, and no noise is heard even at maximum speed. Volvo is worse in this regard: four types of movement, and even in Comfort mode, the engine is very loud.
The disease of the second-generation Volvo is a hard ride, especially with 22-inch wheels. You will feel the slightest bit, bump, and even a crack. The wheels begin to vibrate even in Comfort mode, and if it goes into Dynamic, you can feel the profile of the roadway. Audi exceeds all expectations in this regard. Even with the base spring suspension, this car rides very smoothly. And if you put pneumatics, you may not even notice that you are moving over pits or tram tracks. If you are driving on Dynamics, then the bumps will resonate somewhere in the cabin.
The higher the speed, the more confident the German feels on the road, especially in corners. The steering wheel responds to the slightest movement, and numerous sensors predict the traffic situation. The Swede car is slow-witted: it has a late gear shift during acceleration and a more naughty steering wheel.
Unfortunately, it is better to avoid off-road with these cars. Volvo, with its fairly high ground clearance, regulated by air suspension, seems ready to try itself in non-standard conditions, but still, it is not designed for difficult roads. If you need an off-roader, check our list of the best SUVs.
No modern vehicle is complete without assistants and, of course, a multimedia system. Both Q7 and XC90 SUVs are stuffed to the max. First of all, both crossovers are equipped with screens: Volvo has a 12.3-inch one built into the front console, and Audi has a 9-inch screen sticking out on top of the deflectors that can be hidden inside. The quality of the latter is much higher: it does not glare and does not fade from the sun’s rays.
Audi’s multimedia system is much better, especially if you put MMI Navigation. It is convenient that the German’s manufacturer did not use the touch monitor and moved all control to the buttons on the front console and the tunnel. A separate point is the washer-controller behind the gearbox selector, which responds to handwritten input. If you add the Audi connect system, you can get access to the Internet. Just put an Audi virtual cockpit on the dashboard and get a navigator and a control system for car functions in the driver’s field of vision.
Volvo is also trying to keep up, although it is inferior to Audi in the design of the multimedia system: its menu is strict, without any deviations and extensions, but all the control buttons are located on one touch screen. The screen and the dashboard are colored, but looking at them, one gets the impression of some kind of children’s computer devoid of a real picture.
Both cars have enough assistants to make it easier for the driver to control road conditions. In the base, Audi offers:
The Volvo XC90 also has similar assistants. However, the Pilot Assist II system, which should control the movement in dense traffic at speeds up to 80 mph, loses lane in roundabouts and turns and requires clear road markings.
The Volvo XC90 and the Audi Q7 comparison allows a conclusion in favor of the German car. The Q7 shows excellent driving performance and a high level of equipment. However, even though Volvo loses in terms of technical characteristics, it gets the palm for off-road qualities and appearance.
Visit Indy Auto Man for a test drive to make your final decision!