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Comparison: 2021 Audi Q7 versus 2021 Volvo XC90

Which of these mid-size luxury SUVs is the one to buy?

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2021 Audi Q7 


Starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $67,950 CAD

Pros

 

  • Plenty of cargo room
  • Can tow up to 7,700 pounds
  • High-performance SQ7 trim

 
Cons

 

  • No hybrid or plug-in trims
  • Could use more passenger space
  • Engines are relatively thirsty

 

2021 Audi Q7 Highlights

The 2021 Audi Q7 continues to be a stylish and highly refined mid-size 3-row luxury SUV with room for up to seven passengers. 

Under the hood, the Q7’s two primary engines—a turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder with 248 horsepower, starting with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail price of $67,950 (all prices in Canadian dollars) or a $77,050 turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 with 335 horsepower—provide satisfactory performance. Both are nowhere near as thrilling as the 500-horsepower twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 in the powerful but pricey ($104,750) SQ7 high-performance SUV, which made its debut last year. All-wheel-drive is standard and the only Q7 gearbox is an 8-speed automatic. Both 3.0- and 4.0-litre engines can tow up to 7,700 pounds (3,493 kilograms)—an advantage over the 2021 Volvo XC90’s maximum 5,953-pound (2,70- kilogram) towing capacity.

The Q7’s interior is a prime example of a traditional Audi strength, where aesthetics and functionality work in harmony. A dual-screen infotainment system takes up most of the Q7’s centre console. Choose the Virtual Cockpit (recommended), and the cabin takes on a high-tech (yet user-friendly) air that complements the clean lines and fine materials. Luggage space behind the Q7’s 3rd-row seat measures 402 litres, 245 more than in the Volvo.

If any automaker was going to turn something as unlikely as a 3-row mid-size luxury SUV into an engaging drive, chances are it would be German. For day-to-day duty, the Q7 is quiet, refined, and supple. Yet, it remains composed at higher speeds or when snaking roads come along. Even the steering feel is fantastic. The high-performance SQ7 only multiplies the Audi SUV’s excellent driving qualities.

 

2021 Volvo XC90 


Starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $64,750 CAD

Pros

 

  •  All engines offer excellent fuel economy
  •  Lots of room for passengers
  • Choice of powertrains, including a plug-in hybrid

Cons

  • No V6 or V8 powertrains available
  • Many functions reliant on touchscreen
  • Small rear cargo space

 

2021 Volvo XC90 Highlights

An appealing blend of style, safety features, and technology puts the 2021 Volvo XC90 firmly among the cream of the luxury mid-size 3-row SUV segment. 

Drivetrain choices revolve around a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine. First up is the turbocharged $64,750 T5 with 250 horsepower/258 pound-feet of torque. Next is the turbocharged and supercharged $68,100 T6, producing  316 horsepower/295 pound-feet of torque. Finally, employing both of those forced induction methods while being part of a plug-in hybrid system is the $77,600 Recharge trim, making 400 horsepower/472 pound-feet of torque.

All three XC90 powertrains use an 8-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel-drive and boast excellent combined city and highway fuel estimates, from the T5 (10.1 litres per 100 kilometres) to the T6 (10.5) to the Recharge (8.8) that can also be driven up to 29 kilometres using electricity alone. And regardless of drivetrain, the Volvo handles itself with quiet comfort, plus a hint of that typical European poise when driven harder.

Luxury without the fuss, indulgence without the nonsense, unique without being overdone— that’s the Volvo XC90’s cabin. Standard features include the 12.3-inch digital driver information display and the vertically oriented 9-inch infotainment touchscreen. This last item is crisp and reasonably responsive, but we’d prefer it if touch weren’t required for almost every function, including climate control adjustments. 

The XC90 comes with 3-row/7-occupant seating as standard, offering the captain’s chairs in the second row. Whatever number of seats you choose, all your passengers will enjoy a bit more room than in the Audi. Volvo seats are renowned for their comfort and support. The front seats are especially well-shaped and suitable for long trips.

 

Final Recommendation

Combining the features, room and amenities of a luxury sedan, the accommodations of a minivan and the all-weather driving capabilities of a traditional SUV, the 2021 Audi Q7 and 2021 Volvo XC90 are both excellent all-rounders.

You’ll like the Volvo if fuel efficiency is a priority over outright performance—especially if you opt for the Recharge plug-in trim. Plus, passengers will enjoy the XC90’s roomy interior and super-comfortable seats.

That said, we think the 2021 Audi Q7 is the better choice. Not only does the Q7 offer more cargo room than the Volvo, but the Audi can also tow more. And for those who like to drive (and can afford it), the high-performance SQ7 is a unique option.

 

Specs

2021 Audi Q7

2021 Volvo XC90

Engine(s)

45 - 2.0-litre turbocharged I4

55 - 3.0-litre turbocharged V6

SQ7 - 4.0-litre turbocharged V8

T5 - 2.0-litre turbocharged I4

T6 - 2.0-litre turbocharged/supercharged I4

Recharge - 2.0-litre turbocharged/supercharged I4 + electric motor

Horsepower

45 - 248 hp @ 5,000-6,000 rpm

55 - 335 hp @ 5,500 rpm

SQ7 - 500 hp @ 5,500 rpm

T5 - 250 hp @ 5,500 rpm

T6 - 316 hp @ 5,700 rpm

Recharge - 400 hp @ 5,700 rpm

Torque

45 - 273 lb-ft @ 1,600-4,500 rpm

55 - 369 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm

SQ7 - 568 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm

T5 - 258 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm

T6 - 295 lb-ft @ 2,200 rpm

Recharge - 472 lb-ft @ 2,200-5,400 rpm

 

Transmission

8-speed automatic

8-speed automatic

Fuel Economy

45 - 11.3 L/100 km (12.4 city, 10.1 hwy)

55- 12.0 L/100 km (13.4 city, 10.4 hwy)

SQ7 - 13.9 L/100 km (16.0 city, 11.4 hwy)

T5 – 10.1 L/100 km (11.5 city, 8.4 hwy)

T6- 10.5 L/100 km (12.1 city, 8.5 hwy)

Recharge – 8.8 L/100 km (9.1 city, 8.4 hwy)

Warranty

4 years/80,000 kilometres

4 years/80,000 kilometres

Max Seating Capacity

6-7

6-7

Curb Weight

2,175-2,300 kg

2,064-2,320 kg

Wheelbase

2,995 mm

2,984 mm

Overall Length

5,063 mm

4,953 mm

Width

1,690-2,212 mm

1,923-2,140 mm

Height

1,741 mm

1,778 mm

Headroom, Front

1,014 mm

987-1,051 mm

Headroom, 2nd-row

986 mm

979-999 mm

Headroom, 3rd-row

912 mm

923 mm

Legroom, Front

1,059 mm

1,038 mm

Legroom, 2nd-row

986 mm

940 mm

Legroom, 3rd-row

742 mm

811 mm

Shoulder Room, Front

1,255 mm

1,465 mm

Shoulder Room, 2nd-row

1,486 mm

1,435 mm

Shoulder Room, 3rd-row

1,253 mm

1,192 mm

Cargo Volume Behind 2nd-row Seats

1,971 L

1,886 L

 

Cargo Volume Behind 3rd-row Seats

402 L

157 L

 

Max. Towing Capacity

2.0T - 4,400 lbs (1,996 kgs)

3.0T/4.0T  – 7,700 lbs (3,493 kgs)

5,291-5.953 lbs (2,400-2,700 kgs)

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