What to Look Out for When Buying a Used Audi Q7


The Audi Q7 is a large crossover SUV that I have a lot of experience with as a major rival to the Range Rover Sport, which is a model I was heavily involved in selling at the time the Q7 was launched. The Q7 was never as sporty or as desirable as the RR Sport, but as the Audi was the new kid on the block in 2007 and the RR Sport had been around for a couple of years it was soon in huge demand.

2017 Audi Q7

Of course, a brand new Audi Q7 is pretty pricey, but as this luxury SUV has been around for more than 15 years now there are plenty of used examples for sale at much more affordable prices that will appeal to a different audience. If the idea of owning one appeals to you, here’s what to look out for when buying a used Audi Q7.

What is the Audi Q7?

The Audi Q7 is a large luxury crossover SUV that used to be classed as a full-size model but now falls into the midsize realm of three-row luxury crossovers. The Q7 has never been built on a ladder-frame platform because it’s been a unibody crossover since production began in 2015, but the instant success of the Q7 when it hit the market as Audi’s first SUV soon inspired a raft of smaller siblings.

How long has the Audi Q7 been in production?

Production of the Audi Q7 started in the autumn of 2005 at Volkswagen’s Bratislava facility in Slovakia after it was first unveiled to the world in September 2005 at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany. Although the Audi looks fairly distinctive it does share the Volkswagen Group’s MLB platform and chassis with the likes of the Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus, Porsche Cayenne and the VW Touareg.

Why is the Audi Q7 so popular?

The Audi Q7 has remained popular with luxury SUV buyers because it delivers a huge amount of quality, capability, dependability and versatility in a luxury package that’s not too flashy and doesn’t cost the kind of money you’d expect to pay for a fashionable beachfront condo.

Buyers in this part of the market tend to be more than a little promiscuous and rarely stick to one brand in the same way mass-market vehicle buyers do with brands like Ford and Chevy. Despite that, the Q7 appears to have developed a relatively loyal following a rival like the RR Sport can only dream about.

How popular is the Audi Q7?

As a relatively expensive luxury offering in the large SUV segment, the Audi Q7 doesn’t sell in massive numbers, but it’s been a fairly steady and consistent performer for Audi since its launch. Sales in the US and Europe have gone through three distinct phases though.

Early sales were above 30,000 in the first few years after launch, but from 2009 a lean period followed where numbers hung around the 11k to 12k mark. In 2015, sales increased significantly in the US to above 20k for the first time since 2008, and more than 30,000 Q7s have been sold in the US each year from 2016 onwards until a slump due to coronavirus in 2020.

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2008 Audi Q7 Premium

How many generations of the Audi Q7 are there?

There have been two generations of the Audi Q7 so far, but during those two generations, there have been several notable facelifts that are worth knowing about before you decide what model year to begin looking at buying used.

The first-generation Audi Q7 went on sale in the US for the 2007 model year, but a facelifted version was unveiled in 2009 at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance that went on sale as the 2010 model.

An all-new second-generation Audi Q7 arrived in 2015 as a 2016 model year offering, but this one got a facelift of its own for 2020 that featured a redesigned grille, front and rear bumpers, new side sills, chrome trim for the tailgate and revised exhaust tips.

How well does the Audi Q7 hold its value?

Like many luxury vehicles, the value of the Audi Q7 plummets in the first two years and the depreciation remains on a pretty consistent downward trajectory from then onwards. The Q7 is expected to depreciate by around 37% over the first three years and 36,000 miles, so a base model that costs $54,950 in 2021 will be worth around $34,695 in three years.

After five years and 60,000 miles, the same Q7 will have depreciated by a total of 59%, and that would mean an estimated price at that point of $22,760. It’s not the worst depreciating vehicle in its class by any means, but it’s not exactly what you would call an investment if you are buying one brand new.

Is the Audi Q7 reliable?

The Audi Q7 has a decent reputation for reliability in its class, and that’s despite Audi as a brand not being as reliable as a lot of people would imagine. The repairpal.com website gives the Audi a reliability rating of 2.5 out of a possible 5.0, and the average annual repair cost is $1,185.

That annual repair cost may sound a little high to potential used buyers, but this is an imported luxury model in the US and luxury vehicles are often expensive to maintain no matter how old they are. Please remember that just because a car that costs $75k brand new may only cost you $15k or less ten years later, it’s still a $75k car when it comes to service and maintenance.

Do used Audi Q7 models have any persistent problems?

There are no major recurring issues with the Audi Q7 to report such as transmission or engine problems, but these highly advanced and tech-heavy models can be prone to their fair share of niggling electrical issues.

Older examples can have problems with their lights and ignition systems and fluid leaks can occur as the cooling system’s materials degrade over the years. If the Audi Q7 you’re interested in has done around 70k miles or more, make sure you check the timing belt as it will probably need changing if it hasn’t been done already.

Which Audi Q7 model years should you avoid?

There isn’t a particular model year of the Audi Q7 that you need to avoid so just go for the one you like and that you can afford. Some sites will tell you to avoid the 2007 Audi Q7 just to name one to avoid, but the brake issues used to justify that claim were so few in number as to be of no real significance to used car buyers.

What’s the fuel economy of the Audi Q7 like?

The size, weight and powerful engines of the Audi Q7 mean fuel economy isn’t exactly a strong suit of this full-size luxury SUV. The best EPA ratings it had to offer at launch in 2007 were 14 mpg in the city, 18 mpg on the highway and 16 mpg combined, and that was from models equipped with the 3.6-liter engine. Those with the eight-cylinder 4.2 under the hood returned EPA ratings of 12/17/14 mpg respectively.

In 2010 a turbodiesel version was introduced that offered EPA fuel economy ratings of 17 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway and 20 mpg combined, but is that enough to make you choose one over a gas version? I doubt it.

Things improved in this area a little with the arrival of the second-generation model in 2015 and a newer 3.0-liter, six-cylinder turbodiesel engine option. These models were rated by the EPA at 19 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg combined, although you’re more likely to come across the 3.0-liter supercharged gas model on lots that are rated at 16/22/18 mpg respectively.

Please keep in mind, however, that every Q7 comes standard with Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system that’s always going to hurt fuel economy.

How many seats in an Audi Q7?

Most Q7 models you’ll come across will have seven seats in three rows, but the standard format of the Q7 was five seats in the first three model years until seven seats became standard in 2010. The good news is the small third-row seats can be folded away to create an almost flat load space when not in use, and with later versions of the Q7 the third row are power-folding.

Is the Audi Q7 AWD?

Every version of the Audi Q7 sold in the US has the German automaker’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system as part of its standard specification. It doesn’t make the big Audi an off-road champion to rival the likes of the Jeep Wrangler or the Land Rover Discovery by any means, but the Quattro system is worth its weight in gold in bad weather or on poor road surfaces.

How safe is the Audi Q7?

The Audi Q7 is about as safe as large crossover SUVs get, and even as long ago as 2008 thecarconnection.com website was giving the big Audi an unbeatable 10/10 for overall safety. Because of the high price and the relatively small number of Q7s Audi sells it doesn’t get crash-tested by the NHTSA or IIHS these days, but you can rest assured that you’re about as safe as can be in a vehicle in this class when you’re inside an Audi Q7.

Is the Audi Q7 fast?

The performance figures for the Audi Q7 over the years have remained consistently impressive for a vehicle of this size and weight. Even the earliest examples had a top speed of 130 mph and a 0 to 62 mph time of 8.2 seconds, but even that has improved dramatically over the years. A 2021 Audi Q7 can now get from a standing start to 60 mph in as little as 6.9 seconds and the top speed is now 155 mph.

Is the Audi Q7 comfortable?

Comfort is one of the key attributes any vehicle in this class has to excel at and the Audi Q7 more than lives up to the challenge. There’s plenty of room in the cabin as long as you’re not in the third-row seats, and the seats themselves are firm but extremely comfortable on even the longest journey. Fancy driving from New York to LA? If you do it in an Audi Q7 you’ll be more than happy to turn around in LA as soon as you get there and head off for Florida on the way back to the Big Apple again.

Despite later Q7 model years now being classed as midsize rather than full-size crossover SUVs, the second-generation models now have more room inside the cabin than their predecessors. First-gen models have 37.1 inches of legroom in the second-row seats, but that grew to 38.8 inches when the second-generation arrived.

How many miles will an Audi Q7 last?

A well-maintained Audi Q7 will easily be good for more than 200,000 miles and a diesel variant will last double that or more if properly maintained. As far as age is concerned, the oldest Q7s on US roads date back to 2007 and they don’t look at all dated as the styling of the Audi hasn’t actually changed that much over the years.

Which used Audi Q7 model year is best to buy?

A 2017 model year Audi Q7 is probably the best year to buy used if you can afford it. While I would normally tell you to steer clear of the first year of a new generation to avoid teething problems, this model launched in other markets a year earlier. That means you have nothing to fear from the 2017 model in the US and these are the most affordable versions of the current generation you can buy.

How much should you pay for a used Audi Q7?

You can now get a pretty good used Audi Q7 from as little as $6,750, and that would be for something like a 2007 model with around 125,000 miles. If your budget runs to a second-generation model you can now get something like a 2017 3.0T Premium Plus with 130,000 miles for around $24,000.

2017 Audi Q7 Interior

Is a used Audi Q7 worth the money?

Used versions of the Audi Q7 are definitely worth the money they command in the current market, but I will continue to push the message that just because they can be inexpensive to buy it doesn’t mean they get cheap to run and maintain.

Replacement parts and labor costs are relatively high because this is a luxury vehicle after all, and you might want to look at the price of replacement tires as it’s not uncommon for the Q7 to get through a set after fewer than 7,000 miles.

What you can look forward to with a used Audi Q7 is a high-quality vehicle that’s spacious, capable, durable, reliable, comfortable and always well-equipped, so it’s up to you whether or not the cost of maintaining and running one is worth the cost.

Sean Cooper

Former retail auto industry professional for almost a decade and an automotive writer and journalist for the last 8 years

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