21: Audi Q7 – what it lacks in looks it makes up for in ability

Top cars for 2018: Premium practicality and good to drive even if it looks like a garden shed on wheels

 

Audi’s big-and-bluff SUV is, perhaps, always going to lose out in the looks race to the svelte Range Rover Sport, but under the skin, the Audi’s engineering has the legs of anything that’s prettier.

It’s surprisingly light for a huge 4x4 (helped by a large content of aluminium in the structure) and that means that the standard 3.0-litre V6 TDI diesel is amazingly light on both fuel and motor tax.

You want one that’s even lighter on its Co2-toes? Try the plugin hybrid e-Tron model, which mixes diesel and petrol power to surprisingly effective effect (though it does lose the third row seating which makes the standard model so engagingly practical).

Huge on the outside, it’s also (just as well…) huge on the inside, with exceptional levels of comfort and space. The dash does look a bit generically Audi, but it’s built like a brick shi… like a really well-built building. Hot 435hp triple-turbo V8 diesel SQ7 is alarmingly quick, poised around corners, and remarkably refined.

Best model: Q7 e-Tron quattro

Prices start from: €74,800

Finance package from: €669

CO2 emissions: 50-199g/km

Sum-up: Not pretty, but the Q7’s got it where it counts.