2019 Audi Q7 vs. 2019 Nissan Pathfinder

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Audi Q7 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Nissan Pathfinder doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

The Q7’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the Q7 and Pathfinder have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Q7 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Pathfinder’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The Q7 has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Q7 offers an optional backup collision prevention system which use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the Q7. But it costs extra on the Pathfinder.

A passive infrared night vision system optional on the Q7 Prestige helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The Q7’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

Both the Q7 and the Pathfinder have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Audi Q7 is safer than the Nissan Pathfinder:

 

Q7

Pathfinder

 

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

99

337

Neck Injury Risk

25%

42%

Neck Stress

186 lbs.

464 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

61/46 lbs.

516/475 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Audi Q7 is safer than the Nissan Pathfinder:

 

Q7

Pathfinder

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.8 inches

.9 inches

Hip Force

350 lbs.

457 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

18 inches

HIC

290

338

Spine Acceleration

40 G’s

42 G’s

Hip Force

557 lbs.

661 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The Q7 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Pathfinder’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The Q7’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Pathfinder’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Q7’s reliability 20 points higher than the Pathfinder.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 7 places higher in reliability than Nissan.

Engine

The Q7 45 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 14 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 259) than the Pathfinder’s 3.5 DOHC V6. The Q7 55 TFSI’s standard 3.0 supercharged V6 produces 45 more horsepower (329 vs. 284) and 66 lbs.-ft. more torque (325 vs. 259) than the Pathfinder’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Q7’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Pathfinder doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Q7 has 3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Pathfinder (22.5 vs. 19.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Q7’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Pathfinder:

 

Q7

Pathfinder

Front Rotors

14.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.8 inches

12.13 inches

The Q7 stops much shorter than the Pathfinder:

 

Q7

Pathfinder

 

70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

170 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

127 feet

137 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

145 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Q7 has larger standard tires than the Pathfinder (255/55R19 vs. 235/65R18). The Q7’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Pathfinder (285/45R20 vs. 235/65R18).

The Q7 2.0T’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Pathfinder S/SV/SL’s standard 65 series tires. The Q7’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Pathfinder Platinum’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Q7 offers optional 21-inch wheels. The Pathfinder’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the Q7 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Q7 offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Pathfinder’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Q7’s wheelbase is 3.7 inches longer than on the Pathfinder (117.9 inches vs. 114.2 inches).

The Q7 Prestige handles at .85 G’s, while the Pathfinder Platinum 4x4 pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Q7 Premium Plus executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.8 seconds quicker than the Pathfinder Platinum 4x4 (26.4 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 29.2 seconds @ .53 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Q7 has a 1.3 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Pathfinder (8.3 vs. 7 inches), allowing the Q7 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Q7 w/Air Suspension’s minimum ground clearance is 2.7 inches higher than on the Pathfinder (9.7 vs. 7 inches).

Passenger Space

The front step up height for the Q7 is .4 inches lower than the Pathfinder (18.6” vs. 19”). The Q7’s rear step up height is 2.1 inches lower than the Pathfinder’s (18.7” vs. 20.8”).

Cargo Capacity

The Q7’s cargo area is larger than the Pathfinder’s in almost every dimension:

 

Q7

Pathfinder

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

19.5”/44.7”/80.7”

19.2”/43.7”/78.9”

Max Width

52.5”

45.9”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the Q7’s third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Towing

Maximum trailer towing in the Nissan Pathfinder is limited to 6000 pounds. The Q7 offers up to a 7700 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The Q7 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Pathfinder uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the Q7 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Pathfinder. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Nissan. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 47% lower rating, Nissan is ranked 20th.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Pathfinder SL/Platinum, the Q7 Prestige offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The Q7 Prestige has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the Q7 and the Pathfinder have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Q7 is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Pathfinder prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Q7’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Pathfinder’s power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically. With the Pathfinder SV/SL/Platinum’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

The Q7’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Pathfinder S’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The Pathfinder SV/SL/Platinum’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The Q7 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The Q7 has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The automatic headlight on/off feature is not available on the Pathfinder S.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Q7 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Q7 offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer cornering lights. The Q7 also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

To better shield the driver and front passenger’s vision, the Q7 has standard dual-element sun visors that can block glare from two directions simultaneously. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

A manual rear sunshade is optional in the Q7 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The Q7’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Heated mirrors cost extra on the Pathfinder and aren’t offered on the Pathfinder S.

The Q7 has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Pathfinder offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Q7 owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Q7 with a number “5” insurance rate while the Pathfinder is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Q7 is less expensive to operate than the Pathfinder because it costs $360 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Q7 than the Pathfinder, including $122 less for a water pump, $122 less for a fuel pump and $71 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Audi Q7, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Nissan Pathfinder isn't recommended.

The Q7 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” for 2 of the last 2 years. The Pathfinder has never been a Car and Driver “Top Five/10Best Truck” pick.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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