2019 Ford Explorer vs. 2019 Audi Q7

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The middle row seatbelts optional on the Explorer inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The Q7 doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

Both the Explorer and the Q7 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, collision warning systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, front and rear parking sensors 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 Ford Explorer is safer than the Audi Q7:

 

Explorer

Q7

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

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, results indicate that the Ford Explorer is safer than the Audi Q7:

 

Explorer

Q7

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

73

187

Hip Force

214 lbs.

350 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

144

337

Spine Acceleration

36 G’s

62 G’s

Hip Force

713 lbs.

888 lbs.

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

Warranty

Ford’s powertrain warranty covers the Explorer 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Audi covers the Q7. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the Q7 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 10 times as many Ford dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Explorer’s warranty.

Reliability

The Explorer has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Q7 doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Explorer third among midsize suvs in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Q7 isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

Engine

The Explorer has more powerful engines than the Q7:

 

Horsepower

Torque

Explorer 2.3 turbo 4 cyl.

280 HP

310 lbs.-ft.

Explorer 3.5 DOHC V6

290 HP

255 lbs.-ft.

Explorer Sport/Platinum 3.5 turbo V6

365 HP

350 lbs.-ft.

Q7 45 TFSI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

248 HP

273 lbs.-ft.

Q7 55 TFSI 3.0 supercharged V6

329 HP

325 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Explorer has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Q7 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Tires and Wheels

The Explorer has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Q7; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed. Some models of the Q7 don’t even offer run-flats.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Explorer Base/XLT/Limited’s turning circle is 1.8 feet tighter than the Q7’s (38.9 feet vs. 40.7 feet). The Explorer Sport’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the Q7’s (40 feet vs. 40.7 feet).

Chassis

The Ford Explorer may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 350 pounds less than the Audi Q7.

The front grille of the Explorer uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Q7 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Explorer Sport 4WD is quieter than the Q7 Prestige (37 vs. 43 dB).

Passenger Space

The Explorer has 3 inches more front headroom, 1.2 inches more front legroom, 2 inches more front shoulder room, 1.8 inches more rear headroom, .7 inches more rear legroom, 2.5 inches more rear shoulder room, 1.9 inches more third row headroom, 4.1 inches more third row legroom and 1.4 inches more third row shoulder room than the Q7.

Cargo Capacity

The Explorer’s cargo area provides more volume than the Q7.

 

Explorer

Q7

Behind Third Seat

21 cubic feet

14.8 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

43.9 cubic feet

37.5 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

81.7 cubic feet

71.6 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Explorer easier. The Explorer’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 31.1 inches, while the Q7’s liftover is 32.5 inches.

The Explorer has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The Q7 doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

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

Ergonomics

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport/Platinum’s exterior keypad. The Q7 doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system, and its Audi Connect CARE can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Explorer has a standard rear variable intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Q7 only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

The Explorer (except Base/XLT) offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Q7 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The Explorer (except Base/XLT/Sport)’s optional Enhanced Active Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Q7 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The Explorer is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Q7 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Explorer is less expensive to operate than the Q7 because it costs $171 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Explorer than the Q7, including $157 less for a muffler, $105 less for front brake pads, $781 less for a starter, $546 less for fuel injection, $2 less for a fuel pump, $586 less for front struts and $568 less for a timing belt/chain.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Ford Explorer will be $11542 to $13747 less than for the Audi Q7.

Recommendations

The Ford Explorer outsold the Audi Q7 by almost seven to one during 2018.

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

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