2019 Toyota Highlander vs. 2019 Audi Q7

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Highlander has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats, which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats system allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Q7 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Highlander’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Q7 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Highlander 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, 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 Toyota Highlander is safer than the Audi Q7:

 

Highlander

Q7

 

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.7 inches

Neck Injury Risk

32%

44%

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

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Toyota Highlander is safer than the Q7:

 

Highlander

Q7

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Restraints

GOOD

GOOD

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

65

225

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

24 cm

30 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

4%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Tibia index R/L

.52/.36

.57/.7

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 Toyota Highlander is safer than the Audi Q7:

 

Highlander

Q7

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

54

187

Chest Movement

.6 inches

.8 inches

Abdominal Force

88 G’s

128 G’s

Hip Force

348 lbs.

350 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

111

337

Spine Acceleration

41 G’s

62 G’s

Hip Force

440 lbs.

888 lbs.

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

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Highlander the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 100 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Q7 was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Warranty

Toyota’s powertrain warranty covers the Highlander 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.

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Highlander for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Audi only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Q7.

There are over 4 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Highlander’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Highlander has a standard 604-amp battery. The Q7’s 380-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

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 Highlander’s reliability 15 points higher than the Q7.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 17th in initial quality. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 13th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Audi is ranked 7th.

Engine

The Highlander’s optional 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 47 more horsepower (295 vs. 248) than the Q7 45 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Highlander LE AWD V6 gets better fuel mileage than the Q7 (20 city/27 hwy vs. 19 city/25 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Toyota Highlander uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Q7 requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping

The Highlander stops shorter than the Q7:

 

Highlander

Q7

 

60 to 0 MPH

112 feet

121 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The Highlander 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

The Highlander’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (53% to 47%) than the Q7’s (55% to 45%). This gives the Highlander more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the Highlander’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the Q7’s (38.7 feet vs. 40.7 feet).

Chassis

The Toyota Highlander may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 450 to 600 pounds less than the Audi Q7.

The Highlander is 7.1 inches shorter than the Q7, making the Highlander easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Highlander has standard seating for 8 passengers; the Q7 can only carry 7.

The Highlander has 2.3 inches more front headroom, 2.5 inches more front legroom, 1.1 inches more rear headroom, 1.1 inches more rear shoulder room and 5.6 inches more third row shoulder room than the Q7.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Highlander’s middle and third row seats recline. The Q7’s third row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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

 

Highlander

Q7

Third Seat Folded

42.3 cubic feet

37.5 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

83.7 cubic feet

71.6 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Highlander easier. The Highlander’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 29.7 inches, while the Q7’s liftover is 32.5 inches.

The Highlander’s optional rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The Q7’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

Ergonomics

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Highlander has a standard rear fixed 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 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Highlander’s headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Q7’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

The Highlander XLE/SE/Limited/Platinum has a 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.

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

The Highlander will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Highlander will retain 56.14% to 58.2% of its original price after five years, while the Q7 only retains 4.96% to 83.4%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Highlander is less expensive to operate than the Q7 because it costs $360 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Highlander than the Q7, including $114 less for a water pump, $723 less for a muffler, $115 less for front brake pads, $507 less for a starter, $308 less for fuel injection, $621 less for front struts and $206 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Toyota Highlander will be $19302 to $25869 less than for the Audi Q7.

Recommendations

The Toyota Highlander has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

 

Highlander

Q7

Consumer Reports® Recommends

Top Pick

TRUE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

The Toyota Highlander outsold the Audi Q7 by almost seven to one during 2018.

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

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