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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 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
Both the Q7 and Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid’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.
To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the Q7. But it costs extra on the Highlander Hybrid.
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 Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer a night vision system.
Both the Q7 and the Highlander Hybrid 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, post-collision automatic braking systems, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Q7 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 185 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Highlander Hybrid has not been tested, yet.
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 Highlander Hybrid’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 Highlander Hybrid’s (12 vs. 5 years).
The Q7 45 TFSI’s standard fuel tank has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the Highlander Hybrid (19.8 vs. 17.1 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Q7 55 TFSI’s standard fuel tank has 5.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Highlander Hybrid (22.5 vs. 17.1 gallons).
For better stopping power the Q7’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Highlander Hybrid:
Q7 45 TFSI
Q7 55 TFSI
The Q7’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Highlander Hybrid are solid, not vented.
For better traction, the Q7 has larger standard tires than the Highlander Hybrid (255/55R19 vs. 235/65R18). The Q7’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Highlander Hybrid (285/45R20 vs. 235/65R18).
The Q7’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Highlander Hybrid LE/XLE’s standard 65 series tires. The Q7 Prestige’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum’s 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Q7 has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Highlander Hybrid LE/XLE. The Q7 Prestige’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels on the Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum.
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 Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
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 Highlander Hybrid’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
The Q7 has vehicle speed-sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Q7’s wheelbase is 5.7 inches longer than on the Highlander Hybrid (117.9 inches vs. 112.2 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Q7 is .8 inches wider in the front and 1.2 inches wider in the rear than on the Highlander Hybrid.
For greater off-road capability the Q7 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Highlander Hybrid (8.3 vs. 8 inches), allowing the Q7 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Q7 w/Air Suspension’s minimum ground clearance is 1.7 inches higher than on the Highlander Hybrid (9.7 vs. 8 inches).
The Q7 has .5 inches more front shoulder room and 1.5 inches more third row legroom than the Highlander Hybrid.
Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the Q7’s third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
The Q7’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Highlander Hybrid’s (4400 vs. 3500 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is only 3500 pounds. The Q7 offers up to a 7700 lbs. towing capacity.
The Q7 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Toyota. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 17% lower rating, Toyota is ranked 14th.
The Q7 has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors in the Highlander Hybrid Limited/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 Premium Plus/Prestige’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
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 Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
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 Highlander Hybrid’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
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 Prestige has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer headlight washers.
A manual rear sunshade and rear side window sunshades are optional in the Q7 (except Premium) to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.
The Q7’s standard rear view mirror and optional side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Highlander Hybrid offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
The Q7 Prestige offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Highlander Hybrid.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Audi Q7, based on reliability, safety and performance.
The Q7 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” for 3 of the last 4 years. The Highlander Hybrid has never been a Car and Driver “Top Five/10Best Truck” pick.
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