2020 Ford Explorer vs. 2019 Audi Q7

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Explorer’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 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, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

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’ 2019 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 fourth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 22nd, below the industry average.

Engine

The Explorer has more powerful engines than the Q7:

Horsepower

Torque

Explorer 2.3 turbo 4 cyl.

300 HP

310 lbs.-ft.

Explorer 3.3 DOHC V6 hybrid

318 HP

322 lbs.-ft.

Explorer Platinum 3.0 turbo V6

365 HP

380 lbs.-ft.

Explorer ST 3.0 turbo V6

400 HP

415 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

On the EPA test cycle the Explorer 4WD 2.3 turbo gets better fuel mileage than the Q7 45 TFSI 2.0 turbo(20 city/27 hwy vs. 19 city/25 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the Explorer Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Q7 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

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.

Transmission

A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Ford Explorer, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Q7.

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

The Explorer’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Q7 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Explorer’s wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer than on the Q7 (119.1 inches vs. 117.9 inches).

For better maneuverability, the Explorer’s turning circle is 1.5 feet tighter than the Q7’s (39.2 feet vs. 40.7 feet).

Chassis

The Ford Explorer may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 150 to 400 pounds less than the Audi Q7.

The front grille of the Explorer (except 3.3 V6 non-Hybrid) 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.

The Explorer Hybrid uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Q7 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Explorer has 2.3 inches more front headroom, 1.3 inches more front legroom, 2.3 inches more front shoulder room, 1.7 inches more rear headroom, .2 inches more rear legroom, 3.4 inches more rear shoulder room, 3 inches more third row headroom, 3 inches more third row legroom and 5.2 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

18.2 cubic feet

14.8 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

47.9 cubic feet

37.5 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

87.8 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’s cargo area is larger than the Q7’s in every dimension:

Explorer

Q7

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

20.8”/49.8”/83.9”

19.5”/44.7”/80.7”

Max Width

59”

52.5”

Min Width

48.1”

42.6”

Height

33.7”

30”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Explorer’s second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo 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’s exterior PIN entry system. The Q7 doesn’t offer an exterior PIN 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 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 Explorer Limited/ST/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.

The Explorer ST/Platinum’s Active Park Assist 2.0 can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Q7 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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

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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