2020 Lexus RXL vs. 2020 Audi Q7

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The RXL has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Q7 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The RXL’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 RXL and the Q7 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear 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, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

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 Lexus RXL is safer than the Q7:

RXL

Q7

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Restraints

GOOD

GOOD

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

156

225

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

30 cm

30 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

4%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RXL the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Q7 has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

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Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the RXL 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Audi covers the Q7. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Q7 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Reliability

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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 RXL’s reliability 26 points higher than the Q7.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the RXL first among midsize premium SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Q7 isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 22nd, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 8th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Audi is ranked 14th.

Engine

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The RX 350L’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 42 more horsepower (290 vs. 248) than the Q7 45 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the RXL gets better fuel mileage than the Q7:

MPG

RXL

FWD

3.5 DOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

AWD

450h 3.5 DOHC V6

29 city/28 hwy

3.5 DOHC V8

18 city/25 hwy

Q7

AWD

45 TFSI 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

19 city/25 hwy

55 TFSI 3.0 turbo V6 Hybrid

17 city/21 hwy

Transmission

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The RX 450hL has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Q7 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Tires and Wheels

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The RXL 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 tire options on the Q7 don’t have a run-flat feature, either.

Suspension and Handling

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For better maneuverability, the RXL’s turning circle is 2.2 feet tighter than the Q7’s (38.8 feet vs. 41 feet).

Chassis

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The Lexus RXL may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 300 pounds less than the Audi Q7.

The design of the Lexus RXL amounts to more than styling. The RXL has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .33 Cd. That is lower than the Q7 (.36) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the RXL get better fuel mileage.

Cargo Capacity

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

RXL

Q7

Behind Third Seat

16.3 cubic feet

14.8 cubic feet

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

RXL

Q7

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

21.5”/48.5”/81”

19.5”/44.7”/80.7”

Max Width

51.8”

52.5”

Min Width

44”

42.6”

Height

30”

30”

The RXL 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 RXL’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.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Audi. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 24% lower rating, Audi is ranked 8th.

Ergonomics

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To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the RXL 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.

Consumer Reports rated the RXL’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Q7’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

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

The RXL 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.

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the RXL owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the RXL will cost $1965 less than the Q7 over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RXL is less expensive to operate than the Q7 because it costs $182 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the RXL than the Q7, including $305 less for a muffler, $45 less for front brake pads, $305 less for a starter, $462 less for fuel injection, $1 less for a fuel pump and $595 less for front struts.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lexus RXL will be $16617 to $16755 less than for the Audi Q7.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/06

Both are recommended, but Consumer Reports® chose the Lexus RXL as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Lexus RX Series outsold the Audi Q7 by over three to one during 2019.

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