Audi Q5 vs. Q7 Comparison: Do You Need Three Rows?

The Audi Q5 may be the brand’s best-seller, but the Q7 remains the aspirational SUV with Audi. Both are held in high esteem by reviewers for their powerful engines (especially in SQ trim), quattro all-wheel drive, and great driving dynamics. The major difference is the addition of a third row in the Q7. But, is the bigger Q7 worth the extra $15,000?

Q5 vs. Q7: both have style

2023 Audi Q7
2023 Audi Q7 | Audi

The Q5 and Q7 SUVs both are standard bearers of premium SUV style with giant egg crate grilles and modern bodywork. The front ends are so similar that if you were to see one in your rear-view mirror, it would be hard to tell which you were looking at. From the back, the Q7, which was updated in 2020, has cool LED taillights and a more squared-off look that hides the third row well. The Q7 has dynamic turn signals that, much like a 1960s Mustang, blink sequentially.

The big difference is on the inside where the Q5 has a nice interior, and the Q7 has a very nice interior. The Q5’s front seats are dominated by the large center screen that seems to stick up, rather inelegantly, from the middle of the dash, which is a vestige of its 2018 roots. The Q7 has a nicely-integrated system that swoops and flows like water and looks intentional.  The Luxury Package in the Prestige trim adds sophisticated leather (and massaging) seats, and wood trim that gives the Q7 all the ambiance of a drawing room.

The Q7 has three rows, but it’s a small third row

2023 Q7 interior
Interior of the Q7

Audi did a good job of disguising the extra length. Overall, the Q7 is just 16 inches longer than a Q5 and most of that room shows up in the back where the Q7’s extra inches are apparent. The Q5 has 38 inches of second-row legroom. The Q7 has 38.8 inches of middle seat legroom and an additional 29.2 inches in the third row. While it’s not a generous third row, if you need to take an extra two small adults with you, it’s not too cramped.  

Where the Q7 is less practical is in the tiny, just 14.2-cubic foot space, behind the third row.  In the Q5, you get a more usable 26 cubic feet of space. Overall, the Q7 has 69.6 cubic feet of space in the rear, and those rear seats fold at the touch of a button. The Q5 can hold 54.1 cubic feet.

Q5 vs. Q7 on the inside: they’re very similar

2023 Q6 interior with brown seats
Audi Q5 interior | Audi

When it comes to standard features, there aren’t many differences. They both have Audi’s Digital Cockpit, large screens and more. The Q7 gets a stacked dual-screen system, while the Q5 has a single-screen interface.

The Q7 and Q5 come with a long list of standard features that include a large screen, three-zone automatic climate control, a power tailgate, leather, heated seats, and more. Both also offer Audi pre sense front and rear, which has emergency braking. You can add a towing package with a seven-pin connector to the Q7, however, that allows it tow up to 7,700 pounds for $750.

The Q5 can be ordered as a plug-in hybrid

The Q5 is about 14 inches shorter than the Q7.

The engines are the big difference between the two. If you like power, go with the Q7 Performance 55 TFSI, which can hit 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, according to Audi. That’s not surprising considering it has 335 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft of torque in 55 TFSI trim. The Q7 45 makes do with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 261 horsepower. All Q7 trims get quattro all-wheel drive standard.

The base Q5 has a 2.0-liter engine that makes 201 horsepower, or a 2.0-liter that makes 261. It does offer a plug-in hybrid version with 362 horsepower in the plug-in hybrid version. All Q5s have quattro all-wheel drive.

How much should I pay for a Q5 or a Q7?

The Q7 has a lot of rom with the seats folded.
Q7 with the seats folded | Audi

The Q7 comes in three trim levels, and two engine options. You can order it as a Premium or Premium Plus, for $58,200 and $62,00, and the upgraded 55 engine is a $56,000 option. The $74,000 Prestige trim only comes with the 55 motor.

The Q5 offers a similar three-versions, starting at $43,500 for the Premium. The Premium Plus and Prestige versions add more trim and extra tech. The larger engine is a $2,500 option. Those engines will likely change with the update that Motor1 is expecting for 2024 to the Q5.

The one option the Q5 does offer is the plug-in hybrid version, the 55 TFSI e. This version can hit 60 miles per hour in 5.0 seconds, Audi says, and makes 362 horsepower. But, it’s expensive and starts at $60,000.

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