Crossover & Midsize

The 2020 Audi Q7 Has a Big Advantage Over the Porsche Cayenne

The Audi Q7 made headlines last year when the company announced “an all-round update” for the 2020 model. In addition to new tech and cabin design, the exterior of the car received a facelift. With a new look and a jump forward technologically, how does the Audi Q7 stack up against the other vehicles in its class? The Porsche Cayenne has already been compared to the Audi Q8, but how does the Q7 measure up?

In the Cayenne vs Q8 comparison, neither vehicle stood out too much. Audi predictably outscored the Porsche Cayenne in the general categories. On the performance and luxury end, Porsche excelled. But those two vehicles both lacked something that the Audi Q7 doesn’t: a third row.

The Audi Q7’s secret weapon

According to U.S. News, the 2020 Audi Q7 is a three-row SUV, and the third row of seats in an Audi Q7 gives it a massive leg up over its competition. While the Porsche Cayenne and similar luxury vehicles may boast particular specs or performance metrics, there’s nothing that compares to seating an additional row of passengers. The Porsche Cayenne can’t measure up to this no matter how fast it goes, and that could be the deciding factor for many consumers.

But a third row isn’t the only noticeable Audi Q7 feature that’s missing on the Cayenne side. Audi’s luxury vehicle supports Android Auto, which could be either essential or meaningless to a specific buyer, but it’s a major feather in Audi’s cap, especially since it came out of the Q8/Cayenne comparison clearly beat in some areas.

Audi seems to know that it won’t ever have the Porsche name or reputation, but it can score high in enough other areas to make the buyer’s decision a tough one.

The Porsche Cayenne’s ups and downs

RELATED: Is the Audi Q7 a Better Luxury SUV Than the BMW X5?

Porsche hasn’t always delivered on its reputation for pristine quality, especially in the Cayenne line. With multiple recalls over the past two model years, someone interested in a third row for family members might also have safety concerns. Audi’s changes for 2020, especially for a consumer going up to the SQ7, made enough improvements to put it firmly ahead of the Porsche Cayenne for all but the most dedicated thrill-seekers.

The Porsche Cayenne also comes in a variety of trim levels. The base model, the Porsche Cayenne S, the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid, and the Porsche Cayenne Turbo are all available.

When it comes to pure luxury, the Porsche Cayenne goes far beyond what the Audi Q7 can offer. While both vehicles are far above average for even a luxury car, the Porsche Cayenne is in a class all its own – at any trim level.

The bottom line on both luxury vehicles

The Audi Q7 isn’t necessarily perfect. While it outshines the Porsche Cayenne in some features and seating options, potential buyers should also keep some things in mind. Compared to the BMW X5, the Audi Q7 fell short in fuel economy, horsepower, and some safety tests. But the Audi Q7 performs well enough in those categories that it’s significantly above average for the class.

A Cayenne is the better choice if you’re determined to hear the wind whistling by as you fly down the highway. But if you want to turn up the stereo, Audi excels there too. The Bang & Olufsen sound system available in the Audi Q7 provides high-quality audio at any volume and any speed.

The Porsche Cayenne is a luxury SUV to a degree that almost nothing else in its class is. It doesn’t have the functionality of the Audi Q7, and that’s partially by design. The Q7’s third row and Android Auto do an excellent job of setting it apart in usability.