The luxury SUV segment in India has seen two really capable entrants this year – the Volvo XC90 and the new Audi Q7. We compare all these luxo barges to figure out who’s the boss.
Exteriors – The Mercedes GL is the biggest of them all and it has a very handsome design but somehow it does feel outdated, albeit very slightly. The BMW X5 has a sporty and distinct appeal to it and the model still looks fresh but due to the similarity between the X3 and the X5 in looks, many people get confused between them. The Audi Q7 which is the youngest kid on the block also has a very sharp and aggressive face which does look better than the older model which it replaced. The Volvo XC90 has a very beautiful design which is a bit curvy as compared to the sharp body lines of the other three. The XC90 also looks very unique on our roads and according to us, it is the best looking premium SUV of the lot, followed by the Q7.
Interiors – Each one of these SUVs is loaded to the brim with a lot of features and wizardry that we will surely lose count if we start making a list of equipment on any of these cars. The GL has a lot of space inside and it blends in awesome comfort too. The X5 has a dashboard which looks very similar to other BMWs and it doesn’t feel as premium as the XC90 for sure. The Swede has a pleasant design for the insides and the seats are extremely comfortable. The Audi too is good on space and promises to offer a lot.
Engines – The three Germans are powered by 3.0-litre diesel engines and all them come with 6-cylinders. The GL and Q7 have a V6 engine while the Bimmer has an inline-6 layout. The Volvo on the other hand comes with a 4-cylinder, 2.0-litre engine which falls short of power compared to the other three. When we take power figures in consideration, the X5 and GL have similar numbers while the Q7 has marginally lower power. The X5 has a lot lesser torque than the other two though. On the other hand, the XC90 produces the least power and torque. In terms of transmissions, the XC90, Q7 and X5 come with 8-speed automatic gearboxes while it is only the GL which gets a 7-speed transmission.
Verdict – The Volvo XC90 and the new Audi Q7 are splendid packages while the BMW X5 is also a very good SUV. The Mercedes GL is on its way out and the automaker will be introducing the new GLS in India in the near future. The Volvo XC90 has the cheapest base model here and even that trim comes with a good list of equipment. Volvo has also priced the XC90 very, very competitively considering the fact it is the only CBU vehicle over here while all the other three are locally assembled in India. The XC90 however has the highest taxes too.
If we really had to pick one from all of these, it would be a very close tie between the Q7 and XC90. The XC90 should be preferred if you don’t really care much about the extra power that the other three are offering. Otherwise, the Q7 makes for a good choice but then again that engine is plagued with emissions issue on certain units (on other VW cars). The X5 makes for a good case for itself if you really love driving your SUV yourself. The new Mercedes GLS will be a game-changer but till then, we think we’ll give this model a pass.