Rivals: Living the high life with three of the richest SUVsWe pit the Acura MDX, Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7 against each other to battle for the luxury crown.
[MUSIC] Hey everyone and welcome to another episode of Road Show Rivals. That's right, it's the show where we pick the best out of three so you don't have. Today we're looking at the Volvo XC90, the Audi Q7, and here on the end the Acura MDX. Now what do these all have in common? Well, they're all luxury SUVs, but they're all seven-passenger luxury SUVs. We're gonna find out which one's the best. [MUSIC] Over the past few years Audi's been developing some amazing technologies for the engine, the handler, the dashboard electronics, and the driver Assistant system, that makes every new Audi model kind of a revelation. You saw that earlier with the TT roadster, and now we're seeing it with the 2017 Audi Q7. This is their premium SUV, with seven passenger capacity. And I brought the Acura MDX, the smallest of these big, beautiful brutes, but only by a bit. The MDX is also the oldest of the three, debuting all the way back to 2013, and the only one to use a naturally aspirated engine. But with the automaker, 3.5 liter VTEC V6 putting out 290 horsepower and variable cylinder management efficiency technology, this underdog's a fighter. It shouldn't be discounted just yet. All right, onto my car, the XC 90. And this [UNKNOWN] rides on a whole new platform and it does sport some pretty aggressive styling but that is tempered by a whole slew of safety features. You have a variety of engine choices including a hybrid, but the two-liter under this hood. This is a second generation of the Audi Q7 and when Audi showed it off It was kind of criticized for looking a bit smaller than the previous generation. People thought that it was more like a station wagon than an SUV but I find this cabin pretty roomy. Now, I have mentioned the technologies in this car. Really brilliant. Let's start off with the engine. We've got a super charged three litter V6. That does 333 horse power feet and 325 pounds feet of torch And to help fuel economy with that engine, what Audi does, they call it supercharging on demand. So that supercharger, which would normally put drag on the engine when you're not using it, disconnects. So when you're coasting that thing isn't putting any weight on the engine. But when you accelerate then it forces air into the cylinders. And that gives you the power. And Audi says Best in Class Acceleration at 5.7 seconds. So 60 miles an hour. So we've got an air suspension and adaptive dampers, those help keep this car flat when you're cornering, but there's another little secret technology going on here, it's an option, but they have four wheel steering. What that does, it turns the rear wheels just a little bit, and that helps you through the corners. It works Really well. When you're powering through a corner it just corners better than it should. And all that really makes this Q7 a driver's car. [MUSIC] This is really the simplest cars of our rivals. We've got a 3.5 liter direction injection V6 engine that makes 290 horsepower, 267 pound feet of torque. It's naturally aspirated unlike the other cars. We've got a nine speed automatic Automatic transmission and what I like about this power train is that you get pretty even, pretty direct acceleration. This engine really feels ready to go. Unlike the other cars we got, sick suspension here so there's not any difference. There's no comfort setting, there's no dynamic setting. We do have all wheel drive like the other vehicles but this is accurate super handling all wheel drive. So that means it has mechanical, it over powers one of the rear wheels to help you around a corner [UNKNOWN] That helps out but because of th suspension e cant really push it that hard. [MUSIC] The Volvo XC90 comes with a 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine which is ridiculously small for such a big vehicle. But Volvo gives that a super charger and a turbo charger that bring power up to 316 horse power 290 pound feet of torque which is More than enough for this vehicle. Now I noticed when I hit the cylinder hard I really feel the [UNKNOWN] automatic transmission shift quite a bit. The [UNKNOWN] 90 has an air suspension which has dynamic and separate modes I can dial those in with the scroll wheel on the console. BUt this car is really more about comfort than Sport driving. It feels pretty tippy in the corners. After luxury, SUV buyers dashboard tech is gonna be one of the most if not the most important determiner between choosing vehicles. So we're gonna start with the Acura MDX and its Acura Link Infotainment system. And this is a decent system without a whole lot of bells and whistles. If you're looking for a simple infotainment system, this is gonna be your way to go. And the standout feature is gonna be the Aha app integration. That when you pair it with a smart phone running the Aha app you get certain connected features, such as audio streaming from the Internet. However, it is probably the most cluttered of the systems. You've go this two tiered Dual screen system, and it's not always clear which screen does what or which one you should be looking towards. The top screen's not touch controlled. You use this sort of physical controller. And the bottom screen doesn't really do a whole lot that a button wouldn't do in its place. It's gonna be my least favorite of the three systems, but let's move on to the next one. In the XC90 we've got the latest generation of Volvo's Sensus Infotainment system. Now what's interesting about this, you'll notice immediately it's got this vertical orientation and this home button out on the bottom it looks a lot like an iPad. Right? And that's exactly how it sort of works. The system uses this very cool multi-pane organization for it's infotainment. So you can take up as much of the screen with the navigation as you want, or as little. Everything's accessed via taps and swipes just like a tablet, so users Should take to this like a fish to water. It's very easy to understand and there's not a whole lot of depth to this system as far as learning curves. Now it's a bit of a step back from the previous generation of the [UNKNOWN] connect in that it loses a whole lot of the [UNKNOWN] that the previous, smaller generation used. But it takes two steps forward with the addition of Apple car play that you're gonna gain a lot of those audio streaming at the back as well as navigation and Apple [UNKNOWN] voice command system. Android autos are also really coming soon. So this is gonna be one of the better systems on the market. As soon as all of that comes for it;s launch It's a lot better than what we saw in the Acura. But it's not as good as the Audi. Pop in that one and I'll show you what I mean. So I saved the best for last. We're in the Audi Q7 taking a look at its navigation and virtual cockpit system. Now, in the center of the dashboard, we've got a pop-up screen and it's gonna be powered by some very sharp Very fast NVIDIA graphics. We've also got an always-on 4G LTE connection that's gonna beam in things like Google Earth satellite data, traffic, as well as using the Internet for things like your destination search. It's a really well-sorted and very quick to use system. It also features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity out of the box. So if you don't like the plethora of tech that's here, you can just plug your phone in and take advantage of the stuff that's on there now. But it doesn't stop there. Front and center ahead of the driver, we've got Audi's virtual cockpit. That's a digital instrument cluster that's gonna be powered by the same, very fast, very crisp, In video graphic. The interesting thing about this system is that, pretty much every functionality that you can get in the center console, you get again here in the virtual cockpit. That means that you can display Google Earth navigation. You can even select from your preset navigation destination. Right here from the universal cockpit. It is a very crisp and very smart implementation of the technology and that makes this for certain the coolest looking system here. That means that it's also the most complicated of the three. But the learning curves is a very shallow and approachable one. After only a couple hours in this car The MMI and virtual cockpit system are second nature. Audi's virtual cockpit and its dashboard MMI tech are among the most fully featured in this class, but they're also very easy to use. That's a sweet part that's really hard to hit, which is why I'm giving this my thumbs up as my favorite of the three. [MUSIC] So the Volvo XC90 has adaptive cruise control with pilot assist, which, my God my God, my God, nope, didn't turn all the way [LAUGH]. It will follow the car in front of you at a premeditated distance, and it will also keep you within the lines. You still need to look ahead, it's not autonomous, you still need to have some driving input. And my adaptive cruise control is following the car in front of me, that cheese car. And he is stopping. He is doing a full stop. My car is a full stop. And he takes off and I'm gonna take off and I haven't touched the gas. Go, go, go. go. So, while I'm going in stop and go traffic, even if that traffic goes to a full stop, I can still continue without having to put my foot onto the gas, okay. [MUSIC] So I'm in the Audi 27 and this also has adaptive cruise control but what's interesting is that instead of having the functions on the steering wheel there's actually a spot for it. So I have set my cruise control and I press set and I set my distance to be kind of close And here we go. I'm just following the car in front of me like it ain't no thing. Wow, it's turning. It totally turned on its own. Im not sure how much I like this. And please dont over take steering. So while it will help you stay in the lane it definitely wont do all of the driving for you. It's an aid, it's not an autonomous feature. Alright here comes the final test Adaptive cruise control is on. What happens when a car in front of me comes to a full and complete stop? Okay, I'm stopping. And I'm in a full and complete stop. He's gonna go. Look at that. Didn't even have to do this again. Didn't have to do anything. Now that I've sat in Bainbridge traffic for a while, that's pretty awesome. In the Acura MDX all of my controls for the adaptive cruise control are right on my steering wheel so all I need to do is hit this main button that turns it on or off. It's really, really simple. So it's kind of what I like about this. Now I had it set for a maximum speed of 40 miles per hour. So again whatever my lead vehicle does here my car will follow up to the speed of 40 miles a hour. Now my lane keeping assistant button is again right here on the steering wheel so let me press that bad boy. Right we are set for higher speed, my lane keeping assist is on and Yoop no. [LAUGH] I did get audible warning but yeah it's not gonna do anything for me specifically. I also got a break warning and the car did a nice job of breaking for me. Ok let's see what happens when the car in front of me comes to a full and complete stop And he goes, and I stay right here. [LAUGH] Cruise cancelled no vehicle detected. Yeah well, he was there you just didn't follow him. So it looks like rolling stops are fine, it will detect a rolling stop. It will not detect a full Complete stop, you have to reset the system again. However, I will say that the operation of this system seems to be the easiest of all three, but it again is also the most simple. All right, boys, I think we can all agree the Audi Q7 is the best here. I mean, it handles the best. It's got excellent tech features, and it's got great driver's Okay, but let's not forget the MDX over here because that's the value play. It's $58,000 loaded that's essentially less than both of these two other cars. And it's got many similar features. Well yeah, similar. [LAUGH] Yeah, and if your the kind of person who only looks at the spec sheet similar is good enough, but from behind the wheel it doesn't even belong in the [UNKNOWN] All right so MBX is out but that still leaves me the key seven right? well then you should consider the XT-90 because that's also cheaper than the Q seven and that really comes up much closer in feature by feature and quality. This even has the premium audio system, 67 loaded, and it still undercuts the Q seven probably by $3000 to $5000. [INAUDIBLE] And it's also one of the most unique ones of the three. Stylistically it's got the most luxurious cabin with the best materials. I really like sitting behind the wheel of that one. And it's also, at least for the first couple model years, you're guaranteed that you won't pull into a parking lot And pull up next to three cars that look exactly like it. So I think it [UNKNOWN] is the sweet part of having a lot of really good features but being still a good value. That's why I think I like it better. You know, I mean when you guys like some really good points and lord knows i like to be unique so all right. All right you convinced me The winner of the Road Show rivals luxury SUV is the 2016 Volvo XC 90. Hey, thanks so much for watching, everyone. We'll see you on the next episode.