Auto Express Test: Audi Q7 e-tron vs Volvo XC90 T8

Hybrid SUVs are becoming more and more popular among premium brands. Customers with money want to pretend they’re living green, eco-friendly lives without having to actually compromise from their luxury indulgences, so they buy these massive hybrid SUVs to make it look like they actually care. When, in fact, those hybrid SUVs actually achieve worse fuel economy and emissions than a modern diesel engine. They’re really not being that environmentally-friendly. Nevertheless, customers can’t stop buying them so manufacturers are going to sell them. And if you’re going to have one, have a good one. These two cars, the Audi Q7 e-tron and the Volvo XC90 T8, are likely the best of the breed.

In this new test from Auto Express, they pit these two massive hybrids against each other to see which is best. But while they’re similar in objective, they differ greatly in approach.

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The Audi Q7 e-tron actually does use a diesel engine, which is smart, as it combines the efficiency of a diesel with the clean emissions of a hybrid. So it’s a win/win, really and we’re not sure why more automakers don’t make diesel hybrids. Plus, imagine the torque(!). The Q7 e-tron sports a 3.0 liter turbocharged V6 TDI diesel engine paired with an electric motor to make a total system power output of 369 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque. That setup is mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and powers all four wheels. It’s capable of 0-60 mph in 6.4 seconds and can get 47 mpg (UK Cycle).

Whereas the Volvo XC90 T8 uses a 2.0 liter twin-charged (supercharged and turbocharged) four-cylinder petrol engine that is also mated to an electric motor. That interesting combo makes a total power output of 401 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque. So it’s quite a bit punchier than the Audi. That punchy combo is paired with an eight-speed automatic and powers all four wheels, also. It can get from 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds and returns 57 mpg (UK Cycle). So not only is the Volvo quicker, it’s more frugal as well.

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In this test, the Audi Q7 e-tron came in second place. It’s a great car with some very positive qualities, such as its refined powertrain, fantastic interior and a nice balance between performance and comfort. However, it’s more expensive than the Volvo, lacks an as-standard third-row seat and is much less fuel efficient. That last bit is important when it comes to hybrids. It’s still a very good car, with a comfortable ride and sharp steering. It’s just not as good of a hybrid SUV as the Volvo.

That leaves the Volvo as the winner, even if it isn’t as nice on the inside nor as comfortable. However, it’s just as good to drive, more practical, cheaper, more fuel efficient and has less negatives. So it takes the win, here.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.