Ditched the Audi Q7 for Toyota Highlander!
Now I know the title could be a bit surprising for many folks. Why would someone get rid of an Audi for a Toyota? I’ll explain all that in the following overview. Thanks for reading!
The beginning of 2017 my wife got the hankering to get rid of her Honda Pilot and jump into an Audi SUV. She’s a very analytical person who’ll read many reviews just to buy a bottle of shampoo. Me? Not so much. As much research she had decided on the Audi for many great reasons. Safety is our top priority. After that, probably fuel economy due to her being a realtor and driving at least 20,000 miles a year. She had found a Q7 Premium Plus. That’s the top of the line Q7 with right around 15K miles on it. We purchased it from a dealer in Fargo, North Dakota and met their delivery guy in Lincoln, NE to take possession. Truth be told, I had never spent that much money of a vehicle and felt a little weird doing it because we tend to be more tight but we did it anyway. We also tend to keep vehicles for many years, so we were planning to drive it until the wheels fell off.
At first, I was a surprised at how nice it really was. I’m no stranger to German vehicles having driven many Mercedes, BMWs and other feats of German engineering. I will never knock their vehicles because they are top notch. The whole time I lived in Germany I owned a 535i and loved it. This was my first Audi, however. I was not disappointed. I loved the 3.0 supercharged engine and 8 speed automatic transmission. I had the cruise control set to 92 on the way home and the tachometer was sitting peacefully at 2100rpms; while getting 22mpg. You can’t beat that! The vehicle was very roomy, climate systems were catered to each rider and that sucker felt like a BMW on the road. Not long after we bought it we received our first notice of a recall or TSB to be performed. No biggie, we got it taken care of. A couple weeks ago we received another one for the fuel rail as well. One issue with performance vehicles is tires. Due to the tuning of suspension (i.e. camber primarily), tires will go faster than normal vehicles. Let’s face it, German autos are designed for autobahn driving. Having to replace the tires at $400/tire kinda starts to make you scratch your head and wonder. All the tires on this vehicle were worn out by 32K miles. Furthermore, since it’s a high compression motor, you have to run premium fuel in it. All these things start to add up.
Reading all the books that I read and audio books I listen to I just started to wonder. Robert Kiyosaki talks about his rich dad driving an old pickup around Hawaii. The man was one of the most wealthy people on all the islands. Warren Buffett still drives older vehicles and eats at McDonald’s. Grant Cardone talked about, in his 10X book, driving an older vehicle. Many wealthy, smart people will tell you the same thing. So my wife and I discussed this and came to the decision to “downgrade” a bit. We really didn’t NEED all that in the Audi. After a few days in this new vehicle I don’t feel it was a downgrade, though.
After a few days of back and forth with the dealer, we finally negotiated an agreement that we felt was fair for both sides. That agreement resulted in us driving away in a brand spanking new 2019 Toyota Highlander Limited Platinum Hybrid. WHAAAAT?!?! Yep! This is our first hybrid vehicle as well. Again, my wife did more than her due diligence in research on the Highlander. Being rated #2 behind the Subaru we felt this was the one for us. It’s all-wheel drive with Toyota’s AWD-i, has the same panorama sunroof, the accent lighting like the Audi on the interior of the doors, WAY better gas mileage using regular fuel and a better looking vehicle. The warranty we got is an 8 year 100k mile as well as the package that covers all services up to 100,000 miles. The vehicle doesn’t ride as tight as the Audi but I like it better. I also own a 2015 370z Nismo, so if I want sporty I have that. The interior is a beautiful cream interior and the exterior is what they call Shoreline Blue Pearl. As far as the tech goes, it has all the same navigation, XM radio, Bluetooth and other neat features. We got the one with the captain’s chairs in the back which frees up more room. The Highlander also has 3rd row seating and much more leg room behind the passenger and driver’s seats. I also like the option to just pop the rear window open to grab something vs having to open the entire tailgate. I gotta tell ya, the Japanese have really stepped up their game in recent years in the auto industry. I’m not surprised the Japanese and Germans joined forces to build the new 2020 Toyota Supra.
Since I mentioned safety being a large driver of our vehicle choice, I like the lane assist and cruise control radar the Highlander has. The Audi didn’t have that. I also like the story of a friend of mine who was T-boned in his Highlander, totally his vehicle, and he walked away. He went right back and bought another Highlander. The cameras surrounding the vehicle are just as good, if not better, than the Audi. It’s crazy how much you can see around that vehicle.
All-in-all I am very pleased with Highlander. I told my wife yesterday after driving her new ride, that I really enjoy driving it. It’s just amazing how nice it rides. In the Audi I felt tense, like I was in race mode or whatever. Just stressed. Not the the Toyota. It’s very relaxing to drive and I think it’s a gorgeous vehicle. Very classy looking. I can’t really think of anything I don’t like about it or anything I would change. One thing the Audi had that the Toyota does not is the driver’s seat memory settings. When I had the key fob and opened the door, the seats and mirrors adjusted to my settings. With the Toyota I have to press the #2 button on the door. I mean, 1st world problems, right? I really dig the hybrid system. Having never owned one I’m enjoying how quiet it is in stop and go traffic. I even drove up a hill on our property in EV (electric) mode. I was pretty impressed with how much torque that thing has. So, if you’re in the market for a new SUV, I highly recommend giving the Toyota Highlander a hard look.
Click this link for a side-by-side comparison of the two. Audi Q7 vs Toyota Highlander
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