Premium Three-Row SUVs: Comfort meets Dominance

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Premium Three-Row SUVs: Comfort meets Dominance

A special kind of car exists in the history of automotive evolution that can at times defy reason and yet make perfect sense: full-size, three-row family SUVs, especially luxury models.

How did we get here? Well, once upon a time, families would traverse highways in station wagons, those wood-paneled relics that just screamed “dad-mobile”.

Fast-forward a few decades and those wagons would give way to large SUVs and from there, the rise of the three-row configuration became inevitable. They are incredibly practical and supremely comfortable. Still, you can be cynical about them in one of two ways.

Yes, they’re very useful, but then again, for every soccer mom or dad who appreciates the added cargo space and excellent towing capacity, there’s also someone with an insatiable thirst for status and supremacy within the suburban jungle.

Premium Three-Row SUVs: Comfort meets Dominance

Nowadays, it’s partly about dominance – asserting yourself over your peers by driving something that can swallow two parking spaces like a black hole swallowing a neighboring celestial body. But let’s not dive too deep into that right now. It’s not like these things are going to be changing any time soon.

Let’s talk about the upcoming Audi Q9, Ingolstadt’s answer to the BMW X7 and the Mercedes-Benz GLS. On the one hand, yes, it’s surprising that it took Audi this long to dip their toes in this segment. But on the other hand, the Q7 has always sort of walked that thin line between mid-size and full-size SUVs.

It’s always been that tiny bit longer than the equivalent Mercedes GLE or BMW X5, so you could argue that Audi didn’t want a potential Q9 eating into the Q7’s popularity.

Of course, we now live in an era where just about anything goes. Carmakers are taking more and more chances, expanding segments, creating new ones, and ditching established design languages in favor of controversial ones. It’s like the Wild West but with board meetings and sketch artists.

What do we think about the design?

We’ve seen the Q9 a whole bunch of times, at least as a disguised prototype. We’ve also seen it being rendered a few times, but we’d like to bring this latest illustration to your attention because we believe it’s the most accurate rendering yet of Ingolstadt’s upcoming flagship SUV.

I like the spec. It’s a line’ model and the dark accents around the exterior work well with the dark gray hue. This styling could also work on an SQ9, maybe an RS Q9, although the latter would require thicker wheel arches.

As for how this might look compared to the X7 and the GLS, I’d say it’s prettier than the former and about as elegant as the latter.

What I don’t know is just how many Escalade, Navigator, and Range Rover buyers would ever consider switching to something like the Q9. But surely Audi has at least some idea.


By Park-Shin Jung

I am Park-Shin Jung. I am a professional content writer for cars.

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