Face it: For all their overwhelming popularity, and for all the current uncertainty over just where federal fuel-economy standards are going to end up, automakers still have to labor away, en masse, on some way to make these inherently inefficient vehicles more environmentally conscious. If the idea of a small-displacement, high-output engine in one of these things sounds a little off kilter, get used to it. Last year, we spent some seat time in the Midwest aboard a Chevrolet Equinox LT with a 2.0-liter Ecotech inline-four that acquitted itself quite well, accelerating eagerly toward an 85 MPH cruise. That displacement has been dropped to 1.5 liters for 2020. So what Audi’s doing with the Q7 45 isn’t so unorthodox by current practices.
The standard powertrain for the 2020 Q7 45, the more basic of the two Q7 models, is reminiscent of that Equinox’s. It’s based around Audi’s 2.0-liter TFSI inline-four, mated to a standard eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission and, of course, Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system. For its smallish displacement, the TFSI engine’s output numbers are impressively robust; 248hp and 273-lbs.ft. of torque. The Q7 55 applies TFSI technology to its 3.0-liter V-6 with twin-scroll turbocharging. Prices get out of the gate at $54,800.