For one, avoid carparks with narrow lots or be prepared to climb out through the tailgate
10 things about Q7 The Audi Q7 3.0 TDI's height control function for the boot is a winner -- PHOTO: LEE NIAN TJOE

A regular test-drive is like that first date. You seldom get to see the other party for what he or she really is. But what if that first date was stretched over a couple of months? Warts and all begin to surface, that's for sure.

On the other hand, you may also get a glimpse of shiny armour beneath that rough and grimy exterior.

The Audi Q7 3.0 TDI has been with us for more than two months now. Here are the 10 things about the turbodiesel Q7 that were not apparent on the first day:

  1. The car is not as unwieldy at the wheel as before. This comes as a surprise, because the Q7 is not exactly dainty by any stretch of the imagination. But once you get used to its stature, the behemoth is actually quite easy to pilot, compared with, say, a Hummer.

  2. Its throttle appears more responsive now than during the first couple of weeks. Either we have become accustomed to it or it has become accustomed to us.

  3. Fuel consumption varies vastly according to driving conditions. In the city, you get as little as 5km a litre. Once the road opens up, it goes up to 12km a litre.

    Which reaffirms our earlier observation that a diesel car's superior fuel economy is not always apparent in a place such as Singapore. The Q7's economy would have been better if its transmission shifted up more readily.

  4. Despite the above point, the diesel- driven Audi can go without refuelling for well over a week, which is not possible for a petrol version with the same power.

    And when it does visit a pump, it will invariably draw remarks from attendants and motorists alike. Remarks such as, 'Hey, you got the wrong pump', 'Heh, diesel, ah?', and 'Noisy or not, ah?'.

  5. No, the Q7 TDI is not noisy at all. It is surprisingly hushed inside and out. In fact, it is more silent than some petrol cars when idling.

  6. One of the most useful features in the car is the height control for the boot. At a touch of the button, you can lower the SUV appreciably, allowing you to load up without putting your back out. It is also useful if you want to sit in the rear to change into your jogging shoes.

    And the engine does not even have to be running for this mechanism to work.

  7. Parking is not as big a problem as it seems, thanks to the car's accurate park sensors. But a sharp crease on the front bumper means you cannot afford the softest bump in a tight spot. Bumpers are meant for bumping - so perhaps the next Q7 can have a smooth and even front section for that purpose.

    Oh, another thing: Carparks with narrower lots can be a headache. I once had to climb out through the tailgate.

  8. As sizeable as the Q7 is, it is invisible to some road-users. Just last week, the Audi was nearly rammed by two cars. Neither stopped at a Stop sign. Thanks to them though, we can confidently say the Q7 TDI aces the Moose Avoidance Test.

  9. The Q7's interior is spacious but some spots can be a squeeze. In most cars, the gap between the seat and the door will be wide enough to accommodate an umbrella easily. But not quite in the Q7. You will have to fiddle with a wet brolly for up to 10 seconds before you can slot it in.

  10. Nought to hundred is not as relevant to driving pleasure as ample torque. The Q7 TDI achieves the century sprint in 8.5 seconds - not shoddy but not exceptional in today's context, either.

But because it has 550Nm of pulling power from just 2,000rpm, the car feels absolutely effortless for something as big as it is. Most of the time, you need not rev the engine beyond 2,500rpm.

Would I go on a 'second date' with this ample German? At the drop of a hat.