Are 2.0L Turbos the Way Forward? 2018 Audi Q7 2.0T vs Volkswagen Atlas and Acura MDX V6 Drag Race [Video]

The engine downsizing trend is alive and well, and now it’s making its way to three-row crossovers.

There’s just something about the phrase “2.0-liter turbo”. It sounds proper. It sounds like the correct way to do things, somehow. That notion isn’t entirely unfounded: 0.5-liter cylinders seem to hit the sweet spot for achieving the most power with the least displacement. Turbocharging also boosts power and efficiency, so 2.0-liter turbos are now making their way into a wide range of cars. They’ve been firmly entrenched in the realm of economy cars for awhile now, but even larger crossovers are starting to see the effect. Take the 2018 Audi Q7 2.0T, for instance – for this model year, they’ve fitted their largest three-row SUV with a 2.0-liter turbo. The 3.0-liter six-cylinder unit is still available, but this shows even large cars are feeling the downsizing trend.

But is that decision to move to a 2.0-liter turbo founded from a performance standpoint? In today’s video, we pitch two of the V6 “old guard” against the Q7. Namely, we have the 2018 Acura MDX and the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas. Both of those cars are thoroughly modern, but they do carry on the older philosophy of larger displacement, naturally-aspirated engines over small, turbocharged units.

Acura MDX vs Audi Q7 vs Volkswagen Atlas drag race
The 2018 Audi Q7 2.0T squares off against the Acura MDX and Volkswagen Atlas V6…but which will emerge victorious in a drag race? [Photo: TFLcar]

The contenders: by the numbers

The 2018 Acura MDX is the most powerful three-row SUV of this bunch, making 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque from a 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated V6. It’s also the lightest, tipping the scales at just under 4,300 pounds. That VTEC engine sends its power to all four wheels through Acura’s “Super Handling All-Wheel Drive” system. At $57,645, the MDX isn’t the cheapest one here, but it does make the best average fuel economy. The MDX just makes it to the front of the pack with 22 combined MPG.

Volkswagen’s all-new Atlas is the cheapest car here, but there is a price to pay. The 2018 Atlas SEL costs $43,775 as equipped, and it is the largest, most practical of the lot. But it scores the worst on fuel economy, at 20 MPG combined, and it makes the least torque, at 266 lb-ft. While the MDX and Audi Q7 are all-wheel drive, this particular Atlas is a front-wheel drive model. Will that help or hinder it in a drag race? Watch the video above to find out!

Finally, there’s the 2018 Audi Q7 2.0T. It packs the most torque – 273 lb-ft – and it is turbocharged, which does help at a mile above sea level. However, it’s by far the heaviest car here, tipping the scales at 4,700 pounds, nearly 400 pounds heavier than the Atlas. It’s also the most expensive, at just over $62,000. It does have a Quattro all-wheel drive system, so will that and the turbocharged power make it the champion?

Find out just how quick these three-row haulers are against each other, as well as their 0-60 times in the video above. Stay tuned to for more news, views and real-world reviews! If you enjoy our content, please consider donating to TFL through our Patreon page.