By Jason Allan
KBB Expert Rating: 7.8
How do you sell a wagon to an American? Make it look a little more like an SUV. The micro-beloved Audi A4 Avant wagon has been replaced in Audi's U.S. lineup by a raised and ruggedized A4 Avant called the 2013 Audi Allroad. In addition to an extra 1.5 inches of ground clearance, stainless steel skidplates and distinctive paint scheme, the 2013 Allroad is differentiated from the 2012 Audi A4 wagon by a host of upgrades that benefit the entire Audi A4/A5 lineup for 2013. We're glad the Allroad is back – the A6-based Allroad that went away after 2005 is a cult classic – but this new one has the daunting task of competing for attention with Audi's terrific Q5 compact crossover.
Chances are you're either indifferent to the Audi Allroad – like most wagon-fearing Americans – or you love it. More versatile than an A4 sedan, (seemingly) more sensible than a Q5 crossover and more distinctive than either, the Allroad is one of a kind.
Surprisingly, the 2013 Audi Allroad is no more fuel efficient than the larger and roomier Q5 crossover. And the Allroad's starting price is higher, too.
The return of the Audi Allroad coincides with a mid-cycle makeover for the broader A4/A5 lineup, incorporating updated front-end styling, interior enhancements and electric power steering.
Driving Impressions The reborn Audi Allroad is more confidence-inspiring than exciting, which is just how Allroad owners want it. In our first couple hours behind the wheel we were attacked by torrential...rains on a mountain highway in Colorado, where the Allroad felt as situationally perfect as a Mai Tai in Hawaii. The outgoing Audi A4 Avant wagon and its lower center of gravity would have been even better, but that's the magic of the Allroad's added cladding and raised stance: It just feels more comfortable with foul weather. We didn't get into any off-road shenanigans, but with 7.1 inches of ground clearance and all-wheel drive, we're sure the Allroad can handle anything a sane owner would throw at it. In normal driving, the Allroad lived up to our Audi expectations, although it was a little stiffer on the highway than we expected (not helped by the optional 19-inch wheels and lower-profile summer tires on our test car), and highway course corrections required more effort than we like (a result of a new electromechanical power steering system rolled out across the A4/A5 lineup for 2013).
Arguably the finest navigation system you can buy, Audi connect features a dedicated Internet connection ($25-$30/month through T-Mobile) that enables detailed Google maps with Street View of your destination, the ability to send a destination from your computer to your car, the ability to connect eight Wi-Fi devices at once, and Google Voice Local Search, which makes it easier to enter a destination via voice.
BANG & OLUFSEN AUDIO
In the top-dog Audi A8, a B&O audio system will set you back $6,300. In the Allroad, it's only $850. No, it's not as powerful or robust and it doesn't have the tweeters that rise magically from the dash, but it's a nice system nonetheless.
The 2013 Audi Allroad is actually 3.5 inches longer than the Audi Q5 crossover, which helps it deliver similar cargo volume at 27 (Allroad) vs. 29 cubic feet. With the rear seats folded down, the difference grows to 50 vs. 57 cubic feet. The Allroad does, however, give up a couple inches in rear legroom to the Q5, which is something to consider if you're weighing the two cars and regularly transport full-grown humans in back. Moving forward to the pilot and co-pilot positions, the Audi Allroad offers the same magic mix of materials, quality and design that keep Audi interiors at the top of the rankings.Exterior
Like Samson drew power from his long locks, the 2013 Audi Allroad also derives much of its strength from an aesthetic source: contrasting, matte-finish wheel arches. Yeah, there's the raised ride height and stainless steel skidplates, but the arches are the Allroad's black turtleneck. Of course, Audi will gladly paint the whole car one color – but only if you give them another $1,000 (and only on silver, black and white models). In addition to the evolved front-end design bequeathed to the whole A4/A5 lineup for 2013, the Allroad gets standout grille styling defined by shiny vertical elements.
The 2013 Audi Allroad has a starting sticker price of $40,495. In addition to leather seating and other luxury basics, the base Allroad includes a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats and a 6.5-inch color screen with audio/climate/vehicle controls.
Those cool Audi LED running lamps cost extra, but so do keyless entry and start, Bluetooth wireless technology, and other modern amenities you might expect to see on the standard equipment list of a $40,000 car today. A loaded 2013 Audi Allroad runs close to $60,000 and includes the world-class infotainment suite detailed in our Favorite Features section of this review, plus an impressive set of driver assistance and personalization technologies.
Other than unremarkable fuel economy, we like everything about the Allroad's familiar powertrain. The renowned 2.0T engine is matched with a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic routing power to all four wheels via Quattro all-wheel drive. Audi says the 3,900-pound Allroad will scoot to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, which is quicker than we might have guessed based on our initial drives. On one hand, those drives took place at altitude, where thinner air can affect power output. On the other hand, turbocharged engines take less of a hit at altitude. Curiously and disappointingly, the Allroad's rated fuel economy is the same as the heavier (by 200 pounds) and taller (by seven inches) Audi Q5 crossover. Top speed is electronically limited to 130 mph.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
211 horsepower @ 4,300 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 mpg
The 2013 Audi Allroad's $40,495 starting price is actually $4,000 higher than the Audi Q5's and about $3,000 more than the 2012 Audi A4 Avant wagon's, but it does offer more standard equipment than either. If that's way out of your budget, a Subaru Outback is the obvious alternative. Resale value promises to be an Audi Allroad strong suit.
By jws (TX) on Monday, August 26, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "handling, luxury, look, power"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"From the look to the interior to the power to the feel, this the finest car I have ever ridden in. I haven't found any weak points. The extra clearance is a big plus. A friend told me it looked it was going 80 MPH when it was just standing still. Get this car."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By GRod (VA) on Tuesday, April 23, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "My wife, 5'1", likes it."
Cons: "Small car if you are average size."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I have owned 2 A6s. I loved them. Room, comfort, great road cars. My wife liked the Allroad and we purchased it. I am only 6', 190, not a "big guy" by any stretch, but I hit my knees on the door frame every time I get into the car. I prefer my old Ford Ranger pickup to getting into this car. The car completely fails to meet my expectations from an Audi. As I said, it is my wife's car and she likes it. It gets 30MPG on the highway and looks nice. It is just not comfortable if you are an averaged sized man."
14 people out of 29 found this review helpful