The station wagon isn't dead – it has just morphed into a number of differently named vehicles. In the 2014 Allroad, Audi has taken all that was sweet about its now defunct A4 Avant, added a bit more ground clearance, some shiny skid plates and some tacked-on plastic protectors, and created a wagon with a hint of off-road potential. In truth, the Allroad is not designed for 4-wheeling, but it will get its occupants safely through the unplowed passages of morning commutes and weekend ski resort jaunts. It's true that the 2014 Allroad lacks the V6 power and adjustable height suspension, but it favors comfort and economy over utility. Those who need a more rugged option can always look to the marvelous Q5.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a vehicle that is as versatile as a small SUV but looks, drives and feels more like a sensible luxury sedan, the 2014 Audi Allroad dominates a very small field of wagon offerings.
You May Not Like This Car If...
You'll get better off-road ability and a lower price by going with a nicely loaded Subaru Outback Limited. Or, you can go the other way and get more power and sportier looks with the Cadillac CTS and CTS-V wagon.
For 2014, the Audi Allroad has its horsepower raised to 220. Bluetooth, Audi music interface and a driver information system are made standard, while Audi advanced key keyless entry and start is added to the Premium Plus package.
Driving the allroad
While we can't say the 2014 Audi Allroad delivers the same kind of thrills one gets behind the wheels of an A7 or S4, it still delivers a driving experience...
... far above the average compact SUV. During our test drive, Mother Nature threw the book at us, delivering relentless downpours and wind gusts as we made our way through a narrow Colorado mountain pass. During all of it, the Allroad simply did its job. We were not able to take the Allroad off-road, and Audi doesn't recommend you do, but it was nice to know that the 7.1-inches of ground clearance and standard quattro AWD would probably be enough to get us through snow, mud and unpaved logging roads if need be. 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).
GOOGLE EARTH 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 less than a grand. 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.
2014 Audi allroad Details
The 2014 Audi Allroad may not look as roomy as the Q5 SUV, but an additional 3.5 inches in length gives it 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 adults in back. Moving to the front seats, the Audi Allroad offers the same magic mix of materials, quality and design that keep Audi interiors at the top of the rankings.
Like Samson drew power from his long locks, the 2014 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 leather seating and other luxury basics, the 2014 Audi Allroad wagon includes a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats and a 6.5-inch color screen with audio/climate/vehicle controls. Also onboard is Bluetooth and Audi's music interface that allows for accessing music from an iPod or iPhone and control of said device via the car's audio system.
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 2014 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, including side-assist blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and navigation with Audi Connect.
Under the Hood
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 6.4 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 Q5crossover. Top speed is electronically limited to 130 mph.
The 2014 Audi Allroad's $41,600 starting price is actually $4,000 higher than the Audi Q5's and about $3,000 more than the 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. If money is not an issue, the Cadillac CTS Performance wagon or BMW 328i xDrive might be a nice choice. Resale value promises to be an Audi Allroad strong suit. To be sure you're making your best deal, check our Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their Allroads.
Cons: "Un-servicable in every way W/O dealer intervention"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This car is designed to last just long enough for you to pay for it. All of the parts (including the antifreeze and wiper blades) can only be purchased at the dealer. Wiper blades are $45 bucks a pair. After owning the car for 2 years it has oil leaks and the dealer was the only place to get the parts and service but why would I need $6000 worth of warranty service on a new car? Additionally, the car is worth only about 70% of what I bought it for just 1.5 years ago- It does not drive like an MDZ or BMW You will lose money on this purchase"
Pros: "great value, fun to drive, reliable, best traction"
Cons: "user controls, no manual tranny, what cupholders?"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"My goal is to keep this review objective by considering my allroad ratings and comments against other relevant AWD/4WD vehicles I have owned. e.g. Subaru Outback, Volvo S70, first gen Audi allroad, 2004 Audi A4, and a bunch of SUVs large and small. My experience includes 35 years of city, country, and mountain driving in all conditions. I have owned the 2013 allroad for 2.5 years as of this review.
This second gen allroad is fun to drive and surprisingly fast and responsive for a 2.0L engine. Fuel economy is good at 30 mpg highway, ~19 overall if you spend time in traffic or the city. It handles well for a wagon, but it's not an RS4 or M3 so remove that thought from your mind... ;) I enjoy driving it because it's fun. My wife likes driving it because it feels stable, predictable and safe (and fun, but she won't admit it). Something for everyone. The lower center of gravity vs. SUVs is very welcome on snowy roads. I have yet to experience an AWD system that works as well as Audi's Quattro. Nothing replaces driver skill, but I have experienced some very slippery road conditions where the traction control and correction really helped and probably avoided an accident in one case. IMO, Audi is way ahead of the pack in AWD and traction control. Even when trying, it's hard to break the car loose in the snow. Remember the old days when you took your parents car out in the snow to "have fun". Well this car's a spoiler - it doesn't play that game well. The only drawback is that it can make you feel like a better driver than you are (if that's a drawback).
The extra inch of ground clearance adds versatility and safety for rough and snowy roads, but does create more body roll in corners compared to the standard A4 yet still has solid cornering control. It is essentially the former A4 Avant (wagon) with the A5's wider track. Hence the wheel well flares. The wider track provides more stability and control.
The fit, finish and quality of workmanship is impeccable. The seating configuration and comfort is very good. I do have to give a slight comfort nod to Volvo, though. As for the review that claims the car to be too small for average adults, I'm scratching my head. I'm also 6' and 195 lbs and have never had a problem entering the vehicle. There is plenty of legroom and headroom. Now it can be difficult to climb into the driver's seat if a smaller person has moved the seat well forward and you forget to adjust it first. But the car includes an auto adjusting seat memory function tied to "smart keys". You just have to enable it on the onboard computer and the seat will adjust when you open the door. Just don't switch keys with the other driver. :)
I chose the Premium Plus model as it comes with all the most desirable options without breaking the bank. $44K MSRP at the time. Think about it, that's not much more than a decently equipped Subaru... The Prestige model was significantly more and strangely was more expensive than adding the same extra equipment options to a Premium Plus model. Consider buying the Premium Plus and adding the options you desire to avoid paying for those you really don't care about.
The biggest drawback to all Audis is the user interface controls. It is not very intuitive and takes some time to learn. The salesperson took time to show me how to operate all the controls at delivery. That's a great service, but it's also necessary. :-\ The older generation of Audis is more intuitive. But it's a company of engineers and I guess they just think differently... Fortunately, they also build well engineered vehicles."