By on April 10, 2009

Station wagon lovers rejoice! Both of you! I kid . . . a bit. Our sources reveal that Audi has decided to bring a smaller, cheaper version of the previous, slow-selling Allroad back to the US market to compete with the 2010 Subaru Outback. Audi will make the official announcement at a forthcoming US dealers’ meeting in Spain. (No bailouts, no problems.) “Audi believes there’s a large number of US Outback owners who’re tired of the brand,” our man reports. “Customers who want the same sort of vehicle, only better.” Well he would say that: he’s in line for one of the first models. Pricewise, expect the A4-based US Allroad (as opposed to the previous gen A6-based model) to start where the Outback ends: in the upper 30s, lower 40s. (As does the A4 sedan.) Timing-wise, Audi hopes to pip the new Outback to the post, putting the wagon into showrooms in September.

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41 Comments on “Confirmed: Audi’s A4-based Wagon Heading Stateside this Fall...”


  • avatar
    Alex Dykes

    I think it is interesting that they see the Outback as their main competition. The Outback may be the sales leader in the off-road wagon segment, but how many buyers honestly cross-shop Audi and Subaru? The A6 used to compete with the XC70 according to Audi once upon a time, now I guess they think the XC70 is too big to compare?

  • avatar
    MMH

    Sold

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I don’t see tons of Subaru-Audi cross-shopping. Obviously Audi reliability/expense would never suit a Subaru owner.

    /the new Honda wagon….maybe

  • avatar
    ARacer

    Wagons rule! Seriously. So much better than xUVs. If you don’t need minivan size the wagon is great. When my WRX dies I will replace with an Outback or equivalent. And not because it is a Subaru. Because it is an awesome, efficient size/package. If there was an alternative like an Accord, Camry or Malibu wagon I would be all over that too. And for reasons of image people no longer buy wagons. Idiots. I remember the 90’s when me style conscious sisters railed against xUVs. Today they wouldn’t consider buying anything else. How does that happen?

  • avatar

    My own sister has, or had the anti-wagon thing. She has a Volvo XC90; didn’t think about paying less for the 70, although she cmplained about the price of the 90. I don’t get it. I’m glad Audi’s bringing this thing over, and I think it’s high time Honda gave us a wagon again.

  • avatar
    DrBiggly

    ARacer: Have you driven an Outback? Because it feels nothing like the WRX. It’s like novacaine was injected into all of your limbs when piloting the vehicle. I say piloting rather than driving as driving to me at least includes at least some form of feedback.
    As far as looks go, the Audi has the Subaru beat hands-down. If Audi is looking at Subaru for competition, Subaru had better step up their game. They’ve been trying, but they aren’t there yet.

  • avatar
    Alex Dykes

    For farm / ranch duty, or the occasional venture out in the woods where no roads go, the Outback/Allroad/XC70 packs something of an advantage in terms of weight and agility compared to full size SUVs, especially those of truck origins. In my test of the last generation XC70 we brought along a GMC Envoy with a winch just in case the XC70 got into trouble, as it turns out the lighter XC70 didn’t have a problem and we ended up having to use the XC70 to get the Envoy out of trouble. So much for locking diffs, doesn’t help in the soft wet steep terrain when you’re just too heavy. The Allroad is bound to have the same advantage, and I look forward to seeing if they bring an air-lift suspension to N. America.

  • avatar
    Dave M.


    If there was an alternative like an Accord, Camry or Malibu wagon I would be all over that too.

    ARacer, let me make your day.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    Most 2009 Outbacks at the local dealer are selling for $20-$25K. Can you even get a new Audi A3 for that coin?

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Since the 3 segment cars have been getting so much bigger, I might give this one a look. However, if they want over 30k for anything with one of their 4 cyl. rattle bags in it, they are smoking. That’s why the A3 doesn’t sell better (well, that and the roof liner being 6″ thick and triggering claustrophobia).

    I really liked the original Allroad, would likely rather have a used one of those, even though I am a bit afraid of the maintenance costs.

    The key benefit to me is the ability to raise the car up to get through flooded streets. Still, it has to carry what my crusher carries, and the A6 could do that.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Let me try that link again.

    http://www.leftlanenews.com/honda-accord-crossover.html

  • avatar
    06M3S54B32

    “Most 2009 Outbacks at the local dealer are selling for $20-$25K. Can you even get a new Audi A3 for that coin?”

    Who cares? The Audi is a car of better fit and finish. I’d doubt too many cross shop a Subi and an Audi.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    Um, how about a RS4 Avant instead, please.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    Subaru will be very pleased to be mentioned in Audi’s dispatches. They just keep on doing their thing, nicely.

    What engine choices for this A4 Allroad? Are Audi brave enough to give the US the 3L TDi?

    Subaru could do a flat-6 turbo diesel. We’d buy that Outback today.

  • avatar
    bjcpdx

    On top of everything else I like about my 2003 Outback, the fact that a 5-speed was the standard transmission clinched the deal. I had previously rented the automatic version, but the manual transforms the car.

    If Audi makes a manual transmission available with all-wheel-drive and develops a Subaru-like record of reliability, then maybe I’ll consider it.

    But my Subaru is probably going to last forever, so don’t hold your breath.

  • avatar
    B-Rad

    If I want an off-roading wagon, I think I’d buy a Forester. If I want a wagon, I think I’d buy an Audi. If I want a mix of the two, I think I’d compromise with an RS4 Avant Quattro. Hey, it’s got all wheel drive.

    To be fair, they are all three on my “When I’m a Trillionaire and Can Buy Anything I Want List”.

  • avatar
    CAHIBOstep

    Sold!

    +TDI = Super Extra Ultra Sold!

  • avatar
    z9

    Was the original allroad really a “slow seller”? My impression was that it was a fairly successful model for Audi, but the price kept rising and at some point, a $50,000+ wagon becomes less attractive as it starts to cut into the amount the target market was spending at REI. When Audi decided not to bring the revised model to the US in 2006, there was quite an outcry and Audi USA went into major P.R. mode.

  • avatar
    jet_silver

    Audi is mentioned more than just about any other cross-shopped brand at legacygt.com. The wagon people there are decidedly unhappy about the Legacy wagons no longer being sold in the US market – most wouldn’t have an Outback because of the on-stilts feeling compared to the Legacy – and this A4 Audi is going to be very attractive.

  • avatar
    johnthacker

    Some people commenting seem a bit confused, and I think that the wording of the original story doesn’t help. Audi already brings over the regular A4 wagon– that’s called the Avant. The A4 allroad, the subject of this story, is the off-road modified version of the wagon (raised a bit, more rugged underbody, a few other things); hence the comparisons to the Subaru Outback and XC70.

    The A6 allroad probably does compare better with the XC70; they’re still not bringing that over, presumably because they believe that Americans want SUVs at that size.

    I’m actually still a bit surprised that this is coming over, since they recently introduced the Q5. Granted, not everyone cross-shops wagons and SUVs, either, but it’s a question of what’s the market to shoot for.

    Audi’s apparently making a few bets that fuel efficiency will become a bigger concern in the US and elsewhere over the next few years (anywhere with lower gas taxes). The effects are throughout their product line– look at the new S4 with a supercharged V6 for better fuel efficiency than the old V8.

  • avatar
    MikeInCanada

    I did not get the whole “Euro Wagon” thing until last year when I had a chance to drive a demo S4 Avant.

    I drove everywhere at warp speed for two days and never got a second look by anyone.

    I knew that I was onto some stealth technology when I was tailgating a Corvette in the left lane at about 150kph when we both passed a Sûreté du Québec cruiser who was trolling on the far right.

    Vette got the ticket. Just perfect.

  • avatar
    erikhans

    HELLO! The Saab 9-3x is coming out soon too. Looks to be the same size and a little less than the Audi.

  • avatar
    AKM

    guyincognito :
    Um, how about a RS4 Avant instead, please.

    Europe only, unfortunately.

    Mikeincanada: glad you’ve found the light! Note that it doesn’t work as well with hatchbacks, because of the F&F movie franchise.

    Is it just me or does the back of this Audi look exactly like an Infiniti EX35?

  • avatar
    riley707

    I wouldn’t call it cross shopping. I’ve been a loyal Subaru owner for 11 years and for that time the brand served its purpose. Fast forward two kids later, no more soccer and a more refined career…..I’d call it brand stepping.

    Its time to move on. The 2.5XT is as close as they get and that is miles away from an Audi Avant. Buy a Subaru and those miles will cost you more since they still don’t get the whole thing about gas efficiency. I put the Volvo XC70 in the same boat.

    The more Subaru’s I see on the road, the more I feel like the brand is totally moving DOWN the scale and into some kind of mass market “sheeple” demographic. I used to see Subaru’s with car racks on the top and real dirt on the fenders, but not so much these days. Sheeple don’t mountain bike, and if they do, they own a hybrid they purchased from Dick’s sporting goods.

    The Allroad would be a dream car for me and well within my price range. If this is true I won’t be able to sleep tonight. Seriously. When can I buy one?

  • avatar
    carsRneat

    I am actually looking at the Audi wagon (Avant) and the Subaru Outback. Would have preferred a Legacy wagon – but Subaru decided that if you want the wagon it has to be an Outback. And the new 2010 Outback does not offer the turbo engine.

    Wagons are cool – especially those that exhibit some performance aspirations. They are great “sleeper” cars – go fast and nobody seems to mind. I have also had the experience where the police have just seemed to ignore me in the wagon but go after the bright red sports car in the next lane.

    There is a market for wagons – but the large auto companies have never really addressed it. Notice it is the smaller manufacturers that have made this market?

  • avatar
    CAHIBOstep

    @riley707

    This is the link to information on the Audi USA website:

    Audi A4 Allroad

    There’s no release date, but it’s nice to look at.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Oh darn, it sounds like it doesn’t have the adjustable height suspension system. Anyone know the actual clearance?

  • avatar
    Jared

    Obviously Audi reliability/expense would never suit a Subaru owner.

    Exactly. The A6 Allroad didn’t sell. This won’t either.

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    If Audi doesn’t cheapen it too much or decide Allroad really means “Alltrack” (designed for track performance rather than bad road/versatile driver), it could be viable Outback competitor.

    But in spite of their nicer interiors and Euro focus, Audi will have to boost its product reliability and dealer network, areas where they are well behind Subaru.

    If Audi offered an adjustable suspension as an option, that would further distinguish them from Outback.

  • avatar

    Interesting they see opportunity at plucking Outback sales. While fundamentally similar vehicles, the price gap jump from OB to Allroad is a reach for even Travis Pastrana. Not until the A4AR starts flooding the used market will they actually see any cross-shopping with the OB.

    Even then, Audi still battles recent reliability woes and exorbitant repair costs. Anybody planning to drive well past the 100K CPO warranty would be better served by the cheaper-to-maintain Subaru which will go the distance for a fraction of the cost. That’s what put this driver in an OBXT, even though I concede the A4 is a better driver’s car with more creature comforts.

    Some people will pay to play, but there are few of those in the Subaru crowd.

  • avatar
    JeremyR

    I’m one of those nonexistent cross-shoppers, too. Granted, we were cross-shopping a new Outback 2.5 XT against a used allroad. At the time we also owned another Audi (the TT).

    Ended up buying the Subaru. The same money would have bought a non-CPO allroad with some 30K miles on it. We figured we’d rather have the warranty.

    While we’re happy with the Subaru, if Audi closes the price gap enough, its replacement may be this Audi wagon. We’ll check out the wagon landscape again in a few years…

    Cheers,
    Jeremy

  • avatar
    Rix

    I can’t see cross shopping…in my experience, lack of a luxury nameplate is a positive for Subaru customers…who want something unobtrusive and different, but highly reliable. I think Outback drivers will probably cross shop RAV4 and CRV. A loaded RAV-4 pushes 30k and certainly plays in the same territory price-wise.

  • avatar
    SV

    One look at the new Outback will send many scrambling over to the Audi dealer for this. One look at the price tag and Audi’s reliability record and they’ll scramble right on back.

  • avatar
    gaspassoregon

    first comment after a lot of surfing this site…

    I am one of those mythical audi-subaru cross shoppers, ending up buying a new ’08 legacy spec b instead of leasing the ’09 A4/A6. Definitely passed on a near new CPO 335xi screaming deal.

    Why- now just doesn’t appear/feel to be a great time to pull up in a new(er) German sedan/wagon. At least Audi used to be a little more understated in design. I was willing to save a little cash and forego a few (not really all that much) creature comforts to not look like I was “flaunting.” Not to mention I got a car with S4 speed at 2 yr old A4 pricing.

    When times hopefully improve, you better believe that I would cross shop again, and paying a little extra for creature comfort, fit/finish, and relatively exceptional service would be acceptable/desirable.

    Reliability in the first couple three years was really not an issue with either of the new audis I previously leased, and if it had, usually the dealer makes you fairly whole with a loaner and a fair attempt to minimize your inconvenience. Service when paying these prices, I believe, is worth something.

  • avatar
    kaleun

    The choice between Subaru (uber expensive mainteanance) and Audi (uber expensive repairs). If Honda had the balls to bring over the Accord Wagon, or Toyoata the Avensis Wagon and possibly with AWD, no one who does a life cycle cost analysis would even consider Audi or Subaru.
    Well, someone who wants and can afford fancy schmancy would pick the Audi. I just don’t see anyone wanting aa Subaru with GM technology (headgasket? timing belt? service schedules that force replacement of the entire car every 30,000 miles?). I guess only in America where the competing wagons are absent Subaru has any significant sales.

  • avatar
    bjcpdx

    kaleun:

    Expensive maintenance for the Subaru? Not my experience at all, though it may vary somewhat depending on the individual dealer.

    What does “life cycle cost analysis” of an Audi or a Subaru have to do with what Honda or Toyota might bring over? At the rate I’m going with my Outback, the cost over its predicted long life will be quite low.

    During the short time that GM owned a 30% interest in Subaru, the only borrowed technology was that OnStar was available in some Subaru models. Otherwise there was no design connection.

    Way back at 30,000 miles, I considered my Outback to be barely broken in. I must have missed the section of the service schedule forcing me to replace the entire car at that time.

  • avatar
    Rix

    Subarus tend to be expensive to maintain. This is a function of the AWD and turbo systems which add complexity and therefore cost. My WRX also tends to require expensive spark plugs, tires and brakes because of the way I drive.

    I bet an Audi 2.0T Quattro costs even more to maintain, though. All the complexity, plus legendary Audi electrical sytems.

  • avatar

    Note to Audi:

    While there may be a “large” number of Outback owners who are tired of the brand, there is a much, much even bigger number of those who are sick of Audi and their little buddies, VW.

  • avatar
    bjcpdx

    kaleun & Rix:

    Could it be that we are confusing maintenance and repair? Maintenance is not what you do when something goes wrong.

    It may well be that the AWD system is more expensive to repair. I wouldn’t doubt it. And two owners have told me that if they had it to do over again they would not opt for the turbo. They both had problems with it, but like the car otherwise.

    For me, however, all this is theoretical. My Outback has never needed any repairs.

    OK, I’m done.

  • avatar
    kaleun

    I know what maintenance is..
    and a boxer motor (many more parts than an inline!)that is hard to access and with timing belt is expensive to maintain. I’m not even going into the AWD maintenance.
    Just look into the maintenance schedule what has to be done. Obviously the “replacing the entire car after 30,000 ,miles” was a bit ironic and not too literal. but cost-wise probably 1/4 of the car. I guess I have to specially mark ironic parts of comments. Of course, if you don’t do the manufacturer recommended maintenance it is cheaper (until it falls apart due to neglected maintenance, of course)
    Repairs are quite bad too… just google headgasket and subaru. There even is a specific website http://www.subaruheadgasket.com/ I pee my pants… worth reading if you think Subaru has little repair.. :-)
    Life cycle cost on a Honda or Toyota is lower… you could translate that into $/mile as well.

    I didn’t know GM only provided OnStar. When you open the hood it sure looks as bad designed as a GM car when you think of accessibility for maintenance and repair (hence the high cost to maintain).

    I just don’t see how anyone would buy a car with a timing belt anymore. What’s next, carburetor?

    My wife used to and my mom in law has a Subaru. Really expensive to maintain. $ 700 maintenance bills? sure they probably cheated in useless stuff. but looking into the schedule and replacing spark plugs, timing belt every 100 miles (cautious, irony!!)? I have a Mazda and spark plugs after 100,000 miles, timing chain, everything easy to access. So far I paid $100+ for oil changes over 33,000 miles (I add my own wiper fluid and check my own tire pressure, but that maintenance cost is the same with every car). Maybe at 50,000 I change the coolant and brake fluid, brake pads if necessary. Just add up how much the Subaru requires when it hits 50,000.

  • avatar

    kaleun I don’t read about Subaru, I own one. I have never had a trouble with it in the 110,000 miles I have put on it so far. I bought it used with over 40,000 on it already. I am not sure what the hell you are talking about with maint costs. I even take the car in to the subie dealership for the 30,000 mile maint and I am not being blown away here. So for a car with 150,000 miles on it that feels as good as the day I bought it, I haven’t spent more on this thing’s maint than I did with my Camry.


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