By on July 10, 2012

Americans are smart people. Avoid the word “wagon” in favor of “Avant,” and they still see a wagon. And don’t buy it. So for 2013 there are no more Avants for us. Instead, the “allroad” is back. Audi promises that it’s more than just a fancy name.

The original allroad differed quite a bit from the A6 Avant. Terribly late to the SUV party, Audi took a midsized A6 wagon and flared the fenders, widened the track, raised the ride height, and fitted an over-engineered height-adjustable air suspension that rendered the 2001-2005 allroad both more capable of venturing off the pavement and less capable of staying away from the dealer. Unlike in the Avant, a manual transmission was available. Between a 250-horsepower turbocharged V6 borrowed from the S4 (and not offered in the Avant) and a 4,167-pound curb weight (a gain of 100 kilos), the SUV-like wagon’s EPA ratings were an SUV-like 15 city, 20 highway (14/21 with the manual). When the Q7 SUV finally arrived, Audi dropped the allroad from its U.S. line.

Now, after a seven-year hiatus, the allroad is back. Or is it? The new one is based on the A4, not the A6. Audi refers to the new car and last year’s A4 Avant as “cousins,” but the DNA suggests a much closer relationship. Both cars have the same, single powertrain option, a 211-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine driving all four wheels through a manually-shiftable eight-speed automatic transmission. There’s no S-worthy six and no available manual transmission. Also no air suspension, though the fender flares (second tone standard, body color an extra grand), wider track (from the S5 coupe), and suspension lift (by 1.5”) reappear. Oh, I almost forgot: the allroad also gets a bespoke chrome grille and fascia-mounted stainless steel skid plates, “giving you the right kind of armor to help battle even the toughest backcountry roads.” The interior appears identical to that in the A4, typical tasteful Audi fare.

Audi suggests that, despite the platform and powertrain downgrades, the new allroad comes pretty close to the old one. Its cars have been growing with each redesign, so the current A4 isn’t too much smaller than the A6 two generations back. Your eyes will report otherwise. The original allroad felt like a midsize car inside. The new one feels like a compact, especially in the back seat, where both shoulder room and legroom are down by a couple of inches. Cargo volume with the second row folded suffers the most dramatic cut, from 73.2 cubic feet to 50.5.

Audi is on firmer ground with powertrain performance. Peak horsepower might be down, but so is curb weight, to 3,891 pounds. Meanwhile, midrange power is about the same (peak torque is 258 pound-feet for both the previous car’s V6 and the current one’s four) and the automatic transmission picks up three ratios. The 2013 car feels a little winded passing on an uphill in the Colorado mountains, but then so would the original. (Audi apparently selected the route for ambiance, not for showing off its powertrains.) The 2.0T feels fairly energetic near sea level in the A4, and it should feel much the same in the new allroad. The various changes do strongly benefit fuel economy, which the EPA rates 20/27. (Audi notes that the new car does as well in the city as the old one did on the highway. They don’t note that the discontinued Avant managed 21/29.)

I personally prefer compact cars to midsize ones, as they can feel much more agile. Despite a strong supercharged V6, the latest A6 is too large to play. The problem with the allroad is that a higher ride height tends to harm handling. Well, forget that tendency. The new allroad drives very much like the A4, too heavy and mature to qualify as tossable but carving the mountain roads with a solid structure, no slop, moderate roll, and good balance. The all-wheel-drive system’s default 40/60 rearward bias contributes to the last. Consider my fears unfounded and my expectations exceeded. The steering, as in all of Audi’s “B-segment” cars for 2013, gets its assist from an electric motor rather than a hydraulic pump. For better or worse, the new system feels very similar to the old one, with moderate heft and good weighting but minimal feedback. The standard seats lack lateral support, but a $500 “sport interior” option fixes this.

The 2012 A4 Avant started at $37,275. The 2013 allroad starts at $40,495. The “Premium Plus” package added $4,600 last year but adds $3,300 with the new car (because 18-inch wheels and rain-sensing wipers are standard), leaving a difference of just under $2,000. (Which might explain why the Avant is gone and the allroad is back.) Google Earth-based nav (which includes WiFi hotspot capability and moves the MMI knob from the center stack to a much more ergonomic location on the center console) adds another $3,050. A decade ago, the original allroad listed for about the same price when equipped similarly (but with a few more inches, a couple more cylinders, and the trick air suspension). Checking all the boxes on the 2013 (B&O audio, layered wood trim, sport seats, 19” wheels, adaptive cruise, active steering) takes the sticker all the way up to $56,695.

Seeking something more the size of the original allroad? Well, Volvo offers the XC70 (but no longer the V70) for about $3,200 less when both cars are fitted with heated leather seats and 18-inch wheels (based on TrueDelta’s car price comparison tool). The bigger, softer, heavier Swede doesn’t handle as well as the Audi, and won’t go as far on a gallon of gas (18/24), but its roomier interior includes some primo front seats. Best of all, for a mere pittance ($200!) you can literally boost the inline six-cylinder engine from 240 horsepower to 300.

The original Audi allroad acquired something of a cult following. This won’t be happening with the new one. It’s a good car, but not a special one. Then again, Mom always admonished the intended market against joining a cult. Perhaps good is good enough, and the SUV stylings will actually sell more wagons. Though it didn’t stand out in any particular way, the “right sized” allroad looked and felt the ideal tool for a round trip between Denver and the posh mountain resort.

Audi provided insured and fueled cars, airfare, deluxe accommodations, an abundance of gourmet food, all we cared to drink (a single beer in my case), and a gift that contained the press kit (since regifted to a reader).

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta.com, an online source of car reliability and pricing information.

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88 Comments on “Review: 2013 Audi allroad...”


  • avatar
    imag

    Nice review Michael. I wish every car review would quote both the base and fully loaded prices.

    • 0 avatar
      jjklongisland

      I second that…

    • 0 avatar
      sjb

      Ok, to save me a trip to the nearest Audi dealer (which is not so nearby) can anyone tell me the verical height of trunk, ahem, cargo space and if there’s a lip? It sounds weird, I know, but it’s the first thing I look at now as I’m researching replacing our ’95 VW Passat Wagon. Our vertically challenged 125lb Bernese mountain dog can jump up in the trunk of our wagon and sit up comfortably without using ramp and it’s most convenient since we take him out at least once or twice a day to the park. I like wagons because they are lower to the ground, generally have more overall cargo space and no lip in the trunk. Some of the new models I’ve looked at such as the Acura TSX and the Suburu Outback have much less trunk room, at least verically and/or much higher off the ground. The new Jetta wagon has only has 170 hpw, same as our ’05 Passat which has been laggy, to say the least, and with the experience I had with my ’02 GTI I think it’ll be a long while before I ever consider another VW. Going to look at the Volvo XC70 next and perhaps the Audi allroad, depending on feedback. Thanks.

      PS – Cost not a major issue.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        Cargo area height is 773 mm (about 30.5″).

        Full dimensions on Audi’s German site:

        http://www.audi.de/de/brand/de/neuwagen/a4/a4-allroad-quattro/informieren/design/exterieur.html#source=http://www.audi.de/de/brand/de/neuwagen/a4/a4-allroad-quattro/informieren/technische_daten/abmessungen.html&container=page

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Your Bernese Mountain Dog will hate you forever if you cart him/her around in this.

        Get that noble beast a carriage where he can stand tall and proud! (and where you won’t fret if he drools all over the place and gnashes the leather seating material in what is a $40,000 to $56,000 2.0 liter, 4 cylinder, smallish, pseudo luxur-ish-ness-kind-of(and marginally pseudo at that) station wagon.

  • avatar
    slance66

    Good review and the right move for Audi. My wife loves wagons. She also hates cars that are low to the ground. I think many women are similar. SUV height is not required, but the normal German wagons are too low. The Allroad and the Volvo XC strike the right balance (the Outback did too, until they jacked it up). The Venza is in the right ballpark as well.

    This car is just a bit too pricey. Maybe by the time we need to replace her RX350, the used Allroads will be in a more affordable range. I like the size of the A4 Avant, the A6 is too wide and bulky.

    • 0 avatar
      ktm_525

      You wife must be related to mine. She loves wagons but not the ride height. Our last wagon (Volvo V70R) was a one- two punch of waaay to low ride height and massive turn radius. I always felt the Allroad or XC70 was the best compromise in the real world of parking blocks, square curbs and potholes.

      • 0 avatar

        EXACTLY my belief as well. That is why I like the OB (I have a the last gen). The great thing is that, as mentioned in the review, these cars really don’t give up much of anything in the handling department (unless you are comparing it to the S4, which is unfair). I for one am constantly frustrated by the super low cars of the today, which basically force you to buy something taller due to a bumper that is an inch and a half of the pavement.

  • avatar

    Great review Michael.
    I have no idea why I hate wagons. I just do.

  • avatar
    duffman13

    I liked the old allroad a bunch. Knew a guy who did the RS4 turbo conversion on it to turn it into a 400+hp fire breathing monster. It’s a shame Audi did away with the 2.7 biturbo power plant.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      Probably because that 2.7TT engine was a nightmare of poor durability and serviceability.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        That still doesn’t make it any less awesome.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        “Americans are smart people.” – Michael Karesh’s click-bait trick to get me to read a wagon review (hey, it worked…..it worked).

        This is the modern Volkswagen wagon I would buy if I was in the market for a wagon (I’m not), trusted VW/Audi reliability (I don’t), and it it didn’t carry what is easily a $12,000 price premium in base configuration and $20,000 price premium fully loaded for those Audi emblems.

        As it is, if I needed more interior room, I’d buy any of a multitudes of vehicles available that will be about 3000% more reliable, 5000% more inexpensive to maintain, having as much or more cargo and interior space, that are just as comfortable and safe if not more so, and pocket the additional 20k.

        Those criteria only rule out the 2012 Jetta Wagon for all reasons above but the the price.

        That fully loaded Allroad price of 56k is BEYOND asinine for a reskinned A4. They must call it the Allroad because it tramples over your financial situation.

        But they shorrr deeed make Clark Griswold’s choice of steed pretty! Whoooo! That Wagon’s got one sweet ass! (really, that’s a nice looking rear end, especially for a wagon).

        If I had to give an alternate title to this review, Michael, it would be “[W]hat’s in a badge?”

      • 0 avatar
        ZCD2.7T

        Tell that to my boss, whose 2003 A6 2.7T has over 165,000 miles on it. He had the car “chipped” at 80K miles as well, so it now makes well over 300 hp and 375 lb ft.

        I sold my last 2.7T with 145K miles on it, having replaced only 2 coil packs as far as repairs other than routine maintenance.

      • 0 avatar
        johnxyz

        Ubermensch is dead-on with his comments on the poor ownership experience with the 2.7T. ZCD2.7T comments are the exception, not the rule. Take it from a former owner.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    I really will never understand why people hate wagons. They offer a great blend of utility and handling.

    Granted, SUVs are definitely getting better. I recently spent some time in a 2012 Grand Cherokee Laredo and it had a nice ride and decent steering. But it’s hard to hide that large, high mass.

    Yesterday I had to haul a bunch of stuff, including a pair of floor-standing speakers I had just finished building. My wagon just swallowed it all without a hiccup.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    The A4 is so HUGE…in wagon form, I can barely distinguish it from the A6. That’s the Sausage-Length School of Design for ya. Not knocking it, though. It made sense to make the A4 bigger anyway, since we’re getting an A3 sedan soon.

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    Overall, not a bad looking car, but that chrome grille looks a little ridiculous. Is than a “North America only” design feature? Ford does that a lot (bring over a nice Euro design, and then slowly chrome the crap out of it year after year…..see Fusion and Escape), and I’ve always hated it. I guess Audi figures that’s what we like too.

    I prefer the a4 Avant (I like lower ride hide, and hate plastic cladding), but I’d probably put this on our list to consider when replacing our V50 at some point….if only it had a manual. Getting harder and harder to find in a wagon sadly.

    • 0 avatar
      Manic

      No, that ugly chrome grille is on Euro version too, IMO just to differentiate from normal A4. Audi has probably some S-Line pack available for de-chroming the whole car or one could just change the grille either to normal A4 part or to some sportier one from a tuning co.

      • 0 avatar
        MeaCulpa

        The front, wide european license plate helps conceal the beam going across the grill and also “breaks up” the wast land of chrome. The front end looks way more “finished” with the euro plate. So basicly the same amount of chrome but a much nicer execution. Compare above with http://carissued.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/2013-Audi-A4-Allroad-Quattro.jpg

      • 0 avatar

        The phrase “cheese grater” has been used to describe another car’s front grill in reviews past… This one should be labeled the “bread slicer”.

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    So it’s a $50k Outback 3.6R with terrible reliabiltiy and less power. I don’t get it.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      A nicer interior and four rings of curb appeal.

    • 0 avatar
      MBsam

      The current A4′s reliability is actually quite good. Get over the old stereotypes. Things change.

      Also, if you’ve ever sat in, or looked at a Subaru you would know it’s nowhere near the same design/materials league as Audi. There are real reasons why this car costs so much more than the Subaru.

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        I have sat in both, and I don’t see $20k in better design and materials in the Audi over the Outback. Reliability hasn’t been proven yet, a look at CR data for 2009(year of the redesign) shows worse than average reliability, so the jury is still out. Maybe “quite good” compared to other German rivals.

      • 0 avatar
        fredtal

        Agreed the Subaru was a buzzing plastic car compared to the Audi I bought and it’s not like Subaru’s are a bastion of reliability.

      • 0 avatar
        onyxtape

        “it’s not like Subaru’s are a bastion of reliability.”

        2012 CR ranks Subaru as a top maker over Toyota and Honda, as they have been alongside those two for a good number of years already.

        97% of all Subarus sold are still on the road.

        Amongst family and circle of immediate friends, there are 12 Subarus driven in mostly stop-and-go city traffic – with half of them running over 180k miles with not a single visit for repairs for any of them.

      • 0 avatar

        CR’s current stats are based on an April 2011 survey. During the time period it covered many of the 2009s were suffering from a minor but irritating issue with the front suspension. The V6s (no longer offered in the A4) additionally had water pumps prone to failure.

        In stats a year ahead of CR’s, the cars are about average:

        http://truedelta.com/Audi-A4/reliability-7

      • 0 avatar
        sjb

        MBsam, I agree.

        Never had a Subaru and after looking closely at the Outback, but not test driving, at the showroom yesterday I now know why. After looking at the cargo area I knew it wasn’t a vehicle for our needs, but overall, not impressive.

        Really appreciate all the feedback here. Based on Michael’s terrific review, DeadWeight’s and other’s replies, I’ve been spared a trip to the Audi dealership.

        PS on CR: I get really irritated the time or two I’ve been suckered into picking up their big issue car review mags. Most of their test drives are on vehicles at least one or two years older, sometimes more, than the new cars they supposedly reviewing.

    • 0 avatar
      onyxtape

      When the Allroad was last available, I saw two different ones dead on the freeway with smoke coming out of the hood in the span of two months – with dealer plates still on.

      What a piece of crap – especially considering the probability of seeing these 2 fine specimens in such close geographical and temporal proximity despite how few they sold.

      • 0 avatar
        fredtal

        I based my comments on what I read in True Delta and Edmunds when I was shopping for (2008) and that I know of two folks who were faced with major rebuilds of the 4wd.

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        I have never heard of anyone having issues with Subaru’s AWD system, it is quite robust. I could see an issue if an owner didn’t read the manual and failed to use tires of the same circumference, towed the car without a dolly, or didn’t disable the AWD when running the compact spare for a lot of miles.

        I would like to see the cost difference of rebuilding the AWD on a Subaru vs an Audi. I suspect the Audi would be several orders of magnitude more expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheatridger

      So have you driven an Outback lately? My wife had one for four days as a loaner, while our old Forester was in the shop. It was painfully bad. The pain came from a headrest that tipped too far forward. I literally couldn’t sit up front. While shedrove, he CVT moaned and groaned like a motorboat, or like a Prius powertrain, without the benefits. The car felt enormous, leaning and sloshing through hard turns. The interior looked nice and cheerful, but one irritating Subie trait remained unchanged from my ’04– you couldn’t use AC without some of the cold air from the dash vents blowing at your hands. I hate that.

      I’ve also driven the new Forester, which we were considering as a next car. On the test drive, I found a steep residential road that the ’12 Forester could only climb at 35 mph. The 4-speed auto couldn’t find a proper gear to enable any acceleration, even lightly loaded. The saleslady urged me to shift manually, saying, “Use the Tiptronic.” Call it what you will, it’s a weak, insipid powertrain that doesn’t deserve comparison with an Audi.

    • 0 avatar
      ZCD2.7T

      1: It doesn’t have to cost $50K. Read the article.
      2: Audi seriously underrates this motor’s power output. Even the allroad version will hit 60 in less than 7 seconds, which wouldn’t be possible with 211 hp.
      3: Check Audi’s RECENT reliability stats
      4: Have you actually ever sat in an Outback? Cheap, cheap, cheap-looking and feeling interior.

      Just sayin’…

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        1) Yeah I know, but it is still at a minimum $5-6k more than an Outback. That’s not chump change.
        2) So what? It’s still a 4cyl in a 50k car.
        3) I have, 2009 not recent enough for you? Just about any car company can make a care reliable for a few years. Call me when Audi has 4-6 years of good scores.
        4) Yes I have. It’s no cheaper looking or feeling than other cars in it’s price range, and in some ways is better than some of them. I just don’t see many thousands of dollars more car there in the Audi. The worst part is how much smaller the Audi is. I would say it is hatchback utility at best in the Audi compared to SUV like space in the Outback.

        I am not arguing that overall the Auid isn’t “nicer” than the Outback, whatever that means is up to the individual. I just don’t see the point of spending that much more for such a similar car as far as utility goes.

    • 0 avatar
      ZCD2.7T

      1: And an Outback is $5-$8K more than a Forester, which offers even MORE practicality. There’s no end to this game – you either appreciate the finer points of cars like Audis or you don’t. I do, you don’t.
      2: The performance, refinement and durability are what’s important, not the cylinder count.
      3: Michael’s own stats show that Audis have been about average in reliability since 2006. It’s 2012, so that’s 6 years. What’s your point again?
      Any car more expensive that something like Civic or Corolla can’t be justified on purely utilitarian grounds – not a Forester, not an Outback and not an Audi.

      You don’t see the point of spending more for less utility, so you’ll keep driving a practical, utilitarian car. I’m fortunate enough to be able to drive an Audi (an S4), and the $$$ I spent to buy it was well worth it to me – I love every minute I’m in the thing.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    When Volvo is charging $200 for 60 horsepower boost to the XC70, you’d think Audi would be ashamed of itself for charging a grand to paint the whole car one color. Ashamed of itself all the way to the bank!

    • 0 avatar
      tallguy

      What am I missing? I was just on Volvo’s web configurator and it looks like the XC70 with a turbo 6 engine costs $6150 more than the inline 6. Where does the $200 figure come from?? Please tell me because I want to buy one!!

      • 0 avatar

        The T6 comes standard with AWD, the Premier Package (leather, sunroof), and 18-inch wheels. Add these to the 3.2 and you end up just $200 lower.

        The allroad comes standard with the same bits, so I’d added them to the XC70 for my price analysis. To further even things out (and replicate the car I drove), I added the Premium Plus Package to the Audi and xenons to the Volvo. I didn’t include this level of detail in the review because the pricing section already seemed plenty long.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Body kit looks ridiculous. Too small to be running boards (although that doesn’t mean someone won’t try to use them for that), just big enough to catch on things.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheatridger

      I won’t say it looks better than the A$. As an allroad owner, I’m appalled at this AR’s repudiation of my car’s clean, understated anti-styling. But if I wanted a new European AWD wagon, this would haveto be on my very short list of options. There are many of us, in places like here in Denver, who live just one steep hill or mile of dirt road away from our destinations. We’ve learned to care about ground clearance. My buddy up in Summit County loves his Jetta Sportswagen TDI. Just an ideal car… except that it can bottom out on the Colorado powder that occasionally visits Ski Country now and then, but not so often.

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    In my opinion, those fender flares, skid plates, whatever they’re called completely ruin the design, transforming the beautiful A4 wagon into a ridiculous looking vehicle which I wouldn’t want to be seen or heard in. Considering the regular A4 wagon already has AWD, I don’t understand its purpose either. If you’re serious about going off road why even buy a wagon, get a Jeep or something. I hate the Impreza Outback for similar reasons

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    I chose the Volvo. I waited 3 weeks to try the Allroad but it wasn’t great enough to overcome the front seat deficit. The height did help on getting in and out, but the little bucket seats are just silly (I am 6’2 and 205 pounds). The Q5 was more comfortable, and is good looking, but the one I drove was noisy. The original Allroad may be close in size, but seemed much more spacious and comfortable to me.

    The impression I got was that the old school Volvo was years behind in many ways, but would last many years longer both due to durability and comfort. There are few places to enjoy driving here, and I tend to spend long hours on I10.

    Audi could only have saved themselves by offering seat choices. Given the varied US demographics I can’t understand why there aren’t dealer option seats available. Market share awaits the innovative player who offers this first.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      On the Volvo XC, what is with that 3.2? Is there a more fuel thirsty low-power six on earth? I love the car, hate the engine. The old 5 cyl turbo was a better powerplant. The MPG numbers for the XC are inexcusable.

      All I want is a midsize wagon, with reasonable ground clearance (not the normal A4 bumper scraping height), decent mileage and reasonable power. Something like the 2013 Fusion in wagon trim would do the trick.

      • 0 avatar
        sjb

        slance66,

        Amen to all that (although I’m kind of fond on bumper scraping height.) We’re probably going to get the Volvo XC, but boy those MPG numbers are very disappointing.

      • 0 avatar
        tallguy

        Accord Crosstour? TSX Sport Wagon?? LOL. I say find a pre-owned Mazda 6 wagon. While everybody calls the Outback a crossover, it’s still very, very wagon-like. And you can get it with a stick!

  • avatar
    eThink

    This new allroad is doomed to fail in North America for a number of reasons. Here is an analysis of potential customers:

    Current Audi Owners:
    > Current allroad owners dislike the new allroad due to lack of engine and transmission options. They also dislike the lack of an adjustable air suspension

    > Current A6 Avant owners dislike the new allroad because of it’s lack of storage capacity

    Current Subaru Outback Owners:
    > The new allroad is too small and too expensive compared to the Audi Outback.

    > Service and maintenance is also more expensive

    Current XC70 owners:
    > The allroad is costs significantly more and has less storage capacity and smaller engines than the XC70.

    Current BMW 3 series Sport Wagon owners:
    > BMW has announced that they will be returning the Sport Wagon to North America

    Current VW Passat Wagon owners:
    > Will probably go with the Jetta Wagon

    > VW will probably offer an AWD Jetta-based AllTrack Wagon in 2014.

    The one wagon that Audi is offering in North America has no market segment. There will be very few “conquest” sales and very few Audi Loyalty sales.

    So how did Audi of America make a business case the A4-based allroad for North America? Who is going to buy it?

    When the new allroad is withdrawn in a few years, AoA will say that Americans don’t want wagons. They will say that the cross-over Q series meets the needs of the NA market.

    I currently own 2004 C5 Audi Avant and really love it. I had planned to buy the new C7 Audi Avant to replace it. I will probably look for a CPO 2010/11 C6 Audi A6 Avant instead.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Excellent points, but the Jetta is teeny for the driver while spacious for his stuff. VW must lose lots of older customers because if you can’t afford a larger VW you leave, and if you can you likely step up. At least now you can go to Audi where they used to go to BMW or Merc?

      • 0 avatar
        Sundowner

        The Jetta wagon actually has similar usable interior room and has more cargo space than the A4 avant. I’ve owned both cars and know this first hand. The Jetta wagon is NOT an acceptable replacement for the Passat wagon, as most Passat wagon owners will tell you.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      As an Audi owner, what’s your reaction to the price v. size issue with this car?

      With the existence of the Mazda CX-5, it seems like the value proposition of this Audi is way out of whack.

      • 0 avatar

        I had a CX-5 for the week after driving the allroad. The Mazda is a nice little ute, but you’re clearly piloting something that’s much taller and less powerful than the allroad. Also, you really do get more car with the premium brands, the question being whether or not the subtle differences are worth the higher price to you.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        “Subtle,’ by your own words, and I agree.

        It’s really about the badge and our Real Housewives of Camden-wanting-to-be-bankrupt-in-Orange County culture (fake it ’till you make it).

        I’m sure I’ll be surprised forever more, but a 2 liter compactish station wagon for 56k, with or without rear seat foot massagers, blows my mind.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        $56K is possible, sure, but the base model at $37K is already nicely equipped with a much nicer interior than a CX-5 or Outback. Whether those things are worth the $12K to any given buyer really determines whether that buyer is interested in a premium car (whether Audi, Lexus or anything else) in the first place.

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        A Base model Allroad is not $37k it is over $40k. Obviously the Audi is the “nicer” car, but I just don’t see that much more car there, especially since it is less powerful, much smaller, and doesn’t have all of the features of the fully loaded Outback.

    • 0 avatar
      sjb

      As a current ’05 VW Passat wagon owners, we will not be going to the new Jetta Wagon for the following reasons:

      1) It’s a VW. See #4.
      2) The cargo area is smaller in the new vs. old. The cargo headroom is a good 2-3 inches less which automatically takes it off our list because of our big dog. Our wagon measures 34″ and he can sit up comfortably for short trips, but just barely.
      3) The Jetta has only 170 hp, same as our ’05 Passat and we want a a bit more power.
      4) Reliability. I know there’s been some improvements and, frankly, our Passat wagon has been pretty darn good to us…not great but not b-b-baaadddd, like my ’02 GTI which I liked driving ’till the bitter end. I still sometimes breakout in a cold sweat thinking about the stacks and stacks of service receipts..yet I hope wherever it is it has a nice home.

  • avatar
    PlentyofCars

    They might as well base it on the A4, since the A4 is becoming almost as big as the A6 once was.

    Based on the current A6 is would be a smaller Hummer.

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    The last A4 Avant I drove hung up its underside while parking next to normal height curbs. No worries with A4 Allroad! Still, Allroad’s 45 series tires gave a hard ride over potholed Oregon roads, and one needs to watch their exiting head when driver seat’s raised (I’m only 5’7″). A4 Allroads have less room inside than the smaller Subaru Forester (why do Euros insist on wasting space with huge center consoles?).

    A4 Allroads are wildly popular here, being 2 months back-ordered (BMW X3′s are 3 months).

  • avatar
    hachee

    After a few A6’s, I had a 2004 allroad, and I loved that car. There were a few problems with the suspension, and the dealer service wasn’t great, but it was a fantastic car. Great looking, and I’m not normally a fan of cars with a lot of “flourish” compared to the base car, but IMO, all the mods looked really good, and I think it has somehow dated less than the base car. The twin turbo six felt great and performed well, the adjustable suspension was great in deep snow, and the interior was by far the nicest of any car I’ve had, and still a cut above than any newer Audi, perhaps with the exception of the A8. Every single component of the interior was top quality. If we didn’t need a third row for frequent car pooling, I’d probably still have it.

    This new A4 allroad is nice, like all Audis, but it’s not the same kind of car. I’m glad they offer it as alternative to the Q5.

  • avatar
    carguy

    While I can understand the appeal of a tall riding wagon, Audi’s attempt to differentiate it from the A4 wagon are unfortunate. The two tone treatment and grille looks like an Autozone quality after market retrofit. The price is OK for those seeking Euro badge appeal but I still have problems equating anything Audi with rugged. A nicely equipped Subaru Outback will probably be just as comfortable and a lot more durable.

  • avatar
    jtrosclair

    50 feet with the seats folded down? My Focus five door has that.

    • 0 avatar
      SuperACG

      So my Focus Wagon should have even more space??

      Are you referring to the newest Focus? If so, then perhaps I don’t need the Wagon and the 5-door (ST!) should suffice!

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    As an Audi owner, I have to say I would rather have a Q5. This just seems like a luxury Outback. I would rather have one of those with the 256hp Flat 6. Besides, an Acura MDX is the same price, seems like a much better value with 300hp on tap.

    • 0 avatar
      MeaCulpa

      Well the Q5 is an uglier worse handling “car”. The second biggest abortion of the Audi range behind the Q7. But some do find it appealing.

    • 0 avatar
      SuperACG

      Which is what I told VW when asked about their ALLTRACK. I told them if the ALLTRACK starts at $40K, then most people will simply get a Touareg for that price, or a Jetta Wagon or Tiguan for cheaper.

      • 0 avatar
        eThink

        If VW brought the new 2013 Passat-based Alltrack to North America, I would seriously consider it.

        I would prefer the 3.6 V6 and AWD drivetrain that currently comes to the US in the 2013 VW CC.

        The Alltrack in this configuration would compete well with the Volvo XC-70. I think that a well configured V6 Alltrack would be priced between $42000 and $45000.

        However, the 2013 European VW Alltrach shown in the US this past year may have been a “teaser” from VW. VWoA may offer an AWD Jetta wagon with raised height for the US market. This will be unfortunate because the Jetta wagon is just too small.

      • 0 avatar
        SuperACG

        Don’t get me wrong, eThink, I like the ALLTRACK too, being based on the genuine Passat-B platform and not the NMS.

        I just can’t imagine paying close to $40,000 or more when a better-equipped, and higher status Touareg is available for a similar amount. I do prefer wagons to SUVs, and expect them to come in at a lower price point than SUVs.

        I remember the B6 Passat Wagon with VR6 and 4-Motion costing more than a Base V6 Touareg! When you spend that kind of money, you expect more car, not more features.

        I would consider the ALLTRACK with a TDI, manual, and FWD (and, yes, I would get a brown one) but it has to come in well under $40,000. A Jetta Wagon can exceed $30,000 but not too much. Like you said before, it’s just not big enough.

  • avatar
    mrcool1122

    “Between a 250-horsepower turbocharged V6 borrowed from the S4 (and not offered in the Avant)”

    Don’t forget, the original A6 Allroad also had an optional 4.2L V8 with about 320hp. It was only available the final two years and it was pretty rare to find. I should know, I owned one. I loved it, even though the air suspension failed a few times.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    How is Audi’s reliability?

    At a glance, both Audis and VWs match a LOT of what I’m looking for in a car — especially in TDI trim.

    However, my wallet got seriously and repeatedly burned by a 2001 Jetta with the 01M 4-speed automatic transmission. I’m reluctant to either repeat this experience, or pay more for the Audi variant of that experience.

    Has VAG turned their reliability around yet? I want to love them, but, damn, my wallet-hand gets singed every time I even glance in the direction of a VAG product…

    • 0 avatar
      SuperACG

      I suggest looking for Sundowner, another guy who picked up one of the bad TDIs.

      He also has an Audi A3, and when it had an issue, Audi was more than willing to accommodate. I don’t speak for him, I’m only remembering what he wrote in a comment a while back.

      If you remember, I’m one of the lucky guys who got a “good TDI.”

      • 0 avatar

        Many people get good VWs and Audis. They’re actually not rare, especially not since 2006 or so.

        The problems with these cars:

        –even scheduled maintenance is expensive once it’s on your dime

        –when they’re bad, they have a tendency to be very, very bad, at which point the owner tells anyone who will listen

    • 0 avatar
      Sundowner

      as Super ACG noted, I got burned on a 2010 Jetta TDI. Some people have great luck with them, mine fell apart in my hands. As a counterpoint, my previous 2008 Passat wagon was nigh bulletproof (until it got totalled by a careless SUV driver), my wife’s A3 has been stellar, except for the one issue that Audi gladly fixed, even out of warranty, my current 2012 A4 has been completely trouble free for 28k miles, and my father in law’s 2011 A4 has been completely trouble free for 30k miles. your mileage may vary.

    • 0 avatar
      eThink

      “Has VAG turned their reliability around yet?”

      My family owns 3 VAG products:

      - 2002 Audi A4 Quattro with 3.0L V6 / manual transmission
      - 2004 Audi A6 Avant Quattro with 3.0L V6 / automatic transmission
      - 2007 VW Rabbit (Golf) with 2.5 I5 / automatic transmission

      Each of these cars were purchased new from the dealer. Each of these cars has been maintained by the recommended maintenance schedule. Each of these cars run Mobil 1 Synthetic Oil that is changed at 7500 miles.

      Both Audis came with 4 year / 50,000 miles Service Plan that covered all maintenance at the dealer service department.

      Our family uses an excellent independent mechanic that specializes in European cars. Service is better than the dealer and cost 55% less.

      Timing Belt service for the 3.0L V6 is a major maintenance expense because service requires the removal of the front facia of the car! Audi recommends this service at 105,000 miles; mechanics recommends this service at 85,000 miles. Service includes the water pump, belt tensioneer, serpentine belt as well as the timing belts. Audi dealers charge $2600. My independent did this service, plus spark plugs and valve cover gaskets for $1700.

      The another minor annoyance is black brake dust on my wheels. I wash my car every other week and spray the wheels with wheel cleaner.

      My family has been please with our Audis and VW. All of us would like to remain loyal to these brands.
      However the current Audi offerings do not appeal to either my wife (Audi A4) and myself (Audi A6).

      I would like to buy another Audi, BUT I want a station wagon. I dislike the Audi Q-series crossovers, especially the Q7.

      I would not buy the new allroad for the following reasons:
      - Engine
      - Size (especially the lack of storage space)
      - Interior appearance
      - Price

      My family has been pleased with our Audis and VW.
      Reliabilty has been OK. All of us would like to remain loyal to these brands.

      However the current Audi offerings do not appeal to either my wife (Audi A4) and myself (Audi A6).

      If I had to purchase new wagon today I would probably buy a Volvo XC-70. I have played with the Volvo configurator and I was pleasantly surprised that I could build a very nice XC-70 for about $43,000. This is a lot more car than the new allroad. In addition Volvo includes a 4 year service plan with the car. However, the 2012 XC-70 does not seem as nice as my 2004 A6 Avant.

  • avatar
    tallguy

    Has anyone had a real world encounter with a 2013 Subie Outback 3.6 with the new Special Appearance package? Wonder how that might compare to something like this. Certainly more cargo area.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    1,500 lbs towing capacity?

  • avatar
    Sundowner

    I’m a little suprised that the review didn’t mention the biggest competitor to the new Allroad isn’t the Outback, it’s the Q5, which sits right next to it on the Audi lot. It’s also cheaper than the Allroad, and next year, can be had in hybrid, diesel, and supercharged V6 versions. I think more than nayone, I want the Allroad to succeed, but I don’t see how that’s going to happen with zero model distinction from the Q5 and far less option availability. IF Audi had brought this over with the 3.0T and a stick, I’d be at the dealer right now with a check in hand and a grumpy wife in tow.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    Overall, I hear a lot of disappointment with the new allroad. I share that. Eight years after the A6 allroad departed, we’re offered a smaller car with less power and no trick suspension, at nearly the same price. Some (well, me) find the styling ugly and overdone. It’s less off-road-worthy, due to its fixed lower stance.

    The only key feature that got better is fuel economy, and that is compelling. The old AR struggles to make 20 mph overall, due to its short gearing. The 2.0T ought to get 30 mpg on the highway, driven smoothly. I’d much rather have the relatively simple I4 engine underhood than the fragile, ruinously expensive 2.7T. I’m just completing ahead gasket and rebuild after cooling fan failure caused a meltdown, Fukishima-style. The old allroad is a car built around its engine, so most engine repairs call for dropping the engine, bumper and front axles. The final bill was $8500; years ago, I had a comparable job done on my SAAB turbo for $1600.

    Compared to that, this new allroad might bring the missing feature– reliability. There’s just less to go wrong. So there’s a case to be made for it. I’d rather wait for a Q3 diesel, though.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I have a Jetta TDI wagon ( 2011) with 39 K on it with no problems at all, maybe I got one of “the good ones” I think you will see a Passet wagon before you see a 4wd Jetta wagon

  • avatar
    jdowmiller

    I sat in one of these at the dealer this past weekend. Then I got out and looked at the price. I actually cackled.

  • avatar
    Drunkensquid

    I currently own a sorted 2004 “real Allroad” with 115k miles, APR stage1+ software and downpipes. I love this car, it’s the perfect size, it’s practical, it still looks good, it has excellent performance(340hp around 400ftlbs of torque). The 2013 “Allroad” will not be replacing mine, they are not even in the same ballpark in size, practicality and peformance. When the time comes I can see me getting a Touareg instead and even that will be a compromise….


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