By on October 12, 2012

If you haven’t been paying attention to my life story (discretely woven into my reviews), I’ll spell it out clearly: I live in what is considered to be a temperate rainforest on the California coast, the nearest asphalt or concrete surface is over a mile away, and I have a deep (some say questionable) love for station wagons. If you combine this with liberal political leanings, my DINK (Dual Income, No Kids) status and a passion for Costco runs, I am the target market for an off-road wagon. Enter the 2013 Audi allroad. (No, for some reason “allroad” doesn’t get a capital letter.) Audi invited Michael Karesh to a launch event, event a few months ago, but what’s the XC70’s only competition like to live with for a week? Let’s find out.

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Exterior

If you remember the original A6-based (2001-2005) allroad, this isn’t it. That allroad remains a European delicacy not available on our shores. Instead we get the European A4 allroad (but we drop the A4 prefix in America) which replaces the A4 Avant as the only Audi wagon on sale in the United States. While the new allroad is a bit more than just a jacked up A4 Avant, it’s far less of a transformation than the A6 allroad. First Audi lifted the Avant by 1.5 inches to allow for 7.1 inches of ground clearance, then they borrowed the wider track from the A5 to compensate for the height increase. The added width meant the body was too narrow so they added some rugged plastic wheel arches. To to convince shoppers this is more than just a “jacked-up-station-wagon,” Audi fitted a baleen inspired front grille to the A4, because in Audi-speak cars have horizontal grilles and SUVs have vertical schnozes. Transformation complete.

Interior

While Audi butched up the exterior of the A4 for allroad duty, little has been done to the cabin. Inside we find the same A4 interior introduced in 2008. While the A4’s cabin was class leading in 2008 and it has aged well, it does show its age when compared to the newer Volvo and BMW interiors, especially in the black-on-black-on-black color scheme of our tester. While I found nothing wrong with the trappings, I found myself continually asking if the plastics that surrounded me were fitting of the $40,495-$57,170 price range. One thing is for sure, the camel leather and brown dash combination with oak wood trim make the interior a far more attractive place to spend your time.

The natural competition for a soft-roading wagon that will set you back 50-large is limited to the Volvo XC70 AWD which ranges from $35,450 to $54,754. Comparisons are tricky because the allroad has shrunk over the past 6 years going from an A6 to an A4 based wagon and the XC70 has grown from an S60 to an S80 wagon. As a result the allroad’s seats are more compact than the XC70’s Barcalounger-sized thrones, the difference is most obvious in the rear where the allroad has troubles swallowing four adults comfortably. The cargo situation is similar with the XC70 swallowing 33 cubes of widgets with the seats in place and 72 with the rear thrones folded while the allroad’s cargo hauling rings in at 27/50.

Infotainment

The Germans have cornered the market in joystick based infotainment systems since BMW first introduced iDrive in 2001. Since then Audi has been in a gadget arms race with the Roundel. Taken as a whole, MMI isn’t as intuitive as iDrive with more confusing menus and illogical button placement. While I’m sure you would get used to it over time, even after a week I found myself needing to stare at the array of buttons for way too long to find what I needed. See that little knob in the upper left of the picture above? That’s the on/off button, volume knob and track forward/backward toggle. You probably don’t want to know what happens if you spill your Slurpee on there.

On the flip side, MMI has probably one of the most advanced feature sets on the market thanks to their well-executed Google integration. While iDrive allows you to search for Google results (as do a number of other systems), MMI takes it a step further and overlays your traditional map images with Google satellite imagery and even allows you to zoom in and view Google Street View images so you can creep your neighbors. On the down side, the Google map function requires a $15-$30 a month subscription after the first few years for the built-in cellular modem, and when traveling at freeway speeds the system has troubles downloading maps fast enough to keep up leaving you with a blank screen at times.

Since the XC70 is the logical competition, a comparison to Volvo’s Sensus system is inevitable. Volvo’s system lacks the online data, app integration and Google snazz that MMI brings to the table, but it counters with a considerably easier to use system. Volvo’s screen size and graphic quality is easily on par with MMI and in sharp contrast to MMI, most of the system’s commands can be fully utilized via the steering wheel button which means you eyes are off the road less.

Drivetrain

Nestled inside the “classically Audi” (read: long) front overhand is a 2.0L turbo charged four-cylinder engine. This 2.0L TFSI (in Audi speak) is a rework of the classic 2.0L turbo engine that Volkswagen and Audi have had on the books for a while. Despite having the latest in direct injection and variable valve timing tech, the engine puts out just 211HP. Thankfully torque is on par with the other entries in the Euro D segment at 258lb-ft from 1,500-4,200RPM. Sending the power to all four wheels is a ZF 8-speed automatic and Audi’s Quattro AWD system. Like many in the Audi lineup, this system is now programmed to send 60% of the power to the rear wheels under most situations. The rear bias delivers a driving feel more similar to a RWD vehicle than Quattros of the past.

Pitted against Volvo’s XC70, the allroad is livelier than Volvo’s base 3.2L inline six thanks to the turbo, the XC70’s curb weight and Volvo’s 6-speed automatic. Rather unexpectedly however, the XC70 T6 with 300 turbocharged horses and 325lb-ft of torque is the performance leader in this shoot out. If 300HP in your Swedish sled is insufficient, $1,495 will bump the T6 to 325HP and 354lb-ft. Volvo of course continues to use a FWD biased Haldex system to send power to the rear. While the system isn’t capable of sending more than 50% of the power to the rear wheels, this fifth-generation Haldex system spends more time than ever in AWD mode making the system’s FWD heritage unnoticeable in 99% of driving situations.

Drive

Don’t get too excited about those performance numbers from the Volvo just yet. When you’re out on the road the XC70 is faster in a straight line, dispatching 60 in 5.6 seconds (T6 Polestar) vs the allroad’s 6.3 second time, but the extra 261lbs, taller ride height and skinnier/higher profile tires mean when the road bends, you’ll be seeing the XC70 in the allroad’s rear view mirror. That being said, the allroad feels less confident out on the road than the XC70. Why? Mostly because that engine is hanging out in front of the front axle. The weight balance, coupled with the rear wheel bias makes oversteer and understeer close neighbors in the allroad. While I found the dynamics entertaining, even pleasing, I know a few drivers that found it disconcerting and preferred the XC70’s understeer-all-the-time dynamics.

Road noise and engine noise in the allroad were higher than I expected even on smooth roads. We can probably chalk this up to A4 platform’s age and the wide 245-width tires, but at these price points I expected things to be quieter. BMW’s new 2.0L turbo engine is a pinnacle of four-cylinder refinement, this is not something that can be said of the Audi mill which sent more vibrations into the cabin than a number of modern economy cars. This is another area where the XC70 comes out ahead as even Volvo’s anemic base engine is a smooth inline six.

Out on the trail, its obvious that Volvo and Audi’s missions were different. The XC70’s higher profile tires, 1.2-inch higher ground clearance and shorter front overhang meant that despite having an AWD system that many in the industry describe as “less sophisticated,” the XC70 is better equipped to handle mild off-roading than the allroad. When the road gets icy, the Haldex system is slower to respond than the Quattro’s always-engaged AWD system to send power front/rear but Volvo fights back with a traction control system, that was far more willing to send power left/right on either axle.

With a starting price of $40,495, the allroad is $3,200 more than the 2012 A4 Avant it replaced, $4,150 more than an XC70 3.2 and $395 more than the powerful XC70 T6. Audi’s premium pricing doesn’t just stop at the base points however. Should you want a nav system in your allroad, expect to shell out $46,795 for the Premium Plus trim with Audi Connect which widens the gap to $1,100 over the XC70 T6. Adjusting for feature content further widens the divide to between $2,590 and $4,595 in favor of the Swede. After a week with the allroad I was still unable to figure out who it is really for. Despite my rural lifestyle, I have never honestly felt the need for a jacked-up AWD vehicle that couldn’t tow 7,500lbs. When pitted against the Volvo competition, the Audi has trouble justifying a larger price tag due to an unrefined engine and reduced soft-road ability. If I lived in Europe, the allroad might make more sense to me (taking into account my love of wagons) but as it is, the allroad ends up being an expensive landing at the wrong airport. Maybe it really is time to say goodbye to the Euro wagon?

 

Audi provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.4 Seconds

0-60: 6.3 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 14.9 @ 93 Seconds

Average Fuel Economy: 23.5MPG over 811 miles

 

 

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


  • avatar
    Pch101

    I spent some time driving the last US model of the Allroad, and I found it to be fairly pointless. Most of the drawbacks of a truck, but without any of the advantages. Not horrible, but not interesting, either.

    It doesn’t sound as if the new one is an improvement on the old one. Square peg, meet round hole.

    • 0 avatar
      Sundowner

      The original allroad was neat if for no other reason than because you could get it with either a ballzer twin turbo V6 and stick or a big V8 (with a slushbox). The multi-hight adjustable air suspension was fun to play with, and the car was just plain fun in wagon shaped box.
      The new allroad has none of the funk of the original. It’s just a jacked wagon. The true headscratcher is that this car’s competition isn’t the Volvo, it’s the Audi Q5, which is essentially the same car on the same platform for less money and with more available options.

      Audi missed the boat with the new allroad. if they had positioned it as a barnstorming variant of the S4 with the 3.0T motor and a stick (or at least a double clutch auto), they’d at least have something distinctive.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “the car was just plain fun in wagon shaped box.”

        We had very different impressions. I found the handling to be wallowing, the performance mediocre, and the fuel consumption to be horrendous, given what it was.

        I didn’t enjoy driving it at all. Not the worst thing on wheels, certainly, but it felt a lot more like an SUV with inefficient packaging than a sports sedan with cargo capacity.

      • 0 avatar
        mrcool1122

        I owned a 2004 allroad for five years. It had the V8 engine (which was actually pretty rare, only a few hundred made it to our shores) with 300hp which was pretty good at overcoming the car’s bulk. Yeah, it wasn’t a precision road-carving machine like the more focused Audis of its day. But it was vastly preferable to an SUV, at least for me. Living in Minnesota, I didn’t have to deal with any actual off-roading, but rather urban freeways with over a foot of fresh snow on them before the plows got around. The allroad kept me mobile in the city 100% of the time in some of the worst conditions, when other cars had to stay home. It was well put-together, it WAS fun, and yes it was incredibly expensive to buy, maintain, and put fuel in. Loved that car.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Both the allroad and the XC70 are Subaru Outbacks for people with too much money. Why people see a need for these cosmically silly jacked up station wagons is beyond me. Oh wait, Audi makes HOW MUCH extra profit on each one by slapping on those plastic fender flairs??

      If you want a Euro wagon, but a BMW 3-series, Mercedes E-class, (though you will have to wait a few more months for the F31) or a VW Jetta, depending on budget. Leave the silly pseudo-SUVs to Subaru.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        The new outback wasn’t nearly as desirable to me as the old ones. The Jetta is great if you are small and limber.

        Nice to know that I have too much money and should have bought another BMW after the terrible experience of the last one. And yes, the height is both nice and useful since I am tall and live in a flood prone area.

        Maybe in the future you will remember to insult the car rather than the buyers?

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        @Landcrusher

        I call them as I see them.

        If you have a genuine need for added ride height, buy a proper C/S/?UV. All the “Outbackification” of these cars does is ruin the handling and the looks of what were once nice proper station wagons, while adding seriously minimal added capability over the normal height AWD versions of same. Meanwhile padding the makers profit margins quite nicely for that lack of added capability.

        At least the original Allroad had the genuinely useful air suspension, this car is just a sad marketing exercise and cynical cash grab. Does that insult the car enough for you?

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Cal’em how you like, but if you want anyone to value your opinion try sme changes.
        1, Years ago, on thi site, we figured out that talking about what others need is rather rude, and stupid. Our forefathers got by without cars at all, so we don’t need them either, really.
        2. Insult the cars all you like, but when you insult the owners, it’s rude. If you own an outback, and someone says outback owners are silly, didn’t they just insult you? Yes, they did.
        3. When you are called out for being rude, apologize like a responsible person or realize that no one, and I mean no one, will value your opinion. Especially in matters of taste. And especially if your rudeness is plainly indefensible. Defending yourself makes you seem childish, cowardly, ignorant, and vulgar.

        That being said, the XC70 meets all the things I wanted. I value the height over the marginal loss in handling because it handles quite well, I don’t race it, and the clearance is great for high water. I compared it to several SUV/CUVs and it won. Pilot was close, but not as comfortable on the highway, and the nice CUVs just didn’t do it for me. Having made plenty of money I made my choice and wrote a check. I would rather not get insulted over it, but next time, I don’t intend to ask your opinion either.

      • 0 avatar

        @krhodes1

        You’re opinion on the XC70/Outback crowd says to me that you’ve never driven one or, perhaps, even read a review of one. Quite honestly, this genre of vehicle is my ideal. You keep the overall lower stance of the car (i.e. still low centre of gravity compared to CUV/SUV), you keep 90% of the handling capability, often gain a more comfortable ride (improved by more suspension travel, higher profile tires), surprisingly decent off-road ability, and the you get ride height, which is nice for getting you/your stuff in and out, for snow, curbs, etc. Basically, it has the potential advantages of a CUV with almost all of the handling characteristics of a car. Fantastic.

        Heck, read the head-to-head review done a while back on THIS site (E-Class wagon, Passat, 5-series wagon, XC70). The reviewer commented that, while the Volvo certainly made it clear that it was not meant to be sporty, its underlying attributes pointed to very smart road manners and it handled quite tidily, especially compared to other traditional wagons in the group.

        Want to buy a Euro wagon? Volvo’s are less “loud” (i.e. LOOK AT ME, I’M RICH) but have some of the nicest interiors, seats, etc., smart looks and good dynamics in the group. Although I own an Outback, I wouldn’t hesitate to jumpt to an XC70 if I had the money to.

      • 0 avatar
        SunnyvaleCA

        Get used to it. This jacked up and elongated car is well optimized for the arbitrary EPA rules–truck status with large footprint.

      • 0 avatar
        drivebywire

        I’ll take my Volvo wagon over a Subaru any day, and I’ll gladly take my Volvo when it hits the Subaru head-on. ;-)

        Kidding aside, I’ve driven the Subarus and just can’t stand them.
        Honestly can’t see why people are so rabid about them.
        Kind of like the way people are irrationally rabid about Apple products.

        As for the 3-series wagon suggestion, I like the idea, especially having a wagon with a manual transmission.
        I looked at them, but in the end, the Volvo had more room for the family.

    • 0 avatar
      Thinx

      How does the $57,700 E-350 4-Matic Wagon compare? I guess it is (quite a bit) bigger, and isn’t jacked up with ‘all-road’ pretensions, but would that kinda-sorta be in the peripheral vision of someone looking at the Audi?

      And how about a review of the 4-matic sometime? It looks interesting.

  • avatar
    hf_auto

    “Maybe it really is time to say goodbye to the Euro wagon?”
    Whoa, whoa, whoa…. I’d like my chance at buying a 320d wagon before we entertain that idea.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    It’s a shame about Ray. I mean the lack of love for wagons in the US. No Camry, Mazda 6, Legacy, Avant,Magnum, hell even the Malibu.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      First automaker to sell a stripped down wagon in the U.S., with rear or optional all wheel drive (that sends no more than 20% power to the front wheels), manual gear box, normally aspirated diesel motor (making 160 lbs feet of torque or more, with a 350,000 mile duty life, and getting 40mpg city/50mpg highway), all for $14,999 or less, wins massive market share.

      Oh, it must also come in “racing green” and have at least optional leather interior trim, with said leather coming specifically from the foreskin of whale penis’.

      • 0 avatar
        onyxtape

        When I bought my 08 Outback brand new, it was the base model with auto as the only option (the auto has high WAF – high Wife Acceptance Factor[tm]). Out the door for $18,500. And from a dealer in the Subaru-worshipping Pacific Northwest to boot. There was a stick on the lot of the same model that they would have parted with for $17k.

        And I got 0% financing on top of that too.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        You got a good deal because you’re not a sucker.

        I don’t intend to sound arrogant or as if I am supremely talented. The fact that I’m not is actually what makes it all the more surprising that I have purchased vehicles for myself and negotiated purchases on behalf of family members, and even a few friends, at significant percentages off the MSRP (I’m talking about 15% to 30%), even during “good” economic times and on vehicles that were selling relatively well.

        However, one thing will financially doom any buyer, and that’s not having options in the form of alternate dealers and even vehicles lined up in the event that one can’t get the price they insist on from any particular dealer or on any particular vehicle; that’s why the prudent buyer never “must have” a particular vehicle. If they can buy their preferred choice at their target price, great. If not, then they move on to Plan B, or Plan C.

        It’s even worse for the buyer if they’re an early adopter, and insist on buying the newest, hottest car that’s come to market, and almost inevitably restricted in terms of market supply by the manufacturer (and marked up by dealers). A great, recent example of this is the Toybaru FR-S/BRZ twins, which has people paying MSRP and even above.

        Salespeople hate dealing with me. It’s not because I’m rude, insulting or abusive. It’s because I know the price I’m willing to pay, cut off all B.S. early on, and unambiguously let them know that if they can’t do a deal on a particular vehicle at the price I’m offering, I’m moving on very quickly.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    Nice thing about Audi’s design changes (or lack of) is that 5 years from now your car is just as nice as the new ones.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      That’s true. The 2012 A6 I drive always seems to have at least one malfunction or service required warning lit at any given time just like a five year old Audi.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Just out of curiosity, what malfunctions are you having and what unscheduled service have you had? Do you have the 3.0T? How do you like it?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        It’s a 3.0T. Warnings have been TPMS(tires checked and not low) which recurs, as does the warning for Audi Side Assist malfunction, which other drivers can always trigger just by passing close to the driver’s side on the highways, then there is the sensitive windshield washer fluid sensor that goes off on 270 degree entrance ramps no matter how much fluid is in the tank. The ‘service soon’ was on Wednesday, which was last time I drove it, even though it was serviced maybe 2,000 miles ago. I left it at my business partner’s house. The car has lost its novelty for me.

        It rides well, has LOTS of power, I don’t have to buy gas for it since it belongs to the company, and the back seat is roomy. I’m over the toys, many of which I never got around to playing with before the Audi Connect service expired after 90 days(not sure why Alex said years in this article). I don’t like driving it because I’m over constant warning beeps and lights and I can’t stand the transmission. It has two modes. Normal Drive has the gearbox racing up the ratios so that it needs to downshift 3 gears anytime you need to accelerate, which is like a clunky form of turbo-lag. In Sport mode, it hangs onto gears so tenaciously that it snaps your head forward when you lift off the gas. The engine seems like it only needs half as many ratios, and it would be a much more luxurious car to drive if that is how many it had. This car also somehow manages to have less steering feel than a ’76 Cadillac. The cornering limits are high, but exploring them is an exercise in faith that is disrupted by beeps and flashing messages on the dash triggered by sloshing windshield washer fluid.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    So one of these is for those who a Subaru won’t do?

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      But is there anything wrong with that?

      A Subaru doesn’t have the interior quality of the Volvo (for the price, I’m not sure anything has the interior quality of the Volvo). If you’re going to spend a lot of time inside your car and you can afford the extra cost, why wouldn’t you get a nicer interior?

      I remember sitting in this allroad about a month ago and feeling let down. I had a B6 A4 1.8T Quattro with the 5 speed manual 10 years ago with exactly two options (a sunroof and 16″ wheels). It looked and felt like a luxury car. The new A4 will remind you every single day that you were too cheap to spend $8000 in options (unless of course you did spend $8000 in options) with an interior that looks nothing like the one in Alex’s photos.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        “If you’re going to spend a lot of time inside your car and you can afford the extra cost, why wouldn’t you get a nicer interior?”

        Everyone has different circumstances, backgrounds, opinions, habits & CULTURES, but from my perspective, the desire to build, retain and pass on wealth is one reason.

        I’m not saying that I’m right or wrong, nor that there’s even an objectively correct answer to your question, but I do believe that people more likely than not to build and retain wealth could do with the lesser interior if there was a financial savings involved.

        I can afford to pay cash for a much nicer vehicle than what I’m currently driving (which I also paid cash for), but can’t justify doing so, given that vehicles are depreciating assets and that my current vehicle does everything I need it to and then some, has been absolutely reliable, and is past the steepest portion of the depreciation curve (year 7 of ownership).

        But then again, there are people who prioritize the kind of vehicle they drive in a way that necessitates driving the “best,” and are willing to spring for the absolute most-est vehicle they can afford, whether by cash or credit, above all else. Cultural differences.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        +1!

        $46k is a full $20k more than a Subaru Crosstrek when its fully loaded. I cannot imagine spending enough time in my car that I need to spend the cost of a second car on a nicer interior. And for $22k you can get the subi with a stick (no leather or nav though) but I like saving $24k more.

      • 0 avatar

        @DeadWeight: While I get your meaning, in truth there isn’t much difference between the Outback and the XC70 when it comes right down to it, price wise. Yes, if you got the 4-cylinder OB you’d save some dough, but not that much. Comparably equipped and powered models though, that is the OB 3.6 Limited to the XC70 base (both having leather, sunroof, high-end sound, roughly the same power, are all of $3500 apart. I’m sure, when all features are incorporated, that the Subaru is still a better value, but its probably not the runaway better value that you were thinking it was.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        EChid:

        I don’t doubt what you say about the price gap narrowing if you load the Outback to the gills on the highest end version.

        My point about the wisdom (or lack thereof) of spending a lot more on a vehicle that’s a daily driver because the interior (or maybe just the badge) is nicer is far more general than relating to the comparison between an Outback and Audi Allroad.

        Again, this is an opinion that may be able to be supported by credible, reliable data in terms of the habits of the genuinely wealthy (or those destined to be financially secure, debt free, or wealthy). Based on my anecdotal experiences in life, I have no question that it’s more true than not (the wealthiest people I know drive F150s and 8 year old Buicks; the people who almost inevitably- to a person- go broke drive 100k+ vehicles. I’ve actually developed a model predicting who is likely to go broke within a specific time frame based on the cost of the vehicle they drive).

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        @mnm4ever, yeah $46,000 for this car is ridiculous. But so is comparing it to a buzz box Impreza. If you’re going that far out of class you may as well use a Versa so you can declare this one $34,000 overpriced.

        @Echid, that $36,500 base XC70 has no leather, no moonroof, no premium sound, skinny tires on 16″ wheels, and a smaller engine burdened by an extra 600 lbs. That’s $7,000 more than a base H6 Outback without those goodies.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        I wouldn’t call the Impreza a buzzbox, the newest one is pretty nice, especially for its price. And I do not think I am straying out of class there, the allroad, Outback and Crosstrek are all compact soft-road wagons with CUV styling cues, similar interior dimensions and similar target usages, if not target demographics. The Impreza is slightly smaller than the Audi, but the Outback is slightly larger, so I think it is just as valid a comparison as the Outback. Yes, it is definitely down on power compared to the Audi, but it is also lighter and more fuel efficient, so it doesn’t feel “slow”.

        But the same point could apply just as well to the Outback. The 2.5i Premium is $25k or so, and yes you would have to give up leather and some other luxury items at that price. But its an entire car less in price, and this is a vehicle that is supposedly going to be used for “active lifestyle” activities, camping, skiing, traversing the barren terrain of the mall parking lot. I just question the value of spending $20k or even $15k more for the “Audi experience” on a car that is more about practicality than performance.

        The allroad appears to add about $5k to the cost of the same car in sedan form, which to me is way too much of a premium on an already overpriced car.

  • avatar
    Speed Spaniel

    This car is priced $10,000 too much. Not enough engine, luxury or refinement for the asking price. The US gets this tarted up wanna be, but no S4 Avant. How does one through a virtual middle finger?

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I suspect the lower case allroad is an homage to the use of lower case quattro to denote a drivetrain option back when Quattro was reserved for a stand-alone model. Sure, there was a FWD Audi Coupe GT, but the Quattro wasn’t called a Coupe GT Quattro, while the 4000S quattro retained its mainstream model name.

    Does this car have more rear seat room than an A4 sedan? I found the back seat of the regular A4 to be the worst of pretty much any 4-door car I can recall riding in. By the way, was the use of baleen yours or Audis? Either way, it gave me a good laugh. Besides, the whale filter complements the broad front end and weak looking tapered rear, giving the car an organic form. Probably not the sort of organism you want to encounter in real life, but some sort of organism nonetheless.

  • avatar

    Sigh, the jacked up wagon trend continues; the Outback, the Venza and now this, and for way more money too.
    I’ll pass and would love to predict it’ll bomb in the sales charts but I also said the De-contented Jetta and Passat would bomb as well and I was totally wrong on that one.

    • 0 avatar
      bludragon

      Indeed. I wonder if this is now classed as a car, SUV or truck per the CAFE rules? Or to put it another way, did CAFE just claim another wagon?

      Although even if it wasn’t jacked up I’d still be tempted to skip even a test drive of this one based on the pictures of the infotainment controls and that poor 4 cylinder all on its own out in front of the axle.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    The Audi MMI does get better once you get used to all the buttons.

    I like my XC70, and looked at the allroad. The allroad is much better looking, more fun to drive in a spirited fashion, and handled bumps better. I didn’t like the really low torque at the very bottom. The seat was too short and narrow.

    The XC70 is more luxo cruiser. Great big comfy seat and quiet tires are nice. It’s not ugly, it’s a classic. Suspension is too soft.

    Extra height is great for our area where flooding is regular and for my old back. If I were 30 and single I would have chosen the allroad except really I would have bought an SUV. They should have stuck with the A6 version for the US. They should also keep with the air suspension until they get it right.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      I’ve heard some complaints about the air suspensions on the older allroads, but very few for A6s, A8s, and Q7s. I’m assuming it’s the same part for all cars, so if this new allroad has it, it’s probably the more reliable version.

  • avatar
    th009

    The best option Audi offers for the allroad is te “full paint finish”. Not a fan of the “rugged” unpainted plastic, especially on this car.

    I’d follow up with a blacked-out grille to eliminate the baleen look, too.

    • 0 avatar
      Mr Butterfly

      And after these manipulations you’ll pretty much end up with a regular A4 Avant (from the looks perspective anyway).
      Why not get the Avant in the first place instead of the overpriced jacked up version that isn’t any good offroad anyway.

      P.S. Just went on Audi’s website and found out that they stopped selling the Avant in Canada.
      P.P.S. I’m also shocked how much cheaper the Audis are in U.S.!

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        True of all cars … we pay higher prices in Canada. Import duty plays a part, but only a part.

      • 0 avatar
        Mr Butterfly

        Absolutely, but VW/Audi seem to be the worst in my experience. The straight price difference, plus lower destination fee, plus lower sales tax, plus exchange rate adjustment means that we pay over 30-35% more for the same car (particularly I’m looking at A3 as a reference). This is huge and that’s why I’ll never justify buying VW or Audi while I live in Canada.
        Other makes are of course more expensive, too, but not nearly as much.

      • 0 avatar
        fredtal

        I would of thought that a VW/Audi made in USA or Mexico would not have the same tariffs as those made in Germany.

      • 0 avatar
        Yak

        @th009 NOT true. It depends on what vehicle you are buying. The gap has narrowed in many cases. Some vehicles are actually LESS expensive in Canada now. Examples are SRT Viper GTS, Chevy Cruze, Honda Civic Sedan, Ford Escape, Toyota Matrix, VW Jetta, Ford F-150, Honda Fit, Mazda 3 Sport, Dodge Grand Caravan – all have lower base prices in Canada. That being said, luxury brands ARE generally much more expensive in Canada.

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    I’ll take it. But only if I can get one with the “Lowered, de-cladded, and manualized” Package

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    No 4.2 liter V8 but maybe a supercharged 3.0T?

  • avatar

    I like it, but I’d still choose a XC70 over it.

    off-topic: does anybody know if it is possible to make a V70 from a XC70?

    I know it would be cheaper to find a used V70, but the current-gen was never sold here in Brazil.

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    This review seems very accurate, but here’s my 2 cents:

    The A4 Avant I drove earlier, the first with an 8-speed auto, was rough shifting and so low-slung it couldn’t be parked without grinding its front or rear on normal nearby curbs.

    The new Allroad fixes both trans and ground clearance. Still, I’m mystified why the Germans insist on low profile tires (rough ride), huge center consoles (less driver room than my smaller ’09 Forester), complex controls (simple tasks = eyes off road for quite a spell) and jet black interiors (my test drive’s console metal trim ground against my leg – I’m 5’7″).

    I like wagons, but will probably pass on this one.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I actually find MMI quite easy to use. Within 24 hours of buying my Q7, I was an expert. The menus make perfect sense and are logical.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    i’m guessing 4,000lbs and with that rear legroom? worse than a C segment…

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    Surpised for all the hate for this vehicles driving dynamics. Would the A5 suffer from similiar issue? I been thinking of getting one as a ski vehicle. I don’t have a family so don’t really need a wagon and will just be going to the resorts not some far off remote little roads and such.

    The engine is longitudinally mounted no? Why is it so nose heavy? Front rear distribution seems okay at 53/47.. Its not a BMW..but not far off..

  • avatar
    Type57SC

    Does this have the engine sound ‘enhanced’ by the stereo?

    Also, does anyone else automatically think “stripper edition”, and not the cheap and cheerful kind, when someone talks about a Polestar volvo?

  • avatar

    All this review did for me was make me want an XC70 T6 Polestar more.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    “That allroad remains a European delicacy not available on our shores.”

    Are you sure about that? I’ve seen allroads in the US before, and I thought to myself “must be Audi’s attempt an Outback or Volvo Cross Country”.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    Whatever else this car is, it is delusional to refer to it as an “off-road” vehicle. Unless your definition of “off road” includes gravel roads, rain slicked streets, or potholed pavement.

    I have said it before and I will say it again: there are no “store bought” off road vehicles. True off road vehicles are “built” either the owner or someone else. In stock form, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is more honestly just good basic raw material that can be easily built into an offroad vehicle. It is thus designed to be easily rebuilt by its owner, and with its massive aftermarket support, into a competent off-road vehicle.

    In stock form, a Rubicon is a mall status symbol, and can keep the drive safe and unstuck on the mall speed bumps.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      The name does say “allroad” not “off road” …

      Would you not accept the Land Rover Defender as an off-road vehicle, in stock form? Or only raw material?

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Unfortunately, off road means soft road to most people. I blame marketers.

      Having owned a landcruiser which I didn’t buy to go off road, but rather bought to go luxuriously, dependably, and lowly depreciatingly around town and soft roading, I can only think of a couple places I went in ten years that a high wagon wouldn’t take me. BTW, most modern SUVs are tall wagons.

      I would bet my cost for ten years was close to that of a new outback buyer so maybe what outback buyers really “need” is an old truck. Also, comparing price is generally useless nowadays as depreciation varies greatly. Insurance on the Volvo is so low, they practically pay me to drive it, too.

  • avatar

    nice car but not soo much i like its interior

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    Not until you have watched “built” Jeeps easily run circles around a Wrangler Rubicon can you comprehend just how deficient any stock 4×4 vehicles are and the misnomer of calling them “off-road.” The stock Wrangler Rubicon and the Defender are both heavily biased towards highway travel. And it shows when either one are up against the real deal.

    In one recent outing, I continuously got my Wrangler Rubicon stuck, with it locked up all four wheels and the sway bar disconnected. The “built” Jeeps ran circles around the Rubicon – in two wheel drive at that! In no way can a vehicle biased toward fulfilling modern highway safety dictates be honestly called “an offroad vehicle.”

  • avatar
    fendertweed

    I had a ’98 A4 Avant for 2 yrs (totalled before anything went wrong) and an ’01 A6 Avant for 9 yrs. (3 yrs. of reliability and 6 yrs of unending hell costing nearly $20,000 in repairs (maybe 11,000 net after extended svc contract)).

    Just spent a day in a new A6 2.0 Avant my carpool partner had as a loaner and all I can say is it will be a cold day in hell before I pay $50,000 (or 35-40k) for another VW-Audi product given what I continue to read about the crap TDI fuel rail problems, the disconcerting drivetrain noises I heard in a brand new A6 2.0, etc.

    Wonderful cars to ride in and drive as long as you’re not paying the bills. Otherwise, a car for masochists IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      Was it the CVT FWD model? I would bet that the A6 2.0T quattro is far better than the loaner POS you rode in. The A6 3.0T quattro is far better still.

      As I’ve mentioned, thus far I’ve had good experience with Audi vehicles. My experience is that Audi is very good at stepping up with extended warranties for common problems that have cropped up in vehicles, in general, and that they continually put out new part numbers that replace problematic parts. This is a big contrast to other cars I’ve driven where if you got a first or second year of a new generation where the bugs hadn’t quite been worked out yet, you were up the creek.

  • avatar
    slance66

    Had a 2000 Volvo XC and apart from frequent repairs, especially to the AWD system, it was nearly ideal. Seats were amazing, and it didn’t punch a huge hole in the air at highway speeds as SUVs do. Yet it could handle 6-10 inches of snow with ease that would make a normal A4 Avant wagon struggle, due to it’s absurdly low ground clearance.

    Maybe these wagons wouldn’t seem “jacked up” if the normal versions weren’t so absurdly low. They are not 911s. Nobody wants their station wagon to struggle with speed bumps. Women hate bending down to get into cars.

    I’ll need to replace an RX350 sometime soon, with an AWD wagon, crossover or similar, and the lack of decent options is annoying. This is way overpriced. The Volvo 3.2 is a gas pig and the car weighs far too much. Plus…I don’t trust the Chinese. Maybe the new 328xi wagon, if it is off the ground a little more than my E90. The Outback is almost the size and height of a Tribeca now…they went too far.

  • avatar
    Mrb00st

    it seems to me like there are three choices in this market. The Subaru Outback, Audi Allroad, and Volvo XC70. Call me crazy, but I’d take a loaded outback over this… thing.

    Although the outback (and the new Legacy it’s based on) are an interesting mixture of Subaru weird and Camry boring, with the Outback crap tacked on it looks a bit more natural.

    And the loaded Outback – 3.6R Limited – starts at $32,890. Loaded up (Moonroof+Nav+EyeSight package, adds moonroof, 440w stereo, 7″ touchscreen, lots of safety features) plus an engine block heater & remote start, rings up to $37,323. That’s more than $3,000 cheaper than the base A4 allroad, AND it has a butter-smooth 3.6L flat six. Instead of the “well, it’s kind of sorta OK in a GTI” 2.0L Turbo engine.

  • avatar
    rezkiy

    I got the allroad with 1300 or so miles on it as a loaner in service today.

    In one word: great. Just a bit larger than B6 that I have so that rear seats are usable by adults. Rear camera so backing up is no longer a problem when stuff covers the rear window. Fast enough. Right sized front seats (6″2, 200 lbs).

    Cons: too many buttons, to a point of distraction. Probably will some take time getting used to.

    Will probably upgrade to it (or its predecessor Avant) when the A4 craps out.


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