New & Used Audi Allroad: In Depth
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The Audi Allroad is a compact luxury wagon with a ruggedized exterior and near-crossover abilities. It's currently based on the Audi A4 platform and superseded the A4 Avant in Audi's lineup several years ago. This blend of wagon and crossover sensibilities separates the Allroad from the Q3, Q5, and Q7 that make up Audi’s crossover-utility range.
Think of the Allroad as a wagon replacement with standard all-wheel drive and a little more ride height, all in the name of versatility. As such, the Allroad is a rival for vehicles like the Subaru Outback, the Volvo XC70, and Volvo's new V60 Cross Country, although it is more luxurious than the Subaru and somewhat smaller than the former Volvo.
MORE: Read our 2015 Audi Allroad review
The first Audi Allroad, sold from 2001 to 2006, followed a similar formula but was a different car in a number of ways. It was essentially an A6 Avant wagon fitted with Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system, along with an adjustable-ride-height suspension, tougher-looking body trim and cladding, and some distinct luxury features. Pricing started around $42,000—a substantial sticker a decade ago—which got you a 250-horsepower, 2.7-liter turbocharged V-6 for its first four model years, paired with automatic or (unusually) manual transmissions. For the last two years, the Allroad switched to a 4.2-liter V-8 producing 300 horsepower. The suspension could be raised to provide more than 8 inches of ground clearance, and the all-wheel-drive system provided solid roadholding and cornering capabilities over a wide range of surfaces and weather conditions. Luxury features included Bose audio and navigation; safety features included parking sensors, stability control, and rear side airbags.
The new Allroad is clearly based on the Avant wagon model of the A4 sedan--but the styling changes to its grille and the addition of faux skid plates, aluminum side sills, and other details give it more presence and a crossover-like visage. And although the first Audi Allroad was derived from its contemporary A6 sedan, the new Allroad turns out to be 2.3 inches taller and 0.6 inch wider, rides on a longer wheelbase, and provides more leg room and head room than the earlier version. Cargo space rivals that of the best compact luxury crossovers at 27.6 cubic feet, and as you might expect the five-passenger Allroad's rear seats fold and flip for expandable storage space.
The sole engine offering is not a V-6 or V-8, but Volkswagen Group's 211-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, again mated to an automatic transmission. It's a relatively new eight-speed design with sport-shift mode, and the package again includes standard all-wheel drive. Handling is firm and steering is direct, with quick automatic-transmission responses. The optional dynamic steering and Drive Select systems tailor the Allroad's electric power steering, transmission, throttle, and shock settings for sporty or comfortable driving at the driver's request.
Allroad standard equipment includes leather upholstery; a choice of wood or aluminum trim; 19-inch wheels and tires; satellite radio; MMI, Audi's multimedia interface, complete with iPod/USB connectivity; a power tailgate; adaptive headlights; a panoramic sunroof; Bluetooth; Bang & Olufsen audio; and a navigation system.
The Audi Allroad offers the usual standard safety features and has options for adaptive cruise control that can stop the car completely from speeds up to 19 mph. A rearview camera and blind-spot monitors are available, as are rear-seat airbags. Pricing starts at just under $40,000, although a well-equipped Allroad will soar well past $50,000.
The Allroad is one of several Audi vehicles to adopt the brand's Connect suite of telematics. With a monthly subscription, Audi Connect taps into a built-in 3G connection that turns the Allroad into a rolling wireless hotspot for up to 8 devices and enables Google local searches via MMI. The connection also feeds input to the navigation system to render maps from Google Earth and Google Street View in stunning, crisp detail. Other links to satellite data bring in real-time traffic and weather information.
A new Allroad should follow shortly after the next A4 debuts, likely within a year or so. The Allroad may be expanded to a lineup of vehicles within the Audi family and could include a smaller model based on the TT, concept versions of which have already been shown.