2013 Audi allroad HD Video review
Back in 1999 Audi introduced a rugged version of their Avant wagon called allroad to the US market. It was a handsome rig and gained a strong cult following. So in 2005… uh, it was axed.
Owners loved them, I still see them on the streets of Seattle on a daily basis. But let’s face it, Americans don’t like wagons much and the Q5 was waiting in the wings. As a businessperson, what would you do?
For 2013 Audi believes there’s room for both so allroad is back in showrooms. There are some fundamental changes though. The old allroad (the name has never been capitalized) was based on the A6 Avant wagon, the new one is built on the bones of the A4. It’s a bit surprising to find the wheelbase is a little bit longer now and there’s a skosh more headroom up front. Overall it is smaller now. There’s around three inches less shoulder room, a couple inches taken from rear legroom, and the cargo area is smaller. It’s still more useful than an A4 sedan. More on that later.
The original had adjustable air suspension, the ride height is now fixed at 7.1 inches. Naturally all four wheels get power courtesy of Audi’s quattro system. Design cues like matte aluminum trim and roof rails plus contrasting wheel arches are mighty familiar (an option package allows for body colored fenders). The one-piece trapezoidal intake is more aggressive this time around and there’s trendy LED running lights that Audi has made popular. It remains a good looking vehicle, collecting compliments nearly everywhere I go.
Automakers are switching from six-cylinder engines to fours. Audi is no different. Allroad’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder wrings out 211 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Gear changes are made by an eight-speed automatic with manual control on the console. My tester does not have the optional steering wheel paddles. At least they’re available. Same with keyless push button start.
The 2013 version may have two fewer cylinders now but it’s pretty quick, maybe quicker than the A6 model. 0-60 spools up in 6.5 seconds. Driving to the lake cabin or ski slopes will be a pleasant trip with a good amount of power for passing on two-lane roads. An optional Driver Assist Package (again, not on my tester) bundles adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning, plus adjustable steering effort, throttle response and transmission dynamics. The only thing I missed was the adaptive cruise.
Handles Rough Roads and Curves
When it comes to tough terrain, the allroad name says it all. It doesn’t have a low gear, it isn’t meant for severe duty. This higher riding wagon will be fine for the rough forest service roads and snowy conditions owners might subject it to. Just don’t follow Jeep Wranglers into harm’s way.
Allroad rides an inch and a half higher than a standard A4 but stays fun and confident in the corners. I was expecting some wallowing in tight turns but handling is very crisp and buttoned down. The EPA rates fuel economy at 20 city, 27 highway, it prefers premium gas.
During long distance motoring, allroad is quiet, comfortable, and fun to drive. How do I know? To shake it down I travelled from Seattle to Long Beach, WA round trip in one day. That’s 350 miles. I hit the annual kite festival but if you miss it there’s also the world’s largest frying pan, the world’s longest chopsticks, and the world’s largest geoduck (pronounced gooey-duck). What’s a geoduck? Look it up, but fair warning, it’s a giant clam that’s as phallic as seafood gets.
Good Things Expected
With crisp clear graphics, red lighting, and high quality materials, Audi interiors always look great. Allroad’s is not a whole lot different looking from an A4 cabin except for unique aluminum trim and sill plates that announce you bought the brawny A4. I’m a bit surprised the seats don’t get rugged looking stitching or something to “man-up” the space. A large panoramic glass roof is standard equipment, so is a decent sound system. Too bad the optional iPod integration cable is in the glove box which is a reach for the driver. Did I mention it’s optional? In 2013?
The parking brake is electric, there are a few storage nooks scattered throughout. Audi’s MMI user interface is generally easy to use but scrolls opposite the way that I’d expect it to. I’ve griped about this before. Considering the LCD screen is already there, a backup camera would be appreciated.
The back seat has belts for three. Keep it to two and your campers will be happier. A big drive shaft tunnel crowds middle passengers. Average sized adults will be fine in the outboard positions, sadly heated seats are not available. Additional side torso airbag protection is optional. Vents give passengers temperature control. There’s deep storage in the doors and two seatback pockets. A 12v power port gets deep crimson lighting that Evil Twin admires.
Why Wagons Rule
Personally, I’m a big fan of wagons because they drive like sedans but have great utility. Allroad is a prime example. The expected security cover gets an unexpected twist- an additional guide track on the D-pillar lets you get to cargo without reeling the cover all the way back (check out the video). A real spare is handy when you get a flat tire far from civilization. Stuff like tie downs, a storage nook and a power port are fairly common. A safety barrier that rises from behind the rear seat isn’t though. It’s great for those with pets. Moving on to the TP test, allroad gobbles up eight packs of Kirkland brand bath tissue. That’s two more than an A4 sedan. Combine that with split folding rear seats and a wide hatch opening and the space is mighty handy.
Starting at $40,495 with destination, the mid-level Premium Plus model I’m driving stickers for $44,270. This can rise to over 56 grand when checking all the option boxes. Not cheap, go with a Subaru Outback if you’re on a budget. The only other direct competition allroad has is Volvo’s XC70, a car that’s been much less popular since the XC60 crossover came on the market. So it will be interesting to see how many allroads get sold sitting next to Q5s. Oh, and the plain Jane A4 Avant wagon has been 86ed. Americans seem to like wagons best when they’re dressed up like Woodsy Owl.
FULL GALLERY BELOW. ALL STILL IMAGES PROVIDED BY AUDI.