Back before European luxury carmakers got into SUVs, they made slightly beefed up all-wheel drive wagons. Volvo had the Cross Country, BMW various sports wagons, and Audi the A6 Avant based Allroad. But after going full bore into SUVs, Audi, for one, felt the Allroad was no longer needed. Turns out, the Audi faithful disagreed. So its back as 2013 marks the return of the Allroad. So, let’s see if all roads lead to success for Audi again.
The 2013 Audi Allroad makes its return to the “states” on a slightly smaller scale, however, as the one now arriving here is based on Audi’s compact A4 rather than the mid-size A6.
We like the purposeful look of the 2-tone exterior with its mix of dark and light. The aggressive Audi front-end also works well here. Standard headlights are halogens, but Xenon plus with an updated take on Audi’s signature LED DRL’s are optional. Also standard are aluminum roof rails stainless steel skid plates for the front and rear, and a panoramic sunroof. The rear end slopes down nicely, and the whole package makes for one sporty looking wagon.
Despite its shorter length, the new Allroad actually has almost 2 inches more wheelbase than its predecessor at 110.4 inches. Ground clearance is now fixed at 7.1 inches. Gone is the adjustable suspension. Still, Audi makes no off-road claims for the new Allroad. Standard rims are 18’s with 19’s and summer rubber available.
The longer wheelbase allowed Audi to maintain front legroom although rear bodies suffer a bit. Still, the cabin feels roomy enough for long trips for four. Other than a few quirks, like the hard to find tilt/telescoping steering wheel control, we have no complaints about the stunning interior design.
As for luggage room, behind the rear seats there’s 27.6 cubic-ft. of space, 50.5 when those seats are folded. Both numbers down considerably compared to the previous Allroad. A power lift gate comes with the Premium Plus trim.
But, the smaller size makes for much better Government Fuel Economy Ratings of 20-City, 27-Highway, and 23-Combined. A highway-heavy drive netted us a good average of 26.6 miles per gallon of Premium. Still, the Energy Impact Score is just barely better than average for all vehicles at 14.3-barrels of annual oil consumption with yearly CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.
On the road, the Allroad drives very neutral. Like most recent Audi’s there is a heft to it, as in nailed to the ground. But, that’s what you want in a wagon. Visibility is not the greatest, especially at the rear when you have the cargo cover folded up. A simpler roll-up arrangement would have been much better.
Hitting the track, the Allroad feels very responsive, feeling far more connected than you expect from any wagon. It’s easy to point and shoot with a good, solid feel. Steering is brisk and light, with a good balance of feedback and comfort. Body roll is held in check, as is the top heavy feel that accompanies most taller vehicles.
Providing the power is the same 2.0-liter turbo-4 found in the A4 with 211-horsepower and a vigorous 258 lb-ft. of torque. But, with the standard Quattro all-wheel drive system you do trade the CVT for a fine 8-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic shift. Off-line power is certainly adequate, but not much more. Acceleration is lackluster with a 0-60 time of 7.7-seconds. The full quarter mile passed in 16-seconds at 90 miles-per-hour. Shifts were surprisingly slow as well. Brakes are 4-wheel discs; ventilated in the front; and did much better, with a very short 111-foot stopping average and minimal fade.
When it comes to pricing, we’re reminded why all-wheel drive luxury station wagons are not big sellers here these days. Available in three models, Allroad base prices range from $40,495 to $49,695. The taller Q5 crossover starts at close to four grand less.
We applaud Audi for another attempt at selling sporty station wagons here in the U.S. After all, Subaru has made of go of it for mainstream buyers, so why not Audi for the well-heeled? But, while more entertaining to drive, most Americans want the maximum versatility of a utility. Still, the Audi Allroad plays to a niche, and we predict you’ll see more than a few on snowy roads on the way to those swanky ski resorts this winter.
Engine: 2.0-liter turbo-4
Torque: 258 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 7.7 seconds
1/4 mile: 16 seconds @ 90 mph
EPA: 20 mpg city/ 27 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 14.3-barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 6.5-tons/yr