2013 Audi Allroad Road Test Review
2013 Audi Allroad delivers Crossover Utility with Sportwagon Dynamics
Scores High: Carlike ride and handling, wagon utility, high quality interior
Scores Low: Not as much space as competitive SUVs and crossover, costly, Audi's record for reliability
Total Car Score Analysis
Audi is bringing back the 2013 Allroad wagon. Unlike the previous version, which was based on Audi’s midsize platform, the all-new Allroad (yes, you’re not supposed to capitalize the name) is based on the A4 platform. But with increased space utilization and engineering prowess the all-new Audi Allroad offers about as much interior space as the previous model while being smaller, lighter and more fuel-efficient. That also makes the Allroad smaller than the SUV and crossover it will be cross-shopped against, but given the amount of space (and off-road ability) most SUV buyers actually need we hope more of them will consider the 2013 Allroad an example of less being more.
The Allroad replaces the Avant (wagon) body style in the 2013 Audi A4 lineup. It’s nearly the same length and rides on the same wheelbase as the A4, but it sits about two inches higher off the ground and features several unique features. Up front, the Allroad gets its own version of the Audi single-frame grille, this one with chromed vertical bars instead of the horizontal black slats of the A4. Xenon headlights are available, and they are accented by LED daytime running lights and cornering lights. Around the sides, the Allroad features pronounced fender flares to accommodate the vehicle's wider front and rear track. These flares feature a contrasting matte finish, but they are also available in body color. The Audi wagon design includes a fast sloping tailgate, and the rear end is capped off by optional LED taillights and a stainless steel skid plate with integrated circular exhaust tips.
Despite its two inch elevation, the Allroad drives almost exactly like the A4 upon which it is based. There is a little more lean in turns than the A4, but the responses are certainly sportier and more controlled than any SUV. The steering is light but fairly quick, and the ride is stable and forgiving.
Those are the base settings. Buyers who opt for the Audi Drive Select package can alter the Allroad’s responses to their tastes. Drivers can choose from Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual settings that adjust the suspension, transmission shift points, steering ratio and effort, as well as throttle response. All of those traits become quicker in Dynamic mode, creating a more engaging driving experience that we didn’t find to be too harsh. The responses are dulled in Comfort mode, which makes the ride more comfortable but things like steering and throttle feel a bit lazy. The Individual mode allows owners to choose a Comfort or Dynamic setting for each of the traits. For example, a driver might want firmer suspension settings for improved handling but a less aggressive throttle response for better fuel economy. We commend Audi for providing this much personalization, but the Dynamic setting had the Allroad dialed-in for our needs.
The Allroad's 2.0-liter engine makes 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This is one of the better turbocharged fours on the market, combining ready power with adequate fuel economy (20 mpg city, 27 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined). Zero-to-60 mph arrives in 6.5 seconds, which is quick for a four, and the engine remains refined and subdued at all rpms. The eight-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly, too, and it kicks down quickly on the highway to make passing a worry-free proposition. This may be the only powertrain, but the Allroad doesn't really need anything more.
Interior Design and Function
The 2013 Audi Allroad shares the A4's attractive interior design. It features high-quality, soft-touch materials on all the major panels, along with a modern gauge cluster and attractive control layout. Many of the advanced functions, such as navigation control and driver settings, are run through Audi's slick MMI interface. This system uses a rotate-and-push knob in the center stack to navigate the menus on a central display screen.
The MMI knob is surrounded by four buttons that act as shortcuts to the various entertainment, navigation, and communications functions. Like other systems of this type, MMI will take some time to learn but it becomes second nature after a few hundred miles. The vertical placement of the controller on the dashboard, however, makes it less convenient and harder to control than competitive versions placed on the center console (where a resting hand is more stable).
The base front seats are comfortable and supportive, though the available sport seats offer more bolstering for better lateral support through turns. With either seat type, front passengers have plenty of head and legroom. The rear seat offers enough space for average-size adults, but if passengers front or rear are any taller, rear legroom becomes cramped.
The Allroad's wagon design gives it the same overall utility as a crossover. Like the rear seat, however, the compact footprint means cargo space isn't quite as large as some SUVs or crossovers. The 50.5 cubic foot cargo area is easy to use and access, thanks to a flat load floor and a low liftover height, but it’s about 10 to 20 cubic feet smaller than its truckier rivals. A power tailgate is available as well, and its maximum opening height can be adjusted.
Primary Features and Options
The 2013 Audi Allroad is offered in one model called Premium for $39,600. It comes standard with leather upholstery, eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat and four-way front passenger seat, automatic climate control, interior air filter, 10-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo, auxiliary input jack, satellite radio, panoramic sunroof, automatic headlights, and P245/45R18 tires on alloy wheels. A Premium Plus package adds auto-dimming mirrors, heated front seats, auto-leveling xenon headlights with LED running lights, iPod interface, universal garage-door opener, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, a vehicle information center, three-zone automatic climate control, and a power tailgate. A Prestige package gets blind-spot alert, a navigation system with voice recognition, rearview camera, rear park assist, HD Radio, keyless access and starting, Bang & Olufsen 5.1 surround sound system with 14 speakers and 505-watts, Audi Connect, and blind spot assist. A Sport Interior package also gets a 12-way power sport seat and a flat bottom steering wheel with paddle shifters. The Driver Assist Package adds Audi Drive Select and adaptive cruise control that can bring the car to a stop below 20 mph to avoid or mitigate accidents. Nineteen-inch wheels are also available.
Standard safety features include dual-front airbags, front side airbags, curtain side airbags, antilock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist, traction control, and electronic stability control. Rear side airbags are optional.
It’s Perfect For…
The 2013 Audi Allroad is an excellent choice for families looking for the space and utility of an SUV or crossover, yet don't want their bulk or ultimate off-road ability. It is more fuel-efficient and offers a far better driving experience than any SUV, or even most crossovers. But the Allroad doesn't have quite as much cargo space, and the rear seat is smaller as well. Families should seriously consider how much utility they really need and whether the Allroad can suffice, especially if they appreciate its classy interior and exterior design.
Vehicle Tested: 2013 Audi Allroad
Base MSRP of Test Vehicle: $39,600
Options on Test Vehicle: Prestige Package (includes auto-dimming mirrors, heated front seats, auto-leveling xenon headlights with LED running lights, iPod interface, universal garage-door opener, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, vehicle information center, three-zone automatic climate control, power tailgate, blind-spot alert, navigation system with voice recognition, rearview camera, rear park assist, HD Radio, keyless access and starting, Bang & Olufsen 5.1 surround sound system with 14 speakers, Audi Connect, blind spot assist -- $9200), Destination Charge ($895)
MSRP of Test Vehicle (including destination charge): $49,675
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The manufacturer provided Total Car Score this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Photos Courtesy of the manufacturer.