By Barbara & Bill Schaffer
We liked the Audi allroad? the first time around when it went on sale in 1999. The persona was bit more rugged than a wagon and more civilized than an SUV. Reintroduced again for 2013, the Audi allroad is offering that wagon versatility with a little of the sport sedan prowess mixed in with some mild off-road capabilities.
Unlike the original allroad, which had V-6 or V-8 engines, the 2013 Audi allroad comes with only one small engine — a 2.0-liter turbocharged direct injection four-cylinder. The spunky award-winning engine is rated at 211hp with 258-lb.ft. of torque, but it feels more powerful. In addition to producing notable performance, including a 6.5 second 0 to 60 mph time and top speed limited to 130 mph, the engine is efficient, logging EPA numbers of 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. The engine is mated with a new eight-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic manual shifting and quattro? permanent all-wheel drive.
To enhance the muscular look, the body gets contrasting color ding-resistant cladding around the lower side skirts and the wheel flares. There are also stainless steel skid plates on the front and rear fascia as well as on the side sills, but they are more for looks than for scrapes. Finally, the suspension is raised 1.5-inches and it gets rugged looking 18-inch wheels both, which give the allroad better clearance in addition to actually making ingress and egress easier.
Audi introduced the LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL) on the S6 and S8 models in 2006 and since then each new model has been outfitted with the distinctive safety lights, with each vehicle getting a different pattern. The allroad is distinguished by a long LED rope DRL that encircles the light pod except over the Xenon beam. The grille is different too, with vertical chrome bars as compared to the egg crate style of the A4 sedan.
The 2013 Audi allroad comes in three trim levels, Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige, with prices at $40,495, $43,795 and $49,695 respectively including the $895 destination charge. The five-passenger interior feels especially spacious with the standard Panorama sunroof. The luxurious cabin has standard soft leather seats, wood and aluminum accents, premium audio system and all the power equipment expected in an upscale vehicle.
The Premium Plus adds adaptive Xenon headlights with the LED daytime running lights, a power tailgate, heated seats and a few other features. The Prestige keeps adding features including MMI Navigation with Google Earth? maps, Bang and Olufsen sound system, Audi advanced key with push button start and side assist (a blind spot warning system). Options and option packages include a special three-spoke steering wheel, 12-way seats, Audi connect? (Internet features include making it a WiFi? hotspot), satellite radio and adaptive cruise control.
The Audi allroad is designed for that often referred to 95 percent of SUV owners who never go more off road than gravel. It?s a vehicle that implies the owner may be woodsy or someone who likes to spend time outdoors. We like the adjustable and usable cargo space, which can expand from 27.6 cubic feet when the rear seatbacks are in place to 50.5 cubic feet when folded. The space makes it perfect for shopping, road trips or assists doing those outdoorsy things.
The ride and handling are calibrated more toward comfort than racing down country road, and that?s just as it should be. However, the Audi allroad is well balanced with no skimping on spirited driving abilities ? after all it is an Audi.
The 2013 Audi allroad is a nice addition to the Audi lineup, and gets a wagon back into the A4 nitch with a more rugged demeanor, and that?s what Americans seem to like. We think it would be the perfect addition to most any garage.