June 9, 2012

2013 Audi Allroad 2.0T


When I was 14 my mom drove a baby blue Ford LTD station wagon.  This car has cost me numerous hours in therapy, especially since it was referred to as “my car” before I turned 16.  The hardened chewing gum in the back seat still haunts my dreams.
My mom upgraded to a Dodge Grand Caravan Sport, after the Ford committed car suicide by dropping the exhaust and cracking the manifold, just in time for me to learn to drive something slightly less sucky.
I’ve always been adverse to the idea of a station wagon, even more adverse to the horrible reality that is the mini-van.  I might have found a solution to all of that horribleness with the Allroad.

Base Price: $39,600
As Tested: $47,870
Engine: 2.0L Turbo-charged 4 cylinder, 211 horsepower
Transmission: 8-Speed Shiftable Automatic
Curb Weight: 3,637 lbs.
Wheelbase: 110.4 inches
MPG Rating: 20 city/ 27 highway

                The Allroad hasn’t been in the States since 2004-05.  Before it was based on an A6 platform, but now is based on an A4 platform.  The Allroad is still basically the same size; cars getting bigger and all.  The Allroad's return has been highly anticipated and I can see why.

Interior:
The driver’s position is functional and sensible.  The steering wheel telescopes and tilts allowing for max comfort.  All of the infotainment controls are located on the center console and also are on the steering wheel.
The main control of the infotainment system is four corner buttons and a wheel in the middle.  I prefer a touch screen.  I continually would turn the wheel the wrong direction.  It would just take getting used to.
The backseat has acceptable leg room.  It’s not the biggest back seat, but it’s not the smallest either.  I was able to fit behind the driver’s seat in my position, but it was very comfortable.  Five adults can fit, but if you want them to be comfortable, then you should only let three friends come along.  There are two sets of LATCH points for children seats and the back seat is big enough to afford them legroom.
The driver’s seat was incredibly comfortable.  I spent the better part of a day putting a couple hundred miles on the Allroad and felt fantastic at the end, though this was probably more from the adrenaline rush of returning the car to the dealer with 0 miles on the range.  Sorry, about that, guys…
The Outback has more cargo room.  The max cargo volume of the Outback is 71.3 cubic feet and the Allroad has only 50 cu. ft.  I loved the extra cargo room that a wagon gives over a sedan.  The double stroller fit, along with the diaper bag, portable table chair, and the rest of the crap that goes with having two kids.
Exterior:
                The outside of the Allroad is all “car”, but from the inside it kind of feels like a CUV, like the sportiest CUV ever.  The headlights are the standard LED and Xenon combination that Audi has been using with all of their vehicles.  The wheels are 18 inches and standard.
                The rear hatch slopes down to the rear bumper helping the aerodynamics and helping the Allroad’s lines look fast even when stopped.
                There is molding around the lower edges of all the body work and both the front and rear bumper.  It is normally black, but my test car’s was color matched to the paint. 

Tech:
One helpful feature of the navigation system is that as you’re driving, the nav displays the speed limit.  It isn’t a perfect system, but was quite helpful.  It didn’t always have the speed limit for some of the smaller or back country roads and didn’t have the updated highway speeds (now 75 mph speed limit) in Kansas.
The Outback does beat the Allroad in terms of the Subaru having a touch screen and the Audi is still rocking the wheel and four corner buttons to navigate the infotainment system.
The Allroad has driver and front passenger head & side airbags.  Audi is one of the few manufacturers who are installing side curtain airbags with side airbags.  Most manufacturers trust their steel frames for side collisions in the backseat.  Audi is being proactive and putting in the technology now.

Performance:
The Allroad is not a performance car, which is like saying Scotty Pippen isn’t as good as Jordan, but it is a blast to drive.  It is an amazing all weather car.  The Quattro all-wheel drive has historic roots in rally racing and the Allroad is a perfect example.  I spent an hour or so with the Allroad on gravel and really enjoyed myself.  The all-wheel drive is predictable and efficient at moving through the corners.  Four wheel drifts are not difficult to achieve, just don’t tempt Darwin by going too fast.
  The Allroad uses a turbo-charged four cylinder engine to create 211 horsepower.  This is the same VW GTI engine that was creating only 200 hp last year.  The center of gravity is too high to be a good track day car, but the Allroad is still very good on the street.
The 8 speed shiftable automatic transmission is fantastic.  There are three drive modes: drive, sport, & manual.  Manual could be very helpful at the track, but this isn’t a track car.  It could be though, if you needed one in a pinch.  “Sport” mode held all 8 of the gears longer and drastically lowered our mpg numbers.  Regular “Drive” mode was strong and surprisingly good on the fuel economy.  This car didn’t come with the suspension adjustments like the A6, but was still very sporty.
I averaged 27.3mpg throughout all of my driving in the Allroad.  That includes a lot of aggressive accelerating and the also returning the Allroad to the dealer with the range reading 0 miles.  It had been reading 0 while we were still 7.5 miles away from the dealer.  We were worried that the precise Germans had put their upmost accuracy into the fuel gauge we were going to be trudging back to the dealer. The sticker has the mileage listed at 20 city and 27 highway with 23 combined.  We did some combined driving, but by keeping a dark wizard under the hood, somehow the mileage stayed above 27.  While on the highway for a lot of our drive the mileage was closer to 29 & 30 mpgs.

Wrap:
If I had $48,000 in my pocket, it would have been in the Audi dealer’s hand at the end of the day.  I loved the feel of the 8 speed automatic transmission.  It was very smooth all day.  The 211 horsepower moves the Allroad confidently and quickly through all road conditions.  The Quattro AWD makes it almost unlikely that the Allroad ends up off road.  The only reason you should ever be off road is if you choose to be.  

Thank you, Molle Audi, for providing the Allroad for free for my test drive.  Please swing by if you are interested in test driving the Allroad.

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