I've coveted the Audi Allroad since I first had kids. I didn't want an SUV or a minivan; I wanted a wagon with some ground clearance, some power and some style. Then they disappeared after the 2005 model year and I might have wept. For 2013, the Allroad is back and I couldn't have been more thrilled to test it. The lesson I learned during this test drive? One of the most difficult things to manage is one's own expectations.
The 2013 Audi Allroad wasn't a disappointment, not by any stretch, but this all-new wagon had some curious shortcomings nestled among its great drive experience and posh amenities.
The Allroad is based on the A4 and not the A6 as it was in its first incarnation, and I was surprised by how small the Allroad is now. I'm not opposed to a small wagon, but I thought this wagon would be larger. However, the Allroad was flexible despite its size.
I loved racing around in the Allroad and its turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The suspension makes for a smooth ride and only a small amount of road noise crept into the cabin. The steering was responsive, and the braking was spot-on. It was a joy to drive, plain and simple.
The 2013 Allroad starts at $40,495, including an $895 destination fee. My test car, which was equipped with the optional Premium Plus and Audi MMI Navigation Plus packages, cost $47,395.
The Allroad's exterior is an enigma to me. From the side, something about it doesn't look new or modern. The silver-colored plastic cladding on my test car made it look dated, and even the slant of the rear hatch looks like a nod to an Audi 90 rather than a 2013 model. The front end looks slick with its gorgeous LED running lights, and after much internal debate, I decided I liked the grille with skinny vertical slats that reminded me of a vintage racing grille.
What I like most about a wagon is I get a car that doesn't have the sloping roofline that causes me to hit my head on it whenever I help kids into a vehicle. Also, the Allroad's increased ground clearance is a great idea, and I'd have loved to test the Allroad in some deep snow. However, that higher ground clearance may trip up younger kids until they get used to it. It's only 1.5 inches higher, but it might be a problem for a 3-year-old.
Interestingly, my test wagon had an optional power liftgate. This feature is found all over the place on SUVs, but not always on wagons. I like this feature and was happy to have it on my test car. At 27.6 cubic feet, the Allroad's cargo area was smaller than I expected, but folding the 60/40-split backseat can increase the space to 50.5 cubic feet.
The 2013 Allroad has a 211-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that's paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Allroad has Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive standard. The Allroad gets an EPA-estimated 20/27 mpg city/highway and uses premium gas.
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great (for smaller ones)
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Good Times
Inside, the Allroad makes up for my confusion on the exterior. The interior's overall feel is sporty. My test car's interior had black-colored leather and "aluminum trigon inlays," which was a funky metallic trim.
The leather seats were supple and supportive at the same time. The optional 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat and standard eight-way power-adjustable front passenger seat were both heated, too.
The Allroad's Multi-Media Interface system is more usable than in Audis of years past, or I'm getting used to it. Either way, if you give it some time, the multimedia system becomes easier to use. MMI can be used to control almost everything about the car — even the climate and seat heat, which also have physical buttons. There are buttons that allow you to go right to a particular MMI menu: radio, media, car, navigation, telephone and menu. The submenus are straightforward, but beware, it still takes moving your eyes off the road to accomplish some tasks.
I'd like to make an appeal to Audi and request that the automaker changes its cupholders. Audi puts two cupholders — one larger and one smaller — in the Allroad's front row. The smaller cupholder holds a can the size of a Red Bull, but if you don't consume drinks of that size, the cupholder is mostly likely to be used as a utility bin. I'd like to see some more thoughtful storage in the Allroad's front row.
In the backseat, my kids, ages 8 and 10, rejoiced at the panoramic roof, a huge glass panel extending over their heads. They also liked the funky cupholders that come out of the end of the folding armrest. My son and daughter were comfortable in the backseat. There were few amenities in the back, but I loved the seatback net pockets because they're so flexible. Also, the aforementioned fold-down armrest has a shallow, wide bin. Gadgets will fit in there, as will pencils, paper and small books.
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair
The 2013 Allroad has two sets of lower Latch anchors in the outboard seats. What's really cool is the anchors sit behind plastic caps that are easily removed. No fishing around! Also, the three tether anchors are on the top of the seatbacks directly behind the head restraints. Beautiful, Audi.
Some booster seats may not fit well in the Allroad because of the bolstered seats. My kids had no problems buckling up, though I was worried because the seat belt buckles were recessed into the bench. To my surprise, the buckles were on stable bases, so nothing moved and buckling was quite simple. Find out how the 2013 Allroad performed in Cars.com's Car Seat Check.
The Allroad earned five stars of five in the side-impact crash test conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA's rollover and front-impact crash tests haven't been conducted. The Allroad hasn't been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The Allroad has standard all-wheel drive, all-wheel-disc antilock brakes with brake assist, an electronic stability system with traction control and six airbags, including side curtains for both rows. Optional features are xenon headlights, a backup camera, rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, a collision warning system and rear side-impact airbags.
Get more safety information about the 2013 Audi Allroad here.