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2013 Audi Allroad Overview
Audi decided to take another stab at the Allroad for 2013 with an all-new model based heavily on the maker's outgoing A4 Avant wagon, rather than the bulky A6 of its previous incarnation. If you loved the A4 Avant, you're in for a treat—the Allroad differs only in some measurements and other small details, being slightly wider, longer and 2.5 inches taller with more ground clearance and body protection. These give the Allroad a bit more room for people, stability and willingness to get dirty than the A4 Avant it replaces. That said, such minor changes mean anything you didn't like so much about the Avant probably also carried over, but in a sturdier package.
In all, the changes amount to cosmetics, like adopting the 2013 A4's headlight style, along with an exclusive grille, a bit more elbow room, slightly modernized interior and some minor tweaks to feature content—most of which are previously optional features, albeit very practical features like roof rails and aluminum trim that just might stick around after the debut. That added breathing space is definitely welcome in the still admittedly cramped rear bench seat, but whether all the changes are enough to satisfy drivers who also wanted more cargo room, starting-line spunk and user-friendly controls is still being tested in the real-world lab.
The design is very much the same as the A4 Avant's, so the fastback still cramps on cargo instead of style, and interior controls still get mixed reviews. Cargo capacity is the very same 17 cubic feet with all seats up, or 51 cubic feet with the second row dropped flat for a net growth of about 1 inch. The very same turbocharged 2-liter inline 4-cylinder that powered the A4 Avant to 60 mph in some 7 seconds still puts out the same sweet tune of 211 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It also still gets the same clock time and same 20 mpg city/27 highway using the same Shiftronic 8-speed to send power at all 4 wheels through the same Quattro system as the smaller, lighter A4 Avant's. Quite a feat given the same option of Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trims, and the hefty list of features each of those trims includes, alongside universally available options like a wood-trimmed interior.
Highlights of hard-to-find features standard in the Premium base trim include a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, split-folding rear bench, 8-way powered front seats with 4-way powered lumbar support and a 10-speaker sound system with CD player and satellite radio. All Allroad drivers can opt for packages with Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, rear side airbags or bi-xenon and LED lighting technology. Premium Plus and Prestige buyers can opt for a Sport Interior, MMI Navigation with improved usability for 2013 or 19-inch wheels, and the Prestige's list of standard inclusions includes a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium sound system.
In terms of driving dynamics, the Allroad is still a powerful passer—and a front-heavy nose-diver, though not as much as the A4 Avant, according to professional reviews. Optional stainless-steel skid plates and side sills (as opposed to the standard plastic set) in addition to its now-wagon-standard ground clearance suggest performance closer to that of a Subaru Outback or Volvo XC70, but professional reviewers are quick to remind that the new Allroad is not a rock-crawler or serious off-roader. The Quattro system and driver-selectable Electronic Stability Control, as well as the optional Audi Drive Select with Dynamic Steering would all route through the same mechanical center limited-slip differential. In other words, the Allroad is made for comfort and grace on any beaten path, though pavement is not required.
by Patricia Mayo
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