Even with its quattro all-wheel drive, specific all-season tires, 7" of ground clearance, raised roof rails, rugged matte-finished body protection and underbody guards, Audi isn’t positioning the new allroad as a competitor to full SUVs. It’s more of an “urban adventure vehicle” and not as go-anywhere as the current crossover crowd from Volvo or Subaru. However, it’s a versatile machine that will get you to the garden center at Lowes as easily as the camping site with your fixed wheel.
The thing about the new allroad is you’ll need to remind yourself what this thing can do. From the outside, it looks more rugged than it really is, but from inside it it’s like driving an A4 Avant, so you might forget you have the extra clearance and traction to tackle trickier surfaces.
For all its height, the allroad drives better than most cars. It remains remarkably flat in corners and seems to absorb imperfections better than the regular A4. You feel it could benefit from a tilt meter or an altimeter on the dash perhaps, some rugged grab handles: something inside to match its rugged exterior.
It does have reprogrammed ESP to help with off-road traction. It allows more wheel slip and pulses the ABS more slowly to deal with loose surfaces.
With its comfortable ride and capable handling, the allroad is a great long distance recreational vehicle. It has slightly taller sidewalls, increasing the gearing to make it more relaxed on the highway and great for trips to Yellowstone, or somewhere you can get off asphalt when you arrive. Unfortunately, its towing capacity is limited, but it can handle some of the smaller weekend “toys”. And obviously its cargo space is useful, especially when the rear seats are folded.
The standard panoramic roof brings the outside in, and the Layered Oak wood inlay option is among the nicest we’ve seen. We were also won over by Audi connect, which now includes Google Earth integration that allows 3D satellite and aerial imagery. This is superb for checking out your destination, in particular, where you can view the terrain in detail. What’s more, connect can generate a wifi hotspot, giving your mobile devices greater connectivity. However, you need to watch the price. Our $40k allroad had an additional $10k of extras…
The 2.0T engine is a familiar tool, acquitting itself well, and able to match the efficiency of BMW’s more powerful N20 2.0T engine thanks to Audi’s adoption of measure like electro-mechanical steering.
So if you’re looking for versatile transport that offers a great drive and load flexibility without the disadvantages of an SUV, the new Audi allroad should be added to your list of test drives.