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2015 Audi allroad: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2015

If the 2015 Audi allroad sounds familiar to you, you're right; we've been down this road before. The original allroad, based on the midsize A6 wagon, debuted over a decade ago with funky off-roader styling, quattro all-wheel drive and an unusual twin-turbocharged V6.

This time around, the allroad is based on the A4 wagon and features a 4-cylinder engine with a single turbo. But it has enough of the old allroad's plucky character to satisfy long-time fans and win new ones, too.

While the 2015 allroad isn't a true off-road vehicle, it does offer meaningful upgrades. Stainless-steel skid plates provide added underbody protection, and the allroad's extra 1.5 inches of ground clearance bring light-duty washboard roads into play. Also, the allroad looks tough with its flared wheel arches and shiny door sills. The styling alone might be enough to win over some would-be crossover buyers.

The 2015 allroad may lack the twin-turbo punch of its predecessor, but in all other respects it's a worthy heir. Check it out if you like the idea of a premium wagon that doesn't mind getting dirty.

What's New for 2015?

The 2015 allroad receives as standard xenon headlights, LED taillights, a power liftgate and tri-zone climate control.

What We Like

Engaging handling; more off-road capability than most wagons; fancy interior; excellent technology features

What We Don't

Mediocre power and fuel economy; modest cargo capacity

How Much?

$43,325-$50,725

Fuel Economy

The allroad is powered by Audi's familiar turbocharged 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder, which makes 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Quattro all-wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic transmission are standard.

Fuel economy stands at 21 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Standard Features & Options

The 2015 Audi allroad is offered in three trim levels: Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige.

The Premium ($43,325) comes with 18-in alloy wheels, xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights, headlight washers, fog lights, LED taillights, skid plates, a panoramic sunroof, a power liftgate, leather upholstery, 8-way power front seats with driver lumbar adjustment, tri-zone automatic climate control (meaning the rear passengers get their own controls), Bluetooth and iPod integration, the Multi Media Interface (MMI) system with a dash-mounted control knob and an audio system with an auxiliary input, an SD card reader and satellite radio.

The Premium Plus ($45,325) adds keyless access with push-button ignition, auto-dimming mirrors, heated and power-folding exterior mirrors, driver memory settings and heated front seats.

The Prestige ($50,725) goes all-out with blind spot warning, a color driver information display, a rearview camera with rear parking sensors, MMI Plus with navigation and a console-mounted joystick knob, a Bang & Olufsen audio system and the Audi connect telematics suite with Google Maps, real-time weather and travel information. It even comes with mobile Wi-Fi connectivity for up to eight devices.

Many of the higher trims' features are available on lower trims for a fee. Other options, depending on the trim level, include 19-in alloy wheels, a Sport Interior package (sport front seats and a 3-spoke steering wheel with shift paddles), adaptive cruise control and the Drive Select system, which allows the driver to adjust settings for steering, transmission and throttle response.

Although the A4-based 2015 allroad is technically one size smaller than the old A6-based allroad, the A4 platform has grown up since the late 1990s. The new allroad is hardly a compact car; four adults can ride together all day without an issue, even if back-seat space technically trails that of most crossovers.

Cargo capacity is unimpressive by crossover or wagon standards, however, checking in at 27.6 cu ft. behind the rear seats and 50.5 cu ft. with the rear seatbacks flipped down.

Safety

The 2015 Audi allroad comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes and six airbags (front, front-side and full-length side-curtain). Rear-side airbags are optional on all trims. A blind-spot warning system is also available.

In government crash tests, the allroad received a perfect 5-star rating overall, with five stars for both frontal and side crash protection.

Behind the Wheel

In our interior evaluation, we found that the allroad's standard front seats don't offer much support. The Sport Interior package rectifies this, though, so check that box if you want seats that hug your sides in corners. In any case, most drivers will easily find a comfortable position thanks to the tilt-telescopic steering wheel and multiple power adjustments. However, drivers with long legs may find their left elbows hanging off the back of the stubby door armrest.

The allroad largely borrows its dashboard and control layout from the A4, which means that it sports exceptionally high-quality materials all around. It also means that ergonomics are spotty due to missteps such as a fan-speed control that requires two steps to adjust. But to Audi's credit, the MMI system has become vastly more intuitive as of late.

Audi has tuned the 2.0T engine and 8-speed transmission to feel quick around town, but passing power at higher speeds is limited by the allroad's near 2-ton heft. This is still a fine motor on its own merits, but 220 hp isn't much for a turbocharged engine of this size.

The allroad sits 1.5 inches higher off the ground than a standard A4. That should compromise handling significantly, but it doesn't. The allroad is a relatively wide vehicle with plenty of rubber, so it still handles like a proper European car. Naturally, the discontinued A4 Avant (wagon) felt more glued to the road, but the allroad's extra ground clearance and unique suspension tuning allow it to tackle gentle off-road routes that would have normal cars running for cover.

Other Cars to Consider

2015 BMW 328i Wagon -- The 3 Series wagon is a very good one, boasting fine road manners and a turbocharged inline 4-cylinder that beats Audi's in both power and fuel economy. There's also a diesel 328d model.

2015 Volkswagen Touareg -- Check the price on Touaregs before you go with the allroad, because there's a chance you could snag one of VW's finest for less coin. The Touareg is a rugged crossover that uses the same platform as the Porsche Cayenne, so it can handle just about anything you throw its way.

2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country -- Volvo's latest crossover wagon is based on the satisfying S60 sedan, and it's a winner with some real off-road abilities, though interior space is at a premium.

Used Audi A4 Avant -- Prior to the allroad's arrival for the 2013 model year, the A4 wagon was known as the Avant, and it was essentially an allroad without the raised suspension and off-road kit. If you want a car with better handling and wouldn't mind saving a bundle of cash in the process, a used Avant could be a good choice.

AutoTrader's Advice

We much prefer the allroad with the Sport Interior package and MMI Plus. You can specify both as options on the Premium Plus model, so that's where our money would go.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Audi allroad: New Car Review - Autotrader