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2021 Audi A4 Allroad vs. 2021 Subaru Outback: Which Is Better?

The 2021 Audi A4 Allroad is a wagon, while the 2021 Subaru Outback is a crossover. Both have compelling reasons to buy them. But which is better?

Quick Facts

  • Mild hybrid boosts Audi Allroad fuel economy and power.
  • All-wheel drive is a given on the affordable Subaru Outback.

2021 Audi A4 Allroad

2021 Audi A4 Allroad
Base Price: $46,590 / Read our Audi A4 Allroad Review

What we like: Standard Quattro all-wheel-drive, mild hybrid boosts both fuel economy and power, adaptive suspension brings extra ground clearance

What we would change: Add a sporty S4 variant, smoother shifts from the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, add more standard safety and driver assists at the entry-level price

Overview: Luxuriously elegant and capable at the same time, the Audi Allroad is a raised station wagon that combines a plush ride with the utility of an off-road capable crossover SUV. The fact Audi is an all-wheel-drive expert only enhances the deal. The Quattro drive train is well known for its grippy demeanor which makes the Allroad a good handler on the tarmac and a capable off-road machine.

What’s new for 2021: The A4 and Allroad lines were refreshed for 2020. For this year, the 12-volt belt-drive mild hybrid debuts along with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Changes include adding the belt-driven mild hybrid system.

Features and Technology: Audi offers three trim levels, Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. Lower trims come with 17-in wheels, 18-in on upper models. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard in all trim levels, along with a lane departure system. Features on the Allroad mirror offerings found on A4 sedans but now include a power liftgate.

What does the future hold: Rumor pages suggest a redesigned Audi Allroad will be on tap for the 2022 model year.  Find a 2021 Audi A4 Allroad for sale near you

2021 Subaru Outback

2021 Subaru Outback

Base Price: $27,845 / Read our Subaru Outback Review

What we like: Standard AWD, optional 2.5-liter turbo flat-4,  off-road capability thanks to more than 8.7 inches of ground clearance

What we would change:  Improve the feel of the CVT, smooth out the start/stop system, offer a manual gearbox

Overview: Good looking and totally capable, the Subaru Outback returns immediately following its 2020 makeover. A practical and smarter alternative to traditional SUVs, it features the cargo-hauling capabilities of a crossover without the skyscraper feeling of a tall sport-utility. We appreciate the off-road capability and that it can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

What’s new for 2021: Following its 2020 refresh, the Subaru continues with a few minor enhancements. Among them are active headlines that track the steering angle of the front wheels. Also new is a rear seat check reminder and unfastened seatbelt chimes for both front and rear passengers.

Features and Technology: Each level is very well-equipped but the Outback Limited really brings it, with leather-trimmed upholstery, machine-finished black 18-in alloy wheels, power front seats, 2-position driver’s seat memory, heated back seats, a hands-free power rear liftgate pushbutton start, Harman Kardon premium audio, blind-spot detection (with lane change assist) and rear cross-traffic alert (with reverse automatic braking).

What does the future hold: This model was just refreshed in 2020, so expect just minor tweaks for the next few years. Find a 2021 Subaru Outback for sale near you

A4 Allroad vs Outback: Strengths Comparison

Audi Allroad Benefits: Full-time Quattro all-wheel-drive, luxurious cabin, good handling and ride quality.

Subaru Outback Benefits: Less expensive price of entry than the Audi; more cargo space, good off-road capabilities with more ground clearance.

2021 Audi A4 Allroad vs. 2021 Subaru Outback: Which is better?

If style and luxury are more important than off-road trail-busting, the Audi A4 Allroad is your choice. Otherwise, we suggest giving the Subaru Outback a go for a very capable crossover with more cargo holding room and a lower price of entry. Find a 2021 Audi A4 Allroad or Find a 2021 Subaru Outback

2021 Audi A4 Allroad 2021 Subaru Outback
Popular Powertrains
Engine 2.0-liter turbo I4 2.5-liter flat-4
Horsepower 261 hp @ 5,000 rpm 182 hp @ 5,800 rpm
Torque 273 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm 176 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm
Transmission 7-spd DCT automatic CVT
Fuel Economy 26 mpg (24 city/30 hwy) 29 mpg (26 city/33 hwy)
Also Available 2.5-liter turbo flat-4
Warranty 4 years/50,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 4 years/50,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Safety Rating 5-star 5-star
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 110.9 inches 108.1 inches
Overall Length 187.5 inches 191.3 inches
Width 72.7inches 73 inches
Height 58.8 inches 66.4 inches
Turning Diameter 38.4 feet 36.1 feet
Headroom, Front 37.4 inches 40.1 inches
Headroom, Rear 37.4 inches 39.1 inches
Legroom, Front 41.3 inches 42.8 inches
Legroom, Rear 35.7 inches 39.5 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 55.9 inches 58.1 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 54.5 inches 57.4 inches
EPA Passenger Volume n/a 109 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume 24.2/58.8 cu. ft. 32.5/75.7 cu. ft.

Mark Elias
Mark Elias
Mark Elias is a writer and photographer specializing in automotive topics ranging from new and used cars to classics and motorsports. His first car was a Matchbox Jaguar D-Type. From there, things have only become larger. During his professional career, he has been a staff photographer for the Associated Press, a contract photographer for Bloomberg News, and a contributor to automotive outlets... Read More about Mark Elias

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  1. The Outback Wilderness uses the 2.4 Turbo at 270hp and 277 torque at 1500 rpm. almost 10 inch ground clearance. It’s quite a beast, After market parts give it a locking rear diff, Additional High Performance CVT cooler, and it can be tuned, but it doesn’t need it. Very quick for an off-roader.

    • Thanks for reading!
      Actually, 182 hp is correct for the standard 2.5-liter Boxer engine. The Turbocharged model (seen in Also Available) is the 260 hp version.

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