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- Highs Rugged styling, practical wagon body style, loaded with standard tech features.
- Lows Other luxury wagons offer more space, doesn't feel as luxurious inside as its price would suggest, lacks towing capability.
- Verdict All the likable traits of the A4 sedan with a more practical body style and a few inches of extra ground clearance.
Audi's A4 is a handsome, sweet-driving sedan, but what we really love is the A4 Avant wagon— which the German automaker reserves for Europe and other global markets. Instead, we get the rugged-looking, lifted A4 Allroad, which is almost as cool. Its extra ground clearance isn't enough for it to undertake legitimate off-roading alongside Jeeps and Toyota 4Runners. But it gives the A4 Allroad the same kind of advantage as the Subaru Outback or the Volvo V60 Cross Country when it comes to tackling rutted dirt roads and snowy byways. Quattro all-wheel drive is standard and a turbocharged four-cylinder engine provides peppy power with decent fuel economy.
What's New for 2021?
Fresh off a freshening for the 2020 model year, Audi moves the Allroad forward with a significant mechanical change for 2021: the addition of a 12-volt hybrid system to its turbocharged four-cylinder. Horsepower is also bumped up by 13, for a total output of 261. Elsewhere, lane-departure warning becomes standard, wireless Apple CarPlay is introduced, and a built-in toll-road transponder is added to the car's rear-view mirror. The Convenience Package—available only on the base Premium trim—now includes front and rear parking sensors and a heated steering wheel, while the mid-range Premium Plus trim now comes standard with adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and a 360-degree exterior camera system; Prestige trims add heated rear seats.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We recommend the mid-range Premium Plus model. It's slightly elevated over the base Premium model with additional standard features luxury buyers will prefer, such as Audi's cool Virtual Cockpit gauge display, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, keyless entry with push-button start, front and rear parking sensors, a wireless smartphone charging pad, LED headlamps, power-folding exterior side mirrors, and a memory seat for the driver. We'd also add the Cold Weather package with its all-weather floor mats, heated rear seats, and heated steering wheel.
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
There's only one powertrain for the A4 Allroad, but it's a good one: the gutsier, 261-hp version of the regular A4's turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which now comes with a 12-volt hybrid system. A seven-speed automatic transmission and the latest version of Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system are standard. In our experience with older nonhybrid models, we noted that the gearbox modulates its attitude depending on the driver's demands and can snap off quick, precise shifts under hard driving or more relaxed, unobtrusive shifts around town. We'll have to wait to test the A4 Allroad with its new powertrain. From our previous experience with it, however, the A4 Allroad drives like a dream, balancing ride and handling extremely well. Its cornering grip is plenty adequate and puts it right in line with most competitors. It feels like a car rather than an SUV, something we think a lot of buyers will appreciate. We certainly do.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates the 2021 A4 Allroad will earn 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. However, we can't evaluate its real-world mpg until we run one on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The A4 Allroad has an attractive, businesslike interior, which we would like far better if we hadn't seen the art piece that is the V90's cabin. It may not be beautiful, but the A4 Allroad's cabin is perfectly functional, handsome, nicely appointed, and comfortable. Despite being significantly shorter in exterior length than several of its competitors, the Allroad's back seat has nearly as much legroom as both the Mercedes-Benz E-class wagon and the V90. As befits a luxury car, the Allroad comes standard with leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, a panoramic sunroof, and three-zone automatic climate control. The A4 Allroad lost the carry-on-luggage test before we even got our suitcases out, however. It's smaller inside and out than competitors such as the E-class wagon and the Outback. More perplexing is that it barely beat the sedan version of the A4 in seats-up cargo-carrying room, despite its supposed 11-cubic-foot advantage in cargo volume; it held just six carry-ons behind the rear seat, only one more than the A4 sedan.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Audi was one of the first automakers to bring data plans and Wi-Fi into cars, and it hasn't stopped innovating. Audi's MMI infotainment system's newest crown jewel is the optional Virtual Cockpit, a high-resolution configurable display located where the gauge cluster would normally be. It can be arranged to show either a digital version of a traditional cluster layout or a more infotainment-focused display, which can feature real-time Google Maps overlays of the surrounding environs. A 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen takes center stage atop the dashboard and features Apple Carplay and Android Auto.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
A wide array of available driver-assistance technology is impressive, but only forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking, and lane-departure warning are standard. For more information about the A4 Allroad's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with forward-collision warning
- Available lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving mode
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Almost all of the cars in this class, including the A4 Allroad, have a warranty based around a four-year or 50,000-mile limited and powertrain warranty.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance