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- Highs Remarkably silent on the go, fancy and functional interior, serene ride quality.
- Lows Less range than rivals, less unique than rivals, limited energy regeneration options.
- Verdict The e-tron is a luxurious crossover EV that lacks the panache that usually defines its breed.
Audi's answer to the burgeoning breed of all-electric crossovers isn't as stylish as the Jaguar I-Pace or as innovative as the Tesla Model X. Instead, the 2020 Audi e-tron is intended to magnify the advantages of EVs in a more traditional package that exemplifies the company's luxury pedigree. With standard all-wheel drive and a 4000-pound towing capacity, the two-row crossover has the capability many SUV shoppers expect. While its 200-plus-mile range isn't groundbreaking, Audi thinks that's more than enough for most daily commutes. A sumptuous interior fitted with state-of-the-art technology further proves that the 2020 e-tron is more interested in making the EV segment more desirable rather than advancing it.
What's New for 2020?
While Audi has only announced updates for the European 2020 e-tron, the company said those changes will eventually make their way to our market. That means the American version will have an updated battery pack that provides more driving range than it currently does. It also means we're getting the e-tron Sportback that features a fastback roofline.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Despite its higher starting price, we think the Prestige model is the e-tron to own. It has better standard features than the base model that include a head-up display, massaging front seats, nicer leather upholstery, and power door closers. It also has adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. We'd also add the Tow package to utilize its 4000-pound maximum capacity. Likewise, we'd choose the Cold Weather package, which brings heated rear seats and adaptive windshield wipers with heated washer jets.
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EV Motor, Power, and Performance
Beneath the e-tron's heavily creased bodywork are two electric motors, one located at the front axle and the other at the rear. Together they provide electronic all-wheel drive, but the rear motor does most of the work. In regular driving situations, they make a combined 355 horsepower and 414 lb-ft of torque. However, putting the transmission in Sport mode briefly unlocks 402 ponies and 490 lb-ft. Our initial driving impressions revealed that the e-tron was swift and composed. Its snappy acceleration is typical of electric vehicles, and the smooth and quiet ride quality asserted its luxury pretenses. Its stopping system expertly blended its traditional brakes with the obligatory regenerative brakes. However, we were disappointed that its regen wasn't aggressive enough to enable one-pedal driving during our test of the Sportback model. Still, the e-tron demonstrates traditional SUV characteristics with the ability to tow up to 4000 pounds.
Range, Charging, and Battery Life
The EPA doesn't provide a rating for the 2020 e-tron, but the 2019 version had an estimated driving range of 204 miles. The 2020 Sportback is rated at 218 miles. Both figures are less than the Jaguar I-Pace (234 miles) and the Tesla Model X Long Range (up to 351 miles). Every e-tron is compatible with 150.0-kW DC fast-chargers that allow it to replenish 80 percent of its battery in about 30 minutes. Those using a more conventional 240-volt outlet will be able to fully charge the e-tron in about nine hours.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPGe
The EPA estimates the 2020 e-tron Sportback will earn 77 MPGe combined. The government doesn't have ratings for the regular 2020 e-tron, but the 2019 version was rated at 74 MPGe combined. We tested both body styles on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen. A 2019 e-tron returned 67 MPGe and a 2020 e-tron Sportback returned 75 MPGe. For comparison, the last I-Pace we evaluated achieved 64 MPGe in the same test.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The e-tron's most impressive technology is its electrified systems, but the five-seat crossover also has a cutting-edge and practical cabin. Its dashboard is packed with multiple high-resolution screens that include Audi's digital gauge cluster—called Virtual Cockpit—and two flush-mounted touchscreens in the center. Of course, there are a variety of upscale options such as a head-up display and massaging front seats to further round out the e-tron's sophisticated interior, which benefits from a flat floor thanks to its neatly packaged underfloor battery pack. That helps provide its commodious cargo area that measures 29 cubic feet behind the back row and 57 with the seatbacks folded flat. The Sportback's sloping roofline reduces each figure by 2 cubes, but we still fit seven carry-on suitcases behind its rear seats—one less than in the regular e-tron.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Every e-tron's infotainment system runs through dual touchscreens, with a 10.1-inch display on top and an 8.8-inch unit below it. While the upper screen provides access to the standard Bang & Olufsen audio system, built-in navigation, and smartphone-compatible content, the bottom screen is mainly used for controlling the climate settings. Along with several power points, the system also features a Wi-Fi hotspot and wireless charging.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
The 2020 e-tron and Sportback both earned five-star crash-test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but neither 2020 model has been evaluated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The all-electric Audi also has an array of standard driver-assistance technology, and it's available with semi-autonomous drive modes such as adaptive cruise control and self-parking assist. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Standard lane-departure warning
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Audi provides a competitive albeit unremarkable limited and powertrain warranty.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Electric components are covered for eight years or 100,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance