I love the look of the new Allroad - the chrome grille, the slightly higher ride height, and plastic cladding give the former A4 Avant an aggressive look. However, that's the problem: figuring out who the Allroad is supposed to be aimed at, since those who want an Avant will scoff at the added ride height and those who want an SUV will look at the similarly priced Q5. Maybe Audi is trying to court those buyers who remember the previous A6 Avant-based Allroad and hoping that the new buyers will overlook the fact this A4-based car lacks its predecessor's trick air suspension.
The Allroad doesn't actually bother me as a stand-in for the now-departed A4 Avant in Audi's U.S. lineup. It keeps at least some form of wagon available to American buyers. However, it doesn't quite drive like a normal Avant thanks to the 7.1 inches of ground clearance - as soon as you hit a sweeping turn, the unexpected body roll of the Allroad reminds you that it desperately wants to be an SUV. The same goes for exiting the car, where I continually underestimated how far I needed to reach my foot to the ground.
But the added height and aggressive looks may be enough to woo buyers out of their crossovers. Like other A4s, the Allroad has the same precise, well-weighted steering; slick, eight-speed automatic; and 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder with a wide powerband that gets the car up to speed (and then some) very quickly. Around town, the car is smooth and refined; on the highway, the car hunkers down and could easily eat up hundreds of miles on a road trip.
Donny Nordlicht, Associate Web Editor
This flashy-looking Allroad perhaps lacks some of the off-road credibility of the previous Allroad, but it very capably handled the wet gravel roads I threw at it. I couldn't remember the details of the spec sheet when I was driving the Allroad, and after sitting in the spacious back seat, I was fairly certain that this car was based on an A6; in reality it's based on the smaller A4. It also wouldn't have been hard to convince me that it had six-cylinder power instead of the turbo four-cylinder that's under the hood, so strong was the Allroad's acceleration.
This car has a great shape and excellent usability, and it feels even more spacious thanks to the huge sunroof. Would I rather have a regular A4 Avant? Yes. But unfortunately Audi of America no longer offers it. This un-Avant offers an extra 1.5 inches of ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive, though, features that some buyers will definitely appreciate, even if they only ever drive on paved roads.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor