Review of: 2017 Audi A4 allroad 4dr Wgn Technik
2017 Audi A4 Allroad: All you want, all you need
By Matt Bubbers
Jan. 13, 2017
How much car do you really need? We all want a Bentley or a hulking Ford Raptor quad-cab or a Lamborghini, but if you made a list of your needs what would that car look like?
For most Canadians that list includes all-wheel drive. It also includes real, useful trunk space for a stroller or hockey gear or luggage or furniture. Four doors are a necessity for anyone with kids. These days, a lot of people would also put heated seats and rearview cameras on the need list too because these features have become so affordable.
Such requirements are what keeps Canadians going back to practical, capable, affordable vehicles like the Ford F-150 and Honda Civic hatchback. It’s also why compact SUVs continue to skyrocket in popularity across the country.
But what about a wagon? The Audi A4 Allroad ticks all the necessary boxes, and then adds a dash of luxury and refinement. After a week with this car, I’m beginning to think it’s not only the car I need, but the car I want too.
Pros & Cons
- + Ground clearance
- + Slick dash design and functionality
- + Interior design
- - Passing speed
- - Fuel economy
- - A few cheap interior touches
The all-new 2017 Allroad turns heads. I couldn’t believe it, but people kept gawking at my all-white test-car. It’s the automotive equivalent of an iMac: a clean, simple design characterized by long, crisp lines. Put simply: it’s desirable.
Audi doesn’t offer the regular A4 wagon in Canada, just the Allroad, which features black plastic cladding and taller suspension. The grille on the Allroad is covered in shiny slats. LED daytime running lights are standard, with full LEDs as an optional extra. The wheels on our test-car, pictured here, are optional as well.
Driving the car in all weather, through snow and slush, I was pleased to find the flared wheel-arches did a good job keeping road grime and slush off the white paint.
The Allroad did everything I needed it to do. It carried four people home from the airport, with everyone’s luggage fitting easily in the trunk. It fit five adults comfortably, and there was enough knee-room the back-seat passengers didn’t complain and need the front-seats moved up. Strollers, camping gear, whatever you’ve got: the trunk is huge, especially considering this is technically a compact car. The cargo cover is attached to the hatchback, lifting and closing with the trunk so you never have to move it.
The dashboard layout is the best in the segment. The air vents running the length of the dash give the cabin a clean, modern feel. The way the secondary controls float above the transmission tunnel makes the place feel spacious. My only complaint is the cabin can feel a tad plasticky — compared to the new Mercedes C-Class — when you look down at the door panels or lower dashboard. In the window switches and mirror controls, the Volkswagen shows through. But that’s really nit-picking.
As is often the case, our test car was a top-of-the-line model. That means our Allroad was in “Technik” trim, fully loaded with Audi tech.
The “virtual dashboard,” for example, is identical to what you’ll find in a Lamborghini Huracan, or Audi R8. You can configure it to show a huge map with navigation info, traditional dials, or even a list of radio stations. It’s easy to use and intuitive, with all the controls on the left side of the steering wheel. It almost makes the central infotainment screen redundant.
The bright heads-up display shows the speed limit and your current speed: perfect.
The latest semi-autonomous driving tech is not present. (Those systems haven’t trickled down to the compact luxury segment, not yet anyway.) What you do get is cruise control, collision warning and mitigation, blind-spot warning, 360-degree-view parking cameras, front and rear radar, and loads of airbags.
At least the panoramic roof is standard on all models.
Quattro all-wheel drive is standard, which will make many Canadian shoppers happy. Wearing winter tires, the Allroad lived up to its name. Nothing stood in its way: on several occasions I parallel parked it half on a snowbank. Bigger tires and taller suspension give the Allroad 34mm of extra ground-clearance over the A4 sedan.
The only engine on offer is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, TFSI in Audi-speak. The company quotes 252 horsepower, 273 lb-ft of torque and a 0-100 time of 6.2 seconds. A dual-clutch automatic transmission is standard.
The engine is adequate, but I found myself wanting either better fuel economy or more power. The 2.0 offered only middling economy (averaging 10.2 L/100 km) and middling overtaking power. It sounds gruff at anything but low revs. The engine from the S4 would be good fun in the Allroad, or, alternatively, a plug-in hybrid with a modest 30 kilometre electric range would be ideal for running errands around a city.
The 2017 A4 Allroad starts at $47,600. For that price, you don’t get much more luxury than you would in a Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, which starts at $35,295. The VW has a smaller, less powerful four-cylinder but you could get a fully-loaded one for the price a stripped-out, base-model Audi Allroad. They’re very similar. However, if you can stretch to the $55,000 Technik model, it’s a truly excellent car with luxuries and technology you’ll actually use. It’s only direct rival is the 2017 BMW 330i xDrive, which is a bit more expensive, at $49,000. For 2016, BMW also offers a diesel wagon for $49,700, although it may be discontinued for ‘17.
It’s rare that a car ticks all the boxes, being everything you need, while also being what you want. The 2017 Audi A4 Allroad is one of those cars. It’s luxurious, capable in all seasons, and eminently practical. Despite the middling performance of the engine, I was sad to give it back. It’s a great all-rounder. For my money, it’s better and more stylish than any of the SUVs and crossovers in its price bracket.