The 2013 Audi Allroad takes the place of the Audi A4 wagon offered in previous model years. It is meant to be a more capable vehicle, with better ground clearance making it suitable for rougher roads and wintry conditions.
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The headlights, grille, and sidelines are all standard Audi design language, but the Allroad has a few touches to suggest a rougher character. Plastic fender liners should keep gravel from scratching paint, and steel pans protect parts of the undercarriage.
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The Allroad uses Audi's direct-injection turbocharged 2-liter, four-cylinder engine, which makes 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Audi says the Allroad makes it to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds.
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With its wagon body style, the Allroad boasts excellent utility, and is capable of carrying five passengers and cargo very comfortably.
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Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive gives the car excellent grip on slippery roads. The car can also be had with an adaptive suspension, but the fixed suspension on this car proved nicely tuned. It swayed a little while cornering, but smoothed out potholes on a rough road.
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Wagons brim with practicality: plenty of cargo space in the back, and tons more with the rear seats folded down.
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The Allroad justifies its over-$40K price with power-adjustable seats and other nice cabin amenities.
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The rear bench is comfortable for two people, but the middle seating area has some hard surfaces that would make it uncomfortable for longer distances.
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The panoramic sunroof is a nice touch, stretching over front and rear seats. However, only the front section opens.
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Audi offers the Allroad in three trims: Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. All have the same drivetrains, but Premium Plus adds Audi's excellent navigation system, while Prestige brings in other tech goodies.
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The Allroad uses electric power-steering boost, which is tuned to turn very easily at low speeds, but assumes a satisfying heaviness at higher speeds.
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Voice command works very well in the Allroad, especially for destination entry. Not only can you speak whole address strings, it also works with the Google online search.
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The Allroad includes a color LCD between the speedometer and tachometer showing a variety of useful information, from navigation to trip to phone.
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The automatic transmission in the Allroad sports eight gears, letting the engine run just above 1,000rpm at freeway speeds.
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The main menu uses this elliptical format, which works very well with the controller dial.
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One of the most impressive things about current Audis is the Google Earth-connected navigation system, which shows satellite imagery of the car's surroundings.
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When the car leaves an area with a data connection, the satellite imagery slowly loses detail, and will eventually switch to stored maps.
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The Street View feature lets you see a photo of your destination. Shown here is the CNET building in downtown San Francisco.
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The navigation system's route guidance works very well, not only showing these detailed turn graphics, but also featuring voice prompts with street names.
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The main LCD route guidance gets supplemented by the instrument cluster display.
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The car uses its traffic data feed to dynamically route around traffic jams, although it could be a little more aggressive about avoiding them.
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The Bluetooth phone system in the car works very well, and includes contact list integration with the paired phone.
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The Allroad supports music playback from a number of local media sources, such as phones, storage media the driver's brought into the car, and the car's own hard drive.
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The iPod interface lets you browse music by artist, album, track, and genre.
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HD Radio and satellite radio are both available in the Allroad.
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The standard 10-speaker audio system is very good, but it can be upgraded to a Bang & Olufsen system with 14 speakers.
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The Allroad is limited when it comes to driver assistance features. A rearview camera and adaptive cruise control are available, but blind-spot detection does not seem to be available in the U.S. market.
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