The all-new 2017 Audi Allroad is more wagon than sport-utility vehicle, although with its high ground clearance it will do anything a crossover SUV can, while displaying the superior road manners of a wagon.
The 2017 Allroad benefits from a newly redesigned adaptive suspension and a new quattro all-wheel-drive system that comes standard. This third-generation Audi Allroad is based on the A4, but features increased ground clearance and other features to enhance its capability on unpaved and primitive roads.
Allroad’s closest rival might be the Subaru Outback, another highly capable wagon.
The only engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four cylinder making 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic manual transmission. That’s an increase of 32 hp and 15 lb-ft for 2017, so it’s a bit quicker. The 3825-pound Allroad is quite quick, able to accelerate from zero to sixty miles per hour in 5.9 seconds.
Fuel mileage is EPA-rated at 23/28 miles per gallon City/Highway, or 25 mpg Combined. We got a bit more than 26 mpg on the highway and offroad on dirt roads.
The Allroad hasn’t been crash tested, however the A4 sedan on which it’s based is an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus.
The 2017 Audi Allroad comes in Premium ($44,000), Premium Plus ($47,000), and Prestige ($51,400) trim levels, all with 2.0-liter engine and quattro all-wheel drive. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
Allroad Premium includes leather, Bluetooth, keyless ignition, panoramic sunroof, and Audi’s MMI infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Options include a 755-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system, LED headlamps, 4G LTE in-car data (by subscription) with WiFi hotspot, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, head-up display, and safety equipment like adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and rearview camera (not standard).
Audi Allroad’s grille with vertical chrome slats is distinct from most other Audis with horizontal slats. Its stance is tall and strong, with more ride height from its five-link suspension and bigger 18-inch alloy wheels. Flared plastic cladding is available in body colors.
The cabin is basically the same as in an A4 sedan, at least in front. The seats are good enough for road trips without complaint, and offer plenty of room in every direction. In the rear, there’s about the same legroom as in the A4 sedan.
There’s 58.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat down, and 24.2 cubic feet behind the rear seat.
With a big rear window, as well as big side windows and small A pillars, visibility is excellent. The Prestige model is quietest, with insulated glass in the front windows.
There’s a digital 12.3-inch configurable gauge cluster on the Premium Plus and Prestige models, but not on the Premium. The Premium has a 7.0-inch hard-mounted infotainment screen, with an 8.3-inch screen available. Below it there’s a wide horizontal band of vents and aluminum trim.
Audi’s MMI system works well, but we wish the infotainment screen folded away like the one in the Audi Q7.
The quick turbocharged engine sounds sweet under acceleration.
In the corners, the body rolls more than the A4 sedan does, but that’s to be expected given the higher riding five-link suspension. And it’s clearly better than most crossover SUVs, including the Audi Q models. Actually, the body lean helps absorb road imperfections and offers improved handling on gravel roads.
Audi’s Drive Select system allows the driver to adjust the steering, transmission, throttle, suspension, and all-wheel-drive settings, for anything from sport to comfort.
With the taller suspension, underbody protection, and Continental all-season tires, the Allroad lives up to its name, and can handle light offroading, for example at ski slopes and cabins in the woods.
The latest version of Quattro all-wheel-drive is called Ultra; unlike the old Quattro, which sent power to all four wheels at all times, Ultra decouples the clutch, sending power to the rear wheels only when traction is needed there. It shifts back and forth in 200 seamless milliseconds.
We like the Allroad because it isn’t an SUV but it will do what any crossover can. It has a great powertrain with the latest version of a well-developed 2.0-liter turbo engine, and the world’s best transmission in Audi’s 7-speed twin clutch.