Audi A4 Allroad (2016) Review
Audi A4 Allroad (2016) At A Glance
The Audi A4 Allroad combines the style and practicality of a premium estate car with the off-road prowess of an SUV. It has taller suspension and improved underbody protection for tackling country lanes, and Audi's quattro four-wheel drive system is fitted as standard. Much like fancy skiing gear, part of the Allroad's appeal lies in its exclusivity and adventurous image, since it commands a hefty premium over the standard estate. The current model launched in 2016, and got a mid-life visual refresh and spec bump in 2019. It competes with jacked-up estates the Volvo V60 Cross Country, Subaru Outback, and Volkswagen Passat Alltrack.
The A4 Allroad is a curious half-way house between a standard A4 Avant estate and the Q5 SUV. For the majority of drivers, surely buying the standard A4 Avant on which its based makes more sense? So aside from a bigger set of bumpers, what does the Allroad really offer over and above the standard car?
Firstly; exclusivity. It's a simple fact that Audi sells fewer Allroads than it does regular A4s, and driving around in something that wears its distinctive, tougher character on the outside has an obvious appeal.
The rugged wheel arch protectors, vertically slatted chrome grille, a wider body kit and a generous helping of aluminium trim on the exterior are more cosmetic than functional, but there are mechanical upgrades here too.
For starters, there's increased ground clearance, with an extra 34mm of suspension travel compared to the Avant, along with a dedicated off-road mode and tougher underbody guards.
It has a slightly wider front and rear track, and four-wheel drive comes as standard. In the current generation, this is an on-demand system - so it's also capable of running in front-wheel drive mode under normal driving conditions to help save fuel.
This is definitely a car that fits within an idealised outdoor lifestyle, but it's not bereft of any off-road ability.
It can tackle surprisingly difficult terrain in fact, and the quattro system works incredibly well. It gives the Allroad sure-footed grip in all weathers, and the taller springs help further improve the Avant's excellent ride comfort.
The trouble is, with its luxurious interior, high-quality materials and lengthy standard kit list, the Allroad feels a bit too posh to be a genuine mud-plugger. The same charge could be levelled at Audi's SUVs - so like many fancy diving watches - the extra capability is just reassuring to have, even if you're unlikely to ever need it.
With identical cargo volumes to the Avant (505 litres with the rear seats up, 1510 litres when folded flat) it has no additional carrying capacity. While the regular estate is a pretty practical car, plenty of rivals will do a better job of swallowing all of your weekend surfing/biking/skiing/hunting* gear (*delete as appropriate).
The engine range is simpler too, with one petrol and two diesels available. All are powerful units, sending drive to each corner via an automatic gearbox.
The 40 TDI is likely to be the most popular. Producing 190PS and 400Nm, it comes with a seven-speed S tronic gearbox and has an easy-going character that pulls strongly when you need it to. Claimed economy figures are good, with WLTP economy listed at 44.1mpg.
The A4 Allroad comes in only two trims: Sport and Vorsprung. The former has everything you could possibly need, including leather seats, parking sensors, three zone climate control, and LED front and rear lights. The latter adds virtually every luxury accessory, from a panoramic glass roof to massage seats and a B&O Hi-Fi.
There are a few alternatives to the A4 Allroad, but Volvo V60 Cross Country is the most obvious. Audi might claim to have created this niche, but the Swedish brand has been building beefed-up estates for just as long.
Still, it's an expensive niche. With prices starting at more than £40,000, it's far from cheap, and although not in the same class the likes of the Skoda Octavia Scout offer something similar for considerably less money.