Wagons were formerly a common sight on American highways and a popular mode of family transportation before the SUV and crossover craze. CUVs currently largely occupy that niche in most vehicle classes, however wagons, particularly those from luxury brands with the “sports” classification, typically offer more car-like performance. The Audi Allroad isn’t the most powerful luxury wagon (that honor goes to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon), nor is it the most elegant (that honor goes to the BMW 328i and 328d sport wagons) (hard to beat the new Volvo V60 in our opinion). However, it is one of the most versatile on- and off-road vehicles in the market, with some of the most advanced technology.
The 2015 Audi Allroad Premium 2.0 TFSI starts at $42,400 and rises to $49,800 for the top-of-the-line Prestige model. Our test car was the midrange Premium Plus model, which started at $44,500 but cost $48,875 after adding the $2,900 Technology Package and $500 for Utopia Blue metallic paint.
What does it include?
The 2015 Audi Allroad Premium Plus model we drove has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 220-horsepower and an eight-speed Tiptronic transmission, as well as Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive technology. 18-inch wheels, Xenon headlights, and LED running lights and taillights are also standard across the line, as is a power tailgate, a panoramic sunroof with motorized shade, heated front seats, folding and auto-dimming side mirrors, leather seating surfaces, keyless entry and start, and a 10-speaker audio system with satellite radio, two SD card slots, Bluetooth for phone and music streaming, and Audi’s proprietary portable device interface. The Technology package includes a CD/DVD player with AM/FM HD Radio, MMI Navigation with Google Earth mapping, a color instrument panel display, blind-spot detection, a rearview camera with proximity sensing, and a complimentary 6-month membership to the Audi linked infotainment system.
How is the technology?
The MMI infotainment system in the Allroad has a rotary dial encircled by four buttons, one at each corner, that correspond to icons on a 6.5-inch screen in the dash. However, unlike the current iteration in the 2015 A3, it lacks the two toggle buttons in front of the controller that make accessing navigation, phone, radio, and media functions easier without looking down. The Audi connect system includes cloud-connected capabilities like navigation with Google Maps, the option to build an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot, and traffic, weather, parking, and event information. Picture Destination, a unique function of Audi connect, allows the navigation system to find a route using the geographical coordinates provided with a digital photo instead of a physical address. A smartphone app is available, as is the case with most automobiles, to locate a parked vehicle on a map and send an online destination to the car’s navigation system.
How well does it work?
Audi connect has a lot of functionality, even if it doesn’t have the separate name brand apps that other cars have (save for Google search). Although some elements are hidden too deep in its menus, the MMI interface is one of Audi’s luxury competitors’ most intuitive, but we hope it will be updated with the A3’s toggle switches. After the free six-month trial period, the Audi connect system employs embedded connectivity (from T-Mobile), which costs $30 per month, $324 per year, or $600 for two years. To avoid paying a membership fee, we favor systems that allow drivers to utilize their own device—and data—for linked services. And we can’t wait for Audi and its parent company, Volkswagen, to install a standard USB connector and remove the proprietary connection and extra-cost cable for various devices from the glove box.
The 220-horsepower four-cylinder engine delivers outstanding acceleration on the road, and the eight-speed transmission shifts smoothly. The Allroad’s highway ride and handling are excellent, and the Quattro AWD system keeps it securely planted in all weather and road conditions, making it the most capable luxury wagon when the pavement ends.
Should I purchase it?
The 2015 Allroad isn’t particularly noteworthy in any one category, with the exception of in-dash technology, but it is the segment’s greatest all-around luxury wagon. While Audi has a superb crossover portfolio, it can’t match the Allroad’s car-like performance. And after spending a week with the 2015 Audi Allroad, we’re left wondering why wagons aren’t more popular in the United States.