2017 Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik Road Test Review

By : Trevor Hofmann
  The quintessential luxury off-road wagon has been redesigned for 2017, resulting in an altogether better Audi A4 Allroad. Its styling is bolder, cabin more refined, digital screens class leading and sole 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder more potent with 252-hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, whereas the 7-speed dual-clutch auto with paddles is now hooked up to a new more fuel efficient version of Quattro AWD. Standard kit includes roof rails, a panoramic sunroof, pushbutton start, leather, tri-zone auto HVAC, a powered liftgate and more. Keep reading for details.......
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
     
 
The name Allroad should be familiar to those who follow things automotive, as it was a forerunner amongst car-based luxury
2017 Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
crossovers. Many tall all-wheel drive wagons with matte grey body cladding and raised ride height had been and gone before Audi's entry arrived in 1999, but all, including the '79 AMC Eagle, '80 Subaru GL AWD Wagon, '84 Toyota Tercel SR5 4WD Wagon, '85 Honda Civic 4WD Wagon, '86 Nissan Sentra 4WD Wagon, '89 Toyota Corolla "All-Trac" SR5 4x4 Wagon, and '94 Subaru Outback (fill me in on what I missed) were sold into mainstream volume market segments, whereas the four-ringed Ingolstadt brand's modified A6 Avant wagon was one of the first of such CUVs targeting premium buyers. Volvo's V70 XC Cross Country beat it to market by two years, and the two beefed up wagons have enjoyed little competition since.

After a seven-year hiatus the Allroad transitioned from the A6 Avant's mid-size E-segment to
2017 Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
the A4 Avant's compact D-segment in 2012 as a 2013 model. We covered it then and again last year, and were impressed in both instances, but nevertheless that car now seems old and dated compared to this totally redesigned 2017 A4 Allroad.

It starts with a much more assertive front end adapted from the A4 sedan that's also completely redesigned for 2017, which itself pulled a number of styling cues from last year's trés cool TT sports coupe and convertible. Key design elements include a larger and more acutely angled hexagonal grille, new scalloped headlights with standard HID projectors or as-tested full LEDs surrounded by squared-off LED DRLs, a sharply detailed multi-element lower front fascia with reworked corner vents, a fresh set of LED turn
2017 Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
signal-integrated side mirrors, a familiarly arcing rooftop with de rigueur roof rails, an elegant duo of LED taillights, and additional small changes from front to rear.

Like most Audi models the A4 Allroad comes in three states of trim including the $47,600 Komfort, $51,500 Progressiv, and $55,300 Technik, my tester nicely equipped in the latter which meant it came fitted with a unique set of 18-inch machine-finished alloy wheels with grey painted pockets, no larger than the base rims but with more visual impact. Other than these wheels and the aforementioned LED headlamps there are no other outward clues to Technik trim, and even then you could equip the second-run Progressiv with full LEDs before upgrading
2017 Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
it with 19-inch alloys via the Sport package and no one would be the wiser. Then again, like any worthy attribute it's what's inside that counts.

To this end Technik trim upgrades an already impressive base A4 Allroad cabin with some eye-popping goodies such as a 12.3-inch configurable full-TFT primary gauge cluster Audi calls Virtual Cockpit. In default mode the tachometer and speedometer look like perfect digital interpretations of their analog counterparts, albeit with a bit more flair including flashier colours, but the real colour-fest is the multi-information display between these two dials. With no need to box it between a set of analog gauges it occupies maximum space, making the minutest of details easily
2017 Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
legible. That's only half the story, mind you, the other half requiring you to press the steering wheel-mounted "VIEW" button that dramatically downsizes the tach and speedo while upsizing the MID to the point that it takes over most of the space allotted, its colourful navigation mapping being the most dazzling function.

That's just one of many features that make Technik trim worth the price of entry, others including a 360-degree Top View camera that picks up tiny details that might otherwise cause parking problems; a superb sounding Bang & Olufsen 3D audio system; auto high beam assist for more convenient nighttime cruising; ambient interior lighting with configurable colours; heatable rear seats to go with the
2017 Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
standard front set; and a host of active safety upgrades such as Audi side assist, Audi pre sense rear, rear cross traffic alert, and even an exit warning system.

These items get added on top of the Progressiv model's long list of features that include keyless proximity entry with a foot-activated liftgate release, power-folding side mirrors, a heatable steering wheel, an upgraded 8.3-inch MMI infotainment display with navigation and a rearview camera with active guidelines, front and rear parking sensors, auto-dimming side mirrors to go with the standard auto-dimming interior mirror, memory for those side mirrors and the driver's seat, a Homelink garage door opener, and beautiful Aluminum Elipse inlays.

Additionally,
2017 Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
some standard highlights pulled up from base Komfort trim include all of the nice satin-silver exterior trim bits including the anodized roof rails, auto on/off headlamps with light and rain sensors, the panoramic glass roof, metal doorsill scuff plates, electromechanical parking brake, pushbutton ignition, powered front seats with powered lumbar, leather upholstery, the leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, three-zone auto HVAC, powered liftgate, auto start/stop that helps keep fuel economy at a very reasonable 10.2 L/100km city, 8.3 highway and 9.3 combined, Audi Drive Select that lets you choose from its thriftier Comfort or Auto modes or opt for a much sportier Dynamic setting, not to mention new Offroad mode that adjusts steering and throttle response plus gear changes ahead of modulating active driving aids to overcome slippery, uneven surfaces, plus it receives all the expected active and passive safety features too, including front knee airbags.

If
2017 Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
this were my very own A4 Allroad I'd also opt for the $2,000 Advanced Driver Assistance package that adds adaptive cruise control with stop and go (a must-have on road trips), traffic congestion assist, active lane assist, Audi pre sense city, Audi pre sense front, and traffic sign recognition, which is most of what's needed for full autonomous driving and therefore capable of avoiding a crash even when we're not at our sharpest; and it would also be difficult to pass up the very reasonable $1,400 Sport package due to its 19-inch 10-Y-spoke alloys alone, although the front sport seats with passenger-side powered lumbar, black headliner, and unique Aluminum Trimaran inlays are a bonus too. Audi also offers a $1,350 Comfort Seating package with the same upgraded sport seats albeit cooled with forced ventilation that would be ideal during those hot and sometimes humid summer days.

The
2017 Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
only standard colours are black and white, although Audi only charges $890 to upgrade to one of 10 metallics, my tester stunning in Glacier White, and you should also be made aware that all the matte grey body cladding can be painted body-colour for a mere $1,300. What's more, Audi offers four interior colour themes including black, beige, brown and grey at no charge (albeit some are exterior colour dependent), while you can trade out the aluminum inlays for Natural Grey Oak or dark brown Walnut at $500 apiece. Lastly, the Technik model's standalone features list includes an adaptive damping suspension for $1,000, a head-up display for $1,000, Audi connect assistance and security services for $520, rear side window sunshades for $300, and rear outboard side-thorax airbags for $500.

No matter the trim the new A4 Allroad is a considerable step up from the previous model when it comes to interior fit, finish,
2017 Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
materials quality, switchgear, and features, its electronic interfaces especially good. Yes, I know the previous Allroad was already superb in most respects, as was its A4 sedan counterpart, but this latest version features nicer soft touch synthetics, tighter fitting buttons and knobs, high-end anodized aluminum for more of those controls, a much improved knurled metal rotating MMI controller with touch gesture capability, a higher resolution, quicker operating infotainment display with deeper, richer colours, better graphics, and the convenience of Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink, plus one of the sweetest leather- and metal-clad electronic shifters in the auto biz.

That uniquely shaped shifter connects through to Audi's latest seven-speed dual-clutch S Tronic gearbox, which is as smooth
2017 Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
as a regular automatic yet even quicker shifting for a thoroughly engaging experience, especially when popped into its "S" manual position. You'll want to set Drive Select to Dynamic mode too, and then let your fingertips take control via steering wheel paddles that make the most of the A4 Allroad's sole engine choice.

The 2.0-litre TFSI turbocharged four-cylinder remains highly efficient as noted, yet output is up from 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque last year to a more exhilarating 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft in the 2017 model, which means zero to 100 km/h takes 0.4 seconds less at just 6.2 seconds, although its top speed is still regulated at 209 km/h.

The
2017 Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
Allroad's slight gain in ride height and greater rear mass means that it's not quite as taut around tight corners as the A4 sedan, but this is a reasonable compromise when factoring in its greater capability in deep snow and, if you dare, off-road (remember to slip it into Offroad mode). Of note, the new A4 Allroad is the first Audi to benefit from a new all-wheel drive design dubbed Quattro Ultra, which can disconnect its rear axle when not required in order to save fuel.

SUV buyers often tout the need to tow as reason for their larger vehicle choice, and while a crossover wagon like the A4 Allroad might not immediately come to mind for such duties it's capable of hauling smaller trailers. On that note I couldn't ascertain a specific tow rating for 2017, only that Euro-spec models can pull up to 2,100 kilos (4,630 lbs) when equipped, but considering last year's model was rated
2017 Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
at just 750 kilos (1,650 lbs) here it's probably best to use this as your guide, or discuss further with your dealer. For those who'd like to haul a trailer but never mustered the courage, the Allroad can be had with an MMI infotainment-sourced feature that automatically adjusts the front wheels to the appropriate angle when reversing with a trailer.

Possibly an even stronger Allroad draw is its five-door Avant wagon body-style that provides a lot more cargo carrying capacity than the four-door model, this year's version allowing up to 680 litres (or 505 litres/17.8 cubic feet by the EPA's standards) of volume behind the wonderfully flexible 40/20/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, and of course a great deal more at 1,509 litres (53.3 cubic feet) when they're laid (nearly) flat. Skiers will appreciate the wide 20-percent divide between
2017 Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
rear passengers, an especially nice treat when rear seat warmers are included.

Passengers in mind, those in the comfortable back seats now enjoy 23 millimeters (0.9 inches) more legroom than the outgoing Allroad, and rest assured all aboard will be as safe as possible no matter the Allroad trim chosen as each one gets the IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus stamp of approval, whereas the NHTSA gives it five out of five stars for crash worthiness.

While we should expect this level of safety from a premium brand like Audi, some will be shocked by the German manufacturer's chart topping dominance in Consumer Reports' latest annual report card on brand reliability and road-test performance (an odd mixture I know, but still something worth bragging about). Then
2017 Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
again, it didn't score quite as highly in J.D. Power's most recent 2016 Vehicle Dependability Study at just sixth out of 12 premium brands, albeit besting Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti, BMW, Cadillac, and Volvo that all nevertheless finished above average when mixing in mainstream volume brands (it beat Land Rover too, but the British brand was way below average).

Things got worse for Audi when the points were tallied up for J.D. Power's latest 2016 Initial Quality Study, however, finishing below average amongst collective mainstream and premium brands although still beating Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, Acura, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Volvo. It should be noted that J.D. Power will be making such information more useful to consumers when its new Tech Choice Study
2017 Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
arrives, which will separate infotainment system complaints from actual reliability issues, so don't think that a below average score in the third party analytical firm's studies means that you'll be cursing your new ride at the side of the road, as you may just be flummoxed by its navigation system.

I certainly had difficulty finding fault with the new Allroad, its superb balance of performance and comfort, style and luxury, high tech and warm ambience winning over my leanings toward elegant contemporary living. This 2017 edition thoroughly modernizes the Allroad's winning formula, and will no doubt retain its most desirable compact sport wagon crossover title.

As it is,
2017 Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
there are many more SUV buyers than wagon buyers these days, even when said wagon is done out with arguably more attractive crossover styling and similarly capable light-duty trail credentials, but even if you're leaning toward a more SUV-like crossover you should take the A4 Allroad for a ride. I'm willing to guess you'll be more than happy with its 34-mm (1.3-inch) taller CUV-like ride height and will no doubt appreciate its more car-like handling, while it certainly doesn't give up much in practicality over its slightly loftier compact SUV siblings. The A4 Allroad also sets you apart from the crowd as a more enviro-conscious adventurer. I don't know about you, but I like the sound of that.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)
 
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