2015 Audi allroad

First introduced in 1999 as a jacked-up, quasi-SUV version of the A6 Avant wagon, Audi's allroad nameplate is back after an extended hiatus as a more macho version of the now-discontinued A4 Avant. Like the original, the latest allroad offers a mix of luxury, rugged looks and wagon practicality, although it lacks the old model's height-adjustable suspension and off-road-ready low-range gearing.

Recent Changes
For the latest model year, the allroad benefits from a handful of newly standard features.

Overview
Outside, the allroad differs from the standard wagon with a unique eggcrate grille, a sportier front fascia and stainless steel skid plates and side sills. Matte finished lower bumpers and wheel arches along with aluminum roof rails are also allroad-specific touches. Despite the lack of off-road gear, the allroad does boast a 1.5-inch-higher ride height than the Avant for a total ground clearance of 7.5 inches.

The allroad boasts essentially the same stylish, modern and comfortable cabin as other A4 models, complete with the latest version of Audi's MMI infotainment system. A notable available feature is Audi Connect, which brings in-car internet connectivity and industry-first Google Earth integration - complete with panoramic views and high-resolution 3D satellite and aerial imagery.

The allroad's versatile wagon bodystyle makes for an ample 27 cubic feet of cargo space, which increases to 50 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.

Power comes from VW Group's ubiquitous turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which makes 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque in this application. Audi's hallmark Quattro all-wheel-drive system comes standard, and the only available transmission is an eight-speed automatic.

Zero-to-60 mph is achieved in a claimed 6.5 seconds, while fuel economy is rated at 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. While not truly sporty, handling is capable, precise and a step above most of the crossovers buyers are likely to cross-shop.

Trim Level Breakdown
The allroad can be had in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels.

The Premium trim comes standard with leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof a ten-speaker AM/FM/CD/SiriusXM sound system, heated headlamp washers, LED turnsignals, fog lights, Bluetooth connectivity, a Homelink garage door opener, Audi music interface and a driver info system. A power tailgate, three-zone climate control, rear privacy glass, xenon plus lighting and LED taillights are newly standard.

The Premium Plus model adds heated front seats, memory functionality for the front seats, LED taillights, a power liftgate, three-zone automatic climate control and power-folding exterior mirrors.

The top-spec Prestige trim brings a navigation system with the aforementioned Audi Connect, a 14-speaker, 505-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system with HD radio technology, a rearview parking assist camera, Audi side assist, keyless start and a color driver information system.

Highlights from the options list include sport seats, adaptive cruise control and steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. Audi side assist, which monitors blind spots and keeps a lookout for fast approaching vehicles, is a stand-alone option on Prestige models.

Occupant Safety
All allroad models come standard with dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems and a tire-pressure monitoring system. Rear side airbags are available as an option.

Key Competitors
Consider it as what it really is - a wagon with SUV-like styling and moderately high ground clearance - and the allroad competes against conventional wagons like the BMW 3-Series Wagon and the Acura TSX Sport Wagon. Drink Audi's Kool-Aid and call it a crossover, and the allroad can be cross-shopped against the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class, the Infiniti QX50 and Cadillac SRX.