2013 Audi

200-audiBy Steve Kursar

Wagons are beginning to creep back onto American roads in great numbers thanks to some European car makers. It’s a good thing for the American car buyers as gas prices continue to remain well over the $3 mark per gallon. Wagons can give you the same cargo space as an SUV but with the fuel economy of a car.

Audi, the German car company famous for making cars with superb handling and lush interiors, has introduced their 2013 Audi Allroad into the American market.  This model is a little taller, wider, longer and higher than the A4 wagon it replaced in their lineup. And, although it’s called the Allroad, it’s not really designed for serious off-roading. Perhaps a dusty ranch road is about as far off the highway as you should plan on taking it.

For a starting MSRP of $39,600, you get a 211 hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control and Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system. You’ll find that driving this wagon is especially wonderful in Sport mode, and you will forget you’re steering a wagon. It’s pretty quick in the passing lane, and it will get you from 0-60 in just over seven seconds. Fuel economy is hardly class-leading though it delivers 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.

The Allroad’s interior, like every new Audi, is wonderful, just wonderful.  The fit and finish is outstanding and very stylish to boot. The MMI interface can seem a little too involved for American drivers but please understand that it is designed for European drivers cruising down the Autobahn at way over 100 mph.  At those speeds, you have to keep your eyes glued to the road and fiddling with the radio is verboten.  That’s why the Audi system makes sense for German drivers.

Audi is also the first company worldwide to feature a factory-installed wireless internet, enabling the onboard MMI Navigation system to connect with Google Earth maps for a true aerial view of your route. Although it does not have all  of the features that Google Maps has on your laptop, it’s still a pretty amazing addition to your nav system, and it is only available in an Audi.

The 2013 Audi Allroad is just another reason to look at a wagon as an alternative to the SUV/CUV.  You may just find that the improved handling and fuel economy makes up for the high driving position.

Follow Steve Kursur at KursarOnCars.blogspot.com.