Yes, it really did fit. Even I was amazed when the Allroad swallowed the 6ft fridge freezer I’d bought second-hand when we moved house recently, saving me the hassle and expense of hiring a van. I wondered if the sloping rear window might cause trouble but all I needed to do was jiggle the front seat settings. And after I’d finished shifting white goods I filled the Allroad with junk and treated it to a trip to the tip.
But once the rubbish was gone all I had to do was give it a quick vacuum and it immediately resumed its limo role. The odometer now reads 18,000 but the black leather is wearing well and the very smart browny orange-flecked carpets (sounds revolting but looks very tasteful) are brilliant at hiding dirt when you haven’t got time to spruce up the interior. I still really look forward to climbing behind the wheel of the Allroad no matter where I’m going. Of course there are occasions when I long for something a little more agile, but for the most part it really does tick almost every box I’d want ticking.
By Chris Chilton
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Since Last report
Doesn't tick every box
Useful, the Allroad, as you might expect. Big boot, perfect for stashing sandwiches, crisps, fruit, water, crisps, biscuits and more crisps to feed the 20-strong PCotY crew, and sufficient rough-road ability to make ferrying trips up and down Anglesey Circuit’s gravel access lane a piece of proverbial.
But there’s one situation in which the Allroad moniker is a bit of a misnomer, and it’s called the A5 – not Audi’s coupe but a fabulous route that winds through rural Wales. Specifically, one section of the A5, a series of S-bends west of Cerrigydrudion. In extraordinarily wet weather. The Allroad aquaplaned so severely and so unexpectedly that I ended up on the wrong side of the road facing oncoming traffic. A couple of seconds later and it would have done more than wipe the smile off my face (still there since I’d passed signs for the Ewe-phoria Sheepdog Centre).
The rest of the 180-mile drive to Angelsey? Great fun actually. The Allroad proved swift yet unusually relaxing, and was well capable of maintaining an ‘enthusiastic’ average speed in spite of all those bends. Until the water got the better of us, anyway.
By Glen Waddington
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Our Allroad long-termer has been on a 11-day adventure north – taking in wedding duties and a touring holiday of Scotland. For the nuptials, where I was ushering at a friend’s Cheshire country wedding, the Audi with SUV pretensions scrubbed up well and looked the part in a lounge-suit-and-wellies sort of way. Which was fitting, as the reception was held on a farm.
To be honest, I had asked to take the editor’s Lexus IS-F as flashier wedding wheels, but a quick peek inside the saloon’s 378-litre boot made me pick the Audi’s cavernous 565-litre hold-all. We tagged a week’s holiday in Scotland onto the wedding trip, you see, and that meant taking a good proportion of our worldly possessions. I’m sure I even spotted my wife popping the kitchen sink in there when we loaded up.
How did the Allroad fare? Brilliantly. At risk of sounding like another journo-takes-estate-is- gobsmacked-by-big-boot, it did remind me that the A6 is a great load lugger. We didn’t have to lower the seats to pack 11 days’ luggage for three, and it’s the only car I’ve driven recently that allows our baby buggy to fit widthways, allowing more bags to be packed within reach of the tailgate. (These things count for dads).
Even loaded up to the gunwhales, our 3.0-litre TDI quattro performed faultlessly, gliding up motorways, slinging around Scottish B-roads with abandon and generally gripping the sodden Dumfrieshire roads and beach tracks with a Velcro-like grasp. The ride was better than I remembered, too (at least once Comfort was selected on the air springs) and we averaged a parsimonious 32mpg over 800 miles – just 0.5mpg shy of the official combined figure. A BMW 530d claims 41.5mpg, but I doubt the reality would be as saintly.
The A6 Avant is full of family-friendly touches, such as the built-in sunblinds, and the MMI controller and sat-nav were quickly mastered by my wife without recourse to the manual. And – get this – the sturdy brown footwell carpets hide beach holiday grime really well and brush up easily. Such details make family life much easier, believe me.
Gripes? Well, there’s only one cupholder available up front when the armrest is down; things slide around annoyingly in the underboot storage cubby; the electric parking brake isn’t as quick as some rival systems; and I’m still not sure I’d go for an Allroad over a regular A6 Avant.
To be honest, that’s nit-picking, though. Like owner road test ed Chris Chilton, I have nothing but respect for this lumbering big Audi. It’s a multi-skilled car – juggling family duties, slick exec skills and mild green laning ability in one well-executed, wholesome package.
By Tim Pollard
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Please excuse this terrible, hastily grabbed cameraphone snap of the Allroad’s bulging boot. I blame bucketing rainfall and a screaming child. But engage some auto-focus and crop out my finger, and you’ll see the Allroad in its natural habitat as superlative family transport.
Peer inside that blurry boot and you’ll spot a wheelbarrow, one travel cot, a child’s buggy, various gardening boxes and bags and our overnight bags for a family of three’s weekend away. That’s not bad for any car – but the Audi A6 confirmed itself as one of the best estates around. That loadbay is vast and it’s a cinch to lower the seats to swallow the odd wheelbarrow and the like.
This was the first time I’ve driven our long-term A6 and I rate its combination of 3.0 TDI and genuine auto gearbox. It’s punchy and refined, with none of the tearaway revving that can afflict its CVT sibling. Thing is though, I don’t buy into the Allroad philosophy. I’d do away with the faux-SUV body addenda, save £2000 and stick with the excellent A6 Avant.
I could even buy a decent camera with the spare change.
By Tim Pollard
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I’ve met the girlfriend’s parents, but now it was time to meet Nan. But what to take for the long slog to Blackburn and back? And to ferry family friends around? The answer was our big, black Audi Allroad, and it covered the 400-mile trip with absolute ease.
It schlepped up the motorway with little wind or tyre noise. It cruised into Blackburn town centre on Saturday night without attracting any attention despite that fancy front grille. And then it traversed the narrow lanes of Lancashire with ease on Sunday morning, and felt right at home with the proper 4x4s that we met.
The steering might lack any feel whatsoever, but in this sort of car it just doesn’t matter. There’s a big boot, room for five and a gorgeous and well-built interior. Our oil-burning Allroad is the consummate family car. And I got the thumbs from Nan too. Nothing to do with the car, mind.
By Ben Pulman
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A sunny Bank Holiday Monday? Could there be a better day to visit Ikea? Cue large estate car with air suspension to keep everything level once the Audi Allroad is loaded up with lots of flat-pack nonsense.
Except we couldn’t find anything we actually wanted. Between the better half and myself all we bought was a plastic storage box and a tray. Which, out of spite, I put on the back seat rather than in the boot. Never has so much ability been so wasted. And never have I been so annoyed at the Swedes. Still, at least we didn’t meet any traffic over the whole weekend...
By Ben Pulman
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Porsche 911: brilliant sports car; not so good when it comes to taking stuff to the tip or bringing back a load of flatpack from Ikea. I’ve got a scruffy but reliable Mk1 Focus that acts as back up but I couldn’t resist the offer of adding something to the fleet that would perfectly complement my Porsche by taking over sensible duties.
Which explains why there’s a mean-looking metallic black Audi Allroad parked on my drive. We’ve become accustomed to the concept of estate cars being desirable for reasons other than their carrying capacity and this Allroad is a perfect exponent. Okay, so it’s essentially a jacked up A6 Avant Quattro, but the Auto Union racer grille and chrome flashes at the bottom of the doors really make sure it won’t be mistaken for an M1 rep chariot.
There’s a price to pay of course, the bottom rung £34,295 Allroad 2.7 TDi commanding a £2215 premium over the equivalent A6 Avant Quattro. There are other benefits to minimise the pain though including the ability to crank up the air suspension to give 185mm of ground clearance. I haven’t had the chance to venture off road yet but it’s unlikely to worry a Landie Defender.
On the other hand the Allroad is probably capable of doing everything most SUV drivers need but in a package that is better to drive, takes up less space and won’t make you feel guilty for killing the planet. Unless you look carefully at the green figures, that is. Audi is falling behind BMW in its engine technology to the extent that a petrol-powered 530i Touring is actually a couple of mpg more economical than my 3.0-litre TDi Allroad. In its defence, the Audi is at least matching its official 32.5mpg combined figure and managing near 40mpg on leisurely motorway strolls.
The 2.7 costs £1515 less to buy than the 3.0 but is significantly slower and its eco numbers are almost identical. On the plus side it comes as standard with an auto ’box, a £1400 option with the bigger motor, but essential nonetheless. The downside is it’s a CVT: great for economy; hell for the ears with all those slipping clutch sound effects. The 3.0’s auto is a proper auto, the engines’s 332lb ft of torque being too much for the CVT to handle. The other drivetrain options are 3.2 and 4.2 petrols, neither of which makes any sense. The 4.2 is hugely fast but costs nearly £50k. The 3.2 gobbles fuel at the same rate and is no faster than the 3.0 diesel yet costs £1000 more.
The slush ’box wasn’t our only indulgence. I swapped the standard 17-inch rims for some much sexier looking 18s and added leather and map-based navigation. Jaguar’s XF has raised the bar by making leather and nav standard so hopefully Audi will be a little less mean with the standard spec in future. My other addition was an iPod adapter for the also-optional Bose stereo. Unlike some iPod connections this one actually allows you to control the whole thing through the car’s Multi Media Interface (Audi’s answer to BMW’s iDrive). It works brilliantly.
In fact I’m pretty smitten with the whole car even if I'm not totally convinced about this crossover stuff. What I do know is that there’s a big difference between a car that’s fun to thrash around for 15 minutes and one that you’re still happy with months later. I doubt I’ll be taking the scenic route to work too frequently but I’m convinced that I’ll be sorry to see the Allroad go when the time comes.
By Chris Chilton
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