2010 Audi A4 2.0T Avant S-line &8211 Instrumented Test &8211 Car and Driver
despite the popularity of pickups in europe, as well as their greater versatility compared to conventional four-door sedans, two-box cars like this audi a4 2.0t avant still don’t resonate with most of the Americans. Consumers Most Americans are still attached to visions of Clark Griswold cruising across the country in a puke-green, wood-paneled Ford Ltd Country Squire and would rather drive something else. but this country has, in fact, been in love for the last 20 years with what are essentially wagons. witness the rise of sport utility vehicles and the recent explosion of crossovers, all of which are basically hatchbacks with higher seating positions, greater (but often unused) towing and payload capacities, and lower fuel consumption.
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This Audi, however, makes a great case for the traditional pickup. Although not a fire-breathing RS 6 Avant, our A4 Avant was much more maneuverable and exciting to drive than those mall SUVs and crossovers. Based on the A4 sedan, our Avant was equipped with Audi’s excellent 211-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, the only engine in the A4 lineup for 2010, plus a six-speed automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive. It also had the optional S-Line package, which includes a sport suspension, 19-inch wheels with summer rubber, front sport seats, various interior trim upgrades, and S-Line bumpers and sills. So equipped, the A4 Avant posted a 6.3-second run to 60 mph and a quarter-mile time of 14.8 to 91 mph, times that beat all players in our latest six-cylinder luxury crossover comparison test. Perhaps more importantly, the Audi’s skid-grip 0.92g exceeds that group’s 0.80g average, as does its back-road driving fun quotient. And it’s the same with stopping power from 70 to 0: 159 feet for the A4 Wagon vs. an average of 174 for crossovers.
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Credit the A4’s lower center of gravity and lighter weight for much of its dynamic capability. At 3,840 pounds, it’s less bulky than most four-wheel-drive luxury crossovers with similar interior volumes, a feature that also earns the A4 Avant respectable fuel economy ratings of 21 mpg city and 27 on the highway. Although our 18-mpg average is closer to that of an SUV, that was the result of prolonged bouts of spirited driving at high speeds; We’re averaging a more representative 26 mpg average with our long-term A4 2.0T sedan, which is just 177 pounds lighter.
In addition to its reduced heavy-hauling capacity, the A4 Avant also scores highly against SUVs and crossovers for practicality. Though you’ll probably never tackle anything more than a dirt road (not that most crossovers were any different), the A4 five-door is all-season capable and plenty roomy. The Audi’s lower ride height makes loading and unloading easier, and there’s a generous 28 cubic feet of space behind the rear seat and 51 cubes when folded. That capability puts it on a par with an Audi Q5 or a Mercedes-Benz Glk-class, but it’s slightly less than that of, say, a Lexus RX. Other larger crossovers may have a somewhat livable third row of seats, but the A4 Avant’s two rows should suffice unless a minivan or Chevy Suburban is what you really need.
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In terms of price, the A4 Avant is about $3000 more than a comparable A4 sedan. well equipped to start at $36,175, our example had that s-line package ($2450) and the $9200 prestige package—navigation, a bang & Olufsen sound system, power liftgate, xenon headlights, led lights, heated front seats, bluetooth, ipod connectivity, and keyless entry and ignition, among other things, bringing the total tested to $48,300. That’s not cheap, but the content and dollars are comparable to premium crossovers of similar size. And there’s that whole driving pleasure thing, which we can’t really put a price on.
For an apples-to-apples comparison, the similarly sized Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon with four-wheel drive and 3.0-liter V-6 starts at $40,990. However, the rear-wheel-drive model we tested earlier with the 304-hp 3.6-liter V-6 started at $44,055, went for nearly $55,000, and trailed significantly behind the Audi in every performance category except 70 braking. to 0, in which he tied the figure of a4 at 159 feet. BMW’s sleek 328i sport wagon is similarly priced and the 3.2-liter inline-six-powered Volvo V70 starts at $34,400, but the latter is front-wheel drive only and is as exciting as potting soil.
Unfortunately, the relatively high sticker prices of premium wagons and the resulting low volumes don’t do much to convince Americans of the inherent goodness of the body style. (Affordable mainstream models would help, but the world’s Toyotas and Fords stopped making them some time ago.) It’s too bad, because this Audi certainly makes a compelling argument in the form of its attractive five-door package, especially with the 19-inch S-Line wheels and great ease of use and refinement. Add in the increased efficiency, performance, handling and fun-to-drive compared to most traditional crossovers or SUVs, and we’re surprised more people aren’t swayed. Plus, unlike Clark’s old landlord, the A4 Avant could actually keep up with a hot blonde in an old Ferrari.
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