Audi wasn’t messing around when it came time to prove the 2017 A4 Allroad is about more than looking classy — and moderately rugged — in a fancy shopping mall parking lot. Based on the new 2017 A4 sedan, the Allroad continues the German automaker’s blend of station-wagon style and maneuverability, along with a dollop of SUV attitude and all-terrain prowess.
A Ford F-150 Super Duty, this is not. Despite traveling to the wilds of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for our test drive, no amount of muddy roads or moose sightings can hide the fact that this Audi is designed for a less rugged existence. For starters, the base price of $44,950 (including $950 destination fee) is nothing to sneeze at — even when it snowed, and it did several times during our drive.
The leather-lined cabin and Audi’s typical business-class interior appointments are top notch, though we were almost physically pained whenever we’d track gobs of gooey mud and muck into our car. It was all part of the adventure, apparently, even if a gift card to Saks or Nordstrom’s is more in keeping with the mission statement of this Audi wagon.
Audi is playing it safe across its lineup when it comes to exterior design. The 2017 Allroad is no exception, even if the 1.3-inch bump in ride height (compared to the standard A4 sedan) adds a small amount of machismo. Cladding around the wheel wells and along the sides of the car don’t add anything in terms of utility, they’re simply there to look cool. If you can live with them — and have a preference for chunky-looking roof rails — the Allroad is sure to please. Then again, Audi does offer an optional paint job that colors the body-cladding to match the rest of the car, though it’ll cost you about $1,500 extra.
Exterior pros and cons
+ The Allroad comes with attractive “V-spoke” 18-inch alloy wheels and higher profile Continental all-season tires. This doesn’t make the car look like your eccentric uncle’s old AMC Eagle wagon, and that’s a good thing.
+ Vertical chrome bars in the front grille add character and visual height to the Allroad. Clever Audi, very clever.
+ Front and rear LED lighting is nice, though pretty much everyone has them now. A better surprise are the “dynamic” tail-lamps that have a strobe effect when you hit the turn signal. It’s very modern Mustang, or 1967 Mercury Cougar!
– Cynics will point out that this is nothing but a high-riding A4, or possibly a pygmy Q5. The spec sheet doesn’t exactly prove them wrong.
– Those bulkier side sills are great at collecting road grime. No big deal, right? Except every time you step out of the Allroad, the back of your pants gets caked with grime. Nitpicking? Perhaps. But annoying all the same.