18th November 2017
Depending on our work and lifestyle our cars can often be called upon to undertake a multitude of tasks, if we know of them in advance they form part of our decision-making process. I know of someone who chose their vehicle purely based on negotiating a certain track and field to their favourite spot on their annual fishing trip, six months later and the farm had been sold - this fishing trip was no more!
So, what if our needs are as many as Heinz varieties? How do we narrow down our requirements and on which elements do we compromise?
Almost every conceivable need and niche has been filled by manufacturers in their pursuit of our business, but in some respects, that just makes our choice more difficult as we look to prioritise our needs.
Step forth the Audi A6 Allroad. A more rugged looking and potentially practical version of the voluminous A6 Avant, designed for those with the need to venture a little further than the playing field.
A perfectly capable and luxurious car during the week, with the capabilities to head off the beaten track at weekend.
Our week in the Allroad would put that theory to the test, with a 400-mile road trip, regular commutes, school runs and an excuse to head across the fields of a 300-acre farm.
The Allroad is now well equipped as a standard car, especially in the Sports trim of our demonstrator. Whilst the wheels on our test car looked great, the smaller 18” wheels with narrower tyres are a much better bet if you were to regularly venture off the tarmac.
Our car came with the higher output 272PS engine, technology pack and with it the Audi Virtual Cockpit. A great option when on long trips with teenagers using the Apple Car Play and main display for numerous sources of musical entertainment!
The Allroad is vast with a boot to match and even our bags for the long weekend did little to fill it. My daughter taking up the challenge to test it to the max with as much as she could carry from the McArthur Glen Outlet Village.
Our journey took us from Essex to Chester – via the A14 and M6 and the challenges of Friday afternoon traffic. The Allroad is an effortless motorway car, plenty of power when you need it and delivered instantly with that satisfying sound only a V6 can deliver. If anything, keeping the car to the legal speed limit is a challenge. Such is the minimal effort it takes to reach it and the quietness of the cabin giving a sense of a much more sedate speed.
After almost five hours we finally arrived, but there was little sign of fatigue for the driver or passengers, who by now were deep in discussion and speculating as to how long it would have taken if we had taken then suggested detours.
Despite my daughter’s best efforts, the boot was still at best only half full-on return. Our whole journey covering just over 400 miles and even with the extra return weight we still managed to average just over 40mpg.
This car is meant for the outdoors and whilst it’s not a mud-plugging 4x4 it does appear to be crying out to be taken at least a little off the tarmac.
A 300 Acre farm with woods and hides that needed inspecting, a pond that had just been cleared and contractors preparing the fields for sowing seemed like the perfect script for stage two of our test drive.
The Allroad now comes with air suspension as standard and with it a rather handy lift feature that raises the ground clearance for such off-tarmac forays. Certainly, worth remembering as in standard setting the car is very low slung.
With little rain, the grassy headlands were no more than damp and dispatched with ease. A further winter inspection might yield wetter conditions and a sterner test but as it was the car felt comfortable. Whilst mindful it doesn’t have the clearance of a full 4x4, the Allroad will clearly cope with a lot more than your average rugby field on a Sunday morning.
For the rest of the week our car returned to normal duties of school runs, commutes; for that it proved once again effortless passing the school gate/street cred with ease -the looks, the badge and that V6 engine taking care of such matters. For those with older children there is, of course, the consideration that it will provide the perfect removal van for University trips and that space can easily accommodate a couple of working dogs - with or without crates.
Audi styling has evolved over the years, but now has an unmistakable face and we think it really suits the new Allroad. The extra body mouldings add to the rugged looks and whilst it may be tempting to spend the extra £500 to have these fully painted in the body colour we’d stick with the practical dark plastic if venturing off road regularly.
For many heading off road is occasional rather than vocational. As such the Allroad completes the daily tasks extremely well, with the added comfort of its sure-footedness in wet road conditions, the occasional foray onto the track and meadows should the need arise.
The obvious competitors are the new Volvo V90 Cross Country and the Mercedes-Benz E Class All Terrain Estate, but in our view, anything around £50k with AWD is fair game.