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New family vehicles that split the difference between wagon and SUV

October 28, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Audi Allroad's basic shape is that of a station wagon. A few subtle touches give it the look of a SUV equipped with flared wheel arches and a prominent pair of roof rails.

The 2013 Audi Allroad combines the functionality of a wagon and the outdoorsy look of a four-by-four.

It will actually go off-road if need be. Ground clearance is increased over the regular A4 wagon it replaces and it gets Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system. It's also quite plush inside with plenty of room for people and cargo.

The Allroad isn't a new idea. Audi borrowed it from themselves.

The original Allroad came out in 2000 and was based on the A6 wagon. Out of production for quite a number of years now, the ones still in use have a bit of a cult following among owners.

The new Allroad is on today's A4 body and is nearly as large as the earlier A6-based version and much more efficient too.

Audi's turbo-four engine provides the motivation and fuel economy numbers of 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. The old Allroad's larger engines were much thirstier.

The formula for creating one of these wagons with the SUV flare is pretty simple. A car company just needs a station wagon body and an all-wheel drive system.

As it turns out, Subaru has both those things in its company inventory. They created the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek, based on the Impreza Wagon.

Like the Allroad, and even like Subaru's own outback models, it gets increased ground clearance and subtle touches of toughness.

It's not as big, roomy, or luxurious as the Allroad, but it's not nearly as expensive either. You can step into a Crosstrek for well under $30,000.

The Subaru does very well at the gas pump too, with EPA estimates of 25 mpg city and 33 mpg highway for an all-wheel-drive wagon.

SUVs are not everyone's cup of tea. For a bit of the SUV look with more car-like ride and mileage, beefed-up wagons like the 2013 Audi Allroad or the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek could be just the ticket.


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