1. Autos
Send to a Friend via Email

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:

http://cars.about.com/b/2009/03/02/test-drive-2009-audi-a4-avant.htm

was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Discuss in my forum

2009 Audi A4 AvantI have a thing for wagons. It just seems silly to leave all that real estate above the trunk lid unclaimed. But what happens when a wagon isn't all that great at being a wagon? Find out in my 2009 Audi A4 Avant test drive. Thoughts on the A4 Avant and it's relative lack of wagon-ness? Click the "comments" link below. Want photos? I've got photos -- about two dozen new originals in my 2009 Audi A4 Avant photo gallery. -- Aaron Gold

Photo © Aaron Gold

Comments
March 2, 2009 at 9:14 am
(1) J Kyle says:

Robin is complaining about no heated seats?

She DOES realize that she lives in Southern CA, right? Heated seats are for those of us in the frozen parts of the country?

Still, that is one of the reasons that I don’t quite understand the appeal of leather seats, in cars, couches, or anywhere.

March 2, 2009 at 9:33 am
(2) Mark Proulx says:

Man, I love Audis and I love wagons, but this car is simply out of my price range. Y’alls may chuckle at the absence of heated seats being a drawback, but lemme tell ya – here in Seattle, where dampness reigns (rains?), they’re a lifesaver.

March 2, 2009 at 9:51 am
(3) Aaron Gold - Cars Guide says:

J, I think heated seats are a girl thing. Plus they’re great for people with bad backs (and Robin is one of those). Me, I barely use the things. Although it sometimes does get down into the 50s in winter here… — Aaron

March 2, 2009 at 11:45 am
(4) Geoschiss says:

How does cargo capacity compare to the A3? The A3 has to be one of my favorite small wagons.

March 2, 2009 at 12:55 pm
(5) Hawaiian Don says:

Converting a sedan into a wagon and gaining only a half of a cubic foot? Not much of a compliment for the design team. Strikes me as a dumb idea, unless they think there’s a lot of people who are looking for a wagon “look” without the utility(nobody I know).
As for the Audi 4 bangers, you’re absolutely right…they’re terrific!

March 2, 2009 at 4:57 pm
(6) Scott says:

I must say, Aaron, I’m surprised that Robin didn’t want to use it. Usually, like the VW Bug and the Mini Cooper, wagons are a girl thing (except for a small handful of guys like you and me). And yes, I’m a wagon aficionado too. But just because it had heated seats? For god’s sake! You’d think she would want to stay warm at least! Up where I live (in Canada), people would kill to get heated seats! If I could pick any Audi, I’d go for either a fully loaded A3 V6 or the upcoming A5 convertible. Good luck getting more time in future Audis for future test drives!

March 2, 2009 at 7:00 pm
(7) Eric says:

Sounds like this wagon suffers from the same malady that affects many contemporary wagons. After having been largely replaced by minivans and SUV’s for several years, they are making a slow comeback. Problem is, it seems that the manufacturers of some of these cars are so intent on trying to avoid the whole station wagon stigma and make these cars somewhat cool, that they have created lines of wagons that aren’t really wagons. Their aft rooflines are so tapered in the name of sportiness that cargo room ultimately suffers, making them not much more than slightly elongated hatchbacks.

The primary shortfall of the Dodge Magnum was that the aft roofline tapered down so far that they had to put the hinges for the liftback just above the back seat in order to offer any sort of significant access to the rear cargo area. It ended up being more like a raised trunk lid. Althought the car looked cool, aft cargo room was severely compromised making its usefulness as a station wagon very limited. In fact, Dodge was so intent on avoiding the station wagon stigma that they advertised the car as a “sport tourer,” not a station wagon.

If car companies are going to produce station wagons, they need to get over the whole station wagon thing and build functional station wagons. People are getting tired of minivans and SUV’s and are looking for more economical options. There’s no reason in this day and age that a station wagon can’t be sporty and fun.

March 3, 2009 at 2:08 pm
(8) John in San Jose says:

I love wagons. I bought a new A4 Avant in 1999. It was a great handling/performing little car. Inside, the back seat was cramped, though cargo space was OK for a small wagon. Reliability, though, was very poor. I only kept it until 2001; I traded up to a 2001 Mercedes E320 wagon, which I still drive. The MBZ wagon is what all wagons should aspire to: gobs of interior space and a standard pop-up 3rd row seat (rear-facing); 29 mpg on the highway cruising at 70 mph. And it handles exactly like a car – because it is a car. It’s also available in all-wheel drive. I’ve never understood why most buyers choose heavy, lumbering, low-mpg SUVs over nimble wagons. Price is certainly not a factor – look at what people spend on huge Escalades and Navigators.

Happily, it seems that America’s love affair with the SUV is coming to an end. Unfortunately, America is not yet building a decent wagon. The Dodge Magnum is a joke, as Eric pointed out. And the “crossovers” still seem more SUV-like than car-like to me. For now, wagon-buyers must look to Europe for a decent wagon.

It’s too bad that the new A4 Avant is so lacking in cargo space. It’s a beautiful car. And I sincerely hope that Audi’s reliability has improved over the last 10 years.

Some nit-picks: My old A4 Avant, though it had light-colored leather upholstery, had black carpeting. Dark-colored, contrasting carpeting seemed like such a smart design idea; light-colored carpeting is impossible to keep clean. I notice that the Avant in the photos has light-colored carpeting. Audi has apparently forgotten that smart design idea. And you have to pay extra for wood trim? For a “luxury” car?

March 4, 2009 at 7:16 pm
(9) Gary from Atlanta says:

I love this car. Would prefer an S4 Avant if Audi would start shipping those over. Alas, I do not have this kind of cash so I will have to admire others. Love heated seats I crank them up as high as they will go before a tennis match to loosen up the back. Works wonders. I would like to request a heated steering wheel and shifter next as the new standard.

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.