Well, this Audi A4 1.8T (for Turbo) Avant is a great little wagon. When I was very young my wife and I bought one of the first Datsun (now Nissan) station wagons. It was part of the rebellious acts of that decade. Buy Japanese and snub the American Automakers. That Datsun wasn’t like this Audi, but neither was the Audi like this Audi. In fact, back then I guess I would have rather had the Datsun even if the price were the same. The year was 1968 and the paint job on the Datsun was almost as bad as this Audi Red.
I wonder whether cars have come all that far in 30 years. When one considers that Datsun would get you from here to there for a lot less money. In contrast the Datsun wagon would have cost about $12,000 in today’s dollars. I’m not suggesting you go out and buy a Datsun. I just make the observation that it’s good to look at the real world in perspective.
Enough of the “good old days”. There are a lot of wonderful car choices as we launch into the new century and the unbelievable new millennium. This Audi is one of those wonderful cars. Today’s cars have been fine tuned to peak performance. Like getting 83.33 horsepower per liter. Pretty amazing, eh! Audi takes 1.8 liters and puts a Turbo on it to make it fly. Fun to drive for sure. 5 valves per cylinder, 3 being intake valves to provide more air helps to make that happen. Obviously there are many enhancements to the engine technology that allow so much for so little.
Handling & Performance:
Today’s technology also extends to better suspension and in the case of Audi, all wheel drive makes this car hug the road better than most. And that contributes to the higher cost.
It is an attractive car, but if they don’t get rid of that Audi red they have to have their heads examined. I didn’t talk with one person who liked the color. Baby poop comes to mind.
Fit and Finish:
Bravo to the assemblers in Germany.
You get what you pay for, and compared to the Ford Focus the extra $15,000 price tag buys the following: ABS brakes, power windows, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, CD player, tachometer, 40 more horses assisted by a turbocharger, twice the towing capacity. In balance, however, you give up a few things too, like: $15,000, a luggage rack, 18% less fuel economy, 2 inches front and 4 inches rear legroom and 6 cu. ft. of cargo space. Wow, go get ‘em Ford.
You pay for the nameplate, but the Volvo V40 gives you more for the money with an equally impressive nameplate. Subaru is ok but lack the perceived “class” of this Audi or the Volvo for that matter. The Ford Focus lacks the “class” but must be considered on price alone.
If you’re an Audi fan, you’ll love this car. If you’re not because of past quality sins, be comforted in that Audi has improved a lot. I don’t hear the negative comments I did when brother John and I owned a foreign car repair shop in the 1970’s, ‘80’s and ‘90’s.
I haven’t tested the new Ford Focus, but after looking at the differences in the two cars I want to drive it. You should too, if only for curiosity. Volvo by the way is assembled in Belgium. Overall, it’s my pick since it’s the closest in features, is priced better and has a longer running good reputation.
Ford Focus $12,055 – $15,475, Subaru Legacy Wagon $18,400-23,695, Subaru Outback $18,095-26,095, Volvo V40 $24,400.
Great ride, comfortable, everything first cabin, lots of power from the turbo and good mileage. Galvanized steel body resists rust. Quattro AWD provides great traction especially noticeable in winter.
Not a lot of room, which is something you buy a station wagon for. Rear windows don’t go all the way down. You’ll notice a bothersome lag in acceleration before the turbo kicks in. Lousy placement of the power window buttons.
1.8 liter 150 horsepower DOHC Turbo 4-cylinder engine with 5 valves per cylinder, 5-speed manual transmission, quattro permanent all wheel drive system, power steering front and side air bags, anti-theft alarm, climate control, power windows, cruise control, tilt and teli leather steering wheel, sound system with cassette and CD player, remote keyless entry, pre-wired for CD changer and telephone and trip computer.
22 City and 29 Highway MPG.
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