The Audi A4 Avant offers you all the goodies from the A4, with the benefit of extra boot space, but is it enough to win over wagon-averse Singaporeans?
Photos: Lionel Kong
It’s probably a bit strange that the station wagon, a body style that puts sensible pragmatism as its foremost priority, is now viewed as somewhat of a left-field choice that appeals mainly to enthusiasts and hipsters. Ask the regular car buyer on the street if he’ll consider a station wagon and he’ll probably stare at you as if you just escaped from a mental hospital.
Fairly or not, station wagons tend to get sidelined by the general public who see them as dull and ungainly, especially in this part of the world where image means plenty. But if you’re not one to care about what people think, and would like something that’s practical but still feels relatively normal to drive, then a wagon like the Audi A4 Avant should be very much up your alley.
Effectively, the Avant is just an Audi A4 with more boot space. Here in Singapore, the other major difference is what’s under the bonnet. While the sedan gets a choice of 2.0-litre engines with either 150hp or 190hp, the Avant makes do with only the former.
We’ve experienced this particular powerplant before in the A5 Sportback, and in truth it’s actually more than adequate for daily usage in Singapore. It’s not outright fast by any means, but there’s a sense of pep and vim that makes the car feel rather excitable on acceleration. In any case, if you really need to go somewhere quickly while carrying all your barang barang, there’s the RS 4 Avant that sits on the other end of the extreme for you.
In truth, this particular powerplant in the updated A4 Avant is tuned more towards efficiency, given that it comes paired with a 12-volt mild hybrid system, which can aid fuel economy by letting the petrol engine shut down while the car is coasting if the conditions are right. It’s not something you really notice though, but Audi claims that you can achieve an average fuel economy of 6.4 litres per 100km if you’re really careful.
You’re unlikely to get anywhere near that however, as most of the time you’re either harrying along thanks to the car’s energetic nature, or you’re carrying a load at the back. The Avant doesn’t feel significantly different to drive from the sedan, being mostly neutral and fairly poised in its handling, and offering a relatively composed ride that’s comfortable enough for our roads here.
But one buys a wagon for its utility, and the A4 Avant mostly delivers on that front. The boot offers 495 litres of cargo capacity, which, while not class-leading, is more than enough for your everyday needs. Fold the rear seats down and you get an extra 1,000 litres of space, up to 1,495 litres of capacity, allowing you to chuck in a mountain bike or two for your weekend activities.
The rest of the cabin is standard A4, which means you get all the fancy new stuff that you find in the sedan too. This means the large 10.1-inch touchscreen through which you operate Audi’s Multimedia Interface (MMI) infotainment system, and all the fancy connectivity stuff like the Google AI-powered smart navigation system, and compatibility with the myAudi app, which lets you check the car’s details through your smartphone.
Ultimately though, the reality is that it’s probably not enough to turn most people towards the Avant. Which is a shame because the A4 Avant seems like it offers the best of many worlds, being decent to drive and offering plenty of practicality and useful space to accommodate a good amount of your stuff. But for those in the know, a wagon like the A4 Avant is almost like an insider secret, and you get the satisfaction of enjoying something that others don’t get. An unappreciated gem, in other words.
Audi A4 Avant 2.0 TFSI
|Engine||1,984cc, in-line 4, turbocharged|
|Power||150hp at 4000-6000rpm|
|Torque||270Nm at 1300-3850rpm|
|VES Band / CO2||B / 145g/km|
|Price||S$192,540 with COE|
|Verdict:||All the good stuff from the A4 with a bigger boot space makes the A4 Avant a practical and sensible choice|