2008 Audi A4 2.0T Avant quattro 4dr Wagon AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
Looked for a wagon (not SUV) with some style and performance, settled on the A4 with 6-spd and am extremely happy so far. This car is as fun to drive as my 325i (and much more than my CLK430) and can carry stuff to boot. I have had no reliability issues after 3 weeks. I know this isn't the final word, but no horror stories. So far I get about 25 mpg around town (suburbs, not city) and more like 29 hwy, a little less if I feel like having fun. It is not really a lightweight car so this seems acceptable. Interior is very quiet and comfortable, my first 5-hour road trip flew by. Can't wait to see what quattro can do in the snow.
Handling, handling, handling - more important than raw horsepower. This car just wants to go and the 6spd lets you maneuver when you need to. Quiet, no rattles or squeaks (incl. brakes) as I've seen others report.
More rear-seat legroom. I don't mind the cupholder/armrest thing that much, you can use the front cupholder and armrest without a problem, it's only when you have a tall cup in the rearmost holder. Rear seats that fold flatter. iPod interface could be smarter and show playlist names.
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