2009 Audi A4 Long Term Road Test

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2009 Audi A4 Avant: Little Things Can Matter

October 27, 2010

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We record each and every fill-up on our long-term and short-term test cars, and of course the 2009 Audi A4 Avant is no exception. In addition to the number of gallons added, we must record the date, the odometer reading and the mileage on the trip counter, and then hit the reset button.

On most cars, our drivers must poke and prod one or more buttons associated with the trip computer. We may have to scroll through a menu or three. Resetting the trip meter(s) isn't always obvious or straightforward, either. The button may be hidden and the screen itself can be buried within the menu structure.

Oftentimes we have to reinsert the key (which we removed because we're at a gas station) to bring the menus to life so we can make the required notes. This last bit is a pain even if we have the car memorized.

This 2009 Audi is made for folks like us. The screen above is what we get when we open the door with the engine off and the key in our pocket.

It's all there, and more: date, time, odometer, trip meter, outside temperature. And the "0.0" reset button for the trip meter is right there. No searching, no scrolling. Just look, read and write.

OK, it's a small thing. But for folks who follow their fuel economy rigorously, it's a big convenience. It's also a sign that somebody, somewhere really thought about it.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 31,567 miles

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2009 Audi A4 Avant: Zero Range for 22 Miles

June 30, 2010

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Yesterday I proved that our long-term 2009 Audi A4 Avant can be driven atleast 22 miles with zero range. No, I'm not proud of it, but it was fun living on the edge.

By the way, after 22 miles I wimped out and zipped into some no name gas station. I wonder how far it could have gone.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 28,659 miles

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2009 Audi A4 Avant: Remarkable Fuel Economy

January 04, 2010

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Ah, vacation is over but we put a bunch of miles on the A4 Avant, 1,467 to be precise. Over those miles, the A4 (EPA rated at 21 mpg City / 27 Hwy / 23 Comb) earned 25.1 mpg average. The worst tank was 20.0 mpg and the best tank returned 28.3 mpg. Seems the "new" method the EPA uses to predict fuel economy is far more applicable than the pre-2008 way.

By the way, we found a terrific highway between Hwy 1 in Cambira and Hwy 101 in Paso Robles. It's called Green Valley road (or Hwy 46) and it bends and rises from sea level up to about 1,000 feet and the views as the terrain changes from rolling hills dotted with small ranches to arid wine country is stunning.

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Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 22,060 miles

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2009 Audi A4 Avant: Button, Button, Who's Got the Trip Reset Button?

August 10, 2009

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While I was filling up the A4 Avant today (after an uneventful weekend of mild family car duty), I noticed that the usually annoying television screen above the pump was silent. It was sort of heavenly to stand there pumping gas into the wagon and not have to tune anything out. Then I gave a little cry of joy when I got back in the car and started the sometimes arduous task of figuringout how to reset the trip odometer in a car I don't drive every day. But waiting for me right where I could find it easily was a clearly marked physical button with "0.0" on it. I pushed it and the trip meter zeroed right out. Hurray! With the advent of driver command centers and complicated interfaces for controlling so many of a car's functions these days (this Audi's MMI being one of them), the simplicity was refreshing.

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Am I turning into a Luddite? How do you feel about trip odometer buttons?

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 16,665 miles

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2009 Audi A4 Avant: The 21st Century Beach Wagon?

July 27, 2009

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When I was a kid, my parents called the family station wagon a "beach wagon". Whether this is a New England colloquialism, I'm not sure. But yesterday, the A4 Avant pulled beach wagon duty as the girlfriend and I went off in search of some ocean-side tranquility. We went about 40 miles up the PCH (the first half of which was horrid traffic), past Santa Monica and Malibu's popular beaches and pulled over at a small, uncrowded beach a few miles south of Point Mugu...

After enjoying the sun and surf, we decided to hit the Camarillo outlets and then take the 101 freeway south back to Santa Monica (Google traffic on the Blueberry still showed some nasty red lines going south through Malibu). The 101 sucked so we bailed at the Los Virgenes road exit, whereupon I subsequently enjoyed the Avant's adroit handling throughout the twists and turns of the canyon roads back to the PCH.

A few random observations:

-- The 2.0T is plenty of motor, even in a pudgy (3,900-pound) wagon. Off the line dig and passing power are both impressive and the tranny clicks off quick, lag-free down- (and up-)shifts in Sport mode.

-- We're averaging about 22 mpg thus far. I imagine those who don't live in the traffic capital of the U.S. and who don't drive as hard as automotive journalists will probably average 2 or 3 mpg better.

-- Great sport seats (well shaped and with 4-way power lumbar) and powerful A/C -- both key when you're in the saddle for hours on a hot, sunny day.

-- Sometimes annoying navigation system. Instead of P.O.I. (Points of Interest) it has "Special Destinations". So you select that, and then, for example, "Nearest to Position". But then the system goes to a "Category" screen, where you must scroll through a bunch of categories, select one (e.g. "restaurants") and either scroll through dozens of various restaurants or input the name of the one you want. That's okay if you don't have a particular place in mind. But when you do, why doesn't it allow the option of just inputting the name of the P.O.I straight away without requiring you to slog through the Category list first?

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 16,024 miles

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2009 Audi A4 Avant: Vegas Road Trip

December 29, 2008

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Portions of Interstate 15 were closed due to snowfall just days prior to our planned run out to Las Vegas in the Audi A4. Roads were clear when we passed through but there was still enough white stuff on the ground to excite snow-deprived Southern Californians.

We won some, lost some, filled countless buffet plates and were ready to leave four days later. But our plan to skip breakfast and make good time home backfired when we ran into road construction traffic... stuck behind this Twinkie truck.

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Trip totals: 800 miles, 25 mpg

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 4,872

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2009 Audi A4 Avant: Cheap Gas is a Gas

December 16, 2008

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This morning while I was carefully crafting my post about the fuel mileage of our long-term 2009 Audi A4 Avant I dug up the car's window sticker and it gave me quite a chuckle.

Look what it says between the Audi's EPA city and highway numbers: Estimated Annual Fuel Cost $2,806 based on 15,000 miles at $4.30 per gallon.

$4.30? Remember that? That was like way back in September or something. You know, the olden days. I just paid $1.92 for the A4's required premium. Happy days are here again. Somebody better alert the Audi peeps.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 3,992 miles

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2009 Audi A4 Avant: Averaging 21.5 mpg

December 16, 2008

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Our 2009 Audi A4 wagon is powered by the standard 211 hp 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, 6-speed automatic and quattro all-wheel drive. The EPA rates it at 21 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.

So far our best recoreded mileage was an all highway run from LA to Las Vegas at 27 mpg. Although most fillups are averaging in the 21-23 mpg range, we have had more than a few below 19 mpg, including one at a very thirsty 16.9 mpg. Overall we're averaging 21.5 mpg during the cars first 4,000 miles.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 3,989 miles

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2009 Audi A4 Avant: Mileage Will Vary More Than You Think

November 14, 2008

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Took the A4 to Vegas to cover the SEMA show. Could have driven the R8 instead or even the GT-R, but I went practical and never regretted it. The seats are comfortable, the interior is well-laid out and it feels big inside. Even with the larger wheels and tires, it rides smoothly and the wind and road noise is minimal. The steering, brakes and throttle response all feel dead on and I got 27.0 mpg even though I averaged roughly 80mph through the desert. Strangely enough, the prior tank only returned 17.3 mpg, so the mileage varies quite a bit depending on driving conditions. That said, I could deal the big swings as this car just feels right. Who knows, maybe I'll get tired of it in six months, but right now I wouldn't hesitate for a second to buy this car for myself.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 2,214 miles

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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2009 Audi A4 in VA is:

$134 per month*
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