2009 Audi A4 Avant: Better than a Passat Wagon?
December 15, 2008
It's me. I'm the one you're mad at. I'm the reason for the lack of recent posts on our long-term 2009 Audi A4 Avant. You see I went on vacation, and I took the A4 with me. And I did this for two reasons:
1) It's a really nice car and it fits my kids and my dog and my wife and I like driving it, so what would you have done? Taken the Focus? Didn't think so.
2) I've owned (well leased) that blue VW Passat wagon for the last 2.5 years. It's my wife's daily driver, and I thought it would be cool to see how the new Audi stacks up against my old VW during 10 days of life at the Oldhams.
It's a good comparison, my wife's front-wheel drive wagon packs the old version of the 2.0T engine (200 hp) and 6-speed automatic transmission, while the Audi packs the new 2.0T (211 hp), the same 6-speed automatic and quattro all-wheel drive.
Turns out the cars aren't that different. Sure the Audi is so beautiful it makes the Passat look like the box it came in, but hop out of the much newer and more expensive A4 and the Passat holds up. Even with 25,000 miles on its odometer, the Passat still feels solid, and its combination of refinement and athleticism feels just right.
Don't get me wrong, with its firmer suspension, more aggressive Bridgestones and all-wheel drive the Audi will run circles around my Passat, and my wife says the A4 feels quicker off the line. But my conclusion is that the A4, although larger than before, is still too small for real family duty, and the Passat holds up nicely when it's put forehead to forehead against its swankier sibling.
Oh and get this; our Audi stickered for $44,150. My Passat cost just $30,030 and the only feature it seems to lack compared to the A4 are navigation, paddle shifters and Xenon headlights. Plus my car has a power lift and close tailgate, which the Audi does not.
I will admit that I wish my Passat looked better (I still prefer the look of the previous generation), but the Audi's additional $14,000 cost is looking pretty hard to justify.
Tune in tomorrow for a mileage report.
Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 3,849 miles