January 03, 2011
Like a Good Housekeeing-approved appliance, the long-term 2009 Audi A4 Avant offers several settings for toasting your buns.
Most cars have at least two seat-heater settings (often dubbed "Hi" and "Lo"), and it's not uncommon for premium cars to offer at three settings (usually a "Medium" stuck in between).
Four or five settings would easily impress me, so you can imagine my suprise when I saw SIX seat heater settings on the A4 Avant's LCD screen. That borders on ridiculous, though when charging premium prices and displaying a premium badge it's probably smart to overdeliver.
Why would I even be accessing the A4's seat heater settings in Los Angeles? Because it was like 51 degrees when I got in the car this morning, that's why.
Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor at Large (and official cold-weather wimp) at 34,180 miles
October 29, 2010
There should be a small piece of plastic that the vanity mirror / sunshade snaps into. It's gray and curved. I know this because I found it in the cupholder.
So far, no confessions, but regardless, we'll need to get this fixed. Until then, it'll flop around wherever/whenever it wants.
Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Inside Line @ 31,000 miles
October 28, 2010
Our A4 has almost 32,000 miles on the clock as of last night. So I was pleased to notice that its leather seats look as good as new. Readers who've been around for a while will remember that our long-term M3's driver's seat was showing its age at less than half this mileage.
Sure, the A4's bolsters aren't quite as big, but we've been dragging our butts across this bolster for 23 months and it shows little, if any, wear.
Josh Jacquot, Senior editor
September 10, 2010
I think I've discovered the best feature of our long-term 2009 Audi A4 Avant:
Its twin cupholders in the center console (one large, one small) are perfectly sized to hold one In-N-Out lemonade and one In-N-Out neopolitan shake.
Forget the interior materials or all-wheel drive; this is a reason to buy!
Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor at Large @ 30,810 miles
September 02, 2010
The other day I posted about how fresh our long-term 2009 Audi A4 Avant feels after more than 30,000 miles and the abuse of 25 editors. Some of you asked me for any example, so I'm back with a photo of the A4's driver's seat.
Check it out, even the bolster looks new.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief
August 25, 2010
I like the steering wheel in our Audi A4 Avant. It is perfectly sized to the car, fits nicely in the hand, and has well-designed controls. I like the slightly flat indentation in the bottom. The leather is sticky without feeling gross.
It feels good when I make a turn.
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
Back to All Long-Term Vehicles
June 24, 2010
Our A4 Avant has nearly 30,000 miles on it and the seats are holding up fairly well. There's some obvious wear on the outside corner, but they feel solid when you're sitting in them.
In fact, the whole interior looks pretty good. Nothing appears weathered or even the least bit worn out. Guess you should expect that for a car that costs this much.
Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 28,210 miles
June 15, 2010
I know other editors have had a problem removing the key from the Audi A4 but I've never had it happen to me before. I've been driving the Audi over the last few days and it has stumped me three times. I can't see that I'm doing anything differently than when it pops out easily.
So, I asked Dan, resident smart guy. He said you have to have your foot on the brake just so. Well, I don't know. It seems awfully finicky to me. The problem is, you have to press the key in to make it pop out. So, if you have your foot on the brake, it restarts the car. Very strange.
OK, so in honor of the Tony Awards the other day, what Broadway Show does my title reference?
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 28,084 miles
May 07, 2010
Our Audi A4 Avant has a button for the electronic parking brake right next to the gear shifter. Pull up to engage, push down to release. Only one finger needed.
I don't mind it. But it's not very satisfying. Sure, it's conveniently located and saves space. But I prefer a lever in between the seats that you pull up with your hand. You feel like you're fixing the car in place. I'm old school, I guess. I even prefer the parking brake pedals you operate with your foot.
There are some old-school features I miss in cars. I miss automatic gear shifters that were mounted on the steering column. And I loved the front bench seat in my Caprice. You could fit three people up there. Did you ever drive a car that had the windshield fluid button in the footwell?
What old-school features do you miss in modern cars?
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
March 23, 2010
1. excellent turbocharged 2.0-liter inline 4
2. strong brakes (60-0 in 103 feet)
3. six-level seat heaters (a warmth setting to suit everyone)
4. well-positioned A/C vents
5. roller balls for audio controls on steering wheel (this is the best design)
6. easy-to-fold rear seats
7. non-glare navigation screen
8. easy-to-read instrument panel
9. prescient automatic windshield wipers
10. elegant good looks
Care to add anything to my list?
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
September 03, 2009
The Scream, Edvard Munch 1893
Steering Wheel, Audi A4 2009
On Tuesday I posted praise upon the steering wheel in our long-term Jetta TDI. Those of you that disagreed with that praise called the Jetta's wheel boring. Well, check out the wheel in our long-term Audi A4 Avant. It's just as perfectly shaped and sized as the Jetta's, but Audi's designers were able to add a touch of flair without screwing up its comfort or function. It feels right and it looks right.
Sure it makes me think of Munch's The Scream (Anybody else see it?), but you can't call it boring.
Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 17,777 miles
April 09, 2009
I like the roller knob on the steering wheel that lets me quickly run up and down my presets (which are displayed in the center display once you move the roller) and pick what suits my mood. I don't like the back a**wards orientation of the power lock buttons, where up equals lock and down equals unlock. That's the opposite of what you'd expect -- for as long as I can remember, those old-school plunger door locks (yes, there are still cars with them) are up for unlocked and down for locked.
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 10,825 miles
April 08, 2009
I disagree with Scott Oldham's recent complaint about the 2009 Audi A4 Avant's instrument panel.
I look at the compact screen between the tachometer and speedometer and think what a great job Audi did putting eight separate pieces of information into such a small space, while making it look uncluttered and totally readable.
In one glance I know how many miles I've traveled, how much fuel I have left, time, date, ambient temp, odometer and trip miles, plus selected gear and radio station.
And all without pushing a single button.
Perhaps our editor in chief needs some new specs.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 10,777 miles
March 26, 2009
I have a small beef with the instrument panel of our long-term 2009 Audi A4 Avant. The gear readout is much too small. Look at it down there looking tiny in the lower left hand corner of the info box (M1). Try giving that a quick glance when you're making time.
I find it hard to believe, but there's obviously some dope at Audi who thinks the transmission gear is of equal importance as the outside temperature and far less important than today's date. Fool probably rides the train to work.
Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 9,189 miles
March 23, 2009
I lucked out and scored our 2009 Audi A4 Avant this weekend. I know Brent wasn't too crazy about it as a road trip car but I loved it! Of course I didn't drive nearly as many miles as he did or have a sleeping baby to worry about but I found its ride smooth, almost floaty but not in a bad way. Actually everything about it was smooth from its throttle to brakes. The road noise from its large tires didn't bother me either but that's probably because I was too busy singing along to the Saturday Dance Mix on 1st Wave.
My only complaint, and I know this has already been covered by editor Chris Walton...
Is trying to remove that dang-blasted key from the ignition. If you put your foot on the brake pedal, it starts the car. If you try to push the key in and pull it out in one fluid motion, it still won't come out. Even if you try looking it up in the owner's manual, there's no "How to remove key from ignition" chapter. But there is a paragraph on how to remove the emergency key.
There's no telling what will make that key come out so it's best if you don't have anywhere to go in a hurry. It almost made me fear...well, not fear, but definitely didn't make me look forward to going anywhere because of the sweaty struggle that was sure to follow and the worry that I wouldn't be able to leave the car because of the stuck key.
This morning it took two minutes of pressing that key in and trying to pull it out til the car let it go. And that was one of the quickest battles this weekend. Bystanders in the garage just saw the A4's headlights flash on and off in rapid succession while a woman in the car was yelling at the dash.
And before you ask, "Why didn't you just use the start button instead of inserting the key?" I'll have you know that there isn't a start button. Unfortunately, our car is equipped with the Premium Plus package which doesn't include the Advanced Key option, i.e. keyless start.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 9,052 miles
March 18, 2009
Since Scott outed me as an Audi A4 seat hater, I thought I would explain myself.
Let me give you a little back story. When I was growing up my father had a sandwich shop and also sold things like soda, milk, etc. When I was little, he would create a makeshift chair for me out of a milk case. They were made of metal and he would put a cardboard box over it so I could sit down and hang with him in the store. After driving the A4 Avant for the first time, I came into the office complaining that the seat cushions were so flat and unpadded, it was like sitting on a milk crate. Kevin and Scott both looked at me like I was nuts. They find nothing wrong with the seats.
OK, fast forward to this week. I drove the Audi A4 Avant home again and tried to figure out why I dislike the seats so much. I usually like sport seats. I like bolsters. I like feeling secure in the seat. The center of the seat cushion is rather flat. But that's not what bothers me so much. It's the length of the cushion. I'm only 5'4" tall, so the seat bottom is too long for me. It uncomfortably extends under my knee. And although I can adjust the seat in many ways with the power controls, I can never get it to not dig into the back of my knee. So, there you have it. I'm not a seat hater. I'm just too short for this particular Audi.
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
March 02, 2009
I really like our 2009 Audi A4 Avant's interior. Here's why: 1) Even though our car's interior is trimmed in black, it's welcoming and premium in appearance. The wood highlights are tasteful and not overdone. 2) The control layout -- including MMI -- is pleasing, sophisticated and largely intuitive (some of my coworkers might disagree with me here). 3) Overall material quality, though not as superior as Audi's interiors once were, is still very high.
In short, our A4's interior looks and feels like an entry-level luxury car's should. It's one of the top reasons why someone would want to buy a new A4.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 7,230 miles
December 01, 2008
The sleek, keyless key for the A4 avant is nice because it doesn't have a spring-loaded switch blade-like metal key that pops out in your pocket and jabs your groin at inopportune moments. No, the black-plastic and polished-metal lozenge is all there is to it. It works nicely when you insert it into the dash and press it further to start the car. It's when you try to remove it that the tug-o-war begins.
The problem arises when it comes time to remove the key. Sometimes--and I haven't been able to determine the exact circumstances which lead to it--but the dash board refuses to let go of the darned thing. The routine is supposed to go like this: Put the car in park, depress the key into the dash to shut the car off, then tug on the key and it should pop out. That happens about 80% of the time.
The other 20% of the time, and those occasions seem to clump together for one infuriating day, it takes up to ten attempts to get the key out.
Wiggling it, applying pressure on the top/bottom edges, tugging quickly/slowly, all of those ideas don't seem to work all of the time. Finally, when the key is released, I try to remember what led up to that moment, but there doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason to it.
Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor @ 3567 miles