2020 Audi A4 Allroad vs. 2019 Subaru Outback

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/29

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi A4 Allroad have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Subaru Outback doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The A4 Allroad’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Outback doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the A4 Allroad and Outback have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The A4 Allroad has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Outback’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The A4 Allroad has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Outback doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The A4 Allroad Prestige has a standard Top View Camera System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Outback only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the A4 Allroad and the Outback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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The A4 Allroad comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Outback’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The A4 Allroad’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Outback’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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The Audi A4 Allroad’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Outback’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the A4 Allroad’s reliability 17 points higher than the Outback.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Audi vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 22nd in initial quality. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

Engine

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The A4 Allroad’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 73 more horsepower (248 vs. 175) and 99 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 174) than the Outback 2.5i’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder. The A4 Allroad’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 26 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 247) than the Outback 3.6R’s standard 3.6 DOHC 6-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Audi A4 Allroad is faster than the Subaru Outback:

A4 Allroad

Outback 2.5i

Outback 3.6R

Zero to 60 MPH

5.5 sec

9.5 sec

7.3 sec

Quarter Mile

14.1 sec

17.4 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97.6 MPH

82.1 MPH

91.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the A4 Allroad gets better fuel mileage than the Outback 3.6R (23 city/31 hwy vs. 20 city/27 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the A4 Allroad’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Outback doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

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The A4 Allroad’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Outback doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the A4 Allroad’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Outback:

A4 Allroad

Outback

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

11.8 inches

The A4 Allroad stops much shorter than the Outback:

A4 Allroad

Outback

70 to 0 MPH

152 feet

180 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the A4 Allroad has larger tires than the Outback (245/45R18 vs. 225/65R17).

The A4 Allroad’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Outback 2.5i/2.5i Premium’s standard 65 series tires. The A4 Allroad’s tires are lower profile than the Outback Limited/Touring’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A4 Allroad has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Outback 2.5i/2.5i Premium.

Suspension and Handling

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The A4 Allroad has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Outback’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The A4 Allroad has a standard driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Outback’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the A4 Allroad’s wheelbase is 2.8 inches longer than on the Outback (110.9 inches vs. 108.1 inches).

The A4 Allroad Prestige handles at .85 G’s, while the Outback 3.6R Limited pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The A4 Allroad Premium Plus executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.1 seconds quicker than the Outback 2.5i Limited (26.3 seconds @ .69 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .57 average G’s).

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the A4 Allroad easier. The A4 Allroad’s trunk lift-over height is 26.1 inches, while the Outback’s liftover is 27.9 inches.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the A4 Allroad’s available liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Outback doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

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The A4 Allroad’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Outback’s (3968 vs. 2700 pounds).

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Subaru. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 28% lower rating, Subaru is ranked 19th.

Ergonomics

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The A4 Allroad Prestige has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Outback doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the A4 Allroad and the Outback have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the A4 Allroad is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Outback prevents the driver from operating the rear windows just as it does the other passengers.

The A4 Allroad’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Outback’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the A4 Allroad the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Outback can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The A4 Allroad’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Outback’s passenger power window switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The A4 Allroad’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Outback’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the A4 Allroad to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Outback doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The A4 Allroad Prestige has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Outback doesn’t offer headlight washers.

Manual rear side window sunshades are available in the A4 Allroad to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Outback doesn’t offer rear side window sunshades.

The A4 Allroad’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Subaru only offers heated mirrors on the Outback Premium/Limited/Touring.

When the A4 Allroad with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Outback’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the A4 Allroad Premium Plus/Prestige keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Outback doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The A4 Allroad has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Outback Premium/Limited/Touring.

Both the A4 Allroad and the Outback offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the A4 Allroad has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Outback Base/Premium doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Audi A4 Allroad Premium Plus/Prestige has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Outback doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The A4 Allroad Prestige’s Park Steering Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Outback doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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