2020 Audi A4 Allroad vs. 2020 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 2020/06/06

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.

Compared to metal, the A4 Allroad’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Subaru Outback has a metal gas tank.

Both the A4 Allroad and the Outback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, 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

© 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 2020/06/06

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.

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 66 more horsepower (248 vs. 182) and 97 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 176) than the Outback 2.5i’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder.

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

A4 Allroad

Outback 2.5i

Outback XT

Zero to 60 MPH

5.5 sec

8.7 sec

6.1 sec

Quarter Mile

14.1 sec

16.6 sec

14.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97.6 MPH

86.1 MPH

95 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 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 2020/06/06

On the EPA test cycle the A4 Allroad gets better fuel mileage than the Outback XT (23 city/31 hwy vs. 23 city/30 hwy).

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

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

132 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

© 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 2020/06/06

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 Base/Premium’s standard 65 series tires. The A4 Allroad’s tires are lower profile than the Outback Onyx Edition XT/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 Base/Premium.

Suspension and Handling

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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.

The A4 Allroad has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Outback doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

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 Premium Plus handles at .81 G’s, while the Outback Limited XT pulls only .75 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The A4 Allroad Premium Plus executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.1 seconds quicker than the Outback Limited (26.3 seconds @ .69 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

Chassis

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The A4 Allroad is 3.8 inches shorter than the Outback, making the A4 Allroad easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The A4 Allroad is 7.3 inches shorter in height than the Outback, making the A4 Allroad much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

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 28.4 inches.

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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The A4 Allroad uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Outback uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

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 rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

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 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/Onyx.

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/Onyx.

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 doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

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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