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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi A6 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 Toyota Highlander doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
The A6 Allroad’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Highlander doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
Both the A6 Allroad and Highlander have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The A6 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 Highlander’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.
To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the A6 Allroad. But it costs extra on the Highlander.
A passive infrared night vision system optional on the A6 Allroad Prestige helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The Highlander doesn’t offer a night vision system.
Both the A6 Allroad and the Highlander have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the A6 Allroad its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2020, a rating granted to only 32 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Highlander is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2020.
The A6 Allroad comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Highlander’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
The A6 Allroad’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Highlander’s (12 vs. 5 years).
The A6 Allroad’s 3.0 turbo V6 hybrid produces 40 more horsepower (335 vs. 295) and 106 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 263) than the Highlander’s 3.5 DOHC V6.
Regenerative brakes improve the A6 Allroad’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Highlander doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
The A6 Allroad has 1.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Highlander (19.3 vs. 17.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The A6 Allroad offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Highlander doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.
The A6 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 Highlander doesn’t offer launch control.
For better stopping power the A6 Allroad’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Highlander:
The A6 Allroad’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Highlander are solid, not vented.
For better traction, the A6 Allroad has larger tires than the Highlander (245/45R20 vs. 235/65R18).
The A6 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 Highlander L/LE/XLE’s standard 65 series tires. The A6 Allroad’s tires are lower profile than the Highlander Limited/Platinum’s 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A6 Allroad has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Highlander L/LE/XLE.
The A6 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 Highlander’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
The A6 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 Highlander doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the A6 Allroad’s wheelbase is 3 inches longer than on the Highlander (115.2 inches vs. 112.2 inches).
For better maneuverability, the A6 Allroad Prestige w/All-Wheel Steering’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the Highlander’s (36.4 feet vs. 37.4 feet).
The A6 Allroad is 9.2 inches shorter in height than the Highlander, making the A6 Allroad much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).
The A6 Allroad has a much larger cargo volume than the Highlander with its rear seat up (30 vs. 16 cubic feet).
Pressing a switch automatically lowers the A6 Allroad’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Highlander doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
The A6 Allroad uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Highlander 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.
The engine in the A6 Allroad is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Highlander. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Toyota. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 17% lower rating, Toyota is ranked 14th.
The A6 Allroad’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Highlander doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
The A6 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 Highlander’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The A6 Allroad has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Highlander doesn’t offer headlight washers.
The A6 Allroad’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Highlander offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
The A6 Allroad has a standard heated steering wheel to take the chill out of steering on extremely cold winter days before the car heater warms up. A heated steering wheel is only available on the Highlander Limited/Platinum.
The A6 Allroad Prestige offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Highlander.
To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Audi A6 Allroad has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. Only the Highlander XLE/Limited/Platinum offers wireless charging.
The A6 Allroad’s optional 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 Highlander doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
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