2020 Lexus RX Series vs. 2020 Audi A4 Allroad

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The RX Series offers optional Auto Brake that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The A4 Allroad doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The RX Series’ driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The A4 Allroad doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the RX Series and the A4 Allroad have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors 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 available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RX Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The A4 Allroad has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

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Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the RX Series 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Audi covers the A4 Allroad. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the A4 Allroad ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates rated the RX Series first among midsize premium SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The A4 Allroad isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 22nd, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 8th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Audi is ranked 14th.

Engine

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The RX 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 47 more horsepower (295 vs. 248) than the A4 Allroad’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The RX 450h’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 hybrid produces 60 more horsepower (308 vs. 248) than the A4 Allroad’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the RX 450h gets better fuel mileage than the A4 Allroad (31 city/28 hwy vs. 23 city/31 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the RX Series Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The A4 Allroad doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The RX Series Hybrid’s standard fuel tank has 1.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the A4 Allroad (17.2 vs. 15.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The RX Series’ standard fuel tank has 3.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the A4 Allroad (19.2 vs. 15.3 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Lexus RX Series at emission levels ranging from “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) to “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV). The Audi A4 Allroad is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Lexus RX Series, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the A4 Allroad.

The RX 450h has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The A4 Allroad doesn’t offer a CVT.

Tires and Wheels

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For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RX Series offers optional 20-inch wheels. The A4 Allroad’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the RX Series is 2.3 inches wider in the front and 2.3 inches wider in the rear than on the A4 Allroad.

For greater off-road capability the RX Series has a 1.7 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the A4 Allroad (8.2 vs. 6.5 inches), allowing the RX Series to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the RX Series has an electronically controlled liquid-filled front engine mount. A computer-controlled electric current in the liquid changes its viscosity, allowing the mount to dampen the engine completely at all RPMs. The A4 Allroad uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

Passenger Space

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The RX Series has 2 inches more front headroom, 2.8 inches more front legroom, 1.9 inches more front shoulder room, 1.7 inches more rear headroom, 2.3 inches more rear legroom and 3.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the A4 Allroad.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the RX Series’ rear seats recline. The A4 Allroad’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the RX Series’ optional rear seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The A4 Allroad doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Audi. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 24% lower rating, Audi is ranked 8th.

Ergonomics

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The RX Series has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The A4 Allroad doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The RX Series’ standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The A4 Allroad doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the RX Series has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the A4 Allroad only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

The A4 Allroad’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The RX Series’ optional adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

The RX Series offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The A4 Allroad doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

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The RX Series is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The A4 Allroad doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

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The RX Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the RX Series will retain 46.6% to 51.56% of its original price after five years, while the A4 Allroad only retains 42.51% to 42.92%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lexus RX Series will be $6436 to $7094 less than for the Audi A4 Allroad.

Recommendations

© 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 2020/05/26

Consumer Reports® chose the Lexus RX Series as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Lexus RX Series outsold the Audi A4/S4 by over four to one during 2019.

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