ATTN: Audi Allroad or A6 Wagon owners- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    ATTN: Audi Allroad or A6 Wagon owners

    Thinking about one of these as my daily driver and bike hauler. In particular, I have my eyes on a low mile 2001 Allroad. Curious just how reliable these cars are. Also, will this car fit two bikes with the front wheels removed upright with the rear seats folded down?

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
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    My wife had an 02 A4 1.8T with the sport package; it was notoriously unreliable, and I got rid of it before the warranty ran out. I was amazed at the cost of the repairs. Another buddy has the same car, but it's an 01. It has also had a lot of expensive problems, one if which, Audi can't seem to fix.

    I'm not sure how much this applies to the exact model you are looking at, but Audis of this vintage have a reputation for being unreliable. Consumer reports reliability data seems to back this up, though it sounds like newer models are holding up a little better.

    I would be uneasy owing an out of warranty Audi.

    Have you checked out the Subaru Legacy GT or Outback?

    Good luck with your search.

  3. #3
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    IIRC the timing belts on those cars are ludicrously expensive to replace. Something like 3K for parts and labor.
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  4. #4
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    They handle so well but they do break and are SO expensive to fix when they do. I actually like the Allroad's looks more but would get the A6 wagon for a possible reliability edge. For more of a reliability edge, look at the Subarus if you even like them.

  5. #5
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    The maintenance was definately something weighing heavily at the back of my mind. I read on Edmunds that some guy paid over $2k to replace the front air shocks on their Allroad. Yikes.

    Reliability was a concern, however it seems VW/Audi has somewhat of a mixed bag of opinions. I have been a VW/Audi fan for most of my life, but the negative opinions always steered me away. I decided to ignore the opinions and purchase my first VW last year. Our '07 VW Rabbit has been nothing but great to us...not a single problem whatsoever in the 18k miles of driving in the past year. We love that car.

    I think I may look more towards the A6 wagon or maybe even a couple year old Passat Wagon (same as the A6). The Allroad has a bunch of quirky bells & whistles that I can see being a potential issues down the road (i.e. the biturbo V6 and the adjustable air suspension).
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  6. #6
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    My dad bought a 98 A6 (maybe 97 - first year of the newer body style).
    Maybe he was lucky but he's got 198k miles on it and has had zero issues with it. Routine maintenance is expensive, but give how it drives and how reliable it has been for them it was worth it. I actually drove it yesterday and can't believe how much it still drives like the day he drove it off the lot. Not one squeak or rattle.

    Funny I'm a big Audi and Subaru fan but the two cars couldn't be further apart in my opinion. Subaru is bomb proof as far as reliability goes. My wife drives a 2000 Outback Sport and other than maintenance stuff it's never had an issue.....other than it sounding like you sitting in a tin can with the rattles....and countless trim pieces falling off.

    If I was buying new I would prefer the Audi but buying used out of warranty no question I would take the rattle box subie knowing that getting a lemon Subie is going to cost a lot less than a lemon Audi.
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  7. #7
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    I was in the same situation 2 years ago with regard to car choices. At the time I had a really good friend working at a local Audi dealer and he was very helpful in steering me the right way. I gave up on the idea of an AllRoad based on reliability info, and the fact that I would have been paying $40k for a used out of warranty car. Then I was all about the A6 Avant. In one afternoons time I test drove an '03 A6 Avant back to back with an '03 VW Passat Wagon and was surprised by how nearly identical the cars were.

    Based on purchase cost, projected maintenance costs, and reliability info from both my Audi buddy and consumer reports, I ended up with the Passat. I could easily fit two bikes in the back with seats folded down. The car is certified pre-owned, but had been a very reliable car in the two years I've owned it. It's the V6 4Motion model. It's a good alternative.

    Good luck.

  8. #8
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    From what ive read..

    when i was looking to replace my 4runner is that the reliability issue was improved in the 04 model year. i ended up with a subaru tribeca instead.

  9. #9
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    If you're shopping Allroad, there's one thing to steer as far away from as possible the 2.7 twin turbo motor. Do a little research into the replacement costs of them babies - I had a friend with one blown turbo out of warranty and he was quoted $5700 to replace each one. Search the web, there are lots of unhappy 2.7t people out there. Then there's the issue of parts - Audi parts aren't cheap and last I checked they all come from Germany. I've also read about the price of fixing the air suspension if it craps out - yikes!

    My brothers neighbor has the A6 and he was telling some pretty shocking stories about how much little things like windshield washer nozzles, control buttons and so on cost - it kept me from buying an Allroad I was drooling over. And because they have to be ordered from Germany, lots of times something simple would take weeks to get here, amazing in the world of the internet and fedex. Maybe he just had a crappy dealer, but Audi's quality ratings haven't exactly been anything to brag about.

    The 4.2 v8 seems to be a more reliable motor in the Allroad, but you still have the parts issue.

    VW's are built on the same chassis' as the Audi's, yet they sell many times more VW's around the world so parts seem to be a lot cheaper. Plus they have more factories, making parts available from somewhere other than Germany, like Mexico.

    I would never buy a used Audi because of part costs alone, others have mentioned Subaru's, I'd buy one in a heartbeat over an Audi, there's a Sub factory in the US and there are tons of them floating around so parts aren't hard to find and if you need something strange - like a door handle - chances are there's a totaled car in a wrecking yard so you don't get bent over in the dealer.

    Just my .02.
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  10. #10
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    Thanks for all the info. Between the info here and the info I have found elsewhere....I'm pretty much scared of a used Allroad. Biggest issues I have read are the auto transmission and the air suspension parts (airbags and air pumps). I'd have no problem if the car were well within the factory warranty, but this is an 8-year-old Audi well outside of warranty. Even an extended warranty wouldn't cover some of these unique/expensive parts. No thanks.

    This weekend I'm taking a look at a '04 Passat GLX wagon (V6 FWD automatic). They seem to fit my needs pretty well. Lots of room for bikes/gear, nice amenities, and somewhat fun to drive. The only thing that is a turn off is no factory Sirius hookup available until 05 or 06.
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  11. #11
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    Pick up a consumer reports car edition and it pretty much breaks down what is likely to go wrong with specific manufacturers, cars, specific areas of the cars. Consumer reports has pretty much lead me to believe that pretty much all euro cars are junk reliability wise.

  12. #12
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    Don't Do It!

    I owned a 2001 Audi Allroad and it was - by far - the most unreliable car I've EVER owned. Out of the 6 months I had the car it was in the shop at least half the time.

    First of all, the 2.8 Turbo engine is freakish in traffic. The turbo lag is just unbelievable and will give you white knuckles as you will never be able to predict when it will spin to give you boost. Blech!

    To be specific, here are just a few of the many issues I had:
    - Auxiliary fan replacement
    - A/C compressor replacement
    - Driver's side power window motor replacement
    - Turbo intercooler
    - *** Suspension air compressor replacement
    - *** Suspension air bag replacement

    *** These last two items are were the nail in the coffin for me. The allroad's have airbags that inflate/deflate to raise/lower the suspension of the car. These airbags develop leaks over time and require replacement - a VERY expensive job that will run you ~ $2500 (for both the front and back). The real problem is that since the airbags slowly loose their seal which causes the air compressor located in the rear of the car to go off constantly to keep them inflated which, in turn, causes the compressor to burn out.

    Look, I'm just trying to save all of you the hell I went through with this POS car. If you do buy one, make sure it has a full bumper to bumper warranty that covers all of the items listed above.

  13. #13
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    To answer the OP's original question. the A6 Avant is a reliable car (3.0 Quattro), you could fit two bikes inside, but not upright.

    There is a huge difference between the VW 4 motion and Audi Quattro systems. Parts are more expensive, but there is no comparison between the two vehicles. I was actually in the same boat a little over a year ago only I was looking for a Passat Wagon, after driving the A6 I bought one.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for all the info. This weekend I picked up a low mileage '04 Passat GLX V6 wagon (FWD auto). The car is fully loaded and even has OnStar (factory option for only a year or so). I couldn't be happier with my decision. Makes for a great daily driver and will work perfectly splitting bike transport duty with my wife's Rabbit.

    Here are a couple shots. I'll post up more once I get the bike mount system going inside the car:


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  15. #15
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    Nice!

    Have you figured out how to drive it lightly enough to get good mileage? What kind of real world mileage do you get out of it.

    I'm thinking of the same move, but with a stick. I'm a little afraid of the 1.8t motor, but don't wanna use a ton of gas either.

  16. #16
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    Nice, enjoy the new car!
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot
    Have you figured out how to drive it lightly enough to get good mileage? What kind of real world mileage do you get out of it.

    I'm thinking of the same move, but with a stick. I'm a little afraid of the 1.8t motor, but don't wanna use a ton of gas either.
    It is rated at 20city/28hwy for the autotragic V6. Seems to be doing okay so far...but honestly I haven't gone through an entire tank of gas just yet.

    I stayed away from the 1.8t because of the infamous sludging issues and the necessity for premium gas. The factory manual recommends premium for the V6 but also states it can take the cheap stuff.
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  18. #18
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    check out the Volvo V70

  19. #19
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    Yeah, thinking that too

    Quote Originally Posted by A1an
    It is rated at 20city/28hwy for the autotragic V6. Seems to be doing okay so far...but honestly I haven't gone through an entire tank of gas just yet.

    I stayed away from the 1.8t because of the infamous sludging issues and the necessity for premium gas. The factory manual recommends premium for the V6 but also states it can take the cheap stuff.
    If I buy the 1.8t, I will only do so if the seller has reeeaaally good records and doesn't drive all lead-footed like Francois. The sludge issue is mostly from people using regular motor oil, and not synthetic... or changing it on time. I'll probably end up with a Jetta Wagon, or go super tiny with a Honda Fit. I was also looking at Volvo, but stick Volvos are super rare in this country.

    The thing is, it is really hard to find a non-crappy wagon with a stick in any other brand.

  20. #20
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    I liked my 02 2.7 Allroad a lot. I just sold it for 15k with 80k miles. No major problems but a few small ones. I remember the previous owner having one bike upright inside with the seatpost out. I think you'd have to ride a small frame without many spacers under the stem to fit it upright.
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  21. #21
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    I have a 2001 allroad and love it. No complaints at all. Lots of features and power.

  22. #22
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    Finally got around to test fitting the bikes last weekend. The Giant fits upright with the seat post and front wheel removed. Unfortunately my XL framed Monocog 29'er will fit upright but I can't get the front end up far enough to secure the fork to a holder. It fits laying down just fine, however that may make things a bit difficult when I want to take the wife's bike as well.

    The kicker here is I actually took the time to measure the interior dimensions of this wagon to make sure my 29er would fit before I signed the purchase order. Guess I should have actually taken my bike for a trial fit.
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  23. #23
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    I would recommend a Subaru Outback/Legacy/Forester over an Audi wagon. The Audi's are nice and they do drive well but out of warranty they are very expensive to fix and are notorious for electrical and A/C problems.

    As for bikes inside the car? I dislike removing the front wheel and refuse to remove the seat post. My next bike hauler will most likely be a Dodge (Mercedes) Sprinter.
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  24. #24
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    A lot of German cars are great to drive but really expensive to own. Reliability is not great and costs for repairs are very high. Want a German car, lease it, but don't buy. If you want to buy, go Japanese... unless Trek starts making cars...

  25. #25
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    I have 100,000 miles on my C-Class and it rides like it is new. I am still a fan of German engineering - although I also own a Japanese SUV I use for bike-related stuff.
    Simple | Proven | Reliable

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  26. #26
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    I had a Volvo V50 for a rental car last month ... it was the most pleasant car I've ever driven. I had a VW Golf the week after, and it was nasty, when compared to the V50. If the V70 is similar to the V50, then it should be amazing.

    I've heard the V50 is based on the Focus platform, so am now trying to get a focus wagon rental car.

  27. #27
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    That Volvo (and the Mazda 3) is based off the European Focus platform, not the US Focus platform. Driving a US Focus will most likely remind you of driving an early 90's Escort.

    The new MKV Rabbit/GTI is a perfect example of fine German engineering. Not one single issue with my wife's '07 Rabbit and the build quality far exceeds not only other vehicles in its class, but even some of the lower end US/Japanese luxury cars. It is a HUGE difference over the previous Golfs.
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  28. #28
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    That's a shame the US Focus isnt on the same platform, as the next rental car I expect to get will be in the US in June. I see european focus' in the UK, and they do look quite similar to the V50. I didnt realise the Mazda 3 was on that platform too.

    I'd like to try a higher spec Golf/Rabbit, as the TDI I rented wasnt as luxurious as the V50 (1.8 model, so entry level V50 in Sweden I think). Nicer seats would be good, and also bigger controls for the stereo/fans etc. A GTi would be great, but with gas costing what it does these days, I don't think I would want to be paying to fill it up each week.

  29. #29
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    Gas prices are getting out-of-control. I think my next car will be a hybrid.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by stillkeen
    That's a shame the US Focus isnt on the same platform, as the next rental car I expect to get will be in the US in June. I see european focus' in the UK, and they do look quite similar to the V50. I didnt realise the Mazda 3 was on that platform too.

    I'd like to try a higher spec Golf/Rabbit, as the TDI I rented wasnt as luxurious as the V50 (1.8 model, so entry level V50 in Sweden I think). Nicer seats would be good, and also bigger controls for the stereo/fans etc. A GTi would be great, but with gas costing what it does these days, I don't think I would want to be paying to fill it up each week.
    Funny thing is the GTI gets marginally better gas mileage than the Rabbit's 2.5l 5-cylinder. Big difference is the Rabbit runs on 87 octane and the GTI really needs to be run on premium.

    Unfortunately it doesn't look like the Rabbit will be getting the VW's new diesel motor. The new Jetta wagon will eventually get the diesel motor though. We saw a Jetta wagon test mule in Tampa about 8 months ago (VW/Audi test quite a few of their pre-production vehicles in my area for some reason)...this is one dead sexy wagon in my opinion. I may ditch my Passat for one of these in another 2-3 years.
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  31. #31
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    I was looking for an allroad, but ended up finding a deal on an '06 BMW 530Ti wagon for under $40k. I'm not sure what your budget is and how new of an allroad you're looking for, but I love the new ride. Very comfortable, plenty of power, it passes everyone on the way to the slopes, and is just a really nice car. Got mine on ebay with 17k mi on it and the warranty is good until 2010.

  32. #32
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    I had an allroad Twin Turbo for a while (about a year), but I always had troubles with the turbos, maybe because I performance tuned it. The car was awesome, the power amazing and the offroad ability second to none... (well maybe the Hummer). I used to tow my ATVs out and the car pulled right along any other SUV or Truck with 2 ATV's attached to a long trailer offroad. I even pulled an S10 once out of the mud.

    The thing is though that everytime you need something its $500+. I am currently looking into getting a 2 or 3 year old Lease return Volvo XC (Cross Country). The seats are by far one of the most comfortable you have ever sat in in a car. It's not as powerfull as the Audi but it is the 2nd choice and I know there woun't be any repairs for years to come.

    I also still have a 98 Ford Taurus SE StationWagon and other than oil, gas and washer fluid there has never been a repair or major service on it (well rear shocks wore out and they were replaced for $22). I had it since 1998 and at 110k miles it still doesn't want to break.

    The Ford Taurus is by far the most reliable car we ever had since I got married. And the only consistent car that is still around. It outlived a Chrysler Sebring Conv., Mustang, Allroad, C5 Corvette and currently drives better than my 04 Dodge Caravan. If I had to recommend a car it had to be the Ford Taurus, so judging that Volvo is from around the same family it should do well as well.

  33. #33
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    I put 100k on my '05' Allroad's odometer in a year and a half with zero problems. I even had the GIAC chip and took the wagen to 150 quite often. It was probably the most perfect car I owned, and the seller's remorse was worse than kickin' a beer habit. If gas mileage were no concern, I would've found another with the 4.2 motor.

    BTW, there is no turbo lag with the 2.7T. The lag is in the tip tranny and can be cured with a "tip chip." And, speaking of the turbos, they need proper warmup and a minute or two of cool down after being pushed. If you're in the market for an AR, get a '03+.
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vader
    I put 100k on my '05' Allroad's odometer in a year and a half with zero problems. I even had the GIAC chip and took the wagen to 150 quite often. It was probably the most perfect car I owned, and the seller's remorse was worse than kickin' a beer habit. If gas mileage were no concern, I would've found another with the 4.2 motor.

    BTW, there is no turbo lag with the 2.7T. The lag is in the tip tranny and can be cured with a "tip chip." And, speaking of the turbos, they need proper warmup and a minute or two of cool down after being pushed. If you're in the market for an AR, get a '03+.

    the 4.2's are a solid motor right? (reassure me plz) i have an 01 a6 quattro w/triptronic, i've had it 5 months so far and due to a lot of the stuff i've read i'm thinking about just taking a loss on it and trading it in for something else

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by slo65
    the 4.2's are a solid motor right? (reassure me plz) i have an 01 a6 quattro w/triptronic, i've had it 5 months so far and due to a lot of the stuff i've read i'm thinking about just taking a loss on it and trading it in for something else
    Why even think about getting rid of it if you aren't having any problems? Keep up on the maintenance and enjoy the ride.

    One thing you must get over is people come on the Internet to ***** and moan about everything. It is almost as if complaining on the Internet some of these assjack's pleasure. For every person that comes to rant about a bad coil pack on their Audi there are probably hundreds more that have TONS of miles on their Audi with no issues. It is human nature to spread negative opinions. If Audi/Volkswagen is as bad as we all read on the Internet they would have been belly up YEARS ago. Just my .02
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