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Audi A4 Avant vs. Audi A3 vs. Subaru Outback
Last post on Feb 09, 2008 at 10:55 PM
You are in the Audi A4
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Audi A4, Audi A3, Subaru Outback, Wagon
#1 of 42 AWD car needed: Audi A4 Avant vs. Audi A3 vs. Subaru Outback
Jul 08, 2006 (7:43 pm)
hope this is in the right place... couldn't find a spot for A4 Quattro Avant (just A6).
Looking at something big enough for two car seats in the back, but tired of looking like every other soccer mom in a giant SUV. Went the minivan route already... liked all the function but not the form.
I sat in an A3 today. I absolutely LOVE it!! but my husband can't justify the price for it in Quattro ($37K). He says for that money we should be looking at the A4 Avant Quattro. We also looked at the Subaru Outback which seems to be an amazing value especially as compared to the Audi's. I clearly prefer the Audi but at $10K more than the equivalent Subaru it is hard to process.
Could anyone offer some guidance?
Also looked at the BMW 3 series wagon, but it is so low to the ground it was difficult to get in and out of... also wasn't fond of the conveniently placed ashtray as compared to the cupholder in a spot that basically wouldn't allow its use (the cupholder is sort of an issue for me, particularly after driving Japanese cars for so long).
#2 of 42 Re: AWD car needed: Audi A4 Avant vs. Audi A3 vs. Subaru Outback [mamadadapaige]
Jul 09, 2006 (1:00 pm)
I've driven a couple A3s and a bunch of A4s. I felt that the A4 had much sharper handling, which is high on my list.
I'm assuming that you are looking for a car equipped with an auto trans. In this area the A3 has a technically superior transmission (formerly call 'DSG' but name changed to 'S-Tronic'). How well this transmission will stand up over time is yet to be determined.
If you are looking at the two liter engine, then it's a draw other than by virtue of being slightly lighter, the A3 will be a little quicker.
Both cars are capable of extremely wide variations on gas mileage. City driving during winter can result in less than 20 mpg. But on a recent trip (to the Mid-Ohio Driving School ), I managed to get better than 37 mpg 68 mph. Must have been a hell of a tail wind.
In Quattro versions, the A4 has a Torsen center differential, which has proven to be very reliable and trouble free. The Haldex system on the A3 Quattro is, in my opinion, a step down.
The current generation A4 seems to be exceptionally well made. Whether this will translate into a better long-term repair record remains to be seen. My current '06 A4 is approaching its first birthday and I have yet to have a single issue with the car... not a squeak or rattle. And did I mention the car handles great?
So my nod goes to the A4
But I can't help on the Outback. The only Subaru that I've driven is the WRX STI, which probably isn't the best kiddie hauler.
However, if you tend to drive your cars until the wheels fall off, the Subie would seem to be the safer choice. It's not that Subie wheels never fall off, but when they do, they probably cost less than Audi wheels to re-attach.
#3 of 42 Re: AWD car needed: Audi A4 Avant vs. Audi A3 vs. Subaru Outback [mamadadapaige]
Jul 09, 2006 (5:50 pm)
Years ago when I was looking for an AWD car, I liked the looks of the Audi A4 but didn't care for the lack of rear seat knee room. I ended up with a Subaru Legacy.
The current Subarus have fared very well in crash tests. (I didn't look at Audi's results, they may be equally good.) If you tire of the car, I think you'll find Subaru has better resale value.
Good luck with your decision.
The Subaru WRX also comes in a hatchback version. That would get you and the kids around quickly!
#4 of 42 Re: AWD car needed: Audi A4 Avant vs. Audi A3 vs. Subaru Outback [mamadadapaige]
Jul 09, 2006 (6:06 pm)
My nod goes to the A4. I own two A4's (2001 1.8T Frontrak and 2006 2.0T Avant). They are outstanding cars. Previously I did own a 1999 Subaru Outback, which was a fine car. Didn't drive it long enough to advise on the long term reliability. While Subaru's have an excellent reoutation, I had a friend with a late model Legacy Outback and the clutch failed early on and he had some other problems. My last issue of Car & Driver reviewed the zLegacy 2.5 Turbo after 40K miles and it had a ton of problems. I'm not so convinced the new ones are made to last like their reputation has it. Last, about the Subaru's, there is NO comparison on interior quality and how they feel and handle as compared to an Audi. It's not even comparable. Audi's are sports cars, and with the possible exception of the WRX's, no Subaru comes close.
I've not driven the A3, but I think they are too small for 2 kid seats and in my opinion, they are too closely priced to the A4's when optioned up. For mid $30's, go the A4 route. I'd go with the VW GTI for low $20's before I went for the A3. They are very close to being the same car underneath the surface (which I happen to like better on the GTI anyways).
#5 of 42 Re: AWD car needed: Audi A4 Avant vs. Audi A3 vs. Subaru Outback [jfl]
Jul 09, 2006 (6:31 pm)
"The current Subarus have fared very well in crash tests. (I didn't look at Audi's results, they may be equally good.) If you tire of the car, I think you'll find Subaru has better resale value."
Audis also have very good crash test ratings. The A3, A4, and A6 are all silver rated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Legacy and Impreza grab the gold.
As for resale value, I do know that my previous Audis have done better than I expected. But maybe my expectations were low .
Oh, another factor to consider is dealer support. A crummy dealership is a deal breaker for me. Mine's been extremely easy to work with. My present car was a factor (uh.. make that 'factory') order, verbal agreement, and no money down. Didn't hand over a cent until I picked up my car at the exact price previously agreed to. You can bet I'll be going back to that dealer. Just wish it was to pick up an RS4.
#6 of 42 I own both
Jul 09, 2006 (7:23 pm)
2000 Outback Limited, and 2006 A4 Avant.
The A4 is quieter, has incredible braking, gets better MPG, is quicker, and the Xenon headlights are to die for.
In NORMAL public street driving, there is no useful difference in handling. The Subie handles VERY good at the traction limit, even if it does lean alot. It's easier to take the Subie to that limit, than it is the A4 to it's higher limit. (We are talking racing speeds/g-forces here.)
The A4 has a better radio. The A4 has worse speakers. The A4 rides much more harshly. The A4's 'climate control' wants to do things IT's way, not YOUR way. The A4 seats belong in a Yugo.
I drive the A4 to work in summer, and the Subie in winter (with a set of wheels and Bridgestone Blizzak tires). I also drive the Subie to the store on the weekends. Every time I drive it, I say to myself "I LIKE this car!".
My Subaru dealer is great, and I trust them. My Audi dealer is the progeny of Satan, and I expect hell to erupt from their lot any time, now.
I don't think it was a wise expenditure of money to get the A4, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime splurge. I will NOT buy another Audi, but would buy another Subie today (and almost talked my spouse into getting one).
Do a VERY complete background check on your Audi dealer(s) before buying from them!!
#7 of 42 Re: AWD car needed: Audi A4 Avant vs. Audi A3 vs. Subaru Outback [mamadadapaige]
Jul 10, 2006 (7:40 am)
thanks for all the great responses...
just to confuse matters even more, we stopped by a Mercedes dealership yesterday and drove around a 2004 E320 4MATIC wagon... oh my, what a car... almost too much car for at this point in my life. if only I were 5 years older.
It only had 11,000 miles on it and looked brand new. It is really a little beyond our price range though. They are asking $43,000 -- haven't a clue of what they might be willing to come down to.
The experience got me thinking of the other cars though. It would be so nice to be in a plush car. I think the Subaru Outbook is the most practical choice, I am just having a hard time getting excited about it. These nicely appointed European cars certainly have a good feel to them!
#8 of 42 Re: AWD car needed: Audi A4 Avant vs. Audi A3 vs. Subaru Outback [mamadadapaige]
Jul 10, 2006 (9:49 am)
Ah... the new Subaru OutBook... would that be a journal about Subaru drivers coming out of the closet?
Sorry about that!
I believe that you probably meant 'Outback'.
Well of course you did.
Anyhow, do you live in an area that 'features' deep winter snow or do you plan to drive to such locations? If not, the Subaru Legacy wagon would provide better emergency handling by virtue of a lower center of gravity. Those extra few inches of Outback ground clearance come with a price in the handling department.
In closing, it looks to me as if you should try to go on a few more test drives before you do the deal.
Best of luck...
#9 of 42 Re: AWD car needed: Audi A4 Avant vs. Audi A3 vs. Subaru Outback [byronwalter]
Jul 10, 2006 (2:34 pm)
oops... yes, the outback. i was typing in a hurry.
yes, we get lots of snow in the winter. We are in New England. We have a ski house that we travel to on the weekends up North so I would like something that has AWD.
Incidentally, the reason I am looking for a new car is that my car (which was only 7 months old and was purchased new from the dealership) was stolen right out of my driveway while we slept. We live in one of the safest towns but still this happened... I am still a little shocked.
It is totally infuriating because I think we are going to take a huge hit on depreciation if the car is not recovered which at this point is unlikely as it has been a couple of weeks (the insurance company requires us to wait 30 days before calling it a total loss). At this point, I am sort of hoping they don't find my car even though it will be a great financial loss as I can only imagine what it looks like.
#10 of 42 Legacy experience
Jul 10, 2006 (2:42 pm)
I have a 2006 Legacy i-LTD wagon and my neighbor has an Audi A4 wagon. The profiles are very similar as are the interiors. I had a 95 Legacy wagon and it is still going strong, with the original battery and muffler and 200,00 km! I love driving the new one - and the sunroof is amazing. The highway mileage with some stop and go stuff is a true 31 mpg - on regular. It is very easy to like this car - and if you use it in the winter on snow it is truly amazing at getting through stuff that seems too deep for an SUV. I looked at the Outback, and it seemed like a Legacy dressed up as an SUV but fooling no one. I couldn't discern the difference in handling, but the higher road clearance costs money and affects handling negatively. The Audi has traction control and stability control. The Subaru doesn't and I never was in a situation where I needed either but some think those are deficits. The i-Ltd only comes as a 4-speed automatic with sport shift. Just to confuse things - have you looked at the new Passat wagon? It is the best looking of the lot and has many great features - but VW has not yet made reliability and repair expense into its strong points.