December 9, 2008

Now, Dad Isn't Saying The Audi A4 Avant Is A Chick Car...

Having a kid has contributed great depth and relevance to Dave Thomas's reviews for Cars.com. And by that I mean, of course, his regular investigations of his subjects' car seat performance.

The latest: the new Audi A4 Avant, which you may know from such blinding white LED headlights as the ones in your rearview mirror the other night.

I like the A4 alot [and A3, and died-too-young A2, for that matter], and every time I think a VW Golf would be plenty of car for us, I find myself thinking, "Well, then just get an Audi instead." But after watching Thomas shoehorn first himself, and then a convertible car seat into the tight quarters of the A4, I get the message.

2009 Audi A4 wagon/ Quick Drive [youtube via fightingthesuburbs]

15 Comments

Bet that Magnum is looking better now, huh?

it was looking great when I parked it. But then I came back out, and it was gone!

I don't know. I'm not convinced. What good is a chick car if it can't handle rear-facing car seats? I'd really like to see a RS4 Avant. Nothing cooler than having a family wagon beat the crap out of a BMW 550 on the autobahn!

See, I think you were right all those years ago; it's like a single chick car. I'm sorry I doubted you.

Meanwhile, I drive my mom's A6 sometimes, and the rear visibility is horrible. I'm sure I'll run over a kid with it, mine or someone else's.

I had an '06 A4 Avant, which I loved and drove for a couple of years before finally trading up to an A8L. The A8 isn't as much fun to drive, but I couldn't take the cramped rear quarters of the A4 anymore, and especially my daughter kicking the back of my seat. But I'm 6'4", and the rear-facing carseat fit fine in the middle of the back seat, without me having to move the front seat up too much. No visibility issues on the a8, though!

but can you still reach the kid--or more importantly, the fallen sippy cup or pacifier--without turning around?

A friend of ours bought a Volvo XC90 because "it's safe" -- but regularly TURNS AROUND WHILE DRIVING to fiddle with the kids.

Actually, that seems to be par for the course for XC90 drivers.

I think the solution to the A4 problem is to put the rearward-facing kid behind the passenger seat -- assuming the passenger isn't as tall as the driver. In most cases, problem solved.

It would be nice to go middle with all the XC90 drivers out there, but you're going to have to go side seats once you have two kids anyways.

You can do the seat behind the passenger seat but of course move it up quite a bit. I have the same issue with my outback but the seat, which is bigger than this, doesn't intrude as much in the center position either. The a4 is pretty small.

Good point about the reach - there's quite a bit of room back there and it can be a problem. But I can still reach the kid or a fallen sippy cup without turning around most of the time. It helps being 6'4", however. And depending on where it falls, some things have to wait until the next stop light.

I've never been much of a fan of the A6 (I get those as loaners when my car is in for service), and I don't much like the A6 Avant design, although that would solve the roominess issues of the A4. But the BMW 535xi wagon seems like the better choice in the mid-sized wagon category, and it's the one I plan to get when it comes time to replace the missus' car (not that it's a chick car, either!)

We have a 2005 A4 which is even smaller than the current one, and our kid's rear-facing seat fits fine behind the passenger seat. Of course, I'm 5'8" and my wife is 5'3'. The A4 isn't too small, some of you people are just too big.

That looks like a really small back seat, but also a really big car seat. And maybe the front seats push back farther than in most cars?

We've put our Roundabout rear-facing in lots of small rental cars with the driver's seat pushed all the way back, including the Prius, Matrix, Elantra and Dodge Caliber, and it's never protruded that far forward.

Bullshit. How tall is that guy? I have a (way smaller A3) and if I sit on the back seat I have nearly 10 cm to spare in front of my knees. Also the trunk is easily large enough to fit in all the regular baby stuff (joolz bloom, cot, etc blabla).

says he's 5'10.

after looking at Fits and stuff, I was a little surprised to see how un-flat the rear seats fold. Not that I'd be hauling bookcases or sheets of plywood with it anyway...

i did have the seat leaning back a bit as the driver and the passenger was about the same.

However, I had the same seat (smaller than a roundabout) in a Fit and it did not protrude that much either!

The cramped rear seats on the A4s and S4s are a glaring shortcoming to an otherwise great line of cars. Since you like Golfs,
You should look into a VW Passat wagon - awesome front, rear and cargo space, and your choice of turbo or v6 power. Far more reasonably priced too than the Audis.

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