2013 Audi Allroad Quattro (Audi)

Bottom line: The Audi Allroad Quattro is likely to have limited appeal in a market that continues to regard big as better and that still regards “practical” as boring. But here’s betting that the wagon will be passionately embraced by those affluent buyers who are desperate for something that offers “practical” — small enough to fit, big enough to handle most household transport needs — with panache. Compare with BMW 328i xDrive and Volvo XC70.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Excellent marks in all three. “Excellent” here means exceptionally pleasing for drivers who usually obey posted speed limits and other traffic rules.

Head-turning quotient: The exterior is rich and stately, looks responsible. The interior is one of the best in the business in terms of materials used and ergonomic layout.

Body style/layout: It’s a front engine, all-wheel-drive, compact, four-door wagon with a rear hatch (power-operated hatch optional). It is largely based on the Audi A4 Avant wagon, which it replaces. The Audi Allroad is offered in three trim levels-2.0T Premium, 2.0T Premium Plus and 2.0T Prestige.

Engine/transmission: All Audi Allroad models come with a standard 2-liter, 16-valve, turbocharged and gasoline-direct injection, inline four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing (211 horsepower, 258 foot-pounds of torque). The engine is linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission that also can be shifted manually.

Capacities: Seats five people. With rear seats up, cargo capacity is 27.6 cubic feet. With rear seats folded, cargo capacity is 50.5 cubic feet. The fuel tank holds 16.1 gallons of gasoline. Premium grade is required.

Mileage: You don’t buy this one for maximum fuel economy. Our real-world mileage was 18 miles per gallon in the city and 23 miles per gallon on the highway.

Safety: Standard equipment includes four-wheel disc brakes (ventilated front/solid rear); four-wheel antilock brake protection; emergency braking assistance; electronic brake-force distribution; electronic stability and traction control; front side and head air bags. Optional safety equipment recommended by this column include backup camera and rear side air bags.

Price: All Audi Allroad Quattro prices were not firm at this writing. The base Premium Quattro starts at $39,600. The mid-level Premium Plus and top-level Prestige are more expensive. All options can be pricey, and Audi has lots of them. Add an $895 destination fee.