If you’re after a capable soft-roader but not quite ready to move up to a crossover or SUV, there are now several toughened-up vehicles on the market that are worth a close look at.

At the more affordable end of the market you have vehicles like the Subaru Outback and possibly a new VW Passat-based model, and if you’re after a little luxury you can opt for the Audi A4 Allroad or Volvo XC70.

Most of these vehicles fall into the mid-size or larger categories, but things are starting to change.

Subaru recently launched its new XV, and, according to Australia’s Drive, Audi is working on an ‘Allroad’ version of its latest A3 Sportback.

The new A3 range made its debut in Europe last year and is expected to arrive in U.S. showrooms later this year in A3 Sedan and possibly A3 Sportback bodystyles. The arrival of the latter would bode well for the local launch of the rumored A3 Allroad as well.

The A3 Allroad would likely be fitted with raised suspension, protective underbody cladding and standard quattro all-wheel drive, just like its existing Allroad brethren.

One major hurdle would be the competition such a vehicle could pose to the existing Audi Q3 crossover, which has been confirmed for the U.S.

Unfortunately, Audi is yet to confirm that an A3 Allroad is even in the works so it may all just be hype at this point.