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Review: 2002 AQudi Allroad Quattro

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SEE ALSO: Audi Buyer's Guide

By The Car Family
The Car Place


Rugged good looks, superior suspension, small turning radius, tremendous number of standard and safety features


Expensive, no protection from door dingers, major turbo lag, terrible gas mileage and requires premium fuel.

Think of all the possible goodies you can stuff into an automobile and you are probably going to end up with the Audi Allroad.

Don't believe us? Well try all wheel drive, a commodious rear cargo area, a four-position variable-height pneumatic suspension that can produce eight inches of ground clearance and provide load-leveling capabilities also. Stability is further enhanced by traction-seeking sensors that detect slippage and automatically adjust the drive wheels.

Want more goodies? Throw in a 250-horsepower, 2.7-liter DOHC V6 engine with five valves per cylinder and twin turbochargers to generate 258 foot-pounds of torque and either a six-speed manual transmission or an optional five-speed Tiptronic automatic, which allows the driver either to leave it in automatic mode or change gears manually.

But wait, there's more, especially in the safety area. Anti-lock brakes, front and side airbags, and drop-down side curtain airbags that stay inflated to protect against secondary impacts. In a collision, the fuel system cuts off, doors unlock, and the interior lights come on. If you decide to order the optional third-row bench seat, you get additional three-point safety belts and head restraints for the occupants. The 17-inch wheels sport special tires developed exclusively for the Allroad.

There are even more goodies as standard features when you order the $40,000 Allroad: Leather seats and steering wheel; power windows, door locks, and mirrors; cruise control; dual-zone climate control; an eight-speaker AM-FM/cassette stereo with CD player; power front seats; digital trip computer; front and rear skid plates, movable roof, and good looks are all part of the ownership package.

If you want to drive the price upward just check off the premium package. It provides memory front seats, electronically folding exterior mirrors and automatic dimming rear view and outside mirrors. There is also a convenience package that includes heated front and rear seats and steering wheel, and a HomeLink transmitter.

And, you can order the warm weather package that uses a solar sunroof to power interior cooling fans and sunshades to screen the rear windows.

There is also a GPS navigation system available.

One would be hard pressed to think of anything that the Audi Allroad does not offer and when you factor in its unique styling, balance between high performance vehicle, safe family transportation, and off-road agility, it's bound to leave a pleasant taste on your automotive pallet.

But the proof is in how well all these goodies fit together. The answer is that the Allroad is all right. Its best trait is its suspension and small turning radius that makes parking enjoyable. The downside is an engine that has a lot of turbo lag, especially in hot weather, and gas mileage that never was better then 17 mpg in mixed driving. And, the engine needs premium gas.

Mom's view This is a stunning car to drive and look upon. It has a tough guy stance with a wide track and testosterone pouring out of every body panel. Inside, the leather is nice, the controls are easy to master, and the ride is wonderful. I kept the car at its maximized height and was rewarded with a firmer ride, better visibility, and it was easier to slide into the seats. I liked the Allroad a great deal and found it comforting, considering the many safety features. Our test car did not have GPS and heated seats. I would order both.

Dad's view Okay, this is a nice car, but unless you use the auto manual shift the turbo lag is a burden. We tested the Allroad in hot weather and leaving it in automatic produced leisurely acceleration. Of course, with 4,200 pounds to tug around, the 2.7-liter engine had its pistons full even with the dual turbochargers.

Interestingly, the Allroad is rated with a towing capacity of 3,300 pounds. This is surprising, considering its sophisticated suspension with four-link independent struts, air suspension spring struts, tube gas shock absorbers and a double wishbone with a sub frame. The 17-inch rims and P225/55/R17 tires provide good utility in this multi-talented Audi.

The element I found most tedious was the SUV-like gas mileage. Even with the 18.5 gallon tank, I was hard pressed to get more then 300 miles before refueling, and the recommended fuel is premium. However, it could have just been me as the government rates the Audi Allroad at 15 mpg city and 21 highway. Regardless, I would have loved to have the V8 from Audi's S version cars instead of the 2.7.

Returning to graduate school woman's view What a looker. The Audi Allroad is a bodybuilder of a car with a gentle manner and it's a whole lot of fun to play with. It is a true pleasure to park this car in the most crowded parking places. Even the outside mirrors fold in to avoid being damaged in tight situations. At night, the 50 plus little red lights that illuminate every button are a bit much, but the Xenon headlights are truly superior.

The sunroof works fast and you don't have to be distracted because it opens with just a turn of a small handle. I really liked the door pocket storage areas that opened so you could easily retrieve objects. I can not tell you loudly enough how many features this Audi has on it that makes your travels more enjoyable. I just wish they would have put some protection down the bulging sides of the car to prevent damage from uncaring people who will open their car doors into your car's body..

Working and going to school teenage boy's view Okay, I want his car. Except, it only holds one CD at a time. Everything else is spiffy. The rear has a cargo cover you can hide your tokens of value under, the rear seats are fairly comfortable, the windows have one-touch features, and the car generates positive vibes from the assembled lassies. What more could a multi-purpose guy such as me want then a multi-purpose car?

Family conference There is a lot of competition in the $40,000-plus price range, including the Volvo Cross Country, the BMW 540i wagon, and the Mercedes E Class. New weaponry is scheduled to arrive shortly from other arms producers. However, there is clearly no vehicle that does as many things well as the Audi Allroad and looks so smart doing it. It is rewarding to know that Audi has the courage to push the electronic limits in a car meant to play in the dirt. The warranty is four years /50,000 miles. See a Quicktime movie of the Audi Allroad in action.