Kelley Blue Book ® - 2003 Audi allroad Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2003 Audi allroad Overview

Body
Impressive at Any Angle

The crossover SUV's time has come. It began with the Volvo Cross Country followed quickly by Audi's allroad. Now, just about every high-end manufacturer has a crossover on the showroom floor or on its way. A crossover is a vehicle that has the additional ground clearance and all-wheel drive power of an SUV but offers the ride, comfort and safety afforded by a unit body car. Audi's allroad (yes, it is spelled in all lower case letters) is a fine example of how a crossover should be built. If you need the foul-weather abilities of an SUV, but don't want to drive something that looks like its ready to serve double-duty on the battlefield, the allroad is a tasteful alternative worthy of your time and hard-earned money.

What Audi has done with the allroad is really quite an accomplishment. Based on the A6 platform, the allroad provides a spacious passenger cabin—there is room for seven—with a sizeable cargo area, all wrapped in a muscular yet civilized outer shell. The taut Germanic lines of the A6's sheet metal have been emphasized even more on the allroad, punctuated by its heavy-duty black bumpers, aluminum trim and flared wheel arches. All of these changes are more than just cosmetic; they maintain an active role in allowing the allroad to perform the way it does. From its beefed up suspension to its Torsen Quattro all-wheel-drive system, there is little about the allroad that can be called commonplace.

Take for example the suspension. Where most SUVs have a set ride height, the allroad employs an onboard compressor and sophisticated air suspension that can move the vehicle to four, pre-programmed levels. At its lowest setting, the allroad maintains a ride height of 5.6 inches, a very car-like setting which allows for aggressive driving and the smoothest ride; levels two and three raise the allroad to 6.6 and 7.6 inches respectively and are well suited for driving on paved freeways up to 75 mph or rural dirt roads under 50 mph. At its highest setting, level four, the allroad's ground clearance raises to 8.2 inches. The real beauty of the system is that, unlike a standard SUV, the allroad will only ride at its highest setting when speeds remain below 22 mph. Any faster and the onboard computer will lower the car to avoid the risk of rolling over at higher speeds. Audi even hired two of the world's best tire makers, Pirelli and Goodyear, to design a special 17-inch tire that allows the allroad to perform like a sports sedan without hampering its tenacious off-road abilities.

Audi has equipped the allroad with one of its most impressive engines; the twin-turbo charged 2.7-liter V6. This engine is terrifically capable, with impressive low-end torque and near-silent operation. Rated at 250 horsepower, the 2.7 is more than sufficient to meet the allroad's needs, and may even qualify as overkill. Then again, considering you can get the allroad with a 6-speed manual gearbox, maybe 250 horsepower is just right. Audi also offers its legendary Tiptronic automatic, for those of you who enjoy the thrill of shifting your own gears, but would rather not work a clutch pedal.

After learning about all the allroad can do off road, you might expect such a vehicle to have a somewhat utilitarian interior, but not in the case of the allroad. We've said it before and we're happy to repeat it: Audi vehicles have some of the nicest interiors ever placed on four wheels, and the allroad is no exception. Open the door and the smell of the optional leather seating immediately overwhelms you. Your eyes feast on the rich textures and colors, the handsome dash and the theatre-style lighting that seems to fill every nook of the car's interior and then slowly fade to black. The seats in the allroad have the look of high-end furniture and they are simply marvelous to rest upon. Not only do the front seats adjust multiple ways, they even offer a power lumbar support that can be moved up and down to better fit your back. There is a fold-flush third-row seat that expands seating to seven persons and side-curtain airbag protection for the front and center-seat passengers. At night, you'll appreciate Audi's attention to detail as all the switchgear—even the rotary vent controls—is backlit in a vivid red light.

And since you will be putting down $40K plus for the allroad, Audi has loaded it with every conceivable convenience known to the automotive world. Standard equipment includes power windows, power door locks, dual-zone climate control, illuminated entry, ABS, traction control, fog lights, dual heated side-view mirrors, AM/FM cassette with 6-disc in-dash CD changer, skid plate protection, cruise control, tilt/telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel, trip computer, 17-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels and 12-way power-adjustable seats. The option list includes onboard navigation, power moonroof, heated front and rear seats, a Bose audio system and a Premium package that includes leather seating, Xenon headlamps, side-window sunshade protection, driver's seat memory, auto-dimming inside and outside mirrors and a heated steering wheel.

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