B-4 On the Road THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL Audi A4 Avant offers sport utility minus bulk If there is such a thing as a crystal ball at each auto manufacturer, each must be tuned to a different channel. Some seem to think sport utility vehicles will continue to be the hot vehicle. Others are looking to move back to four-door sedans, while some are following the thinking that trucks are the way to go. There are a few unusual thinkers out there - most seem to be headquartered overseas which think niche marketing is the wave of the future. With the proliferation of sport utility vehicles and the possible change back to family sedans, some manufacturers believe that sport wagons just may be the place to be in the next few years. One European manufacturer is enjoying incredible success following a dismal track record in the late '80s and early '90s. This wasn't entirely Audi's fault; it had more than its fair share of questionable help from the mainstream press. But, that is all in the past. In fact, ask about that past situation and most Audi people politely say they've put it behind them and simply choose not to talk about it. "It is past history" is the most common statement. I must take my hat off to the Audi folks. It has been a long hard climb from the cellar. One of the great features of the Audi camp is its Quattro all- wheel-drive system. This extremely capable four-wheel- drive system is so good it gets rave reviews from both sides of the pond. When Audi made the Quattro system a stand-alone option on its vehicles, the popularity of all models started to soar. Even Audi was taken back by the overwhelming response buyers made toward the Quattro system following this move. Audi's Quattro system seemed to singlehandedly change the way car owners viewed four- Oldest, youngest drivers drive up traffic deaths Associated Press ARLINGTON, Va. — The oldest and youngest drivers are helping cause an increase in U.S. traffic deaths after several years of decline, according to a report by the American Traffic Safety Services Association. There were 41,907 traffic fatalities in 1996, the most recent year available. It was the second straight year the numbers have risen and represents a 7 percent increase over the 39,250 deaths reported six years ago. The association says elderly and teenage drivers traditionally i have had higher accident rates than other motorists and now are hitting the roads in record numbers. It says the number of drivers 65 and over has increased 47 percent since 1985 and that they are 17 times more likely to die in a crash per mile driven than other drivers. ON THE ROAD By RON MOORHEAD wheel-drive systems. No longer were they strictly for the macho off-roader who installed huge, mud-gripping tires and raised the vehicle up so high you needed a stepladder to get in. The Quattro system proved that all-wheel- drive was just as practical to have on a family sedan. The new A4 Avant also takes advantage of the popularity of the new A4 lineup of sedans. Utilizing engines, transmissions and the same platform, this Avant establishes itself as a refined, well-balanced vehicle, which just happens to have a large fanny pack. Powering the A4 Avant is the same 2.8 liter V-6 that has made such a commotion in the A4 sedan. This 5-valve per cylinder engine delivers 190 fun horsepower. While the Avant carries around a tad bit more weight (just over 100 pounds) than the sedan, the 2.8 V-6 proves up to the task of making driving a wagon unlike driving a wagon. Coupling the 2.8 liter engine with either the five-speed manual or the Tiptronic 5-speed automatic, this engine helps make the Avant more fun than a family can handle. My test A4 was equipped with the Tiptronic transmission, which allows the driver to select fully automatic mode or for 1998 Audi A4 Avant adventure select the manual mode. With just a slap of the gear shift lever, I could move up and down through the gearing with ease. Unlike auto stick-shifts of old, the Tiptronic system shifts immediately, following a slap of the shifter. That is unless circumstances would over-rev the engine or damage the transmission. If this situation stands the chance of occurring, the transmission's computer holds the system as is until it is deemed appropriate for the shift to occur. The sport package consists of firmer shock and spring settings, nearly I-inch lower ride height, larger stabilizer bar and 16-inch performance tires mounted on cast alloy wheels. Just so you don't forget you have that suspension system, Audi adds a three-spoke leather covered sport steering wheel to the mix. One must, however, keep in riind that the A4 Avant is a small car. While you can carry a great ceal of stuff, this isn't a large car. With the driver's seat set to my 1 king, no one could slide into the r;ar seat. Moving the driver's seat forward to sufficiently accommodate adequate leg room for the rear seat, made for an uncomfortable drive. I would have been hard- pressed to drive for any distance. That was a minor annoyance, because I thoroughly enjoyed flaying with this new Audi. With the introduction of the A4 Avant, Audi has added a v/hole new prospective to its 1 neup and the automotive marketplace. This class of vehicle nay just be the next favorite Find the pet for you in Journal Classifieds II among those who do not want a big and bulky sport utility vehicle. The Avant is full of sport and is, without a doubt, a utility vehicle. Fortunately, it comes minus the big and bulky part. TECHNICAL INSPECTION Power Train: Front engine/transmission, all wheel drive Engine: DOHC V-6 Displacement: 2.8 liter Max. Power: 190 hp @ 6,000 rpm Max. Torque: 207 ft. Ibs. @ 3,200 rpm Transmission: 5-speed automatic, Tiptronic Final Drive: 3.29:1 Suspension: Front; Independent, 4-link, upper/lower control arms Rear: Independent, upper/lower control arm Brakes: Power Assisted, ABS Front: 10.9 Inch ventilated disc Rear: 9.6 Inch solid disc Steering: Rack and Pinion, power assisted Tires: 205/55R16 Wheelbase: 102.6 Inches : Length: 176.7 Inches Weight: 3,553 Lbs. Fuel Capacity: 15.6 Gal. EPA Ratings: City: 17 mpg Highway: 27 mpg Our Average: 20.3 mpg Base Price: $31,040 ; Price as Tested: $35,725 Includes $500 Destination charge : Find cars, trucks, motorcycles, RV's & more in On The Road - Fridays in the THE HONOR WRREHOU5E BRAND NEW 98 ISUZU'S Rodeo Hombre ^17,995 .10,995 x, lic.+doc. fees. #322038 plus tax, lic.+doc. fees. #652760 MJEISTDO LAKE HONJDA/ISUZU HONDA. 1011 Ttlmagt Kfon tram WtMUrt, • , 4«8-U1Sw(800) 2874727 INCOME TAX FORM Not Niles Nissan DELIVERS! INCLUDES: Air Conditioning, alloy wheels, AM/FM cassette, bedliner, Payload package, rear seat, gauge package, rear anti- lock brakes, power steering, 3 year 50,000 mile warranty and even a full tank of fuel on delivery! 15)995 SALE pR[CE -1 000 INSTANT REBATE ID#TM05120 * Upon approval of credit. Price + tax, license, & $45°° doc. fee. KEN FOWLER AUTO CENTER PONTIAC t CADILLAC • BUICK • CMC TRUCKS • MAZDA • SUBARU 2150 N. 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