IN a motoring world now dominated by the demand for SUV models Audi's A4 allroad offers an impressive alternative.
It's a nice halfway house between an estate car and a regular SUV, and as such is a very appealing option.
Based on the A4 Avant, Audi's term for an estate car, the allroad has a slightly softer suspension to cope with driving over rougher terrain as well as a far more rugged appearance.
With plastic wheel arch extensions and thicker more rugged bumpers it looks all set to deal with any off-road work owners might throw at it. But the allroad's features are far from just cosmetic.
For this model has a ride height which is much higher than the standard A4 Avant - giving 34mm of ground clearance - as well as extra suspension travel to cope better when it leaves the highway.
And while a normal A4 offers a range of drive modes, like auto, comfort, dynamic and individual the allroad offers one more - off-road, which changes the engine and transmission control as well as the steering for when you need to get your tyres muddy.
And as a quattro model it comes with all-wheel-drive too, to ensure there is always plenty of grip.
Having said that it's not a car that pretends to be a full blow off-road vehicle capable of tackling boulders and deep mud but at the same time it's a good all-terrain car capable of doing as much off-road work as most people will ever submit their cars to.
And when it comes to normal road work the allroad is no slouch, having a top speed of 136 miles per hour and capable of hitting 62mph from rest in a very sporty 7.8 seconds.
At the same time this 190bhp diesel ensures the visits to your local fuel station are few and far between with an average fuel consumption of more than 57 miles per gallon.
Like the A4 Avant the allroad also ensures that you travel in style with a very upmarket interior, with leather upholstery, heated front seats and a mini iPad-like screen - for satellite navigation and the numerous on-board functions - set high on the dashboard.
Just like the Avant the allroad offers plenty of luggage space, with 505 litres available with the front seatbacks in position and 1,510 litres with them lowered. And the roller blind luggage cover is one of the best in the business for fuss free use.
With plenty of pulling power it's also ideal for towing too, and a towing load of 2,100kg braked can be hitched to it on an eight per cent gradient.
The higher stance and slightly softer suspension means there's a little bit of roll on corners but nothing too severe and the allroad certainly delivers when you put your right foot down, particularly in sport mode.
Leave in in normal and it skips quickly and smoothly through the first six gears ensuring fuel consumption is kept low while seventh comes in late and is more like an overdrive gear.