Versus the competiton:
My grandparents always drove nice, big, American cars. As they got older, I often helped by driving them around town. One of the features of their car was something the manufacturer called “dyna-ride.” That term lives on in the vocabulary of my family. We always say “this car has dyna-ride” when a car’s ride is cushy and smooth at any speed or any road condition. The Audi A6 is so smooth that it is like riding on a pad of butter, slightly reminiscent of “dyna-ride” but in a distinctly European, young, and hip sort of way. It is smooth as Buttah and my family’s vocabulary will never be the same.
From the moment I open the door to the Audi A6, I am in love. The doors are solid and close with a very satisfying whoosh and then click. I don’t have to fumble with the key to get in – when I approach the door it senses the fob and unlocks the door for me. Then a simple push of the engine-start button and the car starts. The “Advanced Key” never leaves my cute new summer handbag! This feature is so simple yet so convenient. The rain-sensing windshield wipers startle me at first, but I am thankful for them when we experience a typical late afternoon thunderstorm on the way home from baseball practice. The 12-way controls of the driver’s seat ensure that I have a comfortable driving position, and the automatic folding mirrors make going through the car wash a breeze. The underseat drawers for the driver and passenger (along with the usual center console) guarantee all the mommy gear I carry has a home – neatly tucked out of sight.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety names the Audi A6 as one of its Top Safety Picks for 2006. The A6 offers standard “Sideguard” head protection airbags for all occupants. Front impact and seat-mounted side-impact airbags for the front seat occupants and optional side-impact air bags for the rear passengers insure safety for all. A tire-pressure monitoring system is standard on this vehicle. Two buttons near the window controls lock each rear passenger window and engage the child safety door locks. That’s right, no opening the rear door to set the child-proof lock. Two other safety-related features that I appreciate are the back-up warning system and a first-aid kit provided in the rear armrest.
Now for the parade of creature comforts: there are heated seats in four of the five seating positions. The driver’s window controls allow me to auto-down and auto-up all four windows (come-on manufacturers, please make this a feature in every car!). Available integrated sun-shades for the rear side windows and an automatic one for the back window are incredibly useful. The visors flip down to reveal vanity mirrors that have a tab that slides to expose a magnifying mirror – now that is a cool chic feature! However, every time I look in it I’m reminded that I need some brow plucking.
The Audi A6’s Multi Media Interface (MMI) operates with touch or voice commands, and offers a navigation system, XM or Sirius satellite radio, and a six-disk CD changer. An integrated Bluetooth telephone feature is also available. Electronic speed warning is a standard feature that alerts me with audio and visual signals when I exceed a speed limit that I programmed into the MMI. For me, just having a little reminder makes me more conscious of my lead-foot. Another great way to take control, as I drive this speedy little number, is an optional feature on the Audi A6 called the Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). Set the speed of the vehicle and then, as I approach cars in traffic, the sensors in the front slow the vehicle down as I get closer to the cars in front of me, then accelerate back to the set speed as I move to an open lane.
Now, I would be remiss if I did not offer a few criticisms of the Audi A6: The rear seats ergonomically fit the body of a grown-up, but the same contours that make my husband comfortable in the backseat make fitting child booster seats there a bit awkward. My kids have to move their seats slightly before they sit down so that the seat belt receptor is available and not lodged under the booster. The rear seat cupholders pop out of folding armrest, seem flimsy, and would probably break with regular use by my children. Finally, the glove box has no handle to open it – there is yet another button on the dash that gives you access to this space. Unfortunately, without reading the manual (that conveniently resides inside the glove box) the international symbol for “glove box opener” is nearly impossible to decipher.
Every once in awhile I drive a car that I dread giving back at the end of the week, and the Audi A6 is one of them.
*For more information on the Audi A6 and its safety features visit Cars.com.
LET’S TALK NUMBERS
LATCH Connectors: 2
Seating Capacity (includes driver): 5
IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Groove-On