Audi A4 Avant

The Essentials

  • Price from £24,980
  • What Car? says: 3 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 65.7mpg
  • What is it? The Audi A4 Avant is a classy, useful estate car but its firm ride can limit its appeal

Great

  • The A4 Avant has a good-size boot and decent space for occupants
  • The cabin is generally quiet and the engines feel smooth
  • Buying and running costs are both competitive

Gripes

  • The ride is hard, and the offset pedals can make the driver uncomfortable
  • The dashboard is cluttered and not all of the materials feel as smart as you'd expect
  • The rear seats don't fold completely flat
  • Drive

    All cars feel lively and fairly responsive, but the ride is too firm

  • Inside

    The dash is fussy and the offset pedals create an awkward driving position

  • Safety

    Plenty of kit, though you'll have to pay extra for some of it

  • Reliability

    Okay but not much more

  • Space

    One of the roomiest estates of this size

  • Standard and extras

    Entry-level SE cars have all the kit you'll need

  • What's it like to drive?

    The A4 Avant is pretty good to drive: it feels both agile and stable, and while the steering is a bit light, it weights up at speed. The 134bhp 2.0 TDIe diesel version is both punchy and economical; the bigger diesels and the two petrols pile on more power but increase consumption too. The cabin is quiet on the whole, although there's a touch too much tyre noise. However, the real downsides to the A4 Avant are its hard ride - even apparently smooth surfaces send judders into the cabin - and the off-set pedal position that can play havoc with driver comfort.

  • What's it like inside?

    A first glance the Audi's cabin looks great, but on closer inspection some of the cabin materials aren't quite as special as you might expect. The layout of the dash is quite busy but the controls are actually quite logically arranged and Audi's central control system - which uses a main controller knob to access the car's various systems - is fairly intuitive to use. There's not as much headroom in the A4 as in some rivals but legroom is generous and the large boot is a usefully square. You can expand the luggage area by dropping the rear seats but bear in mind they don't go completely flat. Basic SE trim would be our pick: it comes with 17-inch alloys, three-zone climate-control, cruise control, Bluetooth, rear parking sensors, and automatic headlights and wipers. Other trims are available depending on which engine you choose; just bear in mind that S line cars, and other models with larger alloys, get a ride that brings the expression 'bone-shaker' to mind.

  • How reliable is it?

    Audi's reliability isn't always as good as buyers expect, and owners rated the A4 below average on this point in the 2012 JD Power customer satisfaction survey. As for safety, it comes with six airbags and stability control as standard, but you have to pay extra for rear side airbags. At least you can also opt for several systems to help prevent an accident in the first place, such as lane-departure and blind-spot alerts.

  • Should I buy one?

    Provided you find the driving position and firm ride acceptable, the A4 is a perfectly sound choice. It's spacious for occupants and their luggage, and it's a good place to put your money, too. The A4 is cheaper to buy than the BMW 3 Series Touring or Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate and, when you come to sell it on, you'll get back a relatively good proportion of what you paid for it. Most of the diesel engines are cheap to run, too.