Strong engines and a comfortable, rather than sporty, ride. Only some wind noise and the gruff 1.8T engine might disturb the peace
Pedals are set too far to the right, but there's great visibility in all directions
Six airbags and stability control are standard, or pay extra for more high-tech safety warning systems
Audi didn't cover itself in glory in our last reliability survey, so don't fall out with your local garage
One of the best cars of its type for four and their booty, but it's a shame the rear seats don't fold completely
SE trim has plenty as standard, from parking sensors to automatic lights and wipers. Sporty S line versions will suit the girl racer in you
The A4 Avant is best described as solid on the road. The diesel engines are most popular, and the 134bhp 2.0-litre is the best of the bunch. It's powerful enough for the job and makes the financial sense, too.
The downside about the driving experience is that solid is also the best word to describe the ride quality. It's too bumpy for poor road surfaces, especially if you go for the higher trim levels, such as S Line.
It's certainly not an exhilarating drive, but the handling is composed and it's a smooth experience all round.
The Avant has a great sized and shaped boot, so it's a better load-lugger than most estate cars in its class. It should prove to be popular with rear passengers as well, with plenty of head and legroom - even for taller adults.
Up front, visibility is impressive, and there's plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustment. Comfort is slightly compromised by the pedal positioning, as they're set slightly too far to the right. The dash is a bit higgledy-piggledy, but most of the controls are easy to use.
There's no need to head high up the model range, either; basic SE trim comes with alloys, climate control, cruise control, Bluetooth, rear parking sensors and automatic lights and wipers.
The A4 was rated 'below average' for mechanical reliability in the most recent JD Power ownership satisfaction survey.
Safety is much more impressive, though. The standard kit list brings the expected six airbags and stability control, and lane-departure and blind-spot warning systems are both available on the options list. When tested by Euro NCAP, the A4 was awarded 93% for adult safety and 84% for child protection.
The BMW 3 Series Touring is a better car, but the A4 is cheaper to buy, which might sway you. Choose the right engine (the 134bhp 2.0 diesel) and the Audi will reward you with very low running costs.