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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For The Audi's top-drawer cabin delivers benchmark levels of quality and comfort

Against The A4 Avant is more about looking good than carrying any serious loads

Verdict The A4's rivals may drive more sharply, but none are as classy as this

Go for… 2.0 TDI SE

Avoid…

Audi A4 Avant
  • 1. The boot isn't huge, but dropping the rear seats to free extra space is easy
  • 2. Faults with the cooling system and electrics top the list of troubles exposed by the What Car? Reliability Index
  • 3. Multitronic transmission systems can play up – you should worry if gearchanges aren't smooth
  • 4. 1.8T engines had a history of ignition coil problems, so check these have been sorted on any possible buy
  • 5. Rear space is good, and you can - just - fit three across the rear seat
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Audi A4 Avant full review with expert trade views

In the cabin, everything you see and touch looks great and feels rock-solid. Drivers have plenty of space and the seat and wheel fine-tune perfectly for fit.

Rear space is good, too, though sitting three adults abreast is tight. The boot isn't huge, but dropping the rear chairs to free extra space is neat and easy.

The A4 handles tidily, although the steering feels numb, while the manual gearbox is smooth and well weighted. Auto gearboxes are first-rate.

The ride is supple, although the suspension can't smother the nastiest road scars. It's worse still with the optional alloys and ultra-shallow tyres, which look sharp but transmit every bump to the cabin. The Avant is hushed at speed, with wind and road roar kept to a minimum, although the engines, particularly the diesels, are audible.

A four-star occupant safety rating from Euro NCAP is acceptable but not class-leading. However, just one star for pedestrian protection is poor.

Trade view

John Owen

Better choice than a 3 Series or a C-Class. Plenty of diesel sparkle here.

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

The smallest motor is a 100bhp 1.6 petrol, which is feeble for such a heavy car, while the biggest is a 3.2 V6 screamer with 243bhp.

In between live the best real-world choices: a 129bhp 2.0 and a 160bhp turbocharged 1.8. Diesels range from a 1.9 to a 3.0 V6 and, of these, the 140bhp 2.0 is the pick and our favourite for the car. It's smooth and packs plenty of low-rev punch.

The manual gearboxes change smoothly and precisely, while the autos are among the best anywhere. There's a broad choice of models with Audi's quattro 4x4 system.

Base-level trim brings a full safety specification and a fair few gadgets, but our preferred SE adds in luxuries such as climate control. S-line models provide the full sports/luxury treatment.

Franchised dealers have the pick of top-trim cars, but at punishing prices. The best value lies with independent dealers specialising in the marque.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Low likelihood of breakdown, but watch for cooling and heating problems

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct

Not if you're smart. Audi dealers charge a fortune for repairs, but visit an independent specialist and the hourly labour rate halves. It's worth paying extra for genuine Audi parts, though.

The car monitors its oil, coolant and brakes and tells you when a service is due. Expect up to 15,000 miles between visits.

Insurance groups vary from group 10 to 20, but most models fall into groups 12 or 14. Fuel economy is good: diesels promise 40mpg, although the 3.2 struggles to better 20mpg.

Trade view

John Owen

Better choice than a 3 Series or a C-Class. Plenty of diesel sparkle here.

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

Faults with the cooling system and electrics top the list of troubles exposed by the What Car? Reliability Index. Despite its quality image, Audi sits towards the bottom of the index's make-by-make ranking. That said, the A4's above-average ranking in JD Power surveys shows that owners generally like them.

You should worry if gearchanges on the Multitronic transmission are bumpy, as this system can play up, while air-con systems are vulnerable. The 1.8 turbo petrol has had a history of ignition coil failure, leading to poor starting and misfires. However, by now, most will have had replacements that, touch wood, are pretty reliable

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Low likelihood of breakdown, but watch for cooling and heating problems

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct
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