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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For It's phenominally well built, and it'll go on forever if you take good care of it

Against There's less room in the boot than you might think, and 90bhp diesels are a bit sluggish

Verdict It's a relaxed, reliable, capable estate with a certain air of sophistication

Go for… 1.9 diesel SE

Avoid… 1.6 petrol

Audi A4 Avant
  • 1. This may be an estate, but boot space is not enormous, so check there's enough for you
  • 2. Brakes and suspension can be the weak areas, so take a decent test drive
  • 3. The cabin is built like a bank vault, so even high-milers should be free from rattles and squeaks
  • 4. Pick the 1.9 TDI SE - preferably the 110 or 115bhp version
  • 5. Space in the back for passengers is meagre
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Audi A4 Avant full review with expert trade views

The cabin is built like a bank vault, so even high-milers should be free from rattles and squeaks. Like the saloon, this A4 Avant kick-started Audi’s renaissance as interior design masters. The materials are classy and the styling is measured, understated cool.

Space in the back is meagre, but at least the ride is comfortable on most surfaces and you won’t hear much outside din as you’re whisked along at speed.

The engines are smooth and hushed until near the red line, but since most of them give strong mid-range shove, you don’t need to go there. Handling? It’s okay – the four-wheel-drive quattro models are better – but it’s no 3 Series Touring. The brakes can bite a bit too sharply, too.

Luggage space isn’t generous, but the Avant is more extended hatchback than estate, and the rear seats will fold so you can do the dump trip in one hit.

Trade view

Kurtis Williams

Well built and should go forever - diesels are the strongest choice

Kurtis Williams
Buyer,
Lex Vehicle Leasing

The 1.9 TDi turbodiesels came in two basic states of tune and it’s worth paying a little extra to get the higher-powered variants (110bhp or 115bhp). They have much more mid-range muscle than the 1.8-litre petrol and better fuel economy.

The 90bhp 1.9 TDI cars can feel lethargic at times and the 1.6-litre isn’t really worth bothering with. If you want more pull than our recommended model, there’s a meaty 1.8 turbo petrol and a range of V6s, some with six-speed gearboxes.

When it was new, the A4 Avant was well equipped, even in basic trim. However, it's woth tracking down an SE version, which brings extra luxuries, including climate control, and you may even find some models equipped with tasty options, such as leather seats.

The ideal car will be sold privately through the classifieds by a caring owner. They do exist, but watch out for the lemons. Alternatively, try a specialist independent trader.

Trade view

John Owen

Still well sought after - strong 110/115 diesels the only choice

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

First the bad news: if it goes wrong, it’s going cost you, according to data from Warranty Direct.

Now the good news: they rarely go wrong. So choose a good one – have it inspected professionally before you buy, and you shouldn’t have much to worry about.

Standard servicing costs are reasonable, and you can cut labour rates by as much as 40% by going to one of the many Audi/VW specialist garages rather than a franchised dealer.

Insurers shouldn’t fleece you either, provided you steer clear of the top-trim 2.8 and 3.0 V6s, which are in group 17. A basic 1.6 petrol car qualifies for group 10 and a well-equipped version of our favourite 1.9 TDI weighs in at group 13.

Our 1.9 will also be easy on the wallet when you fill up – its official average is over 50mpg. The 1.6 and 1.8 petrols should be good for mid-30s, the V6 2.5 TDi turbodiesel about 40mpg and the petrol V6s high 20s.

Trade view

Kurtis Williams

Well built and should go forever - diesels are the strongest choice

Kurtis Williams
Buyer,
Lex Vehicle Leasing

On older examples, condition starts to become more important than mileage.

With timely servicing and a bit of TLC, A4s will run and run and run. We know of people whose A4 Avants have breezed past 250,000 miles without a hitch. So pay close attention to service records, what kind of nick it’s in and what it’s been used for.

A cherished high-miler can be a real bargain, but you do need to be selective at the bottom end of the market. Some are being sold because an expensive repair is just a credit card statement away.

On newer cars, insist on a pukka service history and a car completely free from signs or abuse or misuse. Be patient: there are plenty of gems if you keep looking. Watch out for faults with the brakes and suspension, which can be the weak areas. Other than that, the A4 Avant is largely trouble-free.

Trade view

John Owen

Still well sought after - strong 110/115 diesels the only choice

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford
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