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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For The A6 is blessed with a strong image and even stronger build quality

Against The ride is unsettled too easily for a car in this class, and the handling is stodgy, too

Verdict It's an immensely capable, reliable business or family car with a great load area

Go for… 2.5 V6 turbodiesel

Avoid… V8 versions

Audi A6 Avant
  • 1. The luggage area is bigger than a BMW 5 Series' but smaller than a Mercedes E-Class's
  • 2. Pay particular attention to the suspension - it's the area that gives most trouble
  • 3. Diesels are the easiest cars to find, especially 1.9TDI SE with an auto 'box
  • 4. Check for clutch slip and hard-worked (especially four-cylinder) engines
  • 5. Test the electrics thoroughly, especially windows and warning lights
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Audi A6 Avant full review with expert trade views

Whether covering long distances in hushed, relaxed calm or transporting flat-pack furniture, the A6 Avant will get the job done in style.

The luggage area is easily accessed and roomy - bigger than a BMW 5 Series Touring's, if not quite as capacious as a Mercedes E-Class's.

The rear bench swallows three in comfort and there's masses of space up front. All sit in a smartly designed, solidly constructed cabin, where the controls are laid out neatly and logically. No rival has a cabin as good as this.

The engines are all smooth and respond strongly without needing to be revved too hard. Combine that with the almost total lack of wind and road noise, and you're left with a refined cruiser.

The ride quality may get under your skin after a while, though - the A6 feels unsettled and fidgety. The handling is stodgy, too, although four-wheel-drive quattro versions are slightly better.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Diesels are the pick for retail especially 1.9TDI SE with auto box

James Ruppert
Used car guru

We'd buy either of the 2.5 V6 turbodiesels - so much pull always on tap, yet miserly with fuel. They came with an optional automatic gearbox, and it's worth finding one, because it works so well with the 2.5's broad-shouldered pull.

The many petrol V6s are also refined and strong but can't match our favourite diesels for fuel efficiency. The 2.0 and 1.8T turbo four-cylinder petrol engines are okay, but not strong enough for towing.

The 1.9 TDI (with 110, 115 or 130bhp) is the most frugal but lacks the sheer muscle of the 2.5 TDI. V8 petrol versions, including the red-hot S6 and white-hot RS6, are effortlessly fast but drink fuel at a frightening rate.

All models have climate control, alloy wheels, electric windows, four airbags, traction control and anti-lock brakes. That's enough for us, but there are plusher SE, quattro and Sport models if you want to spend more.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

1.9 TDI and Sport models best buy. Avant models hold values strongest

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Don't worry about unexpected repair bills if you get a good A6 and look after it. They're pretty reliable.

You'll notice the cost of servicing, mind, although it will be cheaper than a Mercedes E-Class, if not quite as cheap as a BMW 5 Series Touring. Insurance (group 14-20) won't leave you skint, either.

An A6 is dear to buy, but it will pay you back when you resell it. A tidy Avant will always find someone willing to pay decent money for it.

However, the 4.2 V8 petrol models lose their value far quicker than other petrol versions, especially in their early years.

Diesels shrink the cost of long journeys. The 1.9 TDIs will return high 40s to the gallon, and the two 2.5 TDIs close to 40mpg. The four-cylinder petrols are good for around 30mpg, the V6 petrols mid-20s and the V8s 20mpg or less.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Diesels are the pick for retail especially 1.9TDI SE with auto box

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The A6 Avant has a well-earned reputation for reliability. It's solidly screwed together using proven, good-quality parts and the engines will run and run without a problem if serviced properly. So that's the first thing to look for: a full service history.

However, pay particular attention to the suspension. This is the area that gives most trouble, according to data from independent warranty providers Warranty Direct.

You should have a good look over the rear suspension, especially if the car has been used regularly for heavy hauling duties.

Likewise, a car with a towbar should prompt you to check that the gears engage smoothly, without any slip from the clutch, and to look for any signs of a knackered engine, especially on four-cylinder cars.

Test all the electrics (the windows and warning lights particularly) and look for signs of heavy use in the loadbay and cabin. The A6 Avant is well built, but not indestructible.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

1.9 TDI and Sport models best buy. Avant models hold values strongest

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide
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