What are they like inside?
For many, the boot is an estate car’s most important feature. Here the Volvo V90 doesn’t fare so well; it has the least cargo space whether the rear seats are up or folded down. The Audi A6 Avant proves a tiny bit more capacious with the seats up and much roomier with them dropped.
However, the winner here is the Mercedes E-Class Estate. It comfortably beats both rivals for boot space seats up or down, and it has the widest and biggest boot opening. Although the boot isn’t square in shape, there are no intrusions into the space, just cut-outs that can be useful when you want to slot in wider items, such as a set of golf clubs.
All three estates score points for having low boot floors, no internal boot lip, electric tailgates and remote folding rear seats that can be operated from the boot. In the A6, you pull levers, while in the V90 and E-Class it’s done electrically by flicking a switch.
There is a slight incline in the extended load bays of all three with the rear seats folded, but there’s no step up, so it’s easy to push long items, such as flat-pack furniture, in unhindered. All are available with optional luggage separators, dog guards and other storage solutions.
From the driver’s seat, the A6’s interior is exceedingly well built, but it’s starting to show its age. It has too many buttons, a smaller, lower-resolution infotainment screen than its rivals, as well as an ambience that isn’t quite as classy as the newer Audi A4 or Q7. Still, it’s easy to get comfortable and there are plenty of cubbyholes.
In comparison, the V90 feels like a breath of fresh air. The cream leather (a no-cost option) on our test car helps brighten the interior; the clear digital instrument cluster, huge touchscreen and classy metal trims make for a welcoming environment. It’s a shame the V90 doesn’t feel quite as well screwed together as the A6, though.
As for our E-Class, the optional 12.3in screen (£1495) dominates the dashboard. A digital instrument cluster is another £495. It has the poshest looking interior, but there are some surprisingly flimsy feeling bits of trim if you hunt for them.
All three cars have enough space for adults in the front and rear seats. The E-Class has the most front leg room, although our car’s optional panoramic roof (part of a £2795 pack) meant it had the least head room. The A6 has the most front head room. As for rear seat space, the V90 has by far the most leg room, while the A6 has slightly more than the E-Class.
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