We'd recommend looking at a high-riding estate. There are plenty of these around, acting as halfway houses between regular cars and SUVs. Typically, they offer four-wheel drive, so getting to a campsite that's off the beaten track won't be a problem, and most are powered exclusively by diesel engines.
Our recommended choice: Audi A4 Allroad
The Audi A4 saloon is a former What Car? Car of the Year, so it makes sense that this A4 Allroad, which is based on the A4 Avant estate, should be good too. It's raised up by 34mm compared with the A4 Avant, giving you some vital extra ground clearance for off-roading. It also gets softer suspension and high-profile tyres, all of which prioritises comfort over agility.
The A4 Allroad offers 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines, plus a range-topping 3.0-litre diesel. It's the mid-range 187bhp 2.0-litre diesel that we recommend, both for its smoothness and its low running costs. An automatic gearbox is standard, as is Audi's quattro four-wheel drive system.
You mentioned that you wanted a system that will allow you to easily pair your phone, and that's another area in which the A4 Allroad shines. Audi's MMI infotaiment system is presented on a 7.0in screen that's controlled using a rotary dial on the centre console. It's easy to use while you're driving and has crisp graphics. If you want to spend a little extra, you can replace the A4 Allroad's conventional instrument cluster with a 12.3in digital display, which can put things like the sat-nav map directly in front of you.
There's an abundance of space in the A4 Allroad, so you should have plenty of space to stow all of your camping gear. A powered tailgate comes as standard, and all but the tallest of adults should be comfortable in the rear seats.
How much will it cost you? Well, the A4 Allroad we recommend – the 2.0 TDI Sport – has a list price of £38,415. However, with What Car? New Car Buying, we can help you save on that price, bringing the total cost down to just £34,944 – well within budget. If you're buying on a PCP finance deal, expect to pay around £361 with 4% APR, based on a three-year deal and a deposit of 15%.
Also consider: Volkswagen Passat Alltrack
The Passat Alltrack costs less than the A4 Allroad and has considerable off-road ability, but it isn't very engaging to drive.
Also consider: Volvo V90 Cross Country
Plush inside and supremely practical, but it's expensive. The infotainment system looks swish but can be tricky to use while you're driving.
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