Used test – SUV vs estate: Audi Q5 vs Volkswagen Passat Alltrack vs Volvo XC60

Used SUVs are increasingly popular, but does a four-wheel-drive estate actually make more sense?

Words By What Car? team

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Audi Q5 vs Volkswagen Passat Alltrack vs Volvo XC60

Our Verdict

It isn’t hard to see the appeal of the Audi Q5. Smart looks, a classy cockpit and excellent visibility make it a tempting family car; that it won’t lose much of its value and should be reasonably cost-effective maintain are added bonuses.

The problem is, it’s very expensive to buy in the first place, and that means you’ll probably get an older, lower-mileage or less well equipped example if you’re on a budget. What’s more, it’s too noisy, has the least rear leg room here, has a dire reputation for reliability, and will also cost the most to fuel. And where it doesn’t fall behind, the Q5 can’t offer enough in compensation to justify its high price.

So, the estate beats the SUV – or at least, one of them. The Volkswagen Passat’s price makes it instantly a more tempting proposition than the Audi, and that’s before you consider that it’s also more practical, with a bigger boot and more space for its passengers, cheaper to run, and the most car-like to drive of any here.

But the Passat doesn’t ride as well as it could do, and nor is it as quiet as it should be, either. And while the engine is punchy enough, the gearbox limits how responsive it actually feels out on the road. If you’re buying with your head, it’s probably the most sensible car here, then – but it isn’t the best

That honour falls to the Volvo XC90. Yes, you will pay for the privilege, as it looks likely to lose more of its value in cash terms than either of the other two cars, and it’ll also cost you the most to service. But the Volvo counters with the best reputation for reliability, meaning it should require fewer expensive repairs, not to mention an initial purchase price way below that of the Audi, which will translate to a better car for your budget when you buy.

What’s more, the Volvo really does manage to be the best compromise between an estate and an SUV. Not only does its engine offer gutsier performance than the other two cars here, but it’s also quieter. The XC60 also offers the most comfortable ride, the nicest interior, and the best reputation for reliability of our trio. Even if you do end up paying a little more for it in maintenance and depreciation, then, we reckon it’s worth the extra.

Read all about the upcoming all-new Volvo XC60

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Also consider:

1st – Volvo XC60

For Strong and flexible performance; comfortable ride; quiet

Against Awkward to manoeuvre; not the slickest gearchange; high depreciation

Verdict Spacious, classy and refined, the XC60 has an unbeatable breadth of ability

Rated 4 out of 5

Read the full used Volvo XC60 review

Find a used Volvo XC60 for sale in the What Car? Classifieds

2nd – Volkswagen Passat Alltrack

For Best fuel economy; lowest price; biggest interior; best equipped

Against Cheap interior plastics; overly long gearing; disappointing ride and noise

Verdict Low costs and high practicality make this a sensible car, but not a great one

Rated 4 out of 5

Read the full used Volkswagen Passat Estate review

Find a used Volkswagen Passat Alltrack for sale in the What Car? Classifieds

3rd – Audi Q5

For Good resale values; classy interior; good visibility

Against Least rear leg room; unpleasant engine noise; steering weights up uncomfortably

Verdict Behind the others in too many key areas to finish anywhere other than third

Rated 3 out of 5

Read the full used Audi Q5 review

Find a used Audi Q5 for sale in the What Car? Classifieds

Specifications: Audi Q5 2.0 TDI 143 SE

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel

List price when new Β£30,380

Price today Β£19,500

Power 141bhp

Torque 236lb ft

0-60mph 11.2sec

Top speed 116mph

Fuel economy 45.6mpg (Official average)

CO2 emissions 162g/km

Specifications: Volkswagen Passat Alltrack 2.0 TDI 140

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel

List price when new Β£28,480

Price today Β£15,000

Power 138bhp

Torque 236lb ft

0-60mph 11.7sec

Top speed 118mph

Fuel economy 49.6mpg (Official average)

CO2 emissions 149g/km

Specifications: Volvo XC60 2.4 D4 163 SE

Engine size 2.4-litre diesel

List price when new Β£31,795

Price today Β£16,000

Power 161bhp

Torque 310lb ft

0-60mph 10.3sec

Top speed 122mph

Fuel economy 49.6mpg (Official average)

CO2 emissions 149g/km

Price today is based on a 2013 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

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