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Used test: Audi A4 Avant vs BMW 3 Series Touring vs Volvo V60 costs

These used executive estates all offer plush interiors and the security of four-wheel drive, but which is the best buy? We've tested them back-to-back to find out...

Audi A4 Avant driving

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety

If you’re in the market for something as sensible as an estate, surely you’re interested in the super-sensible topic of costs. And in terms of how much you’ll pay, this test is a prime example of why it’s always worth checking out used values via our online Valuation service before you commit.

The A4 Avant may have had the highest list price when new, but it’s currently available for less than the 3 Series Touring after a year-and-a-half and some 10,000 miles. The V60, meanwhile, is even more affordable.

BMW 3 Series Touring side

The 3 Series is the easiest on fuel; it managed 41.6mpg in our economy test, compared with 39.3mpg for the A4 and a lowly 35.6mpg for the V60. All three bust through the luxury vehicle tax with list prices the wrong-side of £40,000 and will cost the same in annual VED.

The 3 Series proves the best at protecting adults and children in the event of a crash, closely followed by the V60. The A4 was tested under an older set of regulations, so its scores can’t be directly compared. All three get automatic emergency braking, although the 3 Series adds lane-departure warning, while the V60 can actually guide the car back into its lane if you start to wander, with its lane-keeping assistance system.

Volvo V60 driving

It’s BMW that performed best in the most recent What Car? Reliability Survey, coming ninth out of 31 manufacturers, with Volvo in 16th and Audi in 22nd.

The V60 gives you the most standard equipment for your money, it being the only one with keyless entry, a hands-free tailgate, and hill descent control. That said, the A4 and 3 Series give you three- instead of two-zone climate control.

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