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

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 vs BMW 3 Series Touring vs Volvo V60 Cross Country

Our verdict

The Audi A4 Avant is a classy machine but also a flawed one in our test car's guise. It takes our third place spot due to an automatic gearbox that makes stop-star traffic a jerky and frustrating affair, as well as a ride that's less forgiving than its rivals'. 

In second is the BMW 3 Series Touring. What it lacks in outright load-hauling ability, it makes up for with a great infotainment system and fine handling. It's worth the small compromise over the slightly more practical A4, but not over the capacious Volvo V60 – our number one pick.

The V60 can swallow the most stuff, has an excellent driving position and comes exceedingly well equipped. And, despite the unsettled ride of this Cross Country version, it’s still a great estate. However, unless you really need four-wheel drive, we’d go for a comfier, better-handling regular model instead.

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1st – Volvo V60

Volvo V60 studio

For Largest boot; best rear seat space; excellent driving position; cheapest to buy
Against Unsettled ride; wallowy handling; thirstiest engine

What Car? rating Four stars out of five

Read our full used Volvo V60 review >>

Find a used Volvo V60 for sale >>

2nd – BMW 3 Series Touring

BMW 3 Series Touring studio

For Engaging handling; punchy yet frugal engine; best infotainment
Against Smallest boot; firm edge to ride; so-so rear seat space

What Car? rating Four stars out of five

Read our full used BMW 3 Series Touring review >>

Find a used BMW 3 Series for sale >>

3rd – Audi A4 Avant

Audi A4 Avant studio

For Classiest interior; excellent wet-weather traction; usefully shaped boot
Against Clunky infotainment; firm ride; hesitant gearbox

What Car? rating Three stars out of five

Read our full used Audi A4 Avant review >>

Find a used Audi A4 Avant for sale >>

Specification: Audi A4 Avant 40 TDI quattro S line S tronic

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel
Power 187bhp @ 3800-4200rpm
Torque 295lb ft @ 1750-3000rpm
0-60mph 7.4sec
Top speed 143mph
Fuel economy 44.1mpg (official WLTP average)
CO2 emissions 140g/km

Specification: BMW 3 Series Touring 320d xDrive M Sport

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel
Power 187bhp @ 4000rpm
Torque 295lb ft @ 1750-2500rpm
0-60mph 7.2sec
Top speed 140mph
Fuel economy 51.4mpg (official WLTP average)
CO2 emissions 124g/km

Specification: Volvo V60 D4 AWD Cross Country Plus Polestar Performance

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel
Power 187bhp @ 4250rpm
Torque 295lb ft @ 1750-2500rpm
0-60mph 8.1sec
Top speed 130mph
Fuel economy 47.9mpg (official WLTP average)
CO2 emissions 135g/km

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