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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

Picking a winner in an estate test is easy: just look at which has the biggest boot and stick a crown on its roof, right? Well, although the Volvo V60 wins this test, things aren’t quite that straightforward.

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.

Despite having the least practical boot, the BMW 3 Series Touring comes second here. What it lacks in outright load-hauling ability, it makes up for with a great infotainment system and fine handling. If you’re a keen driver, you’ll probably accept the fact that you have to pack a little lighter.

That leaves the Audi A4 Avant in last place. Although it has the classiest interior, it's barely any more practical than the 3 Series and is the most frustrating in stop-start traffic. All told, it has more compromises than its two rivals.

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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
Verdict Excels at being an estate, and does other things well enough

What Car? rating Four stars out of five

Read our full used Volvo V60 review >>

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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
Verdict The best of our contenders to drive, but certainly not the most versatile vehicle on test

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; well-shaped boot
Against Clunky infotainment; firm ride; hesitant gearbox
Verdict Has too many drawbacks and not enough strengths to beat its competition here

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