Used test: Audi A4 Avant vs Skoda Superb Estate vs Volvo V60 interiors
If you're in the market for a used estate, are you better off with the gargantuan Superb, or one of the smaller but more upmarket options available for similar money?...
Driving position, visibility, build quality, practicality
Getting comfortable isn’t an issue in any of our trio. All have steering wheels with plenty of height and reach adjustment and standard adjustable lumbar support. The Superb and V60 go one step further with full electric adjustment for both driver and front passenger seats, including a memory function. You'll have to rely on the first owner of an A4 to have made merry with the options list for that little luxury.
Speaking of luxury, all get heated seats as standard, although the Superb adds a ventilated function to stop you from getting a sweaty back or bum on sunny days. Leather upholstery is standard on the V60 and Superb, while it’s paired with sporty Alcantara trim in the A4; full leather seats were yet another option. While the A4 and V60 seats are supportive in corners, the Superb’s are a touch flat, leaving you clinging on to the wheel during hard cornering.
Audi often leads the way when it comes to quality, and the A4 is no exception. Not only does its interior look and feel incredibly classy, but all the controls work with precision, too. Although the V60 can’t quite match these heady heights, it’s still made of pleasingly squidgy plastics with attractive metal and wood trims.
We wouldn’t normally grumble about the Superb’s interior in its cheaper trims, but it’s a little underwhelming in this company. While everything feels built to last, you’ll find fewer appealing materials and more hard plastics.
Audi’s MMI is one of the best systems out there. The 7.0in screen is mounted nice and high, while the menus are easy to navigate and the rotary dial controller makes selecting what you want a doddle, even on the move. The optional Technology Pack our test car happened to be fitted with includes Navigation Plus, which has a larger 8.3in screen (pictured) with sharper graphics, more advanced sat-nav and a touchpad for making inputs with your fingertip.
Top-spec Superbs get Skoda’s top 9.2in Columbus touchscreen system with navigation as standard. Although the menus are logically laid out and responses are prompt, we miss the physical shortcut buttons of the 8.0in system found on lesser Superbs. The touch-sensitive shortcuts are a stretch to use and don’t take you to specific functions. As with the A4, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring is standard.
All V60s get a 9.0in, portrait-style touchscreen that you navigate with swipes as well as prods. You’ll get used to it, but many of the icons are too small and the system isn’t as quick to respond to inputs as those in the A4 and Superb. We also wish it had shortcut buttons to make life easier. While you get sat-nav, a DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity like the others, smartphone mirroring was an extra on all trims when new, so make sure you check the used example you're looking at has this fitted.
Space and practicality
Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot
Let’s start with the main reason why you buy an estate: boot space. Here, the Superb holds all the aces, thanks to a load area that would be easier to measure in acres. It can swallow 11 carry-on cases with room to spare; that’s three more than the V60 and four up on the A4. You’ll want to find a Superb with the optional variable-height boot floor, though, otherwise, you’re left with a step up to the folded rear seats, making it tricky to load long, heavy items. Still, you get luggage nets as standard with this top-spec Laurin & Klement trim.
The V60’s boot may be smaller, but the floor is flat and there’s a netted area and examples with the Convenience Pack fitted add remote electric rear seatback releases, a flip-up divider with handy bag hooks and even a three-pin plug for rear passengers. The A4 is available with some straps and is the only car here to come as standard with remote rear seatback releases, but it also has the least practical and smallest boot. All three have an electric tailgate.
In the rear seats, the Superb’s vast size again pays dividends. You simply won’t find more leg room in anything short of a long-wheelbase luxury limo, and head room is also plentiful, thanks in part to the absence of a panoramic roof. Although the V60 can’t match the Superb, rear leg room is significantly better than in the A4, and you get a smidge more head room. That said, a six-footer will fit behind another one in reasonable comfort in the A4.
Up front, all have room for tall drivers and a good selection of oddment storage. Although the Superb’s cupholders are a bit small for a big coffee mug or 750ml bottle of water, the cooled cubby under the central front armrest is vast and the door pockets are sizeable, making it the best for holding clutter.
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