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Used test: Audi A6 Avant vs Mercedes E-Class Estate vs Volvo V90 costs

These used estates are all luxurious, hugely practical and available for around half what they cost new, but which is the best buy?...

Audi A6 Avant side - 66 plate

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety

For around £21,000, you can pick up any of these used estates in the same trim and engine spec as we have featured here. In other words, that's a five-year-old Audi A6 AvantMercedes E-Class Estate or Volvo V90 estate with average mileage for around half of their original price from new. 

Our trio also get plenty of kit. Heated seats, climate control and cruise control are standard, and the E-Class has self-levelling air suspension on the rear – handy for heavy loads or towing.

Mercedes E-Class Estate side - 66 plate

Saloon versions of the A6, E-Class and Volvo S90 (which the V90 is based on) have been awarded five stars for safety by Euro NCAP, with the latter two cars being tested under a more stringent regime that incorporates scrutiny of additional automatic safety technology. This includes automatic emergency braking (AEB), which is standard on the E-Class and V90 but isn’t available on the A6.

In addition, the V90's system performed better than that of the E-Class, stopping the car before it struck the obstacle in all tests and doing so from higher speeds. The V90 also has lane-keeping assistance as standard; it was an option on the other two when they were new.

Volvo V90 side - 16 plate

In the latest What Car? Reliability Survey, the A6, E-Class and V90 achieved ratings of 82.1%, 90.7% and 92.6% respectively. None of these scores is especially impressive, with the A6's rating being noticeably below par, although the other two aren't worrying. 

Insurance won't be cheap on any of our three estates, but all sport reasonable insurance groups. Servicing plans are also available for purchase, so that's worth keeping in mind on the maintenance front.

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