Audi A5 Sportback hatchback

£30,035 - £44,065

The Audi A5 Sportback is a car that balances executive-saloon luxury with large hatchback practicality. With four doors and a huge boot, it competes directly with the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and Mercedes CLA-Class in the niche 'executive sportback' class.

Compared to these worthy competitors, the A5 Sportback looks good. It's arguably the most attractive-looking of the three, with familiar Audi lines arranged in an aerodynamic shape. The interior is just as good – conventional, yes, but with all the trappings of luxury you'd expect from an upmarket Audi.

Downsides to the model include the ride, which is firm as standard and firmer still with the addition of S line suspension and large alloy wheels. And if you think that means amazing handling, think again – both the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and the regular Audi A5 Coupe are more fun to drive than the Sportback.

The A5 Sportback comes in SE, SE Technik, S line and top-of-the-range Black Edition Plus trims. There's also the Audi S5 Sportback, which is an extremely fast – and much more expensive – version of the car that puts the emphasis firmly on performance and will attract driving enthusiasts.

The A5 Sportback is beginning to feel a bit long in the tooth. Having been in a class of its own for so long, it's now up against the newer BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and Mercedes CLA-Class – although we think the A5 still looks better than its younger competition.

There are plenty of engines to choose from, ranging from a 1.8-litre petrol (which will return a claimed 48.7mpg and has a 0-62mph time of under eight seconds) to a 3.0-litre diesel that'll do 46.3mpg and has a rapid 0-62mph time of 5.8 seconds.

But our favourite version of the Audi A5 Sportback is the 175bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which is enthusiastic enough for everyday driving while being quite economical (a claimed 61.4mpg). The SE trim should be enough for most buyers – it's good value and relatively well equipped, so you shouldn't have to dip in to Audi's notoriously expensive add-on list.