Audi A4 Avant estate review
“The Audi A4 Avant is a thoroughly modern yet conservative estate car, with a big boot and a sophisticated interior”
- Lots of hi-tech equipment
- High-quality interior
- Big boot
- Expensive options
- Jerky auto gearbox
- Firm ride on big wheels
Sales of traditional saloon cars might be dwindling, but estate models including the Audi A4 Avant and rivals like the Mercedes C-Class Estate and BMW 3 Series Touring are still highly desirable. Manufacturers certainly offer plenty of choice, with affordable large estates like the Peugeot 508 SW, Skoda Superb Estate and Mazda6 Tourer also offering a tempting amount of space for the cost of a premium hatchback.
There are a few engines to choose from – the A4 Avant is still a pillar of the Audi line-up – although there are no manual gearboxes any more and only the most powerful diesel is only available with Audi’s quattro four-wheel drive system. If you live in a rural area, there’s also the Audi A4 Allroad offering a small boost in ground clearance – but you’ll need to hunt out a used example now as it’s no longer available to buy new. Fans of fast German estates are served by the Audi S4 Avant and even more powerful Audi RS4 Avant.
A facelift for late 2019 saw some big changes to the Audi A4 Avant, including a subtle but comprehensive exterior makeover, infotainment updates inside and a new range of mild-hybrid engines to help cut running costs.
Driving the A4 Avant is simplicity itself, thanks to light steering that makes up for its lack of feedback with pinpoint accuracy. This helps disguise the A4’s length, so it’s easy to forget you are driving a large car, while the ride is generally comfortable, too. There’s no shortage of grip, but the A4 isn't the most fun car to drive in its class and the large alloy wheels fitted to S line models can make the ride less forgiving. The 3 Series Touring ultimately handles better.
The Audi wins back most points with its stunning interior, which stands comparison with almost any other car. Materials and build quality seem to have taken another leap forwards from the previous A4, while everything is just as logically laid-out as before. Audi’s now standard-fit ‘Virtual Cockpit’ digital instrument panel is excellent and allows most functions to be controlled without taking your hands off the steering wheel.
If you often carry passengers, even tall adults can sit in the back of the A4 Avant for longer trips, while its 505-litre boot is on a par with the C-Class Estate and BMW 3 Series Touring, but is itself smaller than some cheaper models like the Skoda Superb Estate.
The Audi A4 finished in a rather disappointing 65th place in our 2021 Driver Power survey. The Avant hasn’t been crash-tested itself, but shares the five-star Euro NCAP result of the A4 saloon, which has identical safety features.