Audi has turned into the SUV company but its best wagon is the one that’s least obvious
High-riding wagons are the car of choice for a large number of motorists today. They come in a vast range of sizes, from small to massive, some built to tackle the toughest terrain on the planet, others masquerading as family transporters.
For those seeking family transport, a regular wagon isn’t burdened with the bulk of an SUV and is usually a better car to drive. For those brands still making a wagon, it’s usually a variant on their mid-sized model, such as the Audi A4.
The A4 Avant, an attractive car with clean lines and pleasant proportions, lacked the chunky boxlike shape that can make wagons unattractive or utilitarian.
It was based on the very competent A4 platform.
Most models were frontwheel-drive but there was also an all-wheel-drive option and petrol or diesel engines.
The A4 sedan had a goodsized boot but the wagon added even more capacity, particularly when the rear seats were folded, releasing a really useful space capable of swallowing a sizeable load and making it a more practical choice.
The cabin was a pleasant place to be, the fit and finish were of a high quality, the seats were comfortable.
Behind the prominent fourringed badge were four engine options: the petrol 1.8-litre turbo four or 2.0-litre, each with an attractive combination of pep and economy.
On the diesel side were a 2.0‒litre turbo direct-injection four and, in the S4, a 2.7‒litre turbocharged V6.
These were the economy leaders in the range, their claimed consumption falling on the low side of 7.0L/100km (and the petrol brethren on the upper side).
When stirred, the diesels not only delivered the sort of fuel economy most of us want but they also moved along at an impressive clip.
Front-drive models used a CVT andthe all-wheel quattro versions had a seven-speed twin-clutch auto.
Generally speaking, Audis are solidly built and reliable, but there are a couple of issues you need to be aware of when buying used.
The first relates to the dualclutch DSG gearbox.
Most of the complaints we received about DSG gearboxes came from VW owners but similar devices were fitted to Audis.
The second issue worth noting is oil consumption. Some VW engines, not all, use excessive amounts of oil, even from new.
With that in mind it’s worthwhile checking the engine oil every week.
If your engine does use oil it’s worth doing an oil consumption test and actually measuring how much it uses, and if it seems high take the results to an Audi dealer and have the engine checked.
Beyond that, check the service record to make sure your car has been maintained as per Audi’s recommendation.
In the absence of this record, reconsider your purchase.
Also check for crash damage and poor repairs.
Stylish, well-built and practical family transporter that's a pleasure to drive.