Avant guardian

Audi has turned into the SUV com­pany but its best wagon is the one that’s least ob­vi­ous

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Car - GRA­HAM SMITH gra­ham.smith@cars­guide.com.au

NEW

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.

NOW

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.

SMITHY SAYS

Stylish, well-built and prac­ti­cal fam­ily trans­porter that's a plea­sure to drive.

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