Audi A6 Avant a family favourite

Iain Dooley checks out Audi's premium-level load-lugger, the A6 Avant.

Engines – There's no shortage of choice here, with both petrol and diesel fans catered for in equal measure. Realistically it's the latter that's the most suitable, and there's an excellent selection of four and six-cylinder units available.

Exterior – The A6's sleek exterior hides a cavernous interior, and yet Audi's designers managed to shy away from creating a box on wheels. The streamlined A6 Avant will have no problem blending in at the supermarket or company car park.

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Interior – Audi's reputation for building first-class interiors shines through with the A6. High-quality materials and thoughtful ergonomics puts this car ahead of the competition. Being the estate model it's also a spacious and versatile machine – fold the rear seats and it's a veritable workhorse.

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Driving – If you want a sharp-handling motor you'll be better off with a BMW. What the A6 does well is deliver a competent and refined driving experience. Stable on motorways and agile around town, the big Audi is a rounded performer. The diesel engines are pretty impressive, too.

Ownership – Solidly built and full of clever touches, the A6 Avant will soon become another member of the family. Its spacious load bay, frugal engines and relaxed character all make living with and driving the car a pleasure.

What to look for – Being an estate, look closely for signs of wear, tear and abuse around the rear load lip. The potential for damaged trim and upholstery is also high. Parking dents and kerbed wheels could signal more serious but hidden neglect, so always check the car's oil and coolant – it should be clean and fresh. And for something this new, a full service history is essential.

Model history – 2005, Audi launches its new A6 Avant variant. Boasting ample carrying capacity plus all the usual A6 attributes – excellent build quality and wide choice of engine and transmission options plus all-wheel drive.

Reasons to buy – Impressive build quality, good choice of engines, versatile load bay, band image.

Reasons to beware – Low-power petrol models, evidence of excessive wear and tear, high mileage and poorly maintained examples.

Pick of the range – A6 Avant 2.0 TDI SE.

What to pay – 2005 55 �11,900; 2006 06 �13,200; 2006 56 �13,725; 2007 07 �15,150; 2007 57 �15,775; 2008 08 �17,925; 2008 58 �18,700; 2009 09 �20,475. Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.

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