Fleet News

Audi Avant 2.0 FSI Sport - 4,800 miles



HAVING read of my colleague Steve Moody's love affair with our long-term Audi A4 Avant in recent test reports I was itching to get behind the wheel.

'I love this car' was one comment. 'It's the best looking estate car on the market by a country mile,' was another. He is clearly not alone in his opinion – this is the only estate car I've driven that has actually turned heads.

It is graceful, slick, sophisticated and oozes class from every body crease. It's also chunky, mean and solid which makes it a car to suit all needs and tastes.

My dad loves it and so does the 20-year-old woman working in my local shop who saw it through the window. 'What a lovely car for an estate,' she told me. And because it's a premium German brand, you won't find too many people baulking at its price – even for our test vehicle, which is loaded with about £4,000 worth of extras.

Audi, with this car, has successfully overcome fears associated with estate cars. It's neither dull nor barge-like and will suit the early 30s go-getter sales rep seeking up-to-date technology, as well as the more mature driver wanting comfort and style.

As a Sport model, the ride is firm, which still doesn't suit an estate car no matter how many perceptions this model has changed, and the engine is at times a bit gutless. The steering is smooth and precise, making cornering at speed a doddle and, more importantly, safe.

The interior is classy. Spend any length of time behind the wheel and it becomes obvious why Audi interiors have become a benchmark so many other manufacturers aim to equal, let along beat. The subtle combination of red and white illuminated dials continue the A4's overall clean and cool attitude.

There's plenty of space, both for occupants and luggage, and fit and finish is at the top of the class – there's not a squeak to be heard. And the Audi Concert stereo system is superb, producing a brilliant sound.

I hope Moody can forgive me for 'stealing' the love of his life. I know it's not a nice thing to do to a friend and I'm sorry – but I've fallen in love with it too.

Company car tax bill 2004/05 (40% tax-payer): £148 per month

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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