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Twin Test: 4x4 Estates

  •  Need a 4x4 Estate car but not sure which one to choose?
  •  We pit two of the most popular models against one another in our latest twin test
  • Find out which one; the Audi A6 Allroad or the Volvo XC7O came out on top

Written by Parkers Team Published: 21 August 2014 Updated: 21 August 2014

If you need a car that can tackle light off-roading, with the space of a regular estate car and the extra security of four-wheel drive, a crossover maybe what you’re looking for. Two of the popular choices are Audi’s  A6 Allroad and Volvo’s XC70 – so which would we choose?

Volvo XC70 (2007 on) vs Audi A6 Allroad (2006-2011) 


Although the Volvo trades handling for greater comfort compared to the Audi, it remains a fine car to drive until you push its limits. A wide range of drivetrains are on offer but the 2.0-litre D5 automatic is comparable  to the 3.0-litre Allroad.  A turbocharged T6 petrol is available for speed freaks.

The XC70

There’s hardly an undesirable engine in the Allroad’s mechanical arsenal but for a relaxed, brisk and reasonably economical choice we’d plump  for the 3.0-litre TDI with an automatic gearbox, although if running costs are less of an issue the 4.2-litre V8 is a performance car in disguise.


Volvo’s deliberately made less of an attempt to add gloss to the 4×4 makeover of the XC70 meaning larger sections of the bumpers and wheel arch extensions are left with a dark, unpainted plastic finish. Although the interior is less rugged, it doesn’t match the Audi’s levels of exquisiteness but it remains a comfortable place to be.

The A6's interior.

Both cars offer the virtues of the large estates they’re  based on, meaning cargo bays which are similarly-sized with the seats up or down. The A6 Allroad is generally  a nicer place to be, with a more sumptuous interior, high-grade plastics and plusher carpeting to the boot area. More of the Audi’s chunkier bodywork is painted too.


Not only are servicing costs less on the Volvo XC70 – diesels especially – it’s a cheaper car to run anyway with greater potential fuel effciency and, depending on the model chosen, Band C VED road tax costs of only £30 per year. Don’t expect a powerful performance from these versions though.

Crossovers are invariably less expensive to run than fully-blown 4x4s, but let’s not pretend that, especially with the larger engines, these were cheap cars in the first place. Servicing costs on diesel Audis will usually be cheaper than their petrol equivalents but franchised dealers are invariably dearer than Volvo ones.


Volvo XC70

Audi A6 Allroad





Fuel Capacity:

CO2 Emissions:

Road tax:

Insurance groups:

Boot space:

Petrol and Diesel, 2.0 to 3.2 litres

160-299 bhp

7.2-10.5 seconds

24-62 mpg

70 litres

117-272 g/km



575-1,600 litres

Petrol and Diesel, 2.7 to 4.2 litres

177-345 bhp

6.1-9.0 seconds

21-39 mpg

80 litres

189-267 g/km



565-1,660 litres


Volvo XC70 (2007 on) – Winner

Something about the rugged  appeal of the Volvo XC70 that makes it more appealing.  It lacks the Audi’s premium feel but it’s comfortable, benefits from a larger boot and is cheaper to both buy and run.

It would be surprising if you weren’t captivated by the Audi A6 Allroad.  It’s a capable cruiser, with a spacious and luxurious interior available with a range of refined engines to choose from. Choose one and you’re unlikely to be disappointed – but you’ll  pay for the privilege.