Is the Volvo V60 the best looking load lugger in its class? From the back, quite possibly it's the prettiest big-booted vehicle Volvo has ever made. There are hints of the Volvo C30 hatchback from the back, with a large glass display that almost looks like a tailgate on its own, and the side profile shares the coupe-like exterior of the Volvo V60's saloon brother, the S60. Compared to the stout sides, the Volvo V60's nose looks a little severe but as a whole the Volvo V60 stands out ahead of its competitors.
There's a lot of of room for occupants in the Volvo V60, and despite the car's swooping coupe-like roofline, both headroom and visibility is very good. Volvo has even managed to find around 20mm extra for back passenger legroom. The boot measures in at 430 litres, and the tailgate opens with a high sweep to reveal a flat floor with some add-on underfloor cargo. It's, however, significantly smaller than the Ford Mondeo Estate's 542 litres. All three back seatings can fold separately to create a flat load space, and the front passenger bench folds to create an even longer flat load space.
The Volvo V60's equipment levels eclipses those of its German competitors. There are three versions: ES, SE and SE Lux. All models include a trip computer, cruise control, a 5-inch colour display, powerful audio system with helm-mounted controls and 16-inch alloy wheel. The SE adds various dashboard trim, a leather helm, automatic headlights, wipers and dimming back view mirror, park sensors and 17-inch alloys. The SE Lux adds electric leather seatings, bending-beam headlights and headlamp washers.
The 2012 Audi A4 provides refinement in both look and road manners. So, too, does the Audi A4 Avant wagon, along with a healthy dose of utility. Audi A4 Sedan offers the following pros: Luxury cabin; great fuel efficiency; sporty handling; available wagon body style. Audi A4 Sedan drawbacks are: Unintuitive traditional control layout; wagon has limited trunk capacity.
The 2012 Audi A4 is available in sedan and wagon (avant) body styles. Both come in Luxury, Luxury Plus and Prestige versions. The high-performance S4 model is covered in a separate review.
The Luxury trim comes traditional with 17-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof (panoramic on Avant), automatic headlights, automatic wipers, cruise control, foglamps, automatic conditioning, eight-way performance front seatings, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped helm, leather upholstery, a dash-mounted Audi Multi Media Interface (MMI) and a 10-speaker audio system with a CD player, optional stereo slot and radio. The Avant also adds split-folding back seatings. An auxillary Comfort suite adds Bluetooth and an Ipod interface, while the Style suite contains bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, self-leveling headlights and bright metal look trim.
All of the above features are included in the Luxury Plus trim, along with 18-inch wheels, sporty S line bodywork, three-zone automatic conditioning, heated front seatings, driver memory functions, split-folding back seatings, auto-dimming mirrors and an improved trip computer. The MMI Navigation Plus suite adds a navigator with real-time traffic, digital audio cargo, a rearview camera, back parking sensors, voice controls, HD radio, a color trip computer display and MMI controls located on the center control panel.
The Audi A4 Prestige comes traditional with adaptive headlights, a performance liftgate (on Avant models), keyless ignition/entry, a blind-spot warning system, the Navigation suite and a Bang & Olufsen luxury audio system (optional on Luxury Plus). Features original to the Prestige include the S line suite (19-inch wheels, summer tires, faux-suede bench inserts and special look and dashboard trim), the Drive Select suite (which offers adaptive suspension dampers as well as adjustable options for the suspension, steering and transmission), adaptive cruise control, a performance back sunshade and manual back side sunshades.
The Sport suite (also provided on the Luxury Plus) contains a sport-tuned suspension, a three-spoke helm, more aggressively bolstered seatings and automatic transmission shift paddles. Auxillary back side airbags are available on Luxury Plus and Prestige trims only, but any Audi A4 is eligible for wood dashboard trim. .