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Car group tests

Volvo XC70 vs Audi A6 Allroad

Which practical premium car is best equipped to tackle the worst of the UK winter? We find out as Volvo’s all-new XC70 meets Audi’s Allroad...

Volvo XC70 test

It’s a bit early to be putting money on whether we will enjoy a white Christmas this year. But it’s a fairly safe bet that if the snow does fall, the British transport network will grind to a halt.

Yet that needn’t bother you if you’re the proud owner of a new Volvo XC70. The Swedish manufacturer knows all there is to know about cold weather motoring, and this has helped ensure the success of its 4WD line-up.

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The XC70 has been part of that range since 1997, when it was initially called the V70 Cross Country. The latest version of Volvo’s go anywhere, do anything estate is the third generation to appear, and is based on the same underpinnings as the S80 saloon. It’s claimed to be safer, as well as more comfortable and capable both on and off-road.

Even though the XC70 is designed to cope with winter conditions, it’s Audi that has built its reputation by extolling the advantages of four-wheel drive. The original A6 Allroad arrived in 2000, and quickly established a strong reputation, aiming to be all things to all owners. The latest model is highly sophisticated, and intends to offer greater luxury without losing its versatility.

As a result of this drive upmarket, neither model is exactly rugged, but each has genuine off-road ability, thanks to their all-wheel-drive systems. Plus, the Audi has adaptive air-suspension, while the Volvo features hill descent control and an active chassis system.

The question is, which of these estate/SUV crossovers is the better all-rounder? We ventured into the great outdoors to find out.

Thanks to: Xscape Milton Keynes, Bucks (0871 200 3220, www.xscape.co.uk)

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