Used Audi A5 Sportback vs Chevrolet Volt vs Range Rover Evoque Comparison

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The Audi A5 Sportback, Chevrolet Volt and Range Rover Evoque all offer something a little different, but which one makes the better used car buy?

*** Note : £1 = $1.32 (correct at time of post)
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The Contenders

Audi A5 Sportback 2.0 TDI 177 SE
  • List price when new £29,595
  • Price today £14,000*
  • Available from 2007-2016

It’s stylish and surprisingly practical, and, thanks to its comfortable and classy interior, the Audi A5 Sportback is also a great car for anyone with regular long journeys.

Chevrolet Volt
  • List price when new £29,995
  • Price today £11,500*
  • Available from 2012-2014

If the advanced tech of the Chevrolet Volt fits into your lifestyle, you might find it to be a bit of a bargain, both to buy and to run.

Range Rover Evoque eD4 Pure 5dr
  • List price when new £27,955
  • Price today £17,000
  • Available from 2011-present

The stylish Range Rover Evoque is still an immensely popular car, but will its running costs rob it of victory here?

Price today is based on a 2012 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

There are many ways to stand out from the crowd these days, and those looking for a used car that’ll do just that have plenty to choose from. Here, we’ve brought together three very different five-year-old cars with three very different approaches and three very different images. All of them still stand out on the road, but which one will make the more attractive ownership proposition?

The Audi A5 Sportback is an executive hatchback that manages to embody all the good qualities we associate with the best Audis, while the Range Rover Evoque is an SUV still as eagerly sought as when it was first launched, thanks in no small part to its stylish looks. The Chevrolet Volt, in effect an identical car to the Vauxhall Ampera, is a range extender and utilises a small petrol engine to avoid the issue of range anxiety that plagues most electric cars.

Interestingly, each car cost roughly the same as the other one when new, at around £30,000. That one is now worth over 30% less than the most expensive adds yet another element to our test. After all, you might want to stand out from the crowd, but you don’t want to pay through the nose for it.

What are they like to drive?

The Audi is the most powerful car here, and the quickest. Get the engine spinning above 1700rpm and there’s a surge of power all the way to the redline. The A5 also has the most grip, the tightest body control and the sharpest steering.

However, its engine isn’t particularly refined, and you can hear the wind whistling around the frameless doors at motorway speeds. That’s disappointing, because the Audi is otherwise the best cruiser here. The suspension, which is a tad firm around town, keeps the car neatly balanced through fast, sweeping bends and during high-speed lane changes.

The Chevrolet is by no means embarrassed, though. Ultimately it’s slower, but not by much, and the immediacy of the power delivery and the fact that there are no gears to worry about makes it the easiest of the three to drive. Pick up the pace and it stays eerily quiet with only a faint whirr from the electric motor.

When the battery runs out of juice (after about 40 miles from a full charge), the Volt’s petrol engine generator kicks in to recharge the battery. The process is so smooth that you might not even notice; if you’re taking it easy, the only clue is a faded hum. The revs rise quickly if you need a sudden burst of acceleration, though.

The Volt isn’t as sharp to drive as the A5, but the steering is light and precise. It’s just a shame the suspension struggles over patchy road surfaces and that the low-hanging front bumper scrapes over speed bumps. The regenerative brakes also take some getting used to, because there isn’t much feel through the pedal.

For all its style and glamour, the Evoque isn’t particularly sparkling to drive. Its diesel engine provides adequate performance but nothing more, and there’s a fair amount of engine vibration through the cabin at low revs. That said, power delivery is smooth and linear above 1500rpm.

Body control is surprisingly good for such a high-sided car, but the Range Rover isn’t as nimble as the Chevrolet or Audi. Our biggest complaint, though, is the Evoque’s ride. It never really settles and only gets choppier as the speed increases; this is especially irritating on the motorway.

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What are they like inside?

The Volt’s cabin looks suitably space-age. Its dash is dominated by two colour screens, and the centre console is a technological marvel, with touch-sensitive controls built into the fascia itself. It’s not that great to use, though. Not only do all the ‘buttons’ look identical, but it can also be hard to aim your finger with any accuracy.

Worse still, the quality of the materials lags behind the others’, while the view out is compromised by the thick, steeply angled windscreen pillars and the bodywork across the rear window.

At least the driver will have no complaints about space. Only those over six feet tall will find their head brushing the roof, while leg room is also generous. Overall, though, the Volt is the least impressive for practicality.

In the A5, its higher quality immediately strikes you, while the controls are generally clear and easy to use. That said, the ventilation controls can be awkward to use.

There’s plenty of space in the front – although the offset driving position is a real pain – and the rear is much more accommodating than the Volt’s. There’s enough space for a couple of six-footers.

In keeping with the Evoque’s butch looks, its cabin has an attractively Tonka Toy feel. The controls are big and bold – and easy to use as a result. You sit a little higher than in the others, but there’s no shortage of head or leg room in the front, and it’s pretty much on a par with the Audi for rear accommodation. Its boot is a good shape, but the floor isn’t as long as the Audi’s, so the A5 is better at taking luggage.

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What will they cost?

On purchase price alone, the Chevrolet Volt is the most tempting of these three, but that doesn’t tell the whole picture. While the Audi A5 Sportback and the Range Rover Evoque are both upmarket brands with desirable badges, Chevrolet’s image is rather less prestigious; indeed, the marque has been defunct in the UK for several years now.

That means that while the Volt’s prices start comparatively low, they’ll also fall comparatively quickly, while the A5’s and Evoque’s are more likely to hold up. It’s also worth mentioning that both the Audi and the Range Rover are larger cars from classes that are generally more expensive; compared with similarly-sized family cars, the Volt is actually quite pricey. Not the bargain it might at first appear, therefore. Keep in mind, too, that finding a Volt will be much harder, as so few were sold in the UK when it was new.

What the Volt does have in its corner is its running costs. With its extraordinary claimed overall consumption figure of 235mpg looks cheap on fuel, and corresponding CO2 output of 27g/km, the Volt will be exempt from road tax. However, be careful if you plan to regularly run the Volt on petrol power alone; in our experience, long-distance drives on the motorway cause the fuel economy to plummet to around 35mpg. The Evoque is the least economical of the three cars here, in theory, with a claimed consumption of 56.5mpg, with the Audi sitting between the two.

Servicing costs on the Volt are hard to get a handle on as Chevrolet no longer exists in the UK, but costs for the similar Vauxhall Ampera should be a good guide. Expect them to come in below the amount you’ll pay to maintain the Range Rover Evoque, and they’ll be roughly on a par, if not slightly below, that of the Audi A5 Sportback.

Reliability-wise, it is again hard to come up with a definitive verdict on the Volt as it sold in such small numbers, though we haven’t heard of any major common faults and owners generally seem to be a happy bunch. Of the other two cars, it’s the Audi that shines, with a reliability rating of 95% in the latest What Car? Reliability Survey; the Evoque scored a rather more average 62%.

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Verdict

With three such disparate cars, it might seem a difficult task to pick a winner, especially because each one seems to offer something a little different. But surprisingly, in the final reckoning, there’s a distinct hierarchy, with one standing out as a winner, and one car falling behind the other two.

The Volt is still a futuristic-looking vehicle, with the potential, if it fits into your lifestyle, to be very cheap to run. That it doesn’t always turn out to be so cheap in real-world motoring, with its limited electric-only range, is a disappointment. However, it is the cheapest to buy. That heavy depreciation is either a huge negative or, viewed from the point of view of someone buying one now to keep it for some time, a distinct advantage. In reality, it’s also symptomatic of the relative lack of sales success it enjoyed.

The Evoque is still a super-stylish and highly desirable car, despite the preponderance of them on the road. It’s not the best to drive here, though, and its strong residuals mean it’s expensive to buy next to the other two. On top of that, its inferior claimed fuel economy will make it the most expensive of the three to run. We still like the Evoque, but we think there are better versions to buy used than this one.

The understated Audi may be the most sober-looking car in this test, but it is the nicest car of the three to drive, and its strong performance and classy interior make it the best for anyone contemplating long journeys and motorway schleps. Its resale values split the other’s in two, and it also has the advantage of being more spacious and more practical. It’s the one we’d pick.

1st – Audi A5 Sportback

  • For Strong performance; great to drive; classy interior
  • Against Offset driving position; firm low-speed ride
  • Verdict The best car here to drive, as well as the most spacious and practical
Specifications: Audi A5 Sportback 2.0 TDI 177 SE
  • Engine size 2.0-litre diesel
  • List price when new £29,595
  • Price today £14,000*
  • Power 175bhp
  • Torque 280lb ft
  • 0-60mph 9.4sec
  • Top speed 142mph
  • Fuel economy 61.4mpg (Official average)
  • CO2 emissions 120g/km
2nd – Range Rover Evoque

  • For Strong residual values; refined cruiser
  • Against Worst fuel economy here; unsettled ride; disappointing to drive
  • Verdict Not the best version of the Evoque, but still a highly desirable car
Specifications: Range Rover Evoque eD4 Pure 5dr
  • Engine size 2.2-litre diesel
  • List price when new £27,955
  • Price today £17,000*
  • Power 148bhp
  • Torque 280lb ft
  • 0-60mph 10.6sec
  • Top speed 112mph
  • Fuel economy 56.5mpg (Official average)
  • CO2 emissions 133g/km
3rd – Chevrolet Volt

  • For Potential fuel economy; futuristic looks
  • Against The least impressive here for quality, space and practicality
  • Verdict Cheap to buy now, but you’ll have to make sure it’ll fit into your lifestyle
Specifications: Chevrolet Volt
  • Engine size 1.4-litre petrol (plus electric motor)
  • List price when new £29,995
  • Price today £11,000*
  • Power 150bhp
  • Torque 273lb ft
  • 0-60mph 9.6sec
  • Top speed 99mph
  • Fuel economy 235.0mpg (Official average)
  • CO2 emissions 27g/km

(whatcar.com, https://goo.gl/q1PyRy)

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