Best electric estate cars

Lots of luggage space with low emissions: these are the best electric estate cars

BuyaCar team
Jul 4, 2018

There are small electric cars, electric family cars, electric SUVs and even electric vans. But for now, you can’t buy an estate car that’s powered solely by electricity.

Estate car buyers can do their bit for the environment (and cut their fuel costs), though. Plug-in hybrid estate cars have batteries and motors for zero-emission driving. Their range on a single charge is usually 20 to 30 miles, so they also have a petrol or diesel engine to take over when the power runs out. When you need to move quickly, the motor and engine combine for a power boost.

In the real world, their range is usually a few miles less than the official figures but even so, most plug-in hybrids will manage the average commute without using a drop of fuel. Even if your journey is twice the 9.9 mile average, as calculated by the Department for Transport,  a workplace charging station will enable you to run on battery power alone.


Business drivers can benefit enormously too: official emissions figures for plug-in hybrids are generally extremely low, which brings down the cost of company car tax. There’s a government grant available if you’re buying brand new, which reduces the list price by £4,500.

However, these cars aren’t actually as efficient on long-distance journeys: once the batteries in a plug-in hybrid run out, the car is simply running on petrol and diesel power like a conventional car - but carrying around the heavy battery pack.


Best electric estate cars


Kia Optima Sportswagon PHEV

List price £35,145  2017 cars typically from £24,000
Official electric range 38 miles  CO2 emissions 33g/km

This Kia combines a reasonable list price (compared to the competition) with a lengthy electric range, making it the most likely to represent good value for money.

Even if you drive 30 miles between charges, you’ll use barely (if any fuel) and the car comes well-equipped, even if the design is more functional than stylish, as with the Mercedes and Volvo below. It’s well below the limit for the lowest company car tax band (until April 2020), so even 40% taxpayers will pay less than £2,000 a year for the entry-level car.

The Optima is heavier than the standard model but this is only really obvious in corners. It’s quiet, smooth and comfortable, with plenty of space in the back seats and boot.


Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE

List price £39,195  2017 cars typically from £30,000
Official electric range 31 miles  CO2 emissions 40g/km

With a realistic electric range of 25 to 30 miles, the Passat GTE has enough battery power that some families will rarely hear the car’s petrol engine kick in.

On longer journeys, you’re likely to get closer to 55mpg than the 156.9mpg that’s listed as its official fuel economy figure, which reduces fuel savings. But business users will cut their company car tax bill no matter how it’s used, thanks to the car’s low carbon dioxide emissions rating of 40g/km.

Internally and externally, the car is little different to the standard Passat, but you will find a few compromises. Underfloor boot storage is reduced by 180 litres to accommodate the battery pack and it’s a little more jarring over bumpy roads because it’s heavier.

At the moment, you’re best off looking for a nearly new or used VW Passat GTE, as Volkswagen is reporting long waiting lists for the car.


Mercedes C350e

2016 cars typically from £25,000
Official electric range 19 miles  CO2 emissions 49g/km

It’s business users who’ll be drawn to the plug-in hybrid version of the Mercedes C-Class Estate thanks to its official CO2 emissions figure of 49g/km, which is 1g/km within the lowest tax band (until April 2020).

There’s a blip in production as an updated version of the C-Class is launched but nearly-new and used models are available. The high list price does mean that 40% taxpayers will still be paying a little over £2,000 per year for the car but that’s half the cost of company car tax on an entry-level diesel C-Class Estate.

With an official electric range of 19 miles, which drops closer to 15 miles in real-world driving, this Mercedes does need regular charging to keep fuel consumption low, and you’re unlikely to reach even 40mpg on long motorway journeys.

When you floor the accelerator, the electric motor and petrol engine combine to deliver eye-opening acceleration. The heavy batteries force you to slow down in the corners, though.


Volvo V90 T8

List price £59,250 2017 cars typically from £30,000
Official electric range 28 miles  CO2 emissions 49g/km

Eye-wateringly expensive it might be, but the Volvo V90 looks and feels like a high-quality product, thanks to svelte design and a luxurious interior, dominated by a large and slick touchscreen.

It’s also outrageously quick. Stamp your foot on the accelerator for maximum power and both the motor and engine will spring into life, speeding this V90 from 0-62mph in 5.3 seconds, which is swifter than a standard Porsche Panamera.

Of course, maximising the performance of the V90 will substantially affect its fuel economy, which benefits from a lengthy electric-only range. The car can easily manage a 20-mile journey on battery power alone.

As with the rest of the cars listed, the V90 currently falls into the lowest company car tax bracket, although the hefty list price does mean that higher-rate taxpayers will need to fork out more than £3,000 per year.


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