Best electric estate cars to buy in 2019

Lots of luggage space with low emissions: these are the best electric estate cars (with plug-in hybrid power)

BuyaCar team
Mar 6, 2019

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 at the moment, although the advantage will reduce from April 2020 with new tax rules.

Bear in mind that 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

 

1. Volvo V60 T8

Best electric estate for good looks

Official electric range 30 miles  CO2 48g/km

Volvo's V60 estate car will gain plug-in hybrid power later this year, when the T8 version arrives, with a realistic range of 25 miles using predominantly electric power.

It's spacious (with a 529-litre boot), luxurious and its looks have been well-received. It's also pretty quick when the petrol engine and motor combine with a burst of power that can take the car from 0-62mph in just under five seconds.

CO2 emissions are below the 50g/km limit, resulting in the lowest rate of company car tax - until next year - but the cost of all this isn't cheap. Prices are expected to start at around £45,000 and there are no used models available for now.
Volvo V60 buying guide 

 

2. Mercedes E 300 de EQ Power

Best electric estate for overall fuel economy

Official electric range 32 miles  CO2 44g/km

Mercedes' plug-in hybrid E-Class Estate leads the way when it comes to all-round fuel because its battery and motor are combined with a diesel, rather than petrol, engine. This means that you benefit from the extra efficiency of diesel when the electric range of around 30 miles is exhausted.

Emissions from the engine meet current regulations, so the car is exempt from inner-city emission charges. In addition, you can also choose to save the electric power for urban motoring, so the diesel engine only operates out of town, where air pollution is far less problematic. 

The £50,000 starting price from new isn't cheap, but this car is larger than most in this list, with plenty of rear seat space, an enormous 660-litre boot and a long list of standard equipment.
Mercedes E-Class buying guide

 

3. Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE

Best electric estate for families

Latest Volkswagen Passat GTE deals from £25,000
Finance from £356 per month
Official electric range 34 miles  CO2 tbc

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.

Even on longer journeys, where the you're relying on the petrol engine, the car will return up to 55mpg, which isn't bad for a large petrol-powered vehicle.

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 an updated version is not yet on sale.

 

4. Kia Optima Sportswagon PHEV

Best electric estate for value

Latest Kia optima PHEV deals from £18,999
Finance from £292 per month
Official electric range 33 miles  CO2 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.

 

5. Volvo V90 T8

Best electric estate for luxury

Official electric range 29 miles  CO2 46g/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.

 

6. Porsche Panamera 4 E-hybrid

Best electric estate for performance

Latest Porsche Panamera deals from £37,990
Finance from £553 per month
Official electric range 32 miles  CO2 64g/km

A Porsche for company directors who want to reduce their tax bills might not be the most endearing sales pitch, but the secondary benefit is that the hybrid system boosts performance: when the motor and petrol engine are both in action, the car will accelerate from 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds - or 3.4 seconds if you pick the Turbo version.

With performance like that, it takes some restraint to drive with the moderation that keeps the car in electric-only mode for around 30 miles. Mind you, if you can afford the price, which starts at more than £85,000.

That does bring added practicality over the standard Panamera, with a larger 520-litre boot in the Sport Turismo estate car.

 

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