Best estate cars

Whether you need to carry flat-pack furniture or giant suitcases, these are the best estate cars for the job

John Evans
Aug 3, 2018

There might be a craze for big SUVs and Crossovers but estate cars are a really practical alternative to those larger vehicles for a lower price. An estate car with folding rear seats can accommodate a huge amount of luggage and its running costs will inevitably be lower than those of an SUV-style vehicle.

Here are our top ten picks for estates, for budgets that range from the top end to the budget basement.

  

Best estate cars

Skoda Superb

Best estate car for space per £

Our pick Skoda Superb SE Technology 2.0 TDI 150
Skoda Superb Estate (current model) deals from £13,799
Finance from £208 per month

The Skoda Superb estate is great value – it combines class-leading interior space with high-quality finish and materials at a price that rivals struggle to match.

That spacious interior – there’s plenty of room for five – is very clearly laid out. The dashboard touchscreen makes it simple and straightforward to control the radio, music and sat-nav, although it can be distracting on the move. The car has an extremely good record when iin customer satisfaction surveys. And it scored the maximum five stars when it was independently crash tested by Euro NCAP.

Even the entry level Superb is very well equipped, with alloy-wheels, body-coloured mirrors and door handles, LED rear lights, front foglights, a three-spoke multifunction steering wheel, electronic stability control, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a DAB digital radio. Previous-generation cars, sold until 2015, start from £10,995 on BuyaCar.
Skoda Superb buying guide

Boot space seats up/down 660/1950 litres

 

BMW 5-series

Best estate car for combining practicality and driving enjoyment

Our pick BMW 520d SE Touring Auto
BMW 5 Series (current model) deals from £22,295
Finance from £306 per month

The current BMW 5-series estate launched in 2017 offers a prestige badge, a sporty feel and a very spacious and practical interior. There’s plenty of room for five people, and the 570 litre boot should swallow all the luggage they need.

The interior fit and finish is superb. There are some neat touches, too, such as a handy underfloor storage space and split-opening tailgate, so you can just open the back window rather than the whole bootlid if you only have small things to put in. The bootlid is powered, too – convenient if you’re hands are full.

It’s only 35kg heavier than the BMW 5 Series saloon, which is one reason why it feels nimble to drive. The Mercedes E-class may have more room but the 5 Series manages to combine impressive load-lugging abilities and a better driving experience in one. For a cheaper option, look at the previous-generation BMW 5-Series estate which costs from £14,499 at BuyaCar.
BMW 5 Series buying guide

Boot space seats up/down 570/1700 litres

 

Audi A4 Avant

Best estate car for compact quality

Our pick Audi A4 Avant 2.0 TDI Ultra SE
Audi A4 Avant (current model) deals from £15,499
Finance from £215 per month

On sale since 2016, the current Audi A4 Avant has a marginally bigger boot than its major rival, the BMW 3 Series, with 505 litres and 1510 litres with the back seats down.

A motorised bootlid comes as standard, so it’s easier to operate when your hands are full; the opening is tall and wide, so heavy baggage takes less effort to load.

A comfortable ride and well built, high-tech interior with a 7in dashboard screen, will be familiar to anyone with a recent Audi. That solidity also applies to the car that the current model replaced: the older A4 Avant costs from £11,189 at BuyaCar.
Audi A4 Avant buying guide

Boot space seats up/down 505/1510 litres

 

Volkswagen Passat

Best estate car for high quality without a premium price

Our pick Volkswagen Passat SE Business 2.0 TDI
Volkswagen Passat Estate (current model) deals from £10,999
Finance from £147 per month

The Volkswagen Passat’s boot is enormous. This is combined with a high-quality interior and competitive price that rivals struggle to match.

The Passat is also one of the most practical estates on sale. Thanks to its very square shape, the boot’s cavernous load space can take even awkwardly shaped loads. And if you find yourself often carrying very heavy luggage, VW offers self-levelling suspension to keep the car on an even keel.

Even basic cars come well equipped, while those made after January 2018 come with improved smartphone connectivity, including Apple Carplay and Android Auto for easy control of apps via the touchscreen or voice commands.
Volkswagen Pasat buying guide

Boot space seats up/down 650/1780 litres

 

Mercedes E-class

Best estate car for comfort and luxury

Our pick Mercedes E220 d SE Estate
Mercedes E-Class (current model) deals from £20,980
Finance from £306 per month

With its understated design, grand image and enormous boot, the Mercedes E-Class Estate is the family car of choice for well-to-do families who don’t want to shout about their success.

The car’s high-tech dashboard, made up of two widescreen displays, is optional, but even entry-level cars are luxurious. It’s a car that prioritises comfort over sportiness, with self-levelling suspension that keeps the car level and stable when loaded. A powered bootlid and remote release for the split-fold rear seats helps you to load the car when you have your hands full.

However, the current E-Class Estate, which went on sale in 2016, has a boot that, when the seats are down, is 130 litres smaller than the model it replaced. For more space and a cheaper price, it’s worth looking at the previous-generation Mercedes E-Class. BuyaCar prices start from £14,295.
Mercedes E-Class Estate buying guide

Boot space seats up/down 640/1820 litres

  

Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer

Best estate car for style without the cost

Our pick Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer Design Nav 1.6 (136PS) Turbo D ecoTEC
Vauxhall Insignia (current model) deals from £15,990
Finance from £209 per month

You’d be forgiven for mistaking the Vauxhall Insignia Sports tourer for an Audi, which isn’t something that can be said for many Vauxhalls.

it’s practical too, with an impressive 1665 litres of seats-down load space, which is easily accessible thanks to electrically-folding rear seats. Leave them up and there’s 560 litres back there, easily enough for a pushchair and the weekly shop.

On the road, the Vauxhall even imitates Audi in driving style: the Grand Sport is superbly comfortable and stable on British roads, but doesn’t feel particularly sharp when changing direction. The previous Insignia, sold until 2016, is much cheaper, with BuyaCar prices starting at £7,495 but you'll have to live with its uninspiring design.

Boot space seats up/down 560/1665 litres

 

Skoda Fabia Estate

Best estate car for small parking spaces

Our pick Skoda Fabia SE L 1.0 TSI
Skoda Fabia (current model) deals from £8,250
Finance from £135 per month

The Skoda Fabia estate is one of the very few small cars available with an estate option, which makes it an practical and cheap alternative to a larger car.

In fact, you can get more in its boot, when all seats are in use, than the Ford Mondeo, which is a lot bigger on the outside and getting on for twice the price.

With a car of this size, it’s worth avoiding entry-level S versions, which lack air conditioning, rear parking sensors and height adjustable seats.
Skoda Fabia buying guide

Boot space in litres seats up/down 530/1395

 

Dacia Logan MCV estate

Best estate car for the lowest price

Our pick Dacia Logan Ambiance 1.2 MCV
Dacia Logan (current model) deals from £5,352
Finance from £91 per month

This one is all about the money – the Dacia Logan is about the same size as a Ford Focus, but costs considerably less than a tiny Citroen C1 city car. Seats up, the luggage capacity isn’t that far off a VW Golf, and with them folded flat, there’s a useful 1518 litres of volume.

Dacia makes its cars so cheap by using mechanical parts from Renault, so they have been tested in use by hundreds of thousands of owners. One thing to bear in mind is that the Dacia only scored three out of five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests.

Boot space seats up/down 573/1518 litres

 

Peugeot 308 SW

Best estate car for the largest loadspace in class

Our pick Peugeot 308 SW 1.2 Puretech 130 Allure
Peugeot 308 (current model) deals from £7,499
Finance from £133 per month

For sheer load space, the Peugeot 308 SW is above all of its small family car rivals, including the VW Golf and Vauxhall Astra. There’s no less than 660 litres of space with the seats up and 1775 litres with them down.

That’s not been achieved through wizardry, but by stealing some legroom from rear passengers, so space in the back is on the tight side. It means that adults don’t have as much space to stretch out in the back, so if legroom is more important than boot size, the 308 is not the car for you.

An update at the end of 2017 added a more efficient 1.5-litre diesel engine and improved the graphics on the dashboard touchscreen, but earlier models offer better value. The 1.2-litre petrol engine is an excellent option if you don’t need diesel efficiency over long distances.
Peugeot 308 buying guide

Boot space seats up/down 660/1775 litres

 

Ford Mondeo Estate

Best estate car for smooth performance

Our pick Ford Mondeo Zetec 1.5 Ecoboost
Ford Mondeo (current model) deals from £11,100
Finance from £173 per month
 

The Ford Mondeo estate might not have a badge to impress the neighbours, but it is a smooth running, very spacious, good value and well-made contender. In fact, this is the closest that Ford has come to matching its arch-rival, the Volkswagen Passat, for quality of materials and assembly. It has also earned the full five stars from independent Euro NCAP crash testing.

Add to that a really great range of petrol and diesel engines, and you’ve got a compelling case. If you need it, there’s even a four-wheel drive option for extra control on slippery surfaces.
Ford Mondeo Estate buying guide

Boot space seats up/down 500/1605 litres

 

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