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
Dec 9, 2020

If you're looking for a capable family car with plenty of space inside and a boot capable of carrying everything you own (well, almost), while still offering exciting and close to the road driving, you haven't really got a better alternative than a good old estate car.

Sales of tall sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and crossovers may be surging, but estate cars are a properly practical alternative to those larger vehicles, and they tend to come in at a lower price. An estate car with folding rear seats can accommodate a huge amount of luggage, much more than your standard crossover (which is essentially a small hatchback on stilts) and often their lighter weight means fuel economy can be better than an SUV, too.

If a large boot is high on your agenda, and you aren't interesting in floating around in an SUV, then an estate car is the perfect choice for you. With used models available across a range of price points, with boot space aplenty, enjoyable driving characteristics, and room for the family, it's hard to go wrong really.

Best estate cars

1. Skoda Superb

Best estate car for space and capacity

Our pick Skoda Superb SE Technology 2.0 TDI 150
Used deals from £14,000
Monthly finance from £252*
Boot space
 660 litres seats up/1,950 litres seats down

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.


2. BMW 5-series

Best estate car for combining practicality and driving enjoyment

Our pick BMW 520d SE Touring Auto
Used deals from £19,980
Monthly finance from £293*
Boot space
 570 litres seats up/1,700 litres seats down

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 £13,758 at BuyaCar.


3. Audi A6 Avant

Best estate car for interior quality

Our pick Audi A6 Avant 40TDI
Used deals from £18,495
Monthly finance from £289*
Boot space
 565 litres seats up/1,680 litres seats down

The latest Audi A6 makes a compelling case for your hard-earned cash if you want something brimming with technology and space.

Up front, the entertainment system features dual screens, and Audi’s virtual cockpit. This 12.3-inch digital display replaces the traditional instrument binnacle and can be programmed to show different information. Essentially, it’s very swish.

In the rear, boot space is more than ample. It has 565 litres with the seats up, although it is bested by the Mercedes E-Class Estate. The older A6 Avant costs from £14,600 at BuyaCarAUDI A6 AVANT BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Volkswagen Passat

Best estate car for high quality without a premium price

Our pick Volkswagen Passat SE Business 2.0 TDI
Used deals from £11,500
Monthly finance from £223*
Boot space
 650 litres seats up/1,780 litres seats down

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.


5. Mercedes E-class

Best estate car for comfort and luxury

Our pick Mercedes E220 d SE Estate
Used deals from £22,980
Monthly finance from £305*
Boot space
 640 litres seats up/1,820 litres seats down

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. .


6. 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
Used deals from £6,299
Monthly finance from £148*
Boot space
 560 litres seats up/1,665 litres seats down

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 but you'll have to live with its uninspiring design.


7. Skoda Fabia Estate

Best estate car for small parking spaces

Our pick Skoda Fabia SE L 1.0 TSI
Boot space 530 litres seats up/1,395 litres seats down

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.


8. Dacia Logan MCV estate

Best estate car for the lowest price

Our pick Dacia Logan Ambiance 1.2 MCV
Used deals from £5,500
Monthly finance from £108*
Boot space
 573 litres seats up/1,518 litres seats down

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.


9. Peugeot 308 SW

Best estate car for the largest loadspace in class

Our pick Peugeot 308 SW 1.2 Puretech 130 Allure
Used deals from £7,467
Monthly finance from £145*
Boot space
 660 litres seats up/1,775 litres seats down

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.


10. Ford Mondeo Estate

Best estate car for smooth performance

Our pick Ford Mondeo Zetec 1.5 Ecoboost
Boot space 500 litres seats up/1,605 litres seats down

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.


*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

Buyacar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.


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