Best estate cars

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

BuyaCar team
Aug 31, 2016

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.

1. Skoda Superb

★★★★★ (4.7 / 5)
Best estate car for: the most space for the least amount of cash

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, and the controls feel solid and well made. 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 Superb has an extremely good track record when it comes to 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.

Our pick Skoda Superb 2.0 TDI 150 SE Technology Estate,
Typical BuyaCar price new £21,332 (£2,423 saving) 

Height 1462mm, Length 4838mm, Width 1817mm
Acceleration (0-62mph) 8.9sec, Fuel economy 68.9mpg, CO2 109g/km
Boot space seats up/down 660/1950 litres


2. BMW 5-series

★★★★★ (4.6 / 5)
Best estate car for: Combination of practicality and driving enjoyment

The BMW 5-series estate offers a prestige badge, a sporty feel and a very spacious and practical interior. There’s plenty of room for five people and all their luggage – the boot is simply massive, expanding to 1670 litres when the back seats are lowered. It's a useful space because the boot floor is the widest in the class.

The interior fit and finish is superb. There are some neat touches, too, such as a handy underfloor storage space and a 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.

Even the entry-level models feature an impressive array of equipment, including leather upholstery, Bluetooth phone connection, and climate control. Other useful features include automatic lights and windscreen wipers, as well as parking sensors both front and rear.

Our pick BMW 520d SE Touring Auto,
Price new £37,130

Height 1475mm, Length 4907mm, Width 1860mm
Acceleration (0-62mph) 8.1sec, Fuel economy 61.4mpg CO2 122g/km 
Boot space seats up/down 560/1670 litres


3. Mazda 6 Tourer

★★★★★ (4.5 / 5)
Best estate car for: Low fuel costs

The Mazda 6 Tourer is comfortable and quiet to drive. The quality of its interior isn't quite up to the standards of the Mercedes E-Class and BMW 5 Series but, to be fair, it doesn't carry their hefty pricetags.

Space in the back seats of the Tourer is very generous, particularly when it comes to headroom. Three adults can sit here comfortably, although the middle passenger has limited space for their legs. The load area is also spacious and there's no lip at the boot opening. It's flat, so you can slide big, heavy items in easily. The luggage area cover goes up and down with the bootlid so you don’t have to slide it back and forth.

There’s a choice of diesel or petrol power – the diesels in particular offer excellent performance and fuel economy. And while the Mazda is a little more expensive than rivals such as the Ford Mondeo, it is well equipped with alloy wheels, cruise control, aircon, Bluetooth connectivity and Mazda’s 5.8-inch touchscreen display.

Our pick Mazda 6 Tourer estate 2.2d SE-L Nav
Typical BuyaCar price new £23,671 (£1,124 saving), 1 year-old £15,500

Height 1480mm, Length 4805mm, Width 1840mm
Acceleration (0-62mph) 9.3secs, Fuel economy 67.3mpg CO2 110g/km
Boot space seats up/down 522/1648 litres


4. Volkswagen Passat

★★★★ (4.4 / 5)
Best estate car for: Quality feel without a premium price

The Volkswagen Passat estate makes a very strong case for itself, with a simply massive boot and interior quality that's above similarly-priced rivals like the Mazda 6.

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 large 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 the most basic Passat comes standard with Bluetooth connectivity, 16in alloy wheels, DAB digital radio and a leather-trimmed steering wheel with buttons to control your music. Safety equipment includes knee airbags and rear side airbags – the Passat scored the maximum five stars in independent crash testing carried out by Euro NCAP.

Our pick Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TDI SE Business 
Typical BuyaCar price new £21,767 (£4,828 saving) 1 year-old £18,897

Height 1477mm, Length 4767mm, Width 1832mm
Acceleration (0-62mph) 8.9sec, Fuel economy 68.9mpg CO2 107g/km
Boot space seats up/down 650/1780 litres


5. Mercedes E-class

★★★★☆ (4.3 / 5)
Best estate car for: Comfort and luxury

The Mercedes E-class estate is due to be replaced by a new model very soon but the outgoing version is still one of the best estate cars that you can buy, with a luxurious interior, smooth and comfortable ride, and a colossal load space that's second only to the Skoda Superb on this page.

The standard fit leather seats are heated and electrically adjustable, and the materials used feel high quality. The final versions of the current car come well-equipped with self-parking technology, a reversing camera, sat-nav, bright LED headlights and an automatic emergency braking system.

There’s plenty of room for five adults and all their belongings, although the middle passenger in the rear will have to splay their legs either side of a raised section of the car's floor. Otherwise, head and legroom for all occupants is good.

Our pick Mercedes E220 BlueTEC SE
Typical BuyaCar price new £28,381 (£8,279 saving) 1 year-old £22,510

Height 1474mm, Length 4879mm, Width 1854mm
Acceleration (0-62mph) 8.8sec, Fuel economy 60.1mpg CO2 124g/km
Boot space seats up/down 600/1855 litres


6. Seat Leon

★★★★☆ (4.1 / 5)

The first and most relevant fact about the Seat ST Leon estate is that it uses the mechanical parts from the VW Golf because Volkswagen owns Seat. This means that you can benefit from the comfort and smoothness of a Golf, at the cheaper price of a Seat. The most frugal diesel cars have official fuel economy figures of more than 80mpg (although most will struggle to get to 70mpg in real-world driving) and there is strong performance from some of the more powerful petrol versions.

Our pick Seat Leon 1.2 TSI SE Technology Pack Sport Tourer
Typical BuyaCar price new £15,801 (£3,979 saving), 1 year-old £12,590

Height 1461mm, Length 4228mm, Width 1810mm
Acceleration (0-62mph) 10.1sec, Fuel economy 57.6mpg CO2 116g/km
Boot space seats up/down 587/1470 litres


7. Ford Mondeo estate

★★★★☆ (4.2 / 5)

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.

Our pick Ford Mondeo Zetec 1.5 Ecoboost Typical BuyaCar price new £20,728 (£2,652 saving)

Height 1482mm, Length 4867mm, Width 1852mm
Acceleration (0-62mph) 9.3secs, Fuel economy 60.1mpg CO2 137g/km
Boot space seats up/down 500/1605 litres


8. Skoda Fabia

★★★★☆ (4 / 5)

The Skoda Fabia estate is one of the very few superminis to offer an estate option, and in this guise, it’s an appealing, practical 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. We’d recommend going for the SE model over the rather meanly equipped S, as the former includes include air conditioning, rear parking sensors and height adjustable seats.

Our pick Skoda Fabia SE L 1.2 TSI 110PS Typical BuyaCar price new £14,688 (£1,518 saving) 

Height 1467mm, Length 4257mm, Width 1732mm
Acceleration (0-62mph) 9.6sec, Fuel economy 58.9mpg CO2 110g/km
Boot space in litres seats up/down 530/1395


9. Honda Civic Tourer

★★★★☆ (4 / 5)

The Honda Civic Tourer combines a massive boot with tried and tested Honda technology, which has a reputation for being reliable and long-lived. The Tourer's flexible seating includes 60/40 split folding rear seats, so you can increase luggage space without having to fold down all the rear seats. The base of the seats also flip up, like in a cinema, if you want to put luggage in the footwells. Space for passengers is good and the rear doors open to nearly 90 degrees, making access very easy.

Our pick Honda Civic 1.6 I-DTEC SE Plus
Typical BuyaCar price new £19,971 (£2,379 saving) 1 year-old £15,995

Height 1488mm, Length 4590mm, Width 1770mm
Acceleration (0-62mph) 10.3secs, Fuel economy 74.3mpg
Boot space seats up/down 624/1668 litres


10. Dacia Logan MCV estate

★★★★☆ (3.8 / 5)

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.

Our pick Dacia Logan Ambiance 1.2 MCV Typical BuyaCar price new £7,941 (£54 saving) 1 year-old £6,987

Height 1519mm, Length 4492mm, Width 1733mm
Acceleration (0- 62mph) 14.5secs, Fuel economy 48.7mpg
Boot space seats up/down 573/1518 litres

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