Best small estate cars to buy in 2022

If you need room for buggies and bags but don't want an SUV, these small estate cars offers are easy to manage and easy to live with

BuyaCar team
Jan 10, 2022

The appeal of a small hatchback has always been obvious - easy to park, economical to run and cheap to buy. Sometimes, though, the lack of boot space can rear its ugly head when you venture further afield with lots of luggage, go on an IKEA run or plan a trip to the dump after a spring clean.

Sure, it’s easy to go for something much bigger and get that space, but hauling around a bulky SUV or barge-like estate isn’t for everyone. There is a middle ground of estate cars that keep the manoeuvrability, great fuel economy and affordability that make smaller cars so great, but offer just that bit more space.

Some of the best small cars on sale also come in estate form, meaning they have all the benefits of the standard models but with a little more versatility and it’s a wonder they aren’t more popular.

Their compact size can be close in some cases to that of a Ford Fiesta, and yet carry a surprisingly large amount of stuff - in some cases more than a bigger SUV.

The Skoda Fabia Estate is a case in point; it has 530 litres of boot space, whereas the bulky Nissan Qashqai SUV offers just 430 litres. All these benefits don’t have to cost an arm and a leg either, with small estates starting from just £7,700 on BuyaCar and finance payments from just £146 per month.

Admittedly, one downside to these cars is that there tends to be fewer to choose from, but any of the best small estate cars detailed below could be all the car you’ll ever need.

Best small estate cars

1. Mini Clubman

Best small estate car for style

Length 4,253mm
Boot space 360 litres (seats up) 1,250 litres (seats down)
Used deals from £11,483
Monthly finance from £182*

Minis are well known as fashionable cars, and the Clubman is aimed at families who need the space of an estate, but desire the character of a Mini.

The Clubman is also a relatively sporty estate, even the lowest powered cars never feel slow, and the car in general is nimble and fun.

The size of the boot isn’t the biggest here, but at 360-litres it’s on par with the standard Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3, and is big enough for bulky buggies.

MINI CLUBMAN BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Skoda Fabia Estate

Best small estate car for value for money

Skoda Fabia Estate side view

Length 4,262mm
Boot space 530 litres (seats up) 1,395 litres (seats down)
Used deals from £8,995
Monthly finance from £151*

The Skoda Fabia may be a small car, but it’s one with a massive boot. With the seats up it can hold 530-litres, more than a larger Kia Cee’d Sportswagon or Ford Focus Estate. It’ll store even more than the much larger Skoda Karoq crossover.

The little Skoda is also significantly cheaper than many other estate cars too, and while it’s not as plush on the inside as say, a VW Polo, it’s still a nice place to sit. It also comes with a good automatic gearbox if that’s your bag.

The 1.4-litre diesel engine can officially get more than 70mpg too, although in general we’d only recommend a diesel if you travel more than 15,000 miles a year.

2015-2021 SKODA FABIA BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Dacia Logan MCV

Best small estate car for cheap motoring

Length 4,501mm
Boot space 573 litres (seats up) 1,518mm (seats down)
Used deals from £7,700
Monthly finance from £146*

When we say the Dacia Logan is cheap, we mean, really cheap. Prices from new start from £8,495, and while base model Access models don’t even come equipped with alloy wheels, they do have a big 573-litre boot.

The exterior design is basic and somewhat slab-side, and inside, things are pretty plain. You can tell it’s built to a price with the materials, but the fit and finish isn’t too bad.

Engine-wise, it’s worth the extra money for the newer 0.9-litre petrol engine, as the 1.2-litre alternative is too slow to haul a Logan, let alone a Logan with a boot full of wares.

DACIA LOGAN MCV BUYERS' GUIDE

4. MG 5

Best small estate car for electric motoring

MG 5 EV side view

Length 4,544mm
Boot space 578 litres (seats up) 1,456 litres (seats down)
Used deals Limited stock

If you thought small estate cars were rare, then small electric estate cars are even rarer. MG themselves proudly highlight that the 5 is Europe’s first fully electric estate, so it’s a great choice if you’re keen to make the move to EV ownership with the added practicality of that big boot.

The MG isn’t necessarily the cheapest of all the estate options, but it hasn’t been around along as the other estates in this list, will be far cheaper to run and is very affordable for an electric car. More to the point, the MG 5 should be fairly future-proof with the phasing out of petrol and diesel, but is styled conservatively enough to appeal to most tastes.

The MG 5 has a respectable range of 210 miles on a single charge, and real world figures seem to back this up. If you need the space for shorter journeys around town, the MG 5 might well be the best option for you.

READ MORE ABOUT THE MG 5

5. Seat Leon ST

Best all-rounder

Length 4,549mm
Boot space 587 litres (seats up) 1,470 litres (seats down)
Used deals from £8,999
Monthly finance from £173*

The previous-generation Seat Leon estate model, also known as ST, offers the great build quality that most cars from the Volkswagen group are known for at a more affordable price. The great thing about the Leon estate is that it comes in a wide variety of engine options and trim levels, including the sportier FR and Cupra flavours if you want more oomph.

If you’re planning on carrying heavier loads on a more regular basis, you’d be better off with a diesel option, or if you plan on driving in more slippery conditions, the range-topping Cupra comes in either two-wheel or four-wheel drive with an auto or manual gearbox.

If the boot space doesn’t quite cut it, the previous generation Volkswagen Golf estate on which the SEAT Leon ST is based offers 18 litres more boot space at 605 litres. However, the Golf is longer at 4562mm and usually more expensive on the used market, which might make the Leon the better small estate buy.

SEAT LEON ST BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Ford Focus Estate

Best small estate car that's fun-to-drive


Length 4,556mm
Boot space 476 litres (seats up) 1,502 litres (seats down)
Used deals from £9,000
Monthly finance from £202*

OK, so the boot space in the previous-generation Focus Estate isn’t the best in its class, but passenger space is pretty plentiful, and what it lacks in cargo space it certainly makes up for with the driving experience.

The Focus is famously fun and responsive to drive, and none of this is taken away from the estate variant. If you intend to tow anything, go for one of the larger 2.0 diesel engines, but if you want to take the fun-factor to the next level with the larger boot space, the Focus estate even came in high-performance sporty ST trim.

The fit and finish on the Focus models doesn’t have the best reputation, but with the standard Focus always topping sales charts, Ford must have been doing something right. If a marginally bigger boot is all you’re after along with smiles all-round, the Focus estate is a great choice.

2011-2018 FORD FOCUS BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Hyundai i30 Tourer

Best small estate car with a big warranty

Length 4,585mm
Boot space 602 litres (seats up) 1,650 litres (seats down)
Used deals from £9,995
Monthly finance from £236*

Clever use of space in the Hyundai i30 Tourer means that while it may be one of the longer small estates on the list, it offers one of the bigger boots. Hyundai are famous for their generous five-year warranties which should still be valid for a few years to come if you go for a more recent option.

The current generation Hyundai i30 tourer is reasonably smarter to look at than its predecessor and comes with more gadgets for the price than rivals, making it great value for money. The downside to the i30 is its lack of engine options and disappointing handling and ride.

If the i30 Tourer doesn’t do it for you, the C’eed Sportswagon from sister brand Kia offers similar boot space but with a seven-year warranty which could win you over.

HYUNDAI I30 BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Peugeot 308 SW

Best small estate car for bootspace

Length 4,585mm
Boot space 660 litres (seats up) 1,775 litres (seats down)
Used deals from £8,595
Monthly finance from £175*

Looking for a little French charm in your estate car? The Peugeot 308 SW has an enormous boot that eclipses everything else in its class. While the length of the car is the same as the Hyundai i30 Tourer, it squeezes in even more boot space. Rear passenger space for adults is not so good, but shouldn’t be a problem if you only tend to ferry around your kids.

The diesel engines offered in the Peugeot 308 SW are smooth, with the 1.6 BlueHDi engine suiting the car well. If petrol is more your bag, then the 1.2-litre e-THP 130 engine is the one to go for. CO2 emissions are also low for the 308 SW, so it’s not as bad on your conscience as other petrol or diesel rivals.

If the main thing you’re after is a big boot, then the Peugeot 308 SW is incredibly practical, albeit not the most exciting drive of the bunch.

2014-2021 PEUGEOT 308 SW BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta Titanium:

Monthly payments over 48 months: £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage allowance: 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.

 

Read more about:

Latest advice

  1. Car maintenance

  2. Car ownership

  3. How long does it take to charge an electric car?