Fast estate cars 2023
These brilliant fast estate cars combine practicality with performance, offering sports car thrills for the whole family
Usually, if you want a performance car, there's a trade off when it comes to practicality. Many sports cars that provide driving thrills and fast acceleration have no rear seats, a small boot or both, yet there is a solution: a fast estate car.
Fast estate cars are often described as the car for everything, bringing the practical boot, large rear seats and roomy shape of a family car but with the performance of a sports car or supercar, depending how much you have to spend.
Here we’re looking at models that cost around £15,000 or above - check out our list of fast estate cars for less than £10,000 if you have a more limited budget. If you have the cash, you should definitely consider one of the cars we’ve picked out below, as they all offer an enticing blend of power and practicality.
Each of these models has a hatchback boot and plenty of space in the rear seats, but is also really fast in a straight line. We’ve also tried to pick models that are fun to drive as well, to cater for those who want a car that is not just fast but enjoyable to drive around corners, too.
The big German brands such as Audi, Mercedes, Volkswagen and BMW are all good places to look if you’re after a fast estate car, as these brands offer plenty of models like this. If those aren’t for you, we’ve also found some models without a German badge that are just as good.
When choosing our top eight cars we have tried to find a mix of power options. Petrol is the best option if you want a fast estate car, but there are also plenty of diesel models with excellent performance. We’ve even included a plug-in hybrid for a more modern twist on the formula.
Read on to find out more about the best fast estate cars for 2021.
Best fast estate cars
Best fast estate car for performance
The Audi RS4 Avant is a pricey option but if you want the ultimate performance car with impressive practicality, it’s a great option. Thanks to its turbocharged petrol engine it can go from 0-62mph in a stunning 4.1 seconds and has a top speed limited to 155mph.
It’s a practical estate car too, with a big boot and a high-quality, spacious cabin that’s packed with tech. It’s a very aggressive and striking-looking car on the outside, but the interior is neatly designed and easy to live with. The automatic gearbox is nice and easy to use but also offers fantastic responsiveness when you want it, too.
The RS4 has four-wheel-drive which helps it to achieve that rapid 0-62mph time - as it minimises wheelspin when accelerating - but also means it’s fast in all weathers and has loads of grip. It’s a little on the stiff side when it comes to ride comfort, and you’ll certainly notice bumps and potholes unlike these cars, but it’s not so uncomfortable you wouldn’t want to drive it every day.
Best fast estate car for space
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The Mercedes E-Class Estate comes in several fast versions, including the E63 and E63 S models which feature supersized engines, but we’ve picked the AMG E43 model here because we reckon it’s the best value for money.
The E43 uses a smaller petrol engine and four-wheel-drive, so it’s still very fast and makes a nice noise. It goes from 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds, which is more than fast enough for anyone in the UK when you consider our speed limits, and it’s great to drive as well.
Yet since it’s an E-Class, the E43 is also super-practical. It has a huge boot - one of the biggest in this type of car - and very roomy back seats that adults can settle into without issue. It’s a brilliant all-rounder, even if it’s not as much fun around corners as some of the other models on this list.
Best fast estate car for electric power
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If you want to keep up with the times and get into a plug-in hybrid car that’s also fast, consider the BMW 530e Touring. It’s a practical 5 Series estate car and has both a big boot and spacious rear seats, yet its punchy petrol engine and electric motor combo means it can go from 0-62mph in just 6.1 seconds.
The 530e uses a 2.0-litre petrol engine alongside the motor, which doesn’t seem much next to the larger engines in other models here, but the big electric motor provides lots of extra power and it delivers it instantly, so performance from low speeds is very strong.
You can plug in and run on electric power only for shorter trips, which is great for commuting without burning much petrol. The 5 Series is also enjoyable to drive, but its best feature is its comfort. On the motorway there’s not much that can beat the 5 Series for comfort, so it’s great for any kind of trip. Just remember that if you fail to charge the car regularly, you'll get poor fuel economy from a plug-in hybrid.
Best fast estate car for fun
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The large, expensive fast estates above are great for long trips and blasting along motorway slip-roads, but they’re quite big and heavy. This means they’re not as much fun to drive as something like this, the Ford Focus ST Estate. It’s a joy to drive on twisty roads, and the punchy diesel engine means it can go from 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds.
The engine also means it’s really economical day-to-day and on the motorway. It’s the Ford’s sharp steering and responsive handling that make it so much fun. The diesel engine is good, but if you want even more performance then there’s also a petrol version with more power.
The Ford works well as a family car too, since it has plenty of boot space and comfortable rear seats. The interior is smart and there is a good amount of tech including smartphone connectivity in all models.
Best fast estate car for daily driving
If the Ford doesn’t appeal as an everyday car, then the Skoda Octavia vRS might do the trick. It’s easier to drive than the Ford thanks to its light controls, plus it has more boot space, a roomier cabin and just as much tech inside.
The Skoda is probably the most sensible car on this list, as it’s really affordable, cheap to run, comfortable and spacious. The diesel engine means it’s great for long trips with high claimed fuel economy figures, but it still goes from 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds; faster than the Ford.
It’s not as fun to drive as the Ford but it is quicker and the punchy engine means it’s enjoyable on A-roads and motorways. If we were to pick a low-cost car to drive every day from this list of fast estates, this Skoda would be it.
Best fast estate car for ease of use
If you want a car that’s easy to drive but can also go faster than some sports cars in a straight line, consider the Volkswagen Golf R Estate. It’s roomy and has a big boot, like all versions of the Golf Estate, plus a good amount of in-car tech that’s all nice and easy to use.
Yet its turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine and four-wheel-drive system can fire it from 0-62mph in just 4.9 seconds. With the 'DSG' automatic gearbox installed, it does so with very little effort from you as the driver - just point it in the right direction and press the accelerator pedal.
This means anyone can enjoy the rapid performance it offers, even though driving enthusiasts might want to feel a bit more involved in the process of driving. There is a manual version available but most Golf R Estates use the automatic gearbox, which changes gears rapidly but can be a bit jerky at low speeds.
Best fast estate car for comfort
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The BMW 340i Touring is a brilliant all-round choice of fast estate car. It’s roomy enough for family life and has a pleasant, upmarket cabin with a big boot - including a useful hatchback with an opening glass section.
It’s also fitted with a smooth and powerful six-cylinder engine that brings a speedy 0-62mph time of just 5.1 seconds. It’s not just quick in a straight line, as the rear-wheel-drive BMW is also brilliant on twisty roads. It’s satisfying and quick through bends and very composed.
Plus, like many BMWs we rate it highly for comfort. It deals with potholes and bumps really well, and motorways are a relaxing and smooth experience. For long trips and daily driving the 340i Touring is a great option, though running costs might not be the cheapest.
Best fast estate car for long trips
Planning a long trip, perhaps a family holiday or a journey to a distant tourist spot with some friends? The Jaguar XF Sportbrake 3.0d would be near the top of our list, as it’s fantastic on the motorway, roomy enough for four adults and has plenty of performance.
The 3.0-litre diesel engine is really smooth and powers the car from 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds, though it’s the effortless in-gear performance for faster roads that really makes it feel fast. It’s also really comfortable at speed, plus it’s even quite enjoyable to drive on bendy B-roads.
This Jaguar is also great value second-hand, as values for this often-forgotten estate car have dropped a long way since it was new. This means you can pick this luxurious car up for about the same cost as the slightly newer Ford or Skoda above.
*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:
48 monthly payments of £192
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
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