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Estates make great family cars if you’re looking for something spacious and stylish. Plenty come with a very wide range of engines, including frugal hybrids and rip-roaring performance models. If this sounds like the kind of car for you but you don’t know where to start choosing one, our experts have got the all you need to know about the best estate cars, including the estate cars with the biggest boots, the best small estate cars and even the best estate cars dogs.
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Estate cars are a great choice for families not only because they can hold lots of luggage but they can also be cheaper to run than an equivalent SUV. In fact, no SUV with 4x4 can match the fuel economy of the cars listed below. Here’s a selection of the estate cars with best MPG chosen by our car experts.
The Ford Focus Estate equipped with the 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel engine is impressively fuel efficient with 79mpg claimed fuel economy! It's cheap to run but also great to drive and its high-tech cabin is spacious even if the boot isn’t the biggest you'll find in a car like this.
The Renault Megane Sports Tourer, unlike the Focus Estate, is more about ride comfort so it’s super relaxing on a long motorway journey. Fitted with the 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine, the Megane Sports Tourer has 76mpg claimed fuel economy. Inside, it’s not so well built as a Focus Estate and the portrait infotainment takes some getting used to.
The Peugeot 308 SW comes with loads of standard equipment and looks pretty stylish too. Pick a model with the 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel and if can average a claimed 74mpg. The Peugeot 308 interior is starting to get a bit long in the tooth but the build quality is decent and the boot is huge.
The Audi A4 Avant is not only a good estate, but it’s a great car full stop. It combines a huge array of abilities and, when fitted with the 2.0-litre TDI Ultra engine, it can average a claimed 71mpg. Inside, the A4 Avant has a breathtaking interior, great passenger space and a practical boot with all sorts of nets and tethering points.
The Toyota Auris Touring Sports is the only non-diesel car here. It uses a 1.8-litre petrol engine aided by an electric motor to average a claimed 66mpg. The Auris Touring Sports has a restrained interior design but the boot is one of the biggest among similarly priced alternatives, making it a great choice if you don’t like diesels but want a cheap-to-run estate car.
If you want a big boot, but not a huge car that’ll be a pain to park, a small estate could be the answer. Here, our experts have assembled a list of the best small estates currently on sale.
Skoda’s Fabia estate is smaller than a VW Golf but has a bigger boot. On top of that, its interior is durable and practical, and the car’s controls are light. The cheap-to-run, punchy 90hp diesel’s perfect for when the car’s weighed down with a heavy load.
The Dacia Logan’s costs half the price of alternatives, so you might feel less precious about using it for messy job – like trips to the dump – that estates are ideal for. It’s not hard to see where the cash’s been saved, though – the Dacia feels cheap and has a basic specification.
The Skoda Rapid Spaceback is another advert for Skoda’s ability to squeeze a whole lot of space out of a small car. A cross between a regular hatchback and an estate, the Rapid Spaceback has a big boot but also decent rear legroom. It’s solidly built, easy to drive and cheap to run.
The Mini Clubman is a small estate car where style takes precedence over load lugging ability. It’s as stylish, highly personalisable and as fun to drive as any other Mini, while having a boot that’ll carry more than a few bags of shopping.
Okay, so the Honda Jazz isn’t an estate per se, but it is small and very practical. Its boot is big and the flexible back seats lie flat and also fold up to carry tall items – such as plants or even an upright bicycle. The Honda’ Jazz is reliable, cheap to run and surprisingly good to drive.
Sometimes size does matter. If you regularly carry a lot of stuff, sometimes only a big estate car will do. And so here our experts list the best estate cars with the biggest boots.
The Mercedes E-Class Estate is an impressive vehicle in every respect – it has a luxurious interior, stylish looks and running costs that aren’t much higher than that of a normal family hatchback. A standard nine-speed automatic gearbox adds to the relaxing driving experience. Out back you’ll find a well shaped 670-litre boot, with a wide opening featuring an automatic boot lid as standard. You can fold the rear seats flat by using the buttons located just inside the load space, extending the total room on offer to a huge 1,820 litres.
If you’re after a smart looking executive estate that’s surprisingly cheap to buy, look no further than the Skoda Superb Estate. This estate car has evolved into a desirable and capacious machine that’s hard to fault. In terms of boot space, there is a large 660-litre area behind the rear seats and, by pulling some levers, you can expand this to 1,950 litres. There’s a false floor in addition, to hide valuables beneath but, should you desire an electric tailgate, you’ll have to splash out on one of the top-spec Laurin and Klement models.
The Volkswagen Passat Estate has smart looks and a high quality interior. The latest Passat Estate features its own version of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit and, with plenty of soft-touch materials, it’s arguably one of the nicest interiors you can get at this price. The wide, square boot opening reveals a large 650-litre boot with tie-downs and hooks enhancing practicality. Fold the rear seats and this area increases to 1,780 litres – more than most buyers could fill.
You might be surprised to discover that Honda’s Civic Tourer has such a large boot – its sleek looks belie its carrying capacity. At 642 litres, the Civic Tourer’s boot offers a good 100 litres more than many larger and more expensive cars. The square-shaped boot is deep and still manages to offer 125 litres of under-floor storage. If you fold the rear seats flat, this space expands to 1,668 litres, but Honda’s famed ‘magic seats’ feature bases that flip up cinema-style, meaning you can carry taller objects in the rear, too.
Skoda’s Octavia Estate is a great option if you don’t quite need the space offered in the larger Superb. The Octavia Estate has a high quality cabin that’s not far off the standards of much more expensive cars, and lots of equipment you’d probably have to pay extra for in those cars. The Octavia’s boot offers 610 litres of space with the rear seats up, expanding to 1,740 litres if you fold them down. The boot floor is completely flat, so transporting large, bulky furniture should be a breeze, plus there’s some handy hooks and a false floor to hide your valuables under.
Our experts have handpicked these best estate cars for their practicality, their appeal and of course the big, usable boots. Here are the best estate cars on sale today.
The Skoda Superb is a fantastic estate car that’s enormously practical, cheap to run and very well built. There’s room in both the front and back seats for tall adults to get comfortable and the 660-litre boot is bigger than almost any other estate car on sale. The Superb Estate’s interior doesn’t look particularly exciting, however, and although its infotainment system is easy to use, it doesn’t come with a flashy digital driver’s display like more expensive alternatives, but despite this, the Superb is one of the very best estate cars on sale.
The Volvo V60 is a spacious estate car that won our Practicality Award at the 2018 carwow Car of the Year Awards. The luxurious interior looks lovely, but the V60’s trump card is its boot, which is larger than you’ll find in any similarly priced alternatives. There’s no lip to lift things over, so heavy loads can be slid straight in and the huge boot opening means even large items are easy to pack away.
The Audi A6 Avant is a very practical, very high-tech estate car that comes with a futuristic cabin. There’s absolutely bucket loads of space in the front for tall drivers to stretch out and enough seat adjustment for people of all sizes to get a good view out. Space in the back is just as generous. The boot is big enough to cope easily with a set of golf clubs and the like but a Mercedes E-Class Estate or BMW 5 Series Touring's boot is a bit bigger.
The Skoda Octavia Estate car isn’t the biggest estate car on sale, but it’s certainly one of the most practical. It’ll happily carry five adults, as well as an impressive amount of luggage in its spacious 610-litre boot. The cabin is well built and comes with lots of practical storage compartments and even entry-level models get plenty of kit as standard, including an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with smartphone-mirroring.
The Ford Focus Estate offers great fuel economy, an engaging drive, and plenty of tech. Sure, it's boot isn't the biggest, but should be big enough for most needs that makes it a pretty good allrounder – hence why the hatchback version won our Family Award at the 2018 carwow Car of the Year Awards. High-spec models use Ford’s SYNC3 infotainment system with sat nav, voice control, and smartphone mirroring although the eight-inch touchscreen does spoil the lines of the sculpted dashboard slightly. Cheaper models get a smaller 6.5-inch touchscreen that loses the built-in navigation but can still display your phone’s sat nav.