Compare the best estate cars
High-quality estate cars from rated and reviewed dealers
Best estate cars of 2022
Estates make for the best cars. It’s just a scientific fact. You get the same (more or less) driving enjoyment as a saloon or hatch, but with much more space for luggage and/or pets, but without the extra running costs that come with SUVs. Below are the best estate cars in the business.
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Estate cars FAQs
Generally, an estate car is one that takes an existing saloon or hatchback design and extends the rear bodywork upward and outward to create a bigger and more versatile boot. Generally they’ll have fold-flat rear seats, and many will have boot floors that adjust to allow you to carry larger, or heavier, loads. They’re the practical cars we bought before SUVs took over…
The primary benefit is space — estates almost always have bigger boots than their saloon or hatchback cousins. For instance, a BMW 3 Series Touring has a 500-litre boot, compared to the 3 Series saloon’s 480-litres, and when you fold the back seats flat and load it to the roof, there’s 1,510-litres to play with. The other benefit is running costs — a lower, sleeker estate will, for a similar (sometimes superior) amount of cabin and boot space, be cheaper to run and tax than an equivalent SUV.
There are plenty of hybrid and plug-in hybrid estate cars, including the Audi A6 Avant TFSIe, Citroen C5 X, Mercedes C-Class Estate and E-Class Estate, Toyota Corolla Touring Sports, Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate, and the Volvo V60 T6 and V90 T6. If you want a fully-electric estate, your choices are a bit more limited for the moment. You can either go really cheap — the MG 5 — or really, really expensive — the Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo. Better-value electric estates are coming, though.
Yes, although to be fair most of the saloon and hatch variants of these cars will tow just as well. The ones with the highest towing limits are the Skoda Superb Estate, Volkswagen Passat Estate, and Volvo V90, all of which can haul as much as 2,200kg of braked trailer weight — just bear in mind that hauling that much weight might push you over the combined 3,500kg weight limit (if you got your driver’s licence after January 1997). You also need to remember that, if you’re hauling a caravan, you’re limited to 50mph on single-lane roads, and 60mph on dual-carriageways and motorways.
Of the cars on our top ten list, you’re best going for the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports if you want maximum reliability — it’s the only one of the ten to get a maximum five-star reliability rating from Which? That said, Skoda, Audi, and Volvo all tend to produce well-made cars too, so you’re probably not going to be taking too big a risk with one of those.
Buying an estate car for a family really boils down to one equation — how can I get the best possible space for the minimum possible cost? With that in mind, the winner here probably has to be the Skoda Octavia Estate. It has a bigger boot than anything else of a similar price (indeed, more space than many larger, more expensive cars) and Skoda has a solid reputation for reliability and running costs. You can get it as a plug-in hybrid iV model too, which could potentially save you a lot of money in fuel bills.