The best used estate cars for under £20,000

We take a look at the best sleek but practical machines available on the used market

When looking for a practical everyday car, the booming SUV market may have you believing a high-up car is the way to go — but there’s an alternative.

Step in the humble estate car. Once the bread and butter of UK roads, the saloon/hatch-turned-workhorse formula has fallen by the wayside in recent years, yet they remain a truly compelling option for those after space above all else. Not only that, they can be properly fun to drive too.

In no particular order, we’ve picked out some of the best options the used estate car market offers at a £20k price point.

Skoda Superb

Skoda Superb – Best used estate cars for under £20,000 | The Car Expert

When it comes to sheer space, it’s hard to beat Skoda’s (frankly) Superb estate. In its latest guise, it offers a whopping 660 litres of load space — beaten pretty much only by vans.

It’s far from just a load-lugger, though. The Volkswagen Group-designed model is an exceptionally comfortable machine, with a solidly built cabin as well as a reputation for reliability. With our budget, high-spec examples with below 30,000 miles from 2017-18 come into play, though sacrificing on equipment brings early 2019 models into the mix.

Ford Focus ST

Ford Focus ST estate – Best used estate cars for under £20,000 | The Car Expert

Who said estates had to be boring? Certainly not Ford, which has long offered a more practical version of its loveable Focus ST hot hatch.

Powered by a 250hp, 2.0-litre petrol engine, it’s certainly no slouch — capable of 0-60mph in 6.5 seconds — and tops that off by being a complete riot in the corners. All that, while offering 476 litres of boot space. Examples from as recent as 2018 with miles well under 10,000 are available at a £20,000 price point.

BMW 335d Touring

BMW 335d Touring – Best used estate cars for under £20,000 | The Car Expert

When it comes to cars that cover all bases, there may be none better than the BMW 335d Touring. This practical estate boasts a respectable 495 litres of boot space, comfortable seating for five, a high-quality cabin and a claimed fuel return of 39.2mpg.

It’s pretty quick, too. With 315hp and 630Nm of torque, it can cover 0-60mph in under five seconds before going on to a limited 155mph top speed — perfect for heading on a European road trip with the family via the German autobahn. Our budget brings cars as recent as 2016 into the spotlight, with miles around the 50,000 mark.

Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer

Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer – Best used estate cars for under £20,000 | The Car Expert

It’s far from the most inspiring vehicle on this list, but there are good reasons why the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer is one of the UK’s top repmobiles.

Impressive efficiency, good looks and a respectable amount of kit makes it a car that’s easy to live with and one that’s leaning on the side of desirable. With our price point, nearly new examples are available — sporting as little a 4,000 miles.

Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake

Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake – Best used estate cars for under £20,000 | The Car Expert

Mercedes may be cheating a little bit by using the ‘Shooting Brake’ moniker for its CLS estate — with the term normally referring to boxy two-door models — but we’ll forgive it considering how good the car looks.

Its dramatic bodywork hides a practical machine, too. You have 590 litres of boot space on offer, while our budget allows for an impressively efficient 220d model — which Mercedes says can return 56.5mpg in mixed driving conditions.

Volvo V90

Volvo V90 – Best used estate cars for under £20,000 | The Car Expert

Looking for a premium alternative to the usual German suspects? The Volvo V90 may just be the practical machine you’re looking for.

Our budget may only allow for lower-specification Momentum models if you’re looking for recent examples, though this still delivers big on comfort and efficiency — a claimed 50.4mpg if you opt for a D4 engine. It also boasts a remarkable 560 litres of boot space.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX Wagon

Mitsubishi Lance Evo IX Wagon – Best used estate cars for under £20,000 | The Car Expert
(PA)

Even those wanting a supremely rare Japanese performance car are catered for in the estate market, thanks to the seldom-found Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX Wagon.

There was no compromise on performance when compared with the saloon version for the estate. Its 2.0-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder dumps 280hp through an incredibly clever all-wheel-drive system to deliver one of the most exciting and practical cars money can buy. It was never officially sold in the UK though, so all examples are imported from Japan and price fluctuates wildly depending on the condition, age and levels of modification.

Ryan Hirons
Ryan Hirons
Articles by Ryan Hirons are provided for The Car Expert by PA Media (formerly the Press Association). They include test drives of the latest new cars and features on various aspects of automotive life.

Our Partners

Our new space for commercial partners to bring you special offers on their products and services

More from The Car Expert

Expert Advice

Award-winning, independent and impartial advice on buying, financing, owning and running a car

Expert Ratings

We analyse and aggregate dozens of media reviews for each new car into an overall Expert Rating

New Cars

All the most important new car launches, model updates and car reviews

News

The latest news from all the major car brands and across the automotive industry

Latest advice

Car insurance prices hit two-year high

The cost of car insurance has hit a two-year high, according to newly-published figures, following an average £41 increase over the last 12 months.

Calls made for zero tolerance on drink-driving

Calls are being made for a zero-tolerance policy towards drink-driving as a recent study confirmed that alcohol-related deaths are on the rise in the UK.

Latest ratings

Mercedes-Benz GLE

The Mercedes-Benz GLE has received generally good media reviews, although its overall Expert Rating score lags some way behind the class-leading Volvo XC90.

Vauxhall Insignia

The Vauxhall Insignia has an identical score to the Ford Mondeo, according to our Expert Rating aggregator, but it still lags behind the best in its class.

Latest new cars

Bentley Mulsanne bows out with final ‘6.75 Edition’

The Bentley Mulsanne and its long-lived 6.75-litre V8 engine will bid farewell to the world with a limited-edition '6.75 Edition' model.

MG 3 range bolstered with Exclusive Nav trim

MG has introduced a new Exclusive Nav grade to its MG 3 line-up in a bid to enhance the model’s appeal.

Latest news

Positive end to negative year for new car sales

Some good results for new car sales in December will have brought some Christmas cheer to the car industry at the end of another year of falling sales.

Election nerves keep customers away from showrooms in November

Private new car sales were down by 6% in November compared to the same month last year, with the general election predictably causing havoc for retailers.

What are your thoughts? Let us know below.