The humble estate car has seen its popularity waning over the years, replaced by large SUVs that give similar cargo capacities with the added benefit of a raised driving position.
However, estate cars are still a fantastic proposition for many buyers, particularly those who are willing to sacrifice a little visibility in favour of decent driving dynamics and lower running costs. That’s why we’ve brought together this list of the best estate cars for sale right now, with every budget considered.
Under £15,000: Dacia Logan MCV
Dacia continues to be the best option for budget-conscious buyers looking to the new car market. The Romanian firm offers cars at bargain prices, but they remain pretty well-equipped and good to drive. Logan MCV pricing starts at just over £10K, which is scarecely believable. Even the faux-SUV-style Logan Stepway (pictured above) is priced at just over £12K.
The Dacia Logan may be based on the Sandero supermini, but it still offers a genuinely enormous load space – which, let’s face it, is why you’re buying an estate car in the first place. According to The Car Expert’s unique Expert Rating index, the Logan MCV currently holds a rating of 64% based on 15 UK reviews. It may not be the most comfortable or refined new car on the market, but it is a lot of car for the money.
What’s more, Dacia just revealed its updated Logan range, meaning the new Logan MCV will be much improved for only a fraction more cash, while there will be great deals on the outgoing model making it even less expensive. Why buy used when you could get new for this price?
The Skoda Fabia Estate gets an honourable mention here as well. Like the Logan, it’s a supermini-based estate with a huge load bay, but prices officially start just over the £15K mark so you’ll need to seek out a deal to get the cost down to anywhere near the Dacia’s level.
Under £25,000: Ford Focus Estate
The Ford Focus has long been one of Britain’s best-selling cars, thanks to being great to drive, good-looking and practical. It’s also great value for money, which makes it perfect for this list.
Prices start at about £23K (although it escalates quickly, so only the entry-level models will slide under our £25K limit), and for that you get more than 600 litres of boot space even with the rear seats in place. That’s simply cavernous. It has a pleasant, well-equipped cabin, too, which makes it a compelling alternative to pricier rivals.
The Ford Focus range currently holds a score of 80% on The Car Expert’s unique Expert Rating index, based on 37 different UK reviews, which is among the best-in-class for estates in this price bracket. However, if the Focus doesn’t float your boat, there are plenty of alternatives. Flying the flag for local production are the Toyota Corolla and Vauxhall Astra, both of which are very good cars, while there is an all-new Skoda Octavia arriving shortly and a new Volkswagen Golf estate set to land in early 2021.
Under £35,000: Volkswagen Passat Estate
There’s a lot of competition around this price point, which means cars really have to stand out to make for consideration. For less than £35K, the Volkswagen Passat Estate feels like the best value, having a large boot coupled with great build quality and equipment levels in the cabin. Bear in mind that only the SE and SEL trim levels are available at this price point, so if you want a higher-spec R-Line or GTE model, the price jumps into the next segment.
The Passat range currently holds a rating of 79% on The Car Expert’s unique Expert Rating index, based on 48 different UK reviews. That puts it well clear of rivals like the Ford Mondeo or Vauxhall Insignia, and compares favourably with premium offerings from Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
If you’re not sold on the Passat then the lower-spec Audi A4 Avant models are similarly priced, while offering a fancier interior and more badge appeal – but with less boot capacity.
- Volkswagen Passat (2015 – present) – Expert Rating
- More Volkswagen ratings, reviews, news and features
Under £40,000: Skoda Superb Estate
Again, there are a couple of decent estate car options here, depending on your preference. In the value for money stakes it has to be the Skoda Superb Estate, which has a simply cavernous boot, a wonderfully wafty ride and a high-quality cabin.
The Superb has received plenty of glowing reviews from the UK motoring media. In fact, they describe the big Skoda as, oooh, what’s a word that means ‘really really good’? Anyway, it currently holds an Expert Rating of 85% based on 39 UK reviews, which is… er… exceptional? No. Sumptuous? Majestic? Grand? No, but something like that. I’m sure there’s a good word for it…
However, if the Skoda’s not your bag then the Volvo V60 makes for a compelling alternative. It’s on another level in terms of style both inside and out, and feels truly premium. It’s not quite as practical, but it makes up for it in the want factor.
Under £50,000: BMW 5 Series Touring
If you’re in a position to spend a bit more, the BMW 5 Series Touring is one of the best estate cars on the market. In fact, it currently holds a rating of 88% on The Car Expert’s unique Expert Rating index, which is outstanding.
The 5 Series has a decent-sized boot, plenty of badge appeal and one of the most comfortable and well-equipped interiors in the business. It’s also great to drive, so you can fit loads in the back when you need to and enjoy the twisties when you don’t. There’s a facelifted model on its way before the end of the year as well, so you can either wait for that or snap up a good deal on a current car from your friendly neighbourhood BMW dealership.
If you’re not feeling the love for the BMW, you could always look at its arch-enemy, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. It’s similarly spacious and luxurious, but is tuned more for ride comfort than handling prowess.
Money no object: Audi RS 6 Avant
If you don’t have any budget concerns and simply want the coolest estate money can buy, you can’t beat the Audi RS 6 Avant. We haven’t put the RS 6 under our Expert Rating microscope yet, but it’s certainly a car that motoring journalists love (and it helps that they don’t have to pay for one!).
With 565 litres of boot space it’s practical, but under the bonnet is a 4.0-litre engine with 600hp that catapults the hulking estate to 60mph in 3.4 seconds. If you make the most of that performance, it’s probably best not to look at the fuel economy figures, though.
If you prefer a three-pointed star on your bonnet, the Mercedes-AMG E 63 estate is another large estate with similarly stupendous perdormance. If the RS 6 is a bit big for your needs, Audi Sport can happily help you out with the slightly smaller RS 4 Avant. Or there’s always BMW’s upcoming M3 Touring to look forward to…
Additional reporting by Stuart Masson.