Best estate cars

Cars

Best estate cars

By Martin Pratt

Article 7 of 12

Load-lugging versatility, plus reliability, great road manners and efficient engines: these Best Buy estate cars offer a compelling blend of talents.

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Estate cars aren't the default choice for large families these days thanks to the increased popularity and availability of SUVs and MPVs, but with a lower profile they're often more efficient and rewarding to drive.

They're also immensely practical, with almost all models offering capacious boots capable of swallowing everything from holiday luggage and kids' bikes, to pets and purchases from the local garden centre.  

Nearly all the big brands offer at least one estate car in their line-up, with popular models including the Ford Mondeo Estate, BMW 3 Series Touring. Audi A4 Avant and the huge Mercedes-Benz E-class estate. 

Below are our Best Buy recommendations – new and used estate cars that are supremely safe, reliable and versatile.

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Best new estate cars

Volkswagen Passat Estate
Typical price £21,162
Brand score 80%
Tested Jan 2015
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
Model reliability:
3 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

With a mammoth boot and stable handling this estate is one of the best we've tested for driving comfort.

Audi A4 Avant
Typical price £25,299
Brand score 78%
Tested Apr 2016
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

A compact estate with an aerodynamic body and a sporty pretence, this is one of the best estates you can buy. It's very well-finished, has an excellent level of safety equipment, and the diesel engine we tested proved economical.

BMW 3 Series Touring
Typical price £25,276
Brand score 78%
Tested Feb 2012
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
5 out of 5
Model reliability:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

The BMW 3 Series Touring has always been a competent load-lugger, as well as a cracking car to drive. Now this rep-favourite has entered a new fifth generation, but can it still outshine rivals like the Mercedes-Benz C-class Estate and Audi A4 Avant? Find out in our full review.

Toyota Auris Touring Sports
Typical price £15,783
Brand score 77%
Tested Jun 2013
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
3 out of 5
Model reliability:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This family-focused estate car impressed us with its efficient engines and comprehensive safety equipment.

Honda Civic Tourer
Typical price £17,748
Brand score 77%
Tested Jan 2014
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
Model reliability:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

If it's boot space you need you won't go far wrong with this estate which manages to be comfortable too.

BMW 5 Series Touring
Typical price £29,328
Brand score 77%
Tested Aug 2010
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
5 out of 5
Handling & performance:
5 out of 5
Model reliability:
3 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

We couldn't find much to complain about on this estate. Whatever engine you go for, it won't let you down.

Best used estate cars

Toyota Avensis Tourer (2003-2008)
Typical price £1,846
Brand score 80%
Tested Mar 2003
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
3 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
Model reliability:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This dependable estate may not be the most memorable but it's cheap to buy and well equipped.

Mini Clubman (2007--2014)
Typical price £5,438
Brand score 80%
Tested Nov 2007
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
5 out of 5
Model reliability:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Known for its hatchbacks, this brand's foray into estates was unexpected, but the result is really very good.

Mercedes-Benz C Class Estate (2008-2014)
Typical price £9,398
Brand score 76%
Tested Mar 2008
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
5 out of 5
Model reliability:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Our experts found this car is impeccably engineered and offers a major improvement on its predecessor, with tidier looks, sharper handling and better interior packaging.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate (2000-2007)
Typical price £1,423
Brand score 76%
Tested May 2001
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

The estate version of this car launched in 2001, and is more of a lifestyle design than a practical load lugger, due to its swooping roofline. A good find on the used market, it's a comfortable and reasonably spacious estate car.

Mazda 6 Estate (2008-2012)
Typical price £3,953
Brand score 75%
Tested Jan 2008
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
Model reliability:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

A large family estate competing with the likes of the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer, this car is well made, quiet, refined and well equipped. Sound like your cup of tea?

Skoda Superb Estate (2010-2015)
Typical price £7,803
Brand score 75%
Tested Mar 2010
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
Model reliability:
3 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

If you want an enormous estate that's a pleasure to drive and cheap to buy this one should be on your shortlist.

Renault Clio Sport Tourer (2008--2012)
Typical price £2,907
Brand score 73%
Tested May 2008
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This practical, family-friendly estate has a tonne of boot space for a smaller estate car and it's easy to recommend.

Honda Accord Tourer (2003-2008)
Typical price £1,662
Brand score 73%
Tested May 2003
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
3 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This mid-range estate wants to compete with the premium marques, and it has the space and build quality to do it.

Want to see even more choice? Click to jump straight to all our estate car reviews

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