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Family SUVs vs estate cars tested: which are the best to buy?

Find out which new SUV and estate cars, including the electric Peugeot e-2008, Skoda Octavia Estate and Volkswagen Tiguan, came top in the latest Which? car tests

Family SUVs vs estate cars tested: which are the best to buy?

Estates are having a design resurgence, with traditional boxy looks replaced by stylish bodywork and sweeping coupé-like rooflines. SUVs may be trendy, but the lures of cheaper prices, more luggage space options and often a keener drive are proving to be a winning formula for some buyers. We compare the latest SUVs and estates tested by our expert lab to discover which are worth your money.

The Peugeot e-2008 sees the brand’s smallest SUV get the all-electric treatment, promising reduced running costs and zero tailpipe emissions. DS has similar goals with the style-focused new DS 3 Crossback E-Tense.

Meanwhile, Skoda and Seat estate cars take a different approach. Skoda aims to tempt you with the Skoda Octavia Estate’s added practicality. Seat takes estate car style to the next level with its dramatically sculpted coupé-inspired design.

Whereas the stylish Mazda CX-30 proves that not all SUVs have to be boxy road hoggers. And it starts from around £22,000, too.

See all the latest results from our independent tests through the links below.


Great cars need to be reliable, practical, fuel efficient and great to drive. Our comprehensive lab and road tests cover all bases – see our best cars for 2021.


Peugeot e-2008, £28,156

Peugeot e-2008

The pure electric e-2008 compact SUV is an engine option in the existing 2008 range – this means, unlike some rivals, you have the benefit of the same five 2008 trim levels to choose from and a similar array of spec options.

For power, the e-2008 combines a 136hp motor with a 50kWh battery pack for reasonably brisk acceleration. Peugeot says it’ll do 0-62mph in nine seconds – not bad for this type of car. It has a claimed electric range of up to 206 miles.

Could this be the electric car for you and what range does it get in our tough, realistic tests? Find out in our independent Peugeot e-2008 review.

DS 3 Crossback E-Tense, £33,343

DS 3 Crossback E-Tense electric car

The DS 3 Crossback E-Tense hatchback focuses on unique styling and aims for a more premium feel than mainstream competitors.

It certainly stands out from the crowd, with an opulent-looking diamond shape theme interior and sleek styling. It even has door handles that are flush with the bodywork – they pop out when you unlock the car.

DS also adds in advanced safety equipment as standard, including pedestrian and cyclist recognition, active lane keeping technology and blind spot detection.

The E-Tense shares the same engine and battery with sister brand Peugeot’s e-2008.

We reveal if its up to the task as a practical and safe family car in our expert DS 3 Crossback E-Tense review.

Skoda Octavia Estate, £22,210

Skoda Octavia Estate car

If you’re looking for value for money and huge amounts of space, the Skoda Octavia Estate certainly looks compelling.

Launched in 2020, this is the fourth-generation of what remains Skoda’s best-selling car. You can get it as an estate, as seen here, or as a somewhat smaller medium-sized hatchback.

The Octavia Estate shares its underpinnings with its sister brand model the Volkswagen Golf. It’s available with a wide choice of petrol, diesel, mild hybrid or plug-in hybrid engines.

The hallmark of the Octavia is practicality, and that’s taken even further with the estate version, promising huge amounts of space for both passengers and their luggage.

This year the sporty-badged vRS version of the Octavia Estate has also launched, adding sharper styling, firmer suspension and Matrix LED lights.

Does it do enough to tempt buyers to choose an estate? Our experts put it through its paces in our definitive Skoda Octavia Estate review.

You can also find out more about Skoda and its cars – go to should I buy a Skoda?

Seat Leon Estate, £23,065

Seat Leon Estate car

If the Octavia’s a bit too pedestrian for you, the Leon Estate is certainly a head-turner. Seat promises it’s great to drive too. Estate cars have a lower centre of gravity when compared to SUVs, so typically offer more agile cornering.

The Leon is also based on the same platform as the Golf and Octavia, and its competitors include the Ford Focus Estate and Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer.

You get to choose from petrol, mild hybrid or plug-in hybrid engines, plus six trim levels. The entry-level SE comes with keyless start, front USB sockets, LED headlights, alloy wheels, heated mirrors, an 8-inch infotainment system, plus a leather steering wheel and gearknob.

Sound like your style of car? See whether it’s a winner or style over substance in our thorough Seat Leon Estate review.

Volkswagen Tiguan, £23,466

Volkswagen Tiguan SUV car

Not sold on an estate? Choosing a larger SUV is an alternative, if you need more space. The second-generation Tiguan, first launched in 2016, is Europe’s most popular mid-sized SUV.

A 2020 update to the interior switched some buttons to touch-sensitive panels and added a larger, upgraded central touchscreen. Minor exterior changes added LED lights as standard.

Alongside petrol and diesel engines, the 2020 update offers a plug-in hybrid version (which we will review separately) and a high-performance ‘R’ version, which provides a powerful 316bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine (for a premium of £45,915).

Is this Volkswagen car, with its understated class, more your cup of tea? We find out if it delivers in our Volkswagen Tiguan review.

Seat Ateca, £21,725

Seat Ateca SUV car

Want to spend a little less? The Ateca mid-sized SUV is priced slightly lower than the Tiguan, and its 2020 update offers similar exterior updates. This includes LED headlights and also adds an off-road themed ‘Xperience’ trim level.

Seat claims the interior quality has also improved as well, with a new larger 10.25-inch digital display on higher-trim models (entry-level offers a 8.25-inch touchscreen).

A variety of petrol and diesel engines are offered, including a performance version badged Cupra Ateca offering 300hp (see our separate Cupra Ateca review).

Are you looking for a more affordable SUV with generous equipment as standard? Find out if this is a good choice in our Seat Ateca review.

Skoda Superb Estate Plug-in Hybrid, £37,810

Skoda Superb Estate Plug-in Hybrid car

When bags of space is what you really need, check out the Superb Estate – it’s Skoda’s largest family car. This new plug-in hybrid version is Skoda’s first electrified car, launched five years after the car’s original debut.

Following its new electrified car naming convention, Skoda calls it the Superb iV. It rivals models like the Peugeot 508 SW Plug-in hybrid.

The Superb iV combines a 1.4-litre petrol engine with an electric motor – it delivers 218hp, which is quite powerful for this type of car.

Skoda says you can drive up to 35 miles in electric-only mode. The official CO2 emissions are as little as 32g/km, depending on the trim grade.

Find out if this is the ideal family car for you in our Skoda Superb Estate Plug-in Hybrid review.

Mazda CX-30, £22,104

Mazda CX-30 SUV car

If boxy SUVs aren’t your thing, the Mazda CX-30 aims to stand out from the crowd by offering sportier looks than rivals the Seat Ateca, Nissan Qashqai, Volkswagen T-Roc and Volvo XC40.

As a brand that emphasises fun, sporty driving, Mazda has also taken a different approach to claim improved fuel efficiency versus other brands. Its Skyactiv-X technology combusts petrol without spark plugs, which Mazda says helps keep the car’s official CO2 emissions as low as 105g/km.

Unusually, Mazda also offers non-turbocharged engines – you get to choose between two 2.0-litre petrol options, offering 122hp or 180hp. An all-electric CX-30 is also on the horizon for launch later this year.

Looking for a keen-driving SUV, rather than an estate? See whether Mazda offers a superb solution in our expert Mazda CX-30 review.

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