What Car? Used Car of the Year - Estates

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  • UK's best used cars
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Vauxhall Vectra 1.8 Life
Year '08/08
Price £8400

Ditch your preconceptions and view the Vectra for what it is – a large load-lugger that's outstanding value.

Not convinced yet? Well, it was good enough to take best estate in our Car of the Year awards in 2006, and one that's around 18 months old can be yours for half its original list price.

Not only does it deliver 540 litres of luggage space, or an enormous 1850 litres if you fold down the back seats, but there's plenty of room for five and it'll prove comfortable for long trips. The steering is responsive, and although the smooth, compliant suspension is set up more for comfort, there's decent grip.

Life is the entry-level trim, but you still get goodies such as air-con, cruise control and remote central locking as standard.

Judge's view
Name Kurtis Williams
Job Buyer, Lex Vehicle Leasing
Verdict: 'The Vectra Estate is a well-built, huge and practical estate that ticks all the boxes, at a bargain price that cannot be ignored.'
You might be tempted with the better-equipped SRi model, but its firmer suspension isn't as comfortable as the Life's.

If you cover more than 15,000 miles a year, you could consider the more expensive 1.9-litre diesel Vectra, but our judges opted for the petrol model because it'll suit most people while saving them cash with its much lower purchase price. It still delivers decent average fuel economy of 37.7mpg, too.

At the start of the year, forecourts up and down the country were flooded with great-value Vectras, and buyers have been snapping them up ever since.

However, we've noticed that there have been noticeably fewer cars on the market in the past few months so, if you want one, start looking now.

Buyer's Guide
Power 138bhp Fuel Economy 37.6mpg (average) 0-60mph/Max 10.7sec/126mph Insurance Group 9 CO2 Emissions 180g/km Road tax £175 a year euro NCAP Rating 4 stars Reliability Rating 4 stars Service Intervals Variable


Runners-up

Skoda Octavia Estate 1.9 TDI Classic

Year: '06/'06
Price: £8300
Great value, roomy and cheap to buy and run. Make sure you're buying a Mk II Octavia.
Volkswagen Passat Estate 1.9 TDI S
Year: '06/'06
Price: £9000
The Passat's space and refinement make it a very capable, comfortable wagon, all with a touch of class.
Mercedes-Benz E220 CDI Estate Elegance auto
Year: '05/55
Price: £15,500
The E-Class is supremely refined, spacious, and well equipped. Automatic models are best.


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