The best estate cars offer more than just a big boot. The load bay has to be a practical shape and offer easy access, while the rear seats must be easy to fold flat. Furthermore, because they'll be used for business and family duties, the top estate cars will need to be efficient to run.
Class-leading estates will also have a spacious, comfortable and well-equipped cabin and an affordable purchase price. Here's our guide to the best estate cars you can buy, and the ones you are best off avoiding.
The best estate cars
The Audi A4 Avant is a premium estate that has a plush cabin with Audi's excellent infotainment system and best-in-class refinement. It's good to drive and comfortable, with a smooth ride in our favoured spec.
The A4 saloon is our 2016 Car of the Year, and the Avant shares many of its good points but gets an even bigger, more practical boot, combining practicality and premium quality to make it one of our favourite estate cars.
Our pick: 3.0 TDI Sport S tronic
Want to buy a used Audi A4? Click here to read our used car review
9. Kia Ceed Sportswagon
A bargain – that's what the Ceed Sportswagon represents. It has a decently sized boot, it's available for a reasonable price, and it's cheap to run.
Our favoured 1.4 CRDi 90 engine is available only in base-level 1 spec, but this still comes with air-conditioning, a multifunction steering wheel, Bluetooth, six airbags, and Kia's whopping seven-year/100,000-mile warranty.
There's more to it than a competitive price, though. Its ride is the car’s strong point, remaining composed in most environments with only particularly bumpy surfaces unsettling it, and the interior is good quality. There is too much wind and road noise, though, and the steering is vague.
Our pick: 1.4 CRDi 89 1 ISG
8. Seat Leon ST Estate
The Seat Leon ST does everything you need an estate to do very well. It comes with a big boot and a generous equipment list, and it's still good to drive. Every version of the car is competitively priced against its key rivals, and those with a keen eye for a deal will be able to find some tempting finance deals.
It's also cheap to run, and comes packed with plenty of safety equipment. It has a slightly jarring ride, and its interior quality falls a bit short compared to some of its rivals, but it's still a very capable all-rounder.
Our pick: 1.6 TDI SE
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