The best estate cars offer more than just a big boot. The load area has to be a practical shape and allow easy access, while the rear seats must be simple to fold flat.
Furthermore, because these cars are used for business as well as family duties, they need to combine a spacious, comfortable and well-equipped interior with low running costs and an enjoyable drive. And they need to do all that for an affordable price.
Here we countdown our top 10, and reveal the models to avoid.
The best estate cars
The Audi A4 saloon was our Car of the Year for 2016, so it makes sense that the estate version, dubbed the A4 Avant, should be good too. Its comfort and refinement make the A4 Avant an excellent long-distance cruiser, while its superb interior quality and interior space makes it an ideal choice for families, too. The 3.0-litre diesel engine we recommend is smooth and refined, while Sport trim gets you all of the kit you're going to want.
Our pick: 3.0 TDI 218 Sport
9. Seat Leon ST
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 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 offers. It has a slightly jarring ride, and its interior feels a bit cheap in places, but it's still a very capable all-rounder.
Our pick: 1.6 TDI 110 Ecomotive
It doesn't pull off any fancy tricks, but the Skoda Octavia Estate is a no-nonsense workhorse with bags of room. It has one of the biggest boots in its class, while our favoured 1.6-litre diesel engine is super-economical. Best of all, the Octavia Estate is available at a bargain price.
Our pick: 1.6 TDI 110 Greenline III
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