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
A bargain – that's what the Cee'd Sportswagon is. Our favoured 1.4 CRDi 90 engine is available only in base-level 1 spec, but this still comes with air conditioning, Bluetooth, six airbags, and a seven-year/100,000-mile warranty. True, there's too much wind noise and the steering is vague, but these things are easier to forgive given the highly competitive price and comfortable ride.
Our pick: 1.4 CRDi 89 1 ISG
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 SE
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 CR SE Business GreenLine III
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