Category winner

Skoda really has taken a lead in this class; the Superb retains the crown it won last year, and the Fabia isn’t far behind it.

Mercedes’ new E-Class has shown luxury and great space, but the brilliant Superb offers most of that car’s practicality, as well as generous kit and a classy interior, for a lot less money.

The Fabia is a great choice on a tight budget, both in terms of price and running costs.

But practicality, performance, space, comfort and affordability are king here, and no car mixes all these things as phenomenally well as the Superb.

SKODA HAS CEMENTED its position as a maker of great estate cars, with its Superb Estate taking victory in our middle price point, again for the second year running. However, at any price, few estate cars provide as much space as the Superb. Its boot is simply colossal, is square in shape and also has lots of handy practical features.

With the potential to carry such huge loads, the Superb needs a hearty engine, and the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel is just that. It has healthy lowdown pulling power for getting everything moving and decent pace, but never vibrates too much or gets too noisy when pushed. Company car-friendly CO2 emissions and impressive fuel economy are another two tricks up its sleeve.

SE Technology trim is your best bet. It’s aimed at company car drivers, but is just as good as a private buy. As standard, it gets luxuries such as sat-nav, Alcantara and leather seats, and a 6.5in infotainment touchscreen with Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay. Two cheap options will make the Superb estate even easier to use; the variable boot floor (£150) and wall-mounted levers in the boot (£90) for folding down the rear seats.

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