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Best used estate cars for less than £15,000

In need of a practical car to suit an active lifestyle? Don't rule out an estate. Check out our top 10 favourites for less than £15,000...

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by
Mark Pearson
Published07 February 2024

We all know someone who aces everything, no matter what activity you throw at them. Estate cars can often prove the automotive equivalents of these people. From family holidays to morning commutes, the class leaders take it all in their stride. 

Used estates

Versatility tends to be an expensive commodity, mind you. To avoid some of this cost and get yourself a great deal, the used market is an excellent avenue. But which model should you buy? Here’s a list of our top 10 favourite used estates for less than £15,000 to help you decide...

And, should you not be able to wait for the answer, we can tell you that our top dog is the tremendous Volkswagen Passat Estate, which has been one of our favourites for many years and now combines practicality, affordability and desirability in just the right measures. 

Strengths

  • Good range of engines
  • Spacious interior and boot
  • Classy interior

Weaknesses

  • Slightly unsettled ride
  • Base S trim misses out on some kit

You know an estate car is doing its job well when it makes life a doddle, and the Passat Estate has that effect. Its huge boot will save you the question of whether items will fit (unless you're transporting an elephant), while its engines are smooth and economical, keeping running costs low. Its interior is also suitably smart, and the Passat should be reliable, too. Its used prices are temptingly affordable.  In short, it does all that a great estate car should. 

We found: 2020 Volkswagen Passat Estate 2.0 TDI SE Business, 49,000 miles, £14,925

Read our full used Volkswagen Passat Estate review

Search for a used Volkswagen Passat Estate for sale

Our pick: 1.0 EcoBoost Hybrid mHEV 155 Titanium 5dr Auto

0-62mph: 8.6 sec
MPG/range: 53.3mpg
CO2 emissions: 119g/km
Seats: 5
Insurance group: 18E

Strengths

  • Eager handling
  • Plenty of passenger space
  • Large and practical boot
  • Good value used

Weaknesses

  • Interior feels cheap
  • Infotainment system a little old-fashioned
  • Seating could be more versatile

The Focus Estate combines the style and driving behaviour of its family car counterpart with a much bigger boot. It drives really impressively, gripping and handling nicely. Its steering is pleasingly light and direct and its ride is comfortable and composed over urban ruts and potholes. And above all, it's practical and great value. Oh, and it's proving reliable, too. Our money buys a car with the lively 1.0 Ecoboost engine in mid-range Titanium trim. 

We found: 2021 Ford Focus Estate 1.0 Ecoboost 125 Titanium, 49,000 miles, £13,900

Read our full used Ford Focus Estate review

Search for a used Ford Focus Estate for sale

Strengths

  • Hybrids are very fuel efficient
  • Supple ride and good to drive in general
  • Confidence-inspiring reliability

Weaknesses

  • So-so infotainment system
  • Noisy under sustained acceleration
  • Some rivals whip up less wind and road noise

The best estate cars are not only practical, they're comfortable, frugal and dependable. The Toyota Corolla Touring Sports has all these qualities, plus it's supremely reliable and really good value to buy used. In our recommended 1.8-litre hybrid form, the Corolla averages 62.7mpg, rides well and is eminently practical, too, with a large square boot that has a low load floor for easy access.

We found: 2020 Toyota Corolla Touring Sports 1.8 Icon, 30,000 miles, £14,895

Read our full used Toyota Corolla Touring Sports review

Search for a used Toyota Corolla Touring Sports for sale

Strengths

  • Class-leading space
  • High-quality interior
  • Excellent value used

Weaknesses

  • Diesels sound a bit gruff
  • Some rivals are more fun to drive
  • 2.0-litre petrols are quick, but rather thirsty

The Superb is massive both inside and out, so if you're looking for maximum passenger and load space and you're on a budget, this is the one for you. It's good to drive and it should be reliable, too - its saloon counterpart also did well in the executive car category of the most recent What Car? Reliability Survey. Our budget will get you a 2020 car with plenty of equipment. 

We found: 2020 Skoda Superb Estate 1.6 TDI SE Business, 74,900 miles, £14,900

Read our full used Skoda Superb Estate review

Search for a used Skoda Superb Estate for sale

Strengths

  • Good to drive
  • Plenty of space in the back
  • Well equipped

Weaknesses

  • Firm ride on FR models
  • Road noise
  • EHybrid’s ride and boot space drawbacks
  • Reliability mixed

This latest Seat Leon Estate finishes high up in our list, not just because of how much car you get for your money, but also how much quality you get. It barely feels any less classy than the related Mk8 Volkswagen Golf yet will generally cost you less to buy. Add in sharp handling and a good-sized boot and the Leon Estate is very compelling. Only an average result in our latest What Car? Reliability Survey stops it from finishing higher here.  

We found: 2020 Seat Leon ST 1.5 TSI Evo SE Dynamic, 50,000 miles, £14,895

Read our full used Seat Leon ST review

Search for a used Seat Leon ST for sale

Our pick: 1.5 TSI 150 SE L 5dr

0-62mph: 8.6 sec
MPG/range: 51.7mpg
CO2 emissions: 124g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 640 litres
Insurance group: 21P

Strengths

  • Comfortable
  • Incredibly spacious
  • Plenty of kit and great value

Weaknesses

  • Floaty handling
  • Touchscreen can be fiddly
  • Concerning reliability record

It may not be the most exciting of things to look at, but the Octavia Estate is one of the best all-round used cars you can buy. Few can match its space and practicality, and its blend of refinement, performance and economy is incredible. This latest generation of Octavia is one of the nicest. Only a poor result in our latest What Car? Reliability Survey stops it from finishing higher here.  

We found: 2021 Skoda Octavia Estate 1.0 TSI SE Technology, 25,000 miles, £14,995

Read our full used Skoda Octavia Estate review

Search for a used Skoda Octavia Estate for sale

Strengths

  • Refined engines
  • Smooth ride on Comfort suspension
  • Superb interior quality

Weaknesses

  • Not as much fun to drive as some rivals
  • More practical estates are available
  • Economy not outstanding

The A4 Avant is about as refined as estate cars come for our budget. And that term spreads across essentially every aspect of the car, from its efficient engines to its supremely classy interior. If you're after a functional workhorse, there are other estates more suited to you. However, if you desire a premium load-lugger that can cater for your family, and one with a good reliability record, the A4 Avant is right up your street. 

We found: 2019 Audi A4 Avant 1.5 TFSI Sport, 51,000 miles, £14,990

Read our full used Audi A4 Avant review

Search for a used Audi A4 Avant for sale

Our pick: C220d AMG Line 5dr 9G-Tronic

0-62mph: 7.6 sec
MPG/range: 60.1mpg
CO2 emissions: 124g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 490 litres
Insurance group: 35E

Strengths

  • Practical and large boot
  • Efficient engines
  • Well equipped

Weaknesses

  • Diesel engines are unrefined
  • Ride can be fidgety
  • Infotainment system not as good as the best in class
  • Reliability can be an issue

Mercedes has built its reputation on luxury, and that's reflected in the attractive, plush interior of the previous-generation C-Class Estate. Add decent load-lugging abilities and you have yourself a compelling package – one you can pick up for less money than you might think. The good news is that after some years of mixed results, it scored well in our most recent What Car? Reliability Survey.

We found: 2019 Mercedes C-Class Estate C220 Bluetec SE Executive, 75,000 miles, £14,495 

Read our full used Mercedes C-Class Estate review

Search for a used Mercedes C-Class Estate for sale

Strengths

  • Huge boot
  • Great interior design
  • Wide range of engines

Weaknesses

  • Expensive to buy
  • Some rivals are bigger still
  • Limited petrol choice

The VW Golf is a Swiss Army knife of a car: it can be a family transport, a long-distance cruiser and a classy urban car. The additional boot capacity of the Golf Estate adds 'luggage hauler' to that list, and the now-replaced Mk7 model is a great car to drive, too. In short, you could call it a jack of all trades. What you'll get for our money here is one of the last of the Mk7 cars. 

We found: 2019 Volkswagen Golf Estate 1.4 TSI BlueMotion Tech SE Nav, 42,000 miles, £13,995

Read our full used Volkswagen Golf Estate review

Search for a used Volkswagen Golf Estate for sale

Strengths

  • Precise handling
  • Strong and efficient engines
  • High quality interior

Weaknesses

  • Four-cylinder diesels can sound gruff
  • Some rivals offer more boot space
  • Offset pedals in the manual versions
  • Reliability a bit mixed

Like the contemporary Mercedes C-Class Estate, this previous-generation 3 Series Touring doesn't have the biggest boot going, but it's a decent size nonetheless. Its most notable strengths lie in its smart interior and precise handling, as well as a wide range of gutsy yet economical engines. Those who value a car's driving experience will adore this sophisticated yet fine-handling estate, although our latest reliability reports on it are a bit mixed.

We found: 2019 BMW 320i Sport Touring, 68,000 miles, £14,500

Read our full used BMW 3 Series Touring review

Search for a used BMW 3 Series Touring for sale