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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...
Estate cars used to be thought of as the uncouth relation, but in recent years, thanks to their classy styling, much-improved refinement and generously appointed interiors, they have become highly desirable models in their own right, often more sought-after than their saloon counterparts. On top of that, they're usually better to drive than their trendy SUV competitors.
Buy one used and you can save a pretty penny, too, but which one should be on your driveway? Here’s a list of our top 10 favourite used estates for less than £15,000 to help you decide...
If you want the load-lugging capabilities of a mid-size estate car with the premium feel of the very best of executive cars, the Mercedes C-Class Estate should definitely be on your shortlist. Add to that, the three-pointed star still carries a lot of cachet. The only problem for the C-Class Estate has always been the stiff competition it faces in this class.
- Practical and large boot
- Efficient engines
- Well equipped
- Diesel engines are unrefined
- Ride can be fidgety
- Infotainment system not as good as the best in class
The previous-generation 3 Series Touring is more of a lifestyle estate than a flat-pack furniture hauler, but BMW has improved the utility of its smaller estate with each passing generation. And it still drives just as well as the 3 Series saloon, making it a very enjoyable estate to steer. If you could buy a newer model for this money, it would have finished higher up this list.
- Precise handling
- Strong and efficient engines
- High quality interior
- Four-cylinder diesels can sound gruff
- Some rivals offer more boot space
- Offset pedals in the manual versions
Desirability is something that Audi has managed to engineer into the A4 Avant; this is an estate that doesn’t feel like some unrefined workhorse. While the A4 Avant's boot isn’t the largest in the class, it features high-quality carpet, chrome hooks and neat cubbyholes. Factor in the solidity of its beautifully finished interior and there are few estates that are quite so classy.
- Refined engines
- Smooth ride on Comfort suspension
- Superb interior quality
- Not as much fun to drive as some rivals
- More practical estates are available
- Economy not outstanding
The Focus Estate combines the style and driving behaviour of the hatchback with a much bigger boot. It drives well, it grips and handles 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. Our money buys a car with the lively 1.0 Ecoboost engine in popular Zetec trim.
- Eager handling
- Plenty of passenger space
- Large and practical boot
- Interior feels cheap
- Infotainment system a little old-fashioned
- Seating could be more versatile
The Astra Sports Tourer is on this list because of the great value it offers. For our budget, you get a 2020 car with a good reliability record and a nicely finished interior featuring plenty of kit. Plus, it handles well, its engines are strong and refined and it rides well. Oh, and there's loads of space inside.
- Cheap to buy
- Smooth ride
- Plenty for sale
- Plasticky interior
- Diesels can be noisy
- Not the most reliable
The Passat Estate has a broad spread of abilities. It excels at being a smart-looking executive estate car with a rather nice interior, and it's great to drive, too. It also has an air of all-round competence and solidity few cars can match, and is well equipped, economical and reliable. What's more, it comes with a really huge boot.
- Good range of engines
- Spacious interior and boot
- Classy interior
- Slightly unsettled ride
- Base S trim misses out on some kit
The Superb is super-massive both inside and out, so if you're looking for a load-lugger and you're on a budget, this is the one for you. It's a great car and a really useful estate. For our budget, you get a 2018 car with a good reliability record and a nicely finished interior featuring plenty of equipment. Plus, it drives really nicely, it's refined and it's comfortable to ride in.
- Class-leading space
- High-quality interior
- Excellent value used
- Diesels sound a bit gruff
- Some rivals are more fun to drive
- 2.0-litre petrols are quick, but rather thirsty
The Seat Leon ST 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. True, the Volkswagen Golf Estate has a classier interior, but the Leon ST’s doesn’t feel much cheaper. Add in the Leon's sharp handling and the additional practicality of the estate's boot, plus some Seat design flair, and the whole package is very compelling. A new model appeared in 2020, but as yet prices haven't dropped low enough to feature in this top 10.
- Outstanding value
- Easy to use infotainment system
- Sporty drive
- Firm ride
- Diesels a bit noisy
- Bland interior
The 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 recently replaced Mk7 Golf is a great car to drive, too. In short, it's reliable, frugal, exceptionally classy and excellent value.
- Huge boot
- Great interior design
- Wide range of engines
- Expensive to buy
- Some rivals are bigger still
- Limited petrol choice
It might not look like it’ll set your heart on fire, but the Octavia Estate is probably, in the real world, one of the best all-round used cars you can buy. Indeed seldom will you encounter a car that offers such space and practicality, such easy-going refinement and such superb value for money. If sheer size is your only requirement, it should definitely be your number one choice. It's a fantastic all-rounder. An all-new version was launched in 2020, but we still reckon this generation is a great used buy.
- Huge load space
- Well equipped
- Some great-value options
- So-so refinement
- Choppy low-speed ride
- Some versions are expensive
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