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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

Used estates

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...

10

Mercedes C-Class Estate

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.

We found: 2017 Mercedes C-Class Estate, C200d Sport, 23,000 miles, £14,595

Pros

  • Practical and large boot
  • Efficient engines
  • Well equipped

Cons

  • Diesel engines are unrefined
  • Ride can be fidgety
  • Infotainment system not as good as the best in class
9

BMW 3 Series Touring

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.

We found: 2017 BMW 318i Sport Touring, 40,000 miles, £13,995

Pros

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

Cons

  • Four-cylinder diesels can sound gruff
  • Some rivals offer more boot space
  • Offset pedals in the manual versions
8

Audi A4 Avant

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. 

We found: 2017 Audi A4 Avant 1.4 TFSI Sport, 50,000 miles, £14,990

Pros

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

Cons

  • Not as much fun to drive as some rivals
  • More practical estates are available
  • Economy not outstanding
7

Ford Focus Estate

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. 

We found: 2019 Ford Focus Estate 1.0 125 Ecoboost Zetec, 18,000 miles, £13,495 

Pros

  • Eager handling
  • Plenty of passenger space
  • Large and practical boot

Cons

  • Interior feels cheap
  • Infotainment system a little old-fashioned
  • Seating could be more versatile
6

Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer

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.

We found: 2020 Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer 1.2 SRi Nav, 7000 miles, £13,999

Pros

  • Cheap to buy
  • Smooth ride
  • Plenty for sale

Cons

  • Plasticky interior
  • Diesels can be noisy
  • Not the most reliable
5

Volkswagen Passat Estate

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. 

We found: 2018 Volkswagen Passat Estate 2.0 TDI BMT SE Business, 32,500 miles, £13,995

 

 

Pros

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

Cons

  • Slightly unsettled ride
  • Base S trim misses out on some kit
4

Skoda Superb Estate

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.  

We found: 2018 Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDI SE Tech, 23,000 miles, £14,995

 

 

Pros

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

Cons

  • Diesels sound a bit gruff
  • Some rivals are more fun to drive
  • 2.0-litre petrols are quick, but rather thirsty
3

Seat Leon ST

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. 

We found: 2019 Seat Leon ST 1.5 TSI Evo, 35,000 miles, £12,000

Pros

  • Outstanding value
  • Easy to use infotainment system
  • Sporty drive

Cons

  • Firm ride
  • Diesels a bit noisy
  • Bland interior
2

Volkswagen Golf Estate

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. 

We found: 2019 Volkswagen Golf Estate 1.5 TSI SE, 10,000 miles, £14,500

Pros

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

Cons

  • Expensive to buy
  • Some rivals are bigger still
  • Limited petrol choice
1

Skoda Octavia Estate

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. 

We found: 2020 Skoda Octavia Estate 1.5 TSI SE, 14,000 miles, £14,500

Pros

  • Huge load space
  • Well equipped
  • Some great-value options

Cons

  • So-so refinement
  • Choppy low-speed ride
  • Some versions are expensive