Best used 4x4 estate cars (and the ones to avoid)

Want 4x4 for wintery conditions, but don't fancy an SUV? These spacious and stable used estate cars have got your back...

Best used 4x4 estate cars (and the ones to avoid)

Best used 4x4 estate cars

One of the biggest reasons for the rising popularity of SUVs is that many of them come with four-wheel drive and, therefore, a big slice of confidence when winter weather comes around. But SUVs have their drawbacks, too: their loftier stature means they incur greater fuel consumption, and more often than not, the higher centre of gravity means they’re more likely to lean over when going around corners – which might make your passengers feel a little seasick.

Happily, if you want four-wheel drive without the added height and weight of a traditional SUV, there is an answer, and it comes in the oft-forgotten niche of the four-wheel-drive estate car. These models hide four-wheel-drive running gear beneath either a conventional estate body, or one that’s been raised up a couple of inches in order to give more ground clearance. The result is a car that marries the benefits of a big, spacious estate to the traction and all-weather ability of four-wheel drive.

What’s more, you don’t have to buy new to take advantage of cars like these. There’s a welter of options out there on the used market, too, and many are surprisingly good value, putting them within easy reach. To prove it, we’ve combed through the classifieds in order to bring your our favourites – as well as two we’d advise you to steer clear of.


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Best used 4x4 estate cars

Mercedes E-Class Estate

10. Mercedes E-Class Estate 4Matic

The four-wheel-drive Mercedes E-Class Estate doesn’t come cheap, but if you can stretch to it, it offers immense class and a huge boot, making it the kind of estate you could buy, live with and love for years to come.

We found: 2017 E220d 4Matic SE Premium, 1000 miles, £33,700

Best used 4x4 estate cars

Mercedes E-Class Estate interior

Granted, you need to find one with air suspension to get the best of it, and it’s not as exciting to drive as some of its rivals, but as a refined long-distance companion with space to spare, the E-Class Estate 4Matic is terrific.

Read the full Mercedes E-Class Estate review

Find a used Mercedes E-Class Estate in the What Car? Classifieds

Best used 4x4 estate cars

Subaru Outback

9. Subaru Outback

The Subaru Outback is a little crude to drive, with noisy engines and a slightly unsettled ride. But it is built robustly, and comes with a long equipment list no matter which model you choose, not to mention a five-year warranty from new, of which you’ll get the balance when buying used.

We found: 2015 2.0D SE, 17,000 miles, £17,999

Best used 4x4 estate cars

Subaru Outback

In short, while the Subaru Outback doesn’t have the class of some rivals, its practical utilitarianism and go-anywhere ability make it popular with those who need them.

Read the used Subaru Outback review

Find a used Subaru Outback in the What Car? Classifieds

Best used 4x4 estate cars

Volvo V90

8. Volvo V90 AWD & Cross Country

There are few more pleasing places to be when the winter weather hits than the swaddling interior of the Volvo V90 – especially one fitted with all-wheel drive. We’d choose the standard car if you don’t need the extra ground clearance of the Cross Country version, for its lower prices and better fuel economy.

We found: 2017 D5 AWD Inscription, 7000 miles, £28,000

Best used 4x4 estate cars

Volvo V90 interior

The V90 is starting to look like good value compared with similar rivals, and while it isn’t quite as scintillating to drive as a 5 Series, you get a similarly huge boot, plenty of toys and handsome looks.

Read the used Volvo V90 review

Find a used Volvo V90 in the What Car? Classifieds

Best used 4x4 estate cars

Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

7. Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Until recently, if you wanted a four-wheel-drive estate, your choice was more or less limited to larger models with the associated fuel consumption costs. However, the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is a more compact alternative that’s a little cheaper to run, yet still comes with all the toys you’d expect from a larger model.

We found: 2015 Alltrack, 33,000 miles, £16,995

Best used 4x4 estate cars

Volkswagen Golf Alltrack interior

The boot’s huge, and it rides and drives very well indeed – and as with all Golfs, you get a super-smart interior made from high-quality plastics. The downside is that the Alltrack is extremely rare, and therefore very hard to find on the used market.

Read the used Volkswagen Golf Estate review

Find a used Volkswagen Golf in the What Car? Classifieds

Best used 4x4 estate cars

Audi A4 Avant

6. Audi A4 Avant Quattro & Allroad

As smart, compact estate cars go, the Audi A4 is up there with the best, and with the popularity of four-wheel-drive Quattro models, it’s easy to find one too. You get a comfortable ride and a slick interior that’s hewn from some of the nicest materials in the business; what’s more, the boot’s spacious enough for most families’ needs.

We found: 2.0 TDI 190 Quattro Sport,

Best used 4x4 estate cars

Audi A4 Avant interior

The A4 Quattro is one of the more efficient four-wheel-drive estates, too. The only drawback is that it holds onto its value, so buying one used is an expensive business.

Read the used Audi A4 Avant review

Find a used Audi A4 in the What Car? Classifieds

Best used 4x4 estate cars

Volkswagen Passat Alltrack

5. Volkswagen Passat Alltrack

As large, well-built, 4x4 estates go, the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack is a tempting proposition. It’s actually very decent value, with prices low despite the wealth of equipment that comes as standard, not to mention the space on offer; the boot is huge and there’s loads of room for five occupants inside.

We found: 2016 2.0 TDI DSG, 16,000 miles, £22,990

Best used 4x4 estate cars

Volkswagen Passat Alltrack interior

You also get one of the most efficient diesel engines around, a deeply classy interior, and raised ride height to help out when the going gets tough. All of which makes the Passat Alltrack a cracking all-rounder that feels at home whether it’s sitting in the company car park or crossing a muddy field.

Read the full Volkswagen Passat Estate review

Find a used Volkswagen Passat in the What Car? Classifieds

Best used 4x4 estate cars

Seat Leon X-Perience

4. Seat Leon X-Perience

The Seat Leon X-Perience is a bit of an oddity – Seat had never built anything like it before, and doesn’t have a reputation for building cars of this sort, which is why quite a few people aren’t even aware of its existence. As a result, it’s terrific value – under the skin it shares a platform and engines with the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, yet it costs significantly less.

We found: 2015 X-Perience 2.0 TDI SE Technology, 1000 miles, £17,999

Best used 4x4 estate cars

Seat Leon X-Perience interior

All X-Periences come with plenty of equipment and the most potent engines in the Leon range, too, while a comfortable ride and composed handling means they’re great to drive. You also get a big boot and plenty of room for passengers, and while the interior isn’t quite as classy as the Golf’s, it still feels robust and looks smart.

Read the used Seat Leon Estate review

Find a used Seat Leon in the What Car? Classifieds

Best used 4x4 estate cars

Skoda Octavia Estate

3. Skoda Octavia Estate 4x4 & Scout

There are few more accessible ways into 4x4 estate ownership than the Skoda Octavia. Whether you choose the basic 4x4 model, which is simply a standard estate car with four-wheel drive, or the jacked-up Scout version with its additional body cladding, you’ll have a car which puts practicality and value front and centre.

We found: 2017 2.0 TDI SE 4x4, 4,000 miles, £17,450

Best used 4x4 estate cars

Skoda Octavia Estate

The Octavia’s comfortable, good to drive and efficient, too, and while it isn’t quite up there with the best in terms of its interior quality, it all feels well made, and these four-wheel-drive examples tend to come well equipped, too. And as with all Octavias, a vast boot and spacious seating come as standard.

Read the used Skoda Octavia Estate review

Find a used Skoda Octavia in the What Car? Classifieds

Best used 4x4 estate cars

BMW 3 Series Touring

2. BMW 3 Series Touring xDrive

You can’t get the 3 Series Touring with a raised ride height, but if all you want is a bit of extra traction out on the road, the xDrive versions deliver. As with the standard 3 Series Touring, the xDrive is one of the most exciting to drive, with sharp, involving steering, excellent body control and punchy engines that reward a keen driver.

We found: 2015 320d xDrive M Sport Auto, 19,000 miles, £19,276

Best used 4x4 estate cars

BMW 3 Series Touring interior

That isn’t all, though. The 3 Series gets a smart interior and one of the best infotainment systems around, and it’s even surprisingly good value, undercutting similar rivals from Mercedes and Audi like-for-like. The only real downside is the small boot. If you can live with that, though, it’s a cracking option.

Read the used BMW 3 Series Touring review

Find a used BMW 3 Series in the What Car? Classifieds

Best used 4x4 estate cars

Skoda Superb Estate

1. Skoda Superb Estate 4x4

If it’s value you’re looking for, few 4x4 estates offer quite so much for so little as the Skoda Superb. Like-for-like, it costs just a couple of thousand pounds more than its little brother, the Octavia, yet offers an even larger boot and even more passenger space, not to mention a higher-quality interior and more equipment.

We found: 2016 2.0 TDI SE 4x4, 4000 miles, £18,990

Best used 4x4 estate cars

Skoda Superb Estate

You get the same economical diesel engines, too, and the Superb is one of the most comfortable cars around, with a smooth ride even on its standard suspension. Throw in sharp looks and you have a recipe for a very desirable estate car – and of course, one that’ll still get you around in the worst wintery conditions.

Read the used Skoda Superb Estate review

Find a used Skoda Superb Estate in the What Car? Classifieds

The used 4x4 estate cars to avoid

Mini Clubman Estate

Mini Clubman

The Mini Clubman is good fun to drive, but four-wheel-drive versions are far too expensive to buy, while every Clubman has a small boot and cramped rear seats.

The used 4x4 estate cars to avoid

Volvo XC70

Volvo XC70

It’s a comfortable old beast, but the XC70 feels dated, and it isn’t actually very cheap. There are much more modern rivals out there for the same price.

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