Best used estate cars (and the ones to avoid)

Need loads of luggage space for a reasonable price? These are the used estate cars that best fit the bill...

Best used estate cars (and the ones to avoid)

Best used estate cars montage

The estate car may be a bastion of practicality, but it's had a pretty tough time in recent years. First came the MPVs, with their flipping, swivelling, folding seats that offer more versatility than you could shake a stick at; then came the SUVs, with their rufty-tufty image and a tall ride height that offers a great view out.

Against such formidable competition, you might wonder whether there’s any point in buying an estate car. But, in fact, modern estates have plenty to offer. For one thing, their lower centre of gravity means most are better to drive than an SUV or MPV. Moreover, their lower rooflines mean better aerodynamics, which in turn mean lower fuel consumption and better performance.

What’s more, because estates don’t usually have to be built with space for a four-wheel drive system under the floor, many offer more room inside than an equivalent SUV. And the best news is that a used estate will cost you far less to buy, too. To prove it, here’s our roundup of the 10 best ones.

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Best used estate cars

Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer

10. Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer

The Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer isn’t the biggest estate you can buy, nor is it the best to drive. However, what it does offer is immense value for money. You can pick one up today for far less than the equivalent Volkswagen Golf or Skoda Octavia, making the Astra Sports Tourer the one to have if you’re buying on a budget.

We found 2014 2.0 CDTi 165 Elite, 44,122 miles, £7280

Best used estate cars

Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer

The Astra Sports Tourer has its flaws, but it’s still a very decent car with a well-built interior – if a bit cluttered with buttons that aren’t always easy to read at a glance. The car does have a comfortable ride, though, coping well with the potholes and speed bumps that litter our roads. At these prices, the Astra Sports Tourer is a very tempting option.

Read the used Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourerreview

Find a used Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer in the What Car? Classifieds

Best used estate cars

Skoda Superb Estate

9. Skoda Superb Estate

The Skoda Superb Estate is one of the most spacious estates around, with a massive boot that’ll swallow the largest of loads. What’s more, it’s a great cruiser, with soft suspension that lets the car waft along at speed. The downside is that it isn’t the sharpest tool in the box when it comes to corners but, being a large estate designed with comfort in mind, this isn’t a deal breaker.

We found 2014 2.0 TDI 140 Black Edition, 13,419 miles, £16,790

Best used estate cars

Skoda Superb Estate

What's more, you have a great range of engines to choose from: efficient diesel engines make up the majority of the range, with the 2.0-litre unit being the most popular. You can also get the Superb Estate with an active four-wheel drive system to help in slippery conditions. Inside, you have comfortable seats, a solidly built interior and acres of rear leg room.

Read the used Skoda Superb Estate review

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

Best used estate cars

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate

8. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate

Big, comfortable, dependable and posh – that’s the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate in a nutshell. And it really is big; its load bay is one of the roomiest around, and with the seats up you’ll fit far more in its boot than you will in any of its rivals. The downside is that the E-Class Estate isn’t as sporty to drive as some cars here and you’ll have to put up with noisy diesel engines. However, if nothing but the largest estate car will do, this one is hard to beat.

We found 2014 E250 CDI SE auto, 11,100 miles, £19,295

Best used estate cars

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate

The interior of the E-Class Estate majors on functionality rather than style, but it is well made, with dense, soft-touch plastics and high-quality leather on the seats. Equipment levels are good but, being a Mercedes, the options list is extensive. So it’s worth comparing a few examples before you buy, because you might find one with more kit for a similar price.

Read the used Mercedes E-Class Estate review

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

Best used estate cars

Honda Civic Tourer

7. Honda Civic Tourer

It’s a touch on the pricey side, but the Honda Civic Tourer has plenty to offer for the cash. For starters, it has one of the best reputations for reliability of any used estate car. And, despite being on the smaller end of the scale externally, it has a massive boot, making it a truly great load carrier.

We found 2015 1.6 i-DTEC SE Plus, 25,556 miles, £10,989

Best used estate cars

Honda Civic Tourer

True, the Civic Tourer's fussy interior won’t be to everyone’s taste, and it doesn’t ride quite as smoothly as some estates, but if dependability and practicality are what you’re after, look no further.

Read the used Honda Civic Tourer review

Find a used Honda Civic Tourer in the What Car? Classifieds

Best used estate cars

BMW 5 Series Touring

6. BMW 5 Series Touring

It’s one of the most sought-after premium estates, and with good reason: the BMW 5 Series Touring is smooth, quick and quiet. There's a huge range of engines that are efficient and responsive, but the 2.0-litre diesel unit makes the most sense because it has plenty of power, even when fully loaded with people and luggage, yet manages to have the running costs of a much smaller car.

We found 2014 520d SE, 29,417 miles, £14,857

Best used estate cars

BMW 5 Series Touring

OK, so its boot isn’t the largest out there, but it’s still plenty big enough for most people. And with its upmarket interior and generous equipment list, the 5 Series Touring has a huge amount to offer besides. The only downside is that it isn’t the cheapest; but, for many people, the air of quality and driving involvement the 5 Series Touring offers will make it worth the extra cash.

Read the used BMW 5 Series Touring review

Find a used BMW 5 Series Touring in the What Car? Classifieds

Best used estate cars

Seat Leon ST

5. Seat Leon ST

If you’re looking for the most stylish estate around, the Seat Leon ST has to be in with a shot. And beneath its sharp lines lies a truly practical estate with a boot almost as big as the best in its class. Throw in tidy handling and a gutsy range of both petrol and diesel engines, and suddenly there’s a lot to like.

We found 2015 1.6 TDI SE Technology Pack, 25,178 miles, £10,331

Best used estate cars

Seat Leon ST

Inside, you’ll find a well-made interior and, on SE Technology Pack models, there's lots of equipment, including LED headlights, a DAB radio and a 8.0in colour touchscreen. So if you’re prepared to sacrifice a morsel of practicality in favour of an attractive and appealing small estate, the Leon ST should be on your list.

Read the used Seat Leon ST review

Find a used Seat Leon ST in the What Car? Classifieds

Best used estate cars

Volkswagen Passat Estate

4. Volkswagen Passat Estate

We’re big fans of the Volkswagen Passat Estate. It has a massive boot and a classy interior that feels a cut above most rivals’. What’s more, the car rides comfortably and quietly, making it a great long-distance cruiser. While it isn’t as sharp as the best in class, it handles tidily enough for the vast majority of estate buyers.

We found 2014 2.0 TDI 140 Bluemotion Tech Sport, 28,998 miles, £11,495

Best used estate cars

Volkswagen Passat Estate

There’s a wealth of well-specced models around, too, with post-facelift versions the most desirable of all. And while it isn’t as cheap as some big estates, neither will it cost you the Earth.

Read the used Volkswagen Passat Estate review

Find a used Volkswagen Passat Estate in the What Car? Classifieds

Best used estate cars

Volkswagen Golf Estate

3. Volkswagen Golf Estate

To look at, you’d never guess how vast boot space is in the Volkswagen Golf Estate. But while clever packaging means the boot is enormous, that isn’t all the Golf Estate has going for it. There’s a great choice of petrol and diesel engines and it comes with a decent amount of kit as standard.

We found 2013 2.0 TDI GT, 21,567 miles, £13,541

Best used estate cars

Volkswagen Golf Estate

The Golf Estate has one of the classiest interiors of any car of this size; what’s more, it’s impressively comfortable, quiet and even pretty good fun to drive. And it isn’t even all that expensive. In other words, it’s a very hard estate to beat.

Read the used Volkswagen Golf Estate review

Find a used Volkswagen Golf Estate in the What Car? Classifieds

Best used estate cars

Skoda Octavia Estate

2. Skoda Octavia Estate

As a value proposition, the Skoda Octavia Estate delivers. It offers a huge amount of space for the money, but that’s not all. It’s good to drive and well equipped, and comes with the same impressive range of petrol and diesel engines as the Volkswagen Golf Estate. It may not be quite as comfortable as its stablemate, but the Octavia Estate is much bigger inside and it’s slightly cheaper.

We found 2015 2.0 TDI Elegance, 22,055 miles, £10,999

Best used estate cars

Skoda Octavia Estate

The interior isn’t quite as classy as the Golf Estate's, but Octavia Estate is well built and feels robust enough to stand up to the worst a family can throw at it. Put simply, it’s a splendid car with loads of room and you can get it for a great price.

Read the used Skoda Octavia Estate review

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

Best used estate cars

Ford Mondeo Estate

1. Ford Mondeo Estate

Glamorous the Ford Mondeo Estate ain't – but it is the best used estate out there at the moment. While the boot isn’t ultimately as big as those in some rivals, it’s of a useful, square shape, meaning you can take full advantage of the space it does offer.

We found 2013 1.6 TDCI 140 Zetec Business Edition, 36,385 miles, £11,795

Best used estate cars

Ford Mondeo Estate

The Mondeo Estate is remarkably comfortable, making it a great long-distance companion, and with surprisingly involving driving dynamics, it's an estate you can actually have fun in. You might think you'd have to pay a fortune for such a brilliant all-rounder, but that couldn't be further from the truth; in fact, the Mondeo is one of the best-value estates going and, as if that wasn't enough, its ubiquity means it's easy to find a good example.

Read the used Ford Mondeo Estate review

Find a used Ford Mondeo Estate in the What Car? Classifieds

And the ones to avoid…

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate

Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake

Its swoopy looks are appealing, but the Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake has a shallow, impractical boot and rides far too firmly. It’s also very expensive.

And the ones to avoid...

Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon

Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon

It’s cheap to buy but, with relatively little manufacturer support, rough engines and poor quality, the Cruze Station Wagon is best avoided.


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