It’s an unfavourable thing to mention at this time of year, but Christmas displays have already started going up in supermarkets. Not only is this a stark reminder that the big day is nearly upon us, it is a reminder that you’ll need wheels with which to cram the family, presents and possibly even pets and in-laws. Some of you will need space for the tree as well and we’re sure that, unlike a real Christmas tree, you’ll want to keep the car afterwards.
But money is tight and blowing it now on something with four wheels instead of the ones you love will be frowned upon. You need something that is good value, cheap to run and capable of hoovering up people and luggage, then transporting them to far-flung areas to see extended family – whether you want to or not. We feel your pain, so we’ve compiled a list of ten of the best used estate cars for less than £5000. Any one of the cars on this list should negate the annoyance of being repeatedly asked: "Are we nearly there yet?" And of course, we’ve also included two naughty sinners not worth a lump of coal.
Best used estate cars for less than £5000
10. Volvo V70
Volvo is renowned for its estates and this Swedish wagon still manages to be an excellent used load lugger, despite its advancing years. Some rivals offer greater outright load space and the tailgate of the V70 doesn’t open high enough for taller people, but this car is very well made and has seats so comfortable you will find other manufacturers' perches lacking after you’ve experienced them. The V70 can be expensive to maintain, but Volvos tend to be able to cover huge mileages with ease, which helps to negate some of this cost.
We found 2007 2.4D SE, 76,000 miles, £4250
Fine handling and stylish design are not Astra’s strongest areas, but value, practicality and ride comfort certainly are. For your £5000, you will be able to get the newest car in this list. It will have average mileage, but the Astra is tough, as our latest reliability survey highlights, so this shouldn’t be an issue. Plus, you will still have some money left over, which is amazing considering the amount of standard equipment the Astra provides. If your priorities are comfort and load space, and you don’t care for more prestigious brands, then the Astra Sports Tourer is the car for you.
8. Toyota Avensis estate
Much like the Astra, the Toyota Avensis is a great used buy if you value functionality over driving pleasure, and as we’re talking about estate cars, it’s a fair assumption that handling isn’t top billing. TR versions come with dual-zone climate control, cruise control and sat-nav, to name a few options, which is over and above most cars in this list. Then there is the reputation for reliability, which is so good it seems almost a cliché to mention it – although our recent reliability survey proves that it’s as good as it sounds. The Avensis may not be exciting, but neither will it be a stressful car to own.
We found 2010 2.0 D-4D TR, 85,000 miles, £4790
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