Best used estate cars for less than £20,000 (and the ones to avoid)

If you're after space and practicality but don't want an SUV, the traditional estate car is hard to beat. Here we reveal the best and worst used buys for less than £20,000...

Skoda Octavia Estate 1.5 TSI SE L DSG

4. Skoda Octavia Estate

You might be wondering why the smaller Octavia is further up this list than its bigger stablemate, the Superb. Well, even though it's smaller, it still has a massive boot and lots of rear leg room, so it’s not as if you’ll be missing out on that much practicality. Secondly, the smaller exterior dimensions mean it’s far easier to park, and lastly, you can find a slightly newer example for less money. Aside from the hot vRS version, there's a wide variety of petrol and diesel engines for our budget, so there’s an Octavia Estate to suit all needs. A new version is due soon so expect deals on these nearly new ones. 

We found: 2020 Skoda Octavia Estate 2.0 TDI SE L auto, 5000 miles, £17,995

Read the used Skoda Octavia Estate review here

3. Seat Leon ST

Seat Leon ST

The Seat Leon ST proves that you can still have fun while driving a practical car. The Leon shares plenty of mechanical and technology bits and pieces with the Golf and Octavia, but it feels very different, because it has quicker steering and firmer suspension to better resist body roll. This means you have to be a bit careful about the size of wheels (preferably no bigger than 17in), otherwise you might find the ride to be a bit hard. Aside from that, there’s an excellent range of engines, including the 1.4-litre and 1.5-litre turbocharged petrols, plus most versions are very well equipped.

We found: 2020 Seat Leon ST 1.5 TSI Evo FR, 4000 miles, £17,000

Read the used Seat Leon ST review here

2. BMW 5 Series Touring

Deal of the Day: BMW 5 Series Touring

The benefit for anyone buying second-hand is that you can buy something from a truly premium brand for a fraction of the factory-fresh price. Sure, you'll have to go for something a little older, but the previous-generation BMW 5 Series Touring still feels modern, because its iDrive infotainment system is still one of the best around and its efficient diesel engines still hold up against newer alternatives. Much like the 3 Series Touring at the start of this top 10 list, the 5 Series is good to drive, but it's much more refined and best sampled with its smooth-shifting automatic gearbox. Also, look for a car fitted with adaptive dampers if you want an M Sport model, because this will allow you to put the suspension in Comfort mode over rough roads. Shop around and you may even find an example of the latest, post-2017 generation 5 Series Touring for around the magic £20k marker.

We found: 2017 BMW 5 Series Touring 520d SE auto, 24,000 miles, £18,500

Read the used BMW 5 Series Touring review here