The estate car may be a bastion of practicality, but it's had a pretty tough time of it in recent years. First came the MPVs, with their flipping, swivelling, folding seats that offered more versatility than you could shake a stick it, and then came the SUVs, with their rufty-tufty image and a tall ride height that offered a great view out.
Against such formidable opposition, 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 estates are better to drive than an SUV or MPV. And for another, their lower rooflines means better aerodynamics, which in turn means lower fuel consumption and better performance.
What’s more, because they don’t usually have to be built with space for a four-wheel drive system under the floor, many estates offer more room inside than the equivalent SUV. And the best news is that a used estate car will cost you far less to buy, too. To prove it, here’s our round-up of the ten best.
Best used estate cars
10. Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer
The Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer isn’t the biggest estate around, 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, which makes the Astra the one to have if you’re buying on a budget, and while the Astra has its flaws, it’s still a very decent car with a well built interior and a comfortable ride. At these prices, that makes it a very tempting option.
The Skoda Superb’s one of the most spacious estates around, with a simply massive load area that’ll swallow the largest of loads. What’s more, it’s a great cruiser, with soft suspension that lets it waft along at speed. The downside is that it isn’t the sharpest tool in the box when it comes to corners, but if you can live with that, you get a great range of engines to choose from, comfortable seats and a solidly built interior.
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 it isn’t as sporty to drive as some cars here, and you’ll have to put up with noisy diesel engines – but if nothing but the largest estate car around will do, the big Mercedes is hard to beat.
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