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Car of the Year Awards 2021: Best estate car to drive

While estates lack the fashionable status of SUVs, they’re more practical. But an estate also needs to be a pleasure to spend time in, and easy to live with beyond the simple virtue of space...

Best estate car to drive

BMW 3 Series Touring 320i M Sport (M Sport Pro Package)

What Car? Car of the Year 2021 logo with sponsor

The BMW 3 Series has been the go-to enthusiast’s executive car for so long that you’d be forgiven for dismissing its reputation as urban legend. But the BMW really does still set the benchmark, even in estate form. And it’s a high benchmark.

The 320i is our pick of the range; its 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine gives reasonably zippy, high-revving performance, while the M Sport Pro Package’s adaptive suspension helps to deliver a pleasing combination of sweetly balanced handling and a smooth ride.

BMW 3 Series Touring - interior

More than that, it’s a great family estate. Others have bigger boots – including the Volvo V60 and the cavernous Skoda Superb – but the BMW’s is on a par with the Audi A4 Avant’s; its opening rear windscreen is a nifty practical touch, too. With 40/20/40 split rear seats that topple forward for a flat extended floor, it’s also easy to prioritise passenger or boot space. 

If you love to drive but need practicality, the 3 Series Touring strikes the happiest of mediums with its classy finish, functional interior and engaging driving manners. 

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