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Used test: Ford Focus Estate vs Kia Cee’d Sportswagon vs Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon

The Ford Focus Estate is an accomplished all-rounder that's great to drive and cheap to buy. But is that enough to make it better than the wallet-friendly estate versions of the Kia Cee'd and Chevrolet Cruze?

Words ByWhat Car? team

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What are they like inside?

Let’s get straight to the bit that matters most in an estate car: the boot. Be wary of manufacturer-supplied capacity figures, which suggest the Kia Cee’d’s boot is biggest and the Ford Focus’s smallest. Our measurements show that the Focus’s boot is actually widest, deepest and second-longest, while the Cee’d’s is worst or joint worst in all three areas.

Still, none of these cars is short of luggage space and each has a boot floor that sits almost flush with the opening, making it easier to load heavy items without straining your back.

In addition, all three have a luggage cover that retracts on rails so you don’t have to stretch all the way into the boot to pull it back into place. However, while the covers in the Focus and Cee’d retract straight back, the Chevrolet Cruze’s retracts upwards; this means it obscures your rear view if you forget to pull it back down before getting into the driver’s seat, which is annoying.

If you want to extend the load space in the Cruze, you simply fold down the backrests, whereas you have to flip up the bases first in its rivals. This is a bit of a faff and it leaves them with a shorter space, but it also lets their seats lie a little flatter and creates a barrier between the load area and the front of the car.

All of these estates are roomy enough to seat four six-foot adults in comfort or five at a push. Unfortunately, some people might struggle to find a good driving position in the Cruze because its seatback adjusts in slightly too big increments and there’s no rest for the driver’s left foot.

The Cruze also has the fussiest dashboard layout of the three. The Cee’d scores best for ease of use; all controls on its centre console are chunky, well ordered and clearly labelled, plus the console itself is angled towards the driver.

Both the Cee’d and Focus feel quite classy inside, thanks to their tactile, soft-touch dashboards, although Focus buyers should note that the piano black trim in our pictures is reserved for Titanium models and above. The plastics in the Cruze are hard and least appealing.

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