With so many strong choices, here’s a likely half-dozen
With so many SUVs in the world, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the traditional estate car has had its day. But nothing could be further from the truth – there’s a stronger selection of choices on offer than ever before.
These include estate versions of everything from superminis to executive cars. But so much variety means there’s bound to be good and bad on offer – to cut the mustard these days, an estate has to have a load space that’s big, easy to access and augmented by rear seats that fold easily to leave a usably flat floor.
It also has to be just as comfortable, spacious, well equipped and enjoyable to drive as the hatch or saloon on which it’s based. So in every way, these are do-it-all cars. Here are six of the very best :
6: Volkswagen Golf Estate
It’s not the cheapest wagon of its size, but you can forgive that when you see how much space it has inside a cabin that’s generously equipped and superbly screwed together. The 2.0 TDI engine is our pick from a range that’s got quality in every position – and while it might cost a bit more than average to buy, you’ll get your investment back come sell-on time.
Best buy: 2.0 TDI SE
5: Ford Mondeo Estate
Roomy inside, and possessed of a mighty luggage area, the Mondeo is a good, refined estate car that makes strong financial sense whether you’re a private buyer or business user. The 1.6 TDCi engine can easily beat 50mpg on the road – and there’s no other estate of its size and price that can match the Mondeo for handling agility.
Best buy: 1.6 TDCi Econetic Zetec
4: Skoda Fabia Estate
Being based on a supermini makes the Fabia more manageable to drive than the larger vehicles here, but there’s no shortage of space in its well made, cleverly designed cabin and cargo bay. Driving it won’t trouble you, and it’s a reassuring family car as safety kit is there in abundance. In typical Skoda fashion, too, it’s very affordable both to buy and run.
Best buy: 1.2 TSI 90PS SE
3: BMW 5 Series Touring
Like the Golf, the 5 Series will stick you with a big initial bill – but put a smile on your face when the time comes to sell it on. Owning and driving it will make you pretty happy, too – its interior is as big, practical and very well made. Auto-levelling rear suspension makes it a winning load lugger, and BMW’s trademark handling and interior quality make it a great executive car.
Best buy: 520d SE
2: Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate
This year’s new E-Class is a wonderful thing, and the Estate version is wonderfully practical too. No other car of this nature gives you more space for your luggage, and few cars of any kind are as generous to driver and passenger alike. It looks modern and stylish, and inside it’s well equipped and all kinds of classy. Refinement and ride comfort are excellent, too.
Our pick: E220 d SE
1: Skoda Superb Estate
As a wagon, the Superb has sheer space on its side. As a car, it’s loaded with kit and delivers the sort of comfort and luxury you’d expect of a premium exec – not to mention an excellent choice of engine options. And as a purchase, it’s a typical Skoda – great value for money and seriously affordable to run. Nothing puts so many big ticks in so many estate car boxes.
Best buy: 1.4 TSI 150 SE