Top 11 Best Estate Cars
When you find yourself looking for a combination of van-like load capability and saloon-like comfort, chances are you’ll end up with a long list of estate cars in front of you. But which estate car is the right one for you?
Many estate car buyers have actively chosen to avoid the small automatic, city, small car and SUV market and have already decided they just need some extra boot space for work, family or hobbies (or maybe they just love going to IKEA?). Sound familiar?
The good news is that the estate car segment is wildly varied, so whatever type of car you’re looking to drive – you can probably find it with added space as an estate.
Some of the estate cars on this list come with other benefits like extra technology, luxurious touches or an exceptional driving experience. But what they all do well is blend space, practicality and refinement perfectly.
The best 11 estate cars are reviewed below:
1. SKODA Superb
4. Ford Mondeo
5. Volvo V60
1. SKODA Superb
SKODA can do little wrong these days. As their saloon-style, 660-litre boot behemoth proves. Superb by name and superb by nature, this estate car is a fantastic example of an estate that offers generous portions of space, is cheap to run and is as sturdy as an ox.
This vehicle easily accommodates adults in each of its seats. Whether you’re front, back or middle – you won’t feel the pinch of tight space.
The interior is well laid-out past its seating layout too. The dash is clean, with a neat infotainment hub at the centre. And what’s even better is that the system is easy to use.
“Not much beyond a Mercedes S-Class limousine offers as much rear seat space as a Superb Estate. Two 6ft-tall adults will be able to stretch their legs and make themselves comfortable, and getting in and out is easy because of the wide-opening doors and low sill height.” – WhatCar
It’ll serve you well as a car for work, as it handles long motorway driving well. It’s a smooth ride in town too, with a suspension that glides you over bumps and holes in the road.
It’s not the quietest estate car in terms of wind and road noise, but hey – we had to find something negative to say about the Superb.
You’d think for the price that you’d have to forego some luxury qualities, but you don’t. The Superb can easily be compared to the likes of Audi, Jaguar and Mercedes in terms of premium comfort and finishes.
Everything is soft-touch, carpeted and cubbies are lined with rubber. Nothing feels cheap. And those ‘simply clever’ touches like bag hooks and umbrella holders make the car even more practical.
It’s a fantastic estate car whichever way you slice it.
Price: From £22,130
- More space than any of its rivals
- Interior feels luxury
- Premium car, budget price
- Driving refinement could be improved
- Not much else!
2. Audi A6 Avant
If you’re looking for a premium, high-tech estate then the Audi A6 Avant will do just the job.
It’s supremely practical thanks to the interior space that just seems to go on and on. Front passengers are in for a treat. Even the tallest person can stretch their legs out.
And for once, rear seat passengers don’t get the dud deal. Space is just as ample back there. You’ll lose some space in the boot to get all that room in the cabin, but it’s still plenty generous as an estate, with 565 litres of space.
The A6 Avant stands out as a very high-tech estate car. It’s almost space age but still very tasteful. Affordable options still come with two 8”+ touchscreens.
The bottom one gives you access to heating and air conditioning functions, the other screen controls infotainment functions like sat nav, stereo and smartphone mirroring features.
It’ll make for a good choice if you’re a company car driver as every A6 Avant comes with a hybrid system that should (if used right) bring those fuel costs down. The drive is quiet, comfortable and above all else, refined. But it’s not particularly fun or sporty like some other models Audi offer.
What makes the Audi even more pleasant to spend time in is the interior quality. Look around and all you’ll see is a sea of leather, soft touch plastics and glossy black surfaces.
This is Audi at its best. A mid-sized, four-wheel-drive estate car with just as much practicality as comfort and style.
Price: From £40,740
- Luxury interior quality
- Heaps of technology
- Refined drive
- Lacks driving excitement
- Optional extras are eye-wateringly expensive
3. Volkswagen Passat Estate
The Volkswagen Passat Estate is almost as excellent as the SKODA Superb (they are vaguely from the same family, after all). It’ll suit drivers who like to brandish a badge they know and love.
Its design and styling is sharp but fairly conservative. It won’t stir you but it also won’t offend you either. It’s a well-rounded estate with just about everything you need (bar a thrilling drive).
The handling is secure and self assured, which is what you want when this car is at full capacity.
On the subject of capacity, this estate car has a lot. Space seekers, rejoice. The boot is both wide and spacious. 650 litres.
Fold the rear seats down and you can increase that space to 1,780 litres. The cabin is roomy too. Not as roomy as the Superb, but it’s plenty – even if you’re transporting tall passengers.
The tech on offer is vastly improved if you step up to an SE model. The screen grows from 6.5” to 8” – which makes it a lot easier to read – and you’ll also get sat nav, traffic updates on the go and weather forecasts for your final destination. Neat.
It’s a fantastic family estate with smart looks and a high quality interior.
Price: From £24,720
- Generous boot space
- Badge appeal
- Strong build-quality
- A little expensive
- Standard tech nothing to write home about
4. Ford Mondeo
This is where the drive is at, readers. The Ford Mondeo offers a surprisingly enjoyable driving experience for a car of its size. The sort of handling you’d expect from a much more expensive car than this one.
The space is great up front, but you’ll want to seat taller passengers there. The rear isn’t quite as roomy (and no where near the Superb), but it’s not small either.
Seating flexibility is good if not a tad typical – the 60/40-split rear bench folds with total ease. And all models have one of those handy ski hatches that allows you to fold down a central portion of the rear seats to create a window to the boot.
Some of the lower priced models still come with a good level of equipment. Opt for the Zetec to enjoy sat nav, cruise control, parking sensors and climate control. And the standard safety spec is good too – namely there are seven airbags as well as the emergency brake assist feature.
Did we mention how good the drive is? Well, we’ll tell you some more anyway. That suspension is golden. It soaks up bumps and dents in the road so you hardly feel them, which makes the drive smooth and comfortable.
Put it this way, people who spend a lot of time behind the wheel will appreciate this estate car.
Price: From £21,495
- Supreme driving experience
- Good standard tech on offer
- Practical boot space
- Seating flexibility is pretty generic
- Interior feels a tad cheap
5. Volvo V60
In 2018 Volvo walked away with 43 significant honours in the UK alone, one of them being the Practicality Award at the 2018 carwow Car of the Year Awards, won for the Volvo V60. And it’s easy to see why the manufacturer and the V60 are so well awarded.
Few estate cars manage to blend sensible and desirable so effortlessly. If comfort is high up on your priority list, then you’ll want to try to V60 on for size.
It falls down in terms of driving experience and handling. It’s composed and sensible. Steering is accurate. All the good, practical stuff. But it lacks heart a little. It just feels very… comfortable. Almost too relaxing. Which isn’t such a bad thing, we guess.
More on the sensible estate front – Volvo are well known for their safety credentials. The V60’s City Safety system comes as standard and detects oncoming vehicles, people and cyclists as well as large animals.
It can even suggest and apply soft braking based on distance and chance of head-on collision. It’s the sort of smart system that gives you peace of mind.
TopGear succinctly sum up the V60 in their latest review of the model; “The V60 is a sensible, safe Volvo, just as you’d expect. The estate car of choice if comfort means more to you than handling”.
The V60 also excels with its spaciousness. The estate boot is cavernous. 529 litres. And because there’s no lip to lift things over, it scores some extra brownie points there too. There’s lots of hooks and hidden storage, which adds to the V60’s practicality.
And what’s more is that the interior is gorgeous. If you don’t know Volvo interiors, then they can be summed up as light, airy with high end materials. It feels like you’re driving first-class.
Price: From £32,410
- Relaxing drive
- Stunning and comfortable interior
- Great safety features
- Missing a little excitement
- Road and wind noise during motorway driving
6. Jaguar XF Sportbrake
Somehow Jaguar manage to keep the subtle, gentle styling they’re known for, even on their Sportbrake estate model.
It drives like a saloon, not an estate car. So much so that you’ll need to keep reminding yourself that this is a bigger car than it feels like. You don’t feel the extra weight or bulk, you just feel the exceptional handling and Jaguar’s trademark, sporty steering.
AutoCar’s road tester Nic Cackett commented that; “Much like the saloon, the XF Sportbrake’s ability to be sure-footed and free-flowing, generates a small mountain of driver goodwill”.
Inside, you know it’s not a saloon. You’re instantly greeted with more legroom and headroom. It’s smaller than rivals like the A6 Avant, but it’s roomy enough to stretch out in. Yes, your six-foot-and-above friend will fit just fine.
So let’s talk about boot space. There’s a very respectable 565 litres with all the seats in place, which grows to 1,700 litres when they’re folded. That makes it in the same league as the BMW 5 Series Touring. The clever 40/20/40 split will come in handy, too.
Wondering if it’s a viable option for a company car driver? Diesel might not be the flavour of the month, but it’s hard to argue with the results of the XF Sportbrake’s 2 litre diesel, which can return up to 62.8mpg
The XF Sportbrake estate will suit folks with active lifestyles well. It’s less imposing than their F-Pace SUV, with the same levels of practicality.
Price: From £34,950
- Best-in-class ride and handling
- Comfortable on long journeys
- Tech standard is poor
7. BMW 5 Series Touring
Here’s a car that just keeps getting better and better. The BMW 5 Series Touring gives you a good dose of everything – drive, versatility, capability.
The price tag is just about the only thing that knocks it to the middle of our list of estate cars.
The latest version of the 5 Series Touring is BMW at its best. It’s comfortable, refined on the road and a joy to drive. Three big ticks. And the good news is that the practical aspects are just as pleasing. The interior is both luxurious and spacious.
There won’t be a fight for the front seat with this car, as there’s plenty of space both up front and in the back. The 570 litre boot is big enough to haul just about everything you need (the kitchen sink could probably fit in there too).
And access to the boot is made even easier thanks to the hands-free feature, which means all you need to do is wiggle your foot under the boot to open it. Glorious.
BMW have something of a reputation for their excellent tech offering these days. Every 5 Series Touring model comes fit with BMW’s iDrive infotainment system. Which is praised industry-wide as one of the best systems on the market.
The engine range is vast and offers something for just about every driver. A few models also come with the option of BMW’s xDrive four-wheel-drive system, which brings greater levels of versatility thanks to phenomenal grip in poor conditions.
It’s hard to argue that this is anything but a stunning-looking car that’s fit for just about every family.
Price: From £39,765
- Spacious, handsome interior
- Built-quality is second to none
- Smooth drive
- Bigger boots on the market
8. Ford Focus Estate
A firm family favourite, the Ford Focus Estate offers a compelling list of reasons to love it – with an engaging driving experience, strong running costs and a bounty of technology.
The Focus Estate isn’t as big as the Mondeo, say, but it’s a good option is you’re looking for something bigger than the hatchback version of the model but aren’t in the market for something as mammoth as the Mondeo.
The boot is a respectable 608 litres which can be transformed into 1,653 litres when the seats are folded.
It drives well too, almost as well as its hatchback brother. It’s sharp handling, which can be classed as tight at times and around certain corners, gives good control and makes the body feel sporty and stiff.
When it comes to choosing the right engine, carwow offer sound advice; “Out of the two available petrol engines it’s best to go for the smaller 1.0-litre.
Avoid the lesser power outputs of 85 and 100bhp because they really struggle with a full boot and head for the 125bhp version – it’s nippy enough and decent fuel economy is easily achievable as you’re working your way through the enjoyable six-speed manual gearbox fitted as standard.
There’s also a 1.5-litre petrol with up to 182bhp should you want more go, but most will find the 1.0-litre perfectly adequate.”
Interior quality is hit-and-miss. Some of the materials are nice, high quality options but you’ll find cheaper plastics dotted around the place. It’s more of a niggle than a reason to hate it.
You’ll need to opt for some of the higher spec models to get the good stuff, like a decent infotainment system with sat nav and smartphone mirroring.
Entry level models still get a 6.5” touchscreen but they lose out on built-in navigation. Not a major issue if you have a sat nav app on your phone, as you can still mirror it to the on dash screen.
On the whole, you’ll find the Ford Focus Estate to be a capable and enjoyable family car.
Price: From £19,400
- Enjoyable drive
- Plenty of space
- Cheap interior materials
- Not the biggest boot on the market
9. Mercedes E-Class Estate
The E-Class is just about one of the most luxurious and comfortable cars in the estate segment.
For a good while now, Mercedes have been building fantastic, large estate cars that comfortably ferry families of all sizes. The interior isn’t just roomy – it’s plush too, with practical features like hooks and cubbies.
The luggage space eclipses its rivals and this car – possibly more than any other on the list – is one that your passengers will adore spending time in. There’s 640 litres of boot space back there.
When auto expert Jeremy Clarkson test drove the E-Class for the Sunday Times, he loved it.
The ride and handling are sublime, even at high speeds. Motorway driving is smooth, but so is driving in town thanks to its well-engineered suspension (you can pay more for – it’s expensive but makes an overwhelming improvement to driving comfort).
And it feels powerful too. More powerful than a estate car of its size should feel.
In a word? The Mercedes E-Class is classy. The price is the only real downside to the E-Class. But if luxury is what you’re looking for, and if your budget can stretch to it, it’s well worth your consideration.
Price: From £39,145
- Luxurious throughout
- Big boot
- Supremely comfortable
- Rear seats are smaller than other rivals’
- Costs a pretty penny
10. SKODA Octavia Estate
SKODA make their second appearance on the list. And for good reason. The Octavia isn’t just a great choice as hatch, the estate has a lot to offer drivers who don’t need as much space as the tardis-like Superb but a little more than the original hatchback.
As with so many of SKODA’s cars, you get heaps of equipment that pricey brands would expect you to pay extra for. The 8” touchscreen gives you access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which means you can use music and sat nav apps easily.
The interior isn’t quite as luxurious as the Superb, but it’s functional and comfortable – you can adjust your seat position and height to find your sweet spot. The roofline is higher than in the hatch, which means folks in the back will find it as roomy as those upfront.
The boot offers 610 litres with all five seats in place and 1,740 litres with the rear seats folded down. And loading the car with luggage and other bulky items is super easy thanks to the floor being totally flat – you can really make the most out of that space.
The Octavia Estate is a firm favourite with AutoExpress; “Today, the Mk3 Octavia Estate is a great choice for space and practicality, but it also manages to do it with a bit of style. The car’s lines are neat and defined rather than elegant, but there’s a no-nonsense charm about the way it looks.”
Price: From £19,510
- Spacious boot and cabin
- Affordable options
- Good entry-level equipment
- Slightly marmite styling
- Interior is a tad cheap in places
11. Honda Civic Tourer
The Civic isn’t exactly a ‘wallflower estate’. Whether you love or hate its space-age styling, it’s sure to stir a reaction. So if you’re resenting having to opt for a large estate, you may find the styling you’re looking for here.
The Civic Tourer’s interior is flexible, which wins it some practicality points. The rear seats fold flat, of course, but the seat part of the third row can also be popped back while the backrest stays in place (think cinema seat style) which gives you two loading areas. Handy.
The Honda Civic Tourer’s boot is nothing less than huge. But you’ll want the numbers, right? 642 litres with the seats up. This is Superb territory now. The boot itself is deep and square, which makes it easy to load.
Fold the rear seats down and you’ll be able to fit almost any piece of flat-pack furniture back there – the space expands to 1,668 litres.
It performs best in urban areas as steering is light and responsive. On motorways and at higher speeds, judging that light steering becomes trickier.
But for an estate, it’s an enjoyable ride all the same. On the topic of handling, WhatCar commented “To drive, the Civic Tourer is much like the hatch, with both engines strong enough to pull a fully loaded car, and there’s plenty of grip when the road turns twisty.”
Tech spec is strong. Even entry-level models come with Bluetooth, USB sockets (so you can hook up your phone and play Spotify) as well as climate control.
Price: From £18,340
- Hugely practical
- Massive boot
- Great price
- Polarising styling
- Limited engine options
Found your ideal estate car?
So now you know the truth – just because you need a bigger car, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to bid farewell to enjoyable ride and handling or high-end finishes. Estate cars can mean space, comfort and style.
Think of these as the type of cars you know and love, with a bit more room in the back.
Want to go bigger? Limited by budget?
If you want to size up from an estate, you’ll be looking for something more like a seven seater or SUV. Luckily for you, we’ve done the hard work and found the best cars in those segments too. And there’s a few options in the price-limited lists below too. Keep on reading below: