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Top 5 best Estates

If you need a plush and practical family car, it might be worth considering an estate...

Words by: First published: 5th September 2016
Crossovers and SUVs may dominate the UK sales charts, but it’s still worth considering the humble estate as a plush and practical family car. If you’re used to a saloon or a hatchback, then an estate may feel more familiar than an SUV, but they’re also less expensive to buy and run than an SUV counterpart, and they still have the potential to cover every motoring eventuality. To help you, here are Auto Trader’s five favourite estate cars for every size and budget.

  • Honda Civic Tourer – the versatile one
  • Peugeot 308 SW – the great value one
  • Volkswagen Passat Estate – the company car one
  • Skoda Superb Estate – the Ikea-friendly one
  • Volvo V90 – the posh one
Honda Civic Tourer – the versatile one
If you value versatility – and that’s very likely in this sector – the Honda Civic Tourer makes a great family estate car. Physically speaking, it isn’t much bigger than a Volkswagen Golf and yet the cabin is wonderfully space efficient. Not only are there multiple storage cubbies up front, the rear seats can be flipped up to create a wide and tall space behind the front seats – perfect for carrying large potted plants, for example.

The boot itself is deep and cavernous, thanks to relocating the fuel tank from the boot to beneath the front seats. That allows further space to store the roll-up tonneau cover when not in use, as well as the optional space saver spare tyre. Superb reliability ratings also suggest Honda Civic Tourer ownership is about as hassle-free as modern cars get.

Expert review | Owner review
Peugeot 308 SW – the great value one
The Peugeot 308 may not get anybody’s pulse racing, but as an estate car, the SW (or ‘Station Wagon’), is so space efficient you’ll do a double take.

Its boot capacity puts it ahead of most rivals and has clever underfloor stowage for the luggage cover when not in use. The rear seats aren’t the most spacious, but they tumble flat with the use of just one lever to leave a perfectly flat floor with a low sill.

Every model is fitted with Bluetooth, DAB radio, air-con and cruise control, though the range-topping Allure+ adds a panoramic glass roof that arcs overhead to increase the sense of space and keep children entertained. If you need a great value estate car that’s enjoyable to drive, can seat four, and have luggage space for four, it’s the clear choice.

Expert review | Owner review
VW Passat Estate – the company car one
The sharp suited, geometric lines of the Volkswagen Passat Estate mean it’s able to juggle the responsibilities of both parenthood and prestigious company car effortlessly. The rear seats are spacious and comfortable enough to seat two execs in the back, while the boot conceals your Bugaboo paraphernalia.

The interior is also very impressive, delivering an excellent balance of high quality, practicality and feelgood factor, alongside some modern, tech-friendly features such as head-up display – a system that projects your speed and navigational instructions onto the windscreen – and a hands-free opening tailgate.

There’s also the fearsomely complex Trailer Assist, a system that reverse steers the car for you while you watch the reversing camera and – by some kind of witchcraft – use the electric mirror controls to show the car where you want your caravan to end up.

Expert review | Owner review
Skoda Superb Estate – the Ikea-friendly one
In the last ten years, Skoda has come onto the radar of family car buyers thanks to a style, robustness and reliability that is in complete contrast to how its products were in the past. If it’s sheer volume with a bit of style you’re after, then look no further than the Skoda Superb Estate.

Not only is it enormous, it’s also a usable, square shape. Five adults can sit in here with limousine-like legroom, and none of them will be forced to pack light. There are also some neat touches, such as a pair of umbrellas integrated into the rear doors, and the front passenger seat that can be folded flat so the car can carry items up to 3.1m in length. Nothing this side of a small van offers as much space.

It may not be particularly fun to drive, but it is very well priced and incredibly well equipped.

Expert review | Owner review
Volvo V90 – the posh one
Upmarket estates are back in vogue in the UK, and the wardrobe-carrying lineage of the Volvo brand is obvious. However, while the Volvo V90 still exists to keep your family and home furnishings safely ensconced inside, it does it with far more swagger and style.

The V90 benefits from one of the classiest, high quality interiors we have seen at any price, with lots of beautiful leatherwork and natural wood. It’s also an extremely quiet cruiser, with the optional air suspension offering a very sensible balance between ride comfort and poise.

Compared to previous Volvo estate cars, it does trade a bit of practicality for a swooping roofline, so it’s now more suited to hauling bicycles and buggies rather than wardrobes. That said, it’s still rooted in functionality, with an electrically powered tailgate, no loading lip, a low floor and 60:40 split rear seats that can tumble at the touch of a button that’s located just inside the boot entrance.

Expert review | Owner review

Interested in buying a Honda Civic?