RAC Cars News


Great estates

By raccars Published

Kia Ceed

No, not Chatsworth or Longleat but cars. There are some great estates on the market!

For a long time estate cars were considered practical and sensible but rarely as smart and stylish. That's all changing and estates are coming back into fashion, like flares and chicken Kiev. However they are still largely bought by people who need space - the same buyers may also appreciate a sleek exterior and a bit of pace but the priority is still practicality.

SUVs may have overtaken estates as the default option for family car buyers but families, sportspeople, dog owners or anyone else who has a lot of gear to carry around should definitely consider one of these great, modern estate cars.

Bear in mind that in many cases an estate performs very like its saloon counterpart but you're also asking a little extra of it. The first is space, and lots of it. A great estate not only has loads of boot space which is accessible and user friendly but dog owners, for example, will find that an estate is much easier to load their animals into than a higher off the ground SUV.

Comfort is another priority; the car needs to be able to sail along smoothly even with a full cargo. For the same reason it must also be reasonably fuel efficient, because there's nothing practical or family friendly about constant visits to the fuel station.

The best modern estates

Skoda Superb Estate

What Car? Magazine's best estate car of the year offers class-leading boot space - 660 litres, going up to 1,950 with the rear seats folded down. You can also fold the front passenger seat for a load length of 3.3 metres - that's a pretty massive Christmas tree! It's a very well built and comfortable car and, with prices starting at £19,060 is great value for money.

BMW 5 Series Touring Estate

This is the smart premium choice, with a luxury interior, punchy performance and sleek good looks. There's also a huge boot but you may find you can't face ruining the beautiful interior by loading a wet, muddy Labrador inside! Consider opting for the adaptive dampers for a more comfortable ride. Prices start at £33,135.

Kia Cee'd Sportswagon Estate

Don't be put off by the strange name or the budget badge, this is a very impressive car with an attractive seven year warranty. It's good looking and spacious but you will notice the difference in driving dynamics between this and more expensive cars. On the other hand, it's available from a bargainous £16,750, so you may have to reconsider your priorities. Kia is part of the Hyundai group of companies and the Hyundai i30 is a similar and equally practical car, so compare deals carefully.

Ford Focus Estate

The estate version can't quite match the Focus hatchback's sparkling handling but is still a very nice drive. It's not the largest in its class with a 476 litre boot, 1,502 with the rear seats folded, but is ideal if you need a bit of extra space but don't fancy driving around in a huge great bus. Prices start from £17,345.

Volvo V90

Volvo has a long history of making fantastic estate cars, and the forthcoming V90 is the estate version of the smart S90 saloon. It's surprisingly sophisticated and of course that Volvo badge is a reassuring guarantee of quality and safety. The V90's boot isn't one of the largest in its class but is a great looking car, full of modern technology. It hits the road very soon with a price tag of £34,555, so it might be worth hanging on until it arrives.

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