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The best estates

By raccars Published

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At one time, estate cars were the default choice for families or extreme sports enthusiasts, before the SUV became the trendier option for those with large amounts of people or gear to lug around. However, the estate car is in the middle of a renaissance and modern versions are a far cry from the staid, boxy cars of old - more stylish, more economical and even more practical than estates of the past. Here are some of the best choices:

Skoda Superb Estate

Skoda is riding the crest of a wave at the moment, winning praise from besotted owners and the motoring press alike. The Superb Estate is gloriously spacious and comes with an excellent selection of engines, plus Skoda's record for longevity and reliability. It's a safe and attractive option for estate buyers.

BMW 5 Series Touring

Now into its fourth generation, the 5 Series Touring offers more luggage capacity than ever before. However, there's much more to this estate than its ability to carry around masses of golf clubs, in particular its smooth, supple ride and responsive handling.

Audi A6 Avant

Like the BMW, the A6 Avant shows how the premium German manufacturers have gained their sterling reputation. The build quality is superb, the ride is refined and the car is full of modern technology. None of this is at the expense of practicality, with plenty of room in the boot for a couple of Dobermans or enough luggage even for Joan Collins on a two week break.

Honda Accord Tourer

A good all rounder, the Accord Tourer is solidly built and boasts sleek lines. The 2.2 i-DTEC diesel engine is the pick of a fairly limited bunch and, of course, as a Honda, it's extremely reliable.

Hyundai i40 Tourer

It's a newcomer on the scene but the i40 Tourer has been well thought out. The fit and finish is good, it's roomy and the engine range is very efficient. There's also peace of mind in the form of Hyundai's standard five year, unlimited mileage warranty.

Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer

Vauxhall's sporty estate is supremely practical, with a larger boot than its obvious rivals, such as the Ford Focus Estate or Renault Megane Sports Tourer. Arguably, however, the Ford offers a more engaging driving experience.

Seat Ibiza ST

One of a new breed of small hatchbacks that have been turned into unlikely estates, the Ibiza ST actually works very well in this format. The smaller footprint makes it easier to navigate in tight areas than the traditional estate and there's a range of very economical engines to choose from.

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