These are the 20 best estates on sale
Don’t want to join the SUV bandwagon? Get an infinitely cooler and more efficient estate instead
BMW 3 Series Touring
It’s almost impossible to go wrong with the 3 Series Touring. The great driving dynamics are carried over from the saloon to the estate, which ups the boot space to a very handy 500 litres. The engine line-up is predictably strong, allowing you to prioritise economy or performance, and BMW’s on-board tech is about as good as it gets in any modern car. To our eye it looks the business too. If it’s a relaxing cruiser you’re after, think about a C-Class or A4 instead. But the BMW's ride has been softened since the first saloons arrived, so it’s perfectly adequate in that area as well.
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Skoda Superb Estate
If you call a car ‘Superb’, you really need it to live up to its name. Because if the doors fall off, the ridicule will be swift and merciless. Luckily the Superb Estate’s doors are extremely well adhered, and the rest of it is excellent too. Beyond the enormous 660-litre boot and vast passenger space, the interior is finished to a high standard and the VW-sourced tech makes the Superb highly functional. It drives well enough, and although you won’t be aiming it down a b-road any time soon, you’re unlikely to care. A sports car this ain’t.
Click here to read our full review of the Skoda Superb Estate
Volvo is basically a byword for sensible, so logic dictates that the V90 must be the most sensible estate on sale. It certainly feels that way: it has a relaxed attitude to life that sets it apart from its (mostly) German rivals, with a cabin design that feels airy and natural. Comfort is supreme on the optional adaptive dampers and it’s quiet on the move, with an engine line-up designed to waft rather than surge. The kink in the roofline eats into cargo space a little, but it’s not a dealbreaker.Advertisement - Page continues below
Alpina B5 Touring
If the V90 sits in the sensible zone, then the Alpina B5 Touring lives somewhere on the outskirts of downright mad. Albeit supremely comfy and luxurious madness. Equipped with a 4.4-litre V8 that puts 600bhp underneath your right toe, the B5 Touring will hit 0-62mph in 3.5 seconds and keep going to a heady 205mph. Meanwhile fuel economy is better described as fuel destruction as there’s nothing economical about 26mpg. Is a price north of £100,000 (with options) worth it to leave 5 Series Touring drivers in your wake? That’s your call.
Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake
Technically the Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake isn’t a Shooting Brake, on account of it having four doors rather than two. But if you can leave the pedantry to one side (easier said than done on the internet) the estate version of the Arteon is a hugely capable, competitively priced contender. Naturally there’s lots of room inside for passengers, dogs, white goods and whatever else you can fit through the tailgate and the diesel has a tremendous cruising range for cross-country drives. It’s just a pity it isn’t as dynamic as it looks.
Click here to read our full review of the Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake
Mercedes E-Class Estate
The Mercedes E-Class is the estate to go for if comfort and refinement are your main priorities, as nothing else in this segment can match the way it rides. And that’s not all: the 670-litre boot is the biggest space with wheels you can buy without ringing up Eddie Stobart, and interiors don’t get much more premium this side of Bentley or Rolls-Royce. Some of the haptic buttons can be annoying and rivals provide more excitement, but not everyone wants thrill-a-minute motoring. If you do, then the E63 Estate actually takes care of that too...
Click here to read our full review of the Mercedes E-Class Estate
Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo
Estates are cool. Electric cars are cool. And now market forces are beginning to make electric estates a Viable Thing. Hooray! The Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo shows just how much potential a 'leccy estate has, with the top-spec Turbo S packing a 751bhp punch and cornering abilities that appear to break the laws of physics. Thinking more practically for a moment, the range varies from 241 to 283 miles depending on spec, and charging at up to 270kW will cut your service station stops to less than half an hour. If you do any long-distance driving, don’t underestimate that skillset.
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Audi A6 Avant
Not quite as engaging as a 5 Series or as comfortable as an E-Class, the Audi A6 Avant lies somewhere in between. And it’s still preferable to the majority of the five-seat estates you can get your hands on. For one thing it’s a very handsome machine, and its understated looks are befitting of a car that’s never flustered on the road. All versions now benefit from mild-hybrid tech as a bare minimum, with a couple of plug-in hybrid options for those who reckon they can make the regular charging worthwhile. The interior is indistinguishable from any other large Audi, but the ‘Virtual Cockpit’ digital display is class-leading.
If the V90 is a bit bigger than you really need, then how about its little brother? The V60 is 175mm shorter than its sibling, making it that little bit easier to manoeuvre but with 648 litres of boot space still to play with. The interior is a similarly pleasant place to be, and don’t forget Volvo’s reputation for safety. The engines are exclusively four-cylinders (with plug-ins available too), but there are no manuals here. It’s autos or nada.Advertisement - Page continues below
Ford Focus ST Estate
The ‘estate version of a hot hatch’ is a combination we really should see more of, if the Ford Focus ST Estate is anything to go by. It retains everything good about the hatchback such as the steering, lower ride and driving modes, but with the added bonus of a whopping great boot. Go for the diesel engine (no seriously, hear us out) and you’ve basically got your own GT car with space for bikes and camping gear. Granted, diesel is hardly in vogue these days, but 59mpg isn’t to be sniffed at.
Click here to read our full review of the Ford Focus ST Estate
BMW 5 Series Touring
Is this the best-handling estate on sale? It’s up there. And while it doesn’t quite reach the Mercedes E-Class’s level in terms of comfort, it gets awfully close. Which makes the 5 Series Touring a strong contender whichever way you approach it. Styling-wise you’d be a harsh critic to say it doesn’t look the part, especially given that many of the latest Beemers, er, don’t. 48V mild-hybrid tech is a given on both petrols and diesels, and the plug-in 530e has a 11kWh battery for 32-34 miles of EV range. If you can afford that, you’re laughing. Just a shame there's no M5 Touring, really.
Click here to read our full review of the BMW 5 Series Touring
Volkswagen Golf Estate
The Volkswagen Golf is universally known to be decent at just about everything, so it stands to reason that the Estate should enjoy a similar set of talents. To cut a long story short, it does. The Golf Estate is decent to drive, economical and benefits has a well screwed together interior, albeit one that - with the Mk8 generation of Golf - has scored some spectacular infotainment own goals. Get your head around those, though, and you're laughing. Or better yet, find a really tidy, end-of-line Mk7...
Click here to read our full review of the Volkswagen Golf Estate
Jaguar XF Sportbrake
The Jaguar XF Sportbrake has a lot going for it, especially for buyers who don’t want their car to be over-burdened with tech. The infotainment has recently been updated, (just be wary that the switchgear can be a bit fiddly) and the engine line-up has also been refreshed. Dynamically it’s a hoot, though those engines aren't on quite on par with rivals. And no, they still don't do a V8. Shame...
Click here to read our full review of the Jaguar XF Sportbrake
Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo
If you don’t yet trust electricity to get you around, then how about the Taycan Cross Turismo’s petrol-powered stablemate? The Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo meets most definitions of the word ‘rapid’, especially if you go for one of the E-Hybrid models - the 621bhp Turbo S is bananas. Whichever powertrain you choose, the refinement is majestic and you’ll be supremely comfortable. It’s agile too, despite the weight.
Click here to read our full review of the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo
The Proceed nameplate used to belong to an entirely different type of car, but now Kia has decided to affix it to this sleek, shooting brake-style thing instead. So if you want the ultimate in (South Korean) practicality, you need the Ceed Sportswagon estate instead. The Proceed though is excellent: equipment levels are commendable and the prospect of a seven-year warranty is hard to turn down when you’re the one putting your faith (and cash) into a car. It looks purposeful and exciting in the flesh, and while the drive won’t prompt you to book a track day it’s still eminently likable. The quick GT version especially.
Cupra Leon Estate
Cupra is a couple of years into its life as a standalone brand, having left the Seat nest in 2018. Slowly but surely its model line-up is growing, and that includes its own take on the Leon Estate. Powertrain options include a 1.4-litre hybrid that marries a 148bhp engine with a 113bhp electric motor, and a 13kWh battery that affords up to 34 miles of combustion-free range. Or there’s a 306bhp pure petrol that’ll cover 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds and keep going until it hits 155mph. That last figure isn’t especially relevant, but you buy a Cupra because you want a sportier image with a bit of substance. This delivers.
Peugeot 508 SW
The Peugeot 508 SW is a car you buy with your head rather than your heart. It’s suited to family life in almost every way imaginable, combining a massive boot with efficient engines and impressive build quality. It’s unique styling and individuality are bonuses too. The major flaw? The driving position: it’s safe to say it isn’t for everyone, and if you’re the wrong shape the ergonomics of the seat, steering wheel and touchscreen will feel all wrong. Try before you buy.
Mazda 6 Tourer
The Mazda 6 is beginning to show its age, with the current-generation model having arrived in 2012. It’s been kept alive since with a series of facelifts, but you get the sense that it’s swimming against the tide given the seemingly unstoppable rise of SUVs and crossovers in the last decade. Still, the Mazda 6 Tourer has plenty to offer despite its advancing years: bit boot, mature styling, a kit list as long as the car itself… It’s not without its shortcomings, but there are enough positives to turn a blind eye to the negatives (and the more capable competition). Get one while you still can.
Okay, so we’re stretching the definition of the word ‘estate’ here, but one look at the rear end of the Ferrari GTC4Lusso should at least explain where we’re coming from. And until the Purosangue SUV sees the light of day, this is as usable as the Ferrari badge gets. The GTC4Lusso has four seats. And a hatchback boot. And 800 litres of cargo space if you fold the rear seats down. Practical enough for you? Good. Now you can turn your attention to the 6.3-litre V12 and its 681bhp and 514lb ft. Guaranteed to get you to the supermarket before it shuts.
MG 5 EV
The MG 5 EV is the Dacia Duster of the electric car world: exceedingly cheap compared to the competition. Starting from a shade over £25k at the time of typing, a 52.5kWh battery gives you 214 miles of range and a front-mounted motor delivers 154bhp for 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds. So where have the corners been cut to achieve that bargain ticket price? Basically everywhere else. The interior isn’t up to much and the way it drives is completely forgettable. But when you’re paying about £8 to brim the cells at home, you probably won’t mind too much.