The humble estate car is starting to become somewhat of a dying breed, with the growing popularity of MPV's, crossovers and SUV's. That doesn't mean they should be ignored, though - an estate car can offer huge practicality in a more car-like form than rivals.
Estates are longer and sometimes a bit harder to park than their saloon or hatchback equivalents, but the benefits are huge when it comes to interior space and ease of access. They're perfect for dog owners especially, with a large, flat boot area.
The best cars in the estate class have enormous boot spaces which can be configured in a range of useful ways - often with underfloor cubbyholes, luggage nets and load dividers. In addition to this, the rear seats will fold to offer a super long load space and most new models now feature systems to split fold the rear seats for extra versatility.
Usually estate cars feel virtually identical to the saloon or hatchback versions, and with all the same engines and components present they often have matching performance and economy figures, too - so you're not missing out on anything by choosing the estate.
Buyers no longer have to compromise on style with an estate car either. The class-leaders often look as though they were designed to be an estate from the start, as opposed to a standard hatch or saloon with extra bodywork grafted onto the back.
In terms of running costs, estates normally carry only a small price premium and won't cost much more to run - insurance groups, tax bills, servicing and fuel consumption are all largely comparable to the saloon or hatch counterparts.
We've rounded up our favourite estate cars currently on the market. Click the links above and to the left to find out which is the right choice for you.