Best used estate cars
Our list of the best used estate cars for 2021 will help you find a super-practical and affordable family car
Estate cars offer everything you need when it comes to practicality, and there are plenty of models that give you so much more than that as well. Luckily, if you're prepared to buy used, you can find these cars for a bargain price, meaning you can get a great family car for a lot less than it would have cost new. But which models are the best? That's where this list comes in handy.
We've lined up some of our favourite second-hand estate car choices below. By definition, each of these cars has a large, hatchback-style boot door that opens wide, and features a big, flat load bay. This means they're great for carrying lots of garden waste, dogs, shopping or holiday equipment. The rear seats will fold down, too, allowing access to an even larger space for the occasional Christmas tree or surfboard.
SUVs are all the rage, and their hatchback boots are popular with customers - but what estate cars can bring is a nice low loading lip, so they can be loaded up more easily. They're also often better to drive than an equivalent SUV - thanks to a lower centre of gravity - more economical and cheaper. What more could you ask?
Our used estate choices have been picked out on other criteria as well - they've got to be good value, affordable to run and feel just as fresh as a showroom model even after a few years of use. Read on to find out the models we've chosen...
The best used estate cars to buy
- Skoda Superb Estate
- Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer
- Skoda Octavia Estate
- BMW 3 Series Touring
- VW Passat Estate
- Mazda 6 Tourer
- Peugeot 308 Estate
1. Best used estate car: Skoda Superb Estate
- Our pick: 2.0 TDI SE L Executive (2017/17, 41k miles, £15,195)
If you’re looking to come out on top in the space race, then you should take a giant leap towards the Skoda Superb Estate. With its cavernous boot and vast interior, which is packed with family-friendly features, the big Skoda offers more carrying capacity for your cash than almost any other used buy.
Better still, you won’t have to dig deep into your bank balance to get your hands on the spacious Czech model, with prices for the stylish third-generation machine starting from as little as £6,500 for early 2015 cars. Double this figure and you’ll have the pick of the bunch, with later, low-mileage models powered by the gutsy 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine and in lavishly equipped SE L trim.
Whatever your budget, you’ll get the same large and well shaped boot which, at 660 litres, is 20 litres more than in a Mercedes E-Class. Handy levers in the load area allow you to quickly fold the rear seats for a van-like 1,950 litres. Passengers are just as well catered for, with those in the back getting limousine-like levels of head and legroom.
The driver isn’t left out, thanks to the MQB underpinnings that deliver precise and agile handling, plus a cushioned ride and low noise levels that take the strain out of long- haul trips. And while diesel power isn’t as fashionable these days, the muscular and refined 148bhp TDI is perfectly suited to the car’s versatile character, plus it gives an easy 50mpg and is dependable and durable.
Factor in a lengthy list of standard equipment that includes an intuitive touchscreen infotainment system featuring USB, Bluetooth and smartphone mirroring, and the large Skoda estate’s appeal is easy to see. In fact, when it comes to used cars, rarely has a model ever deserved its name as much as the Superb.
BuyaCar finance options
The Superb Estate is well priced, with affordable PCP finance monthly figures of £280 through BuyaCar.co.uk, following a deposit of £955. That means this example should cost a little over £11,000 overall if you finance it for three years and then hand it back, subject to the usual Ts and Cs surrounding condition and mileage. If you want to own the Superb at the end of the deal, you can pay the £5,787 optional final payment.
Check the latest used Skoda Superb prices on our sister site BuyaCar...
2. Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer
It’s not as spacious as the Skoda, but the handsome Insignia will have no problems coping with the needs of most growing families. It’s engaging to drive, efficient and bursting with standard kit. Steep depreciation when new makes the model a used bargain, while both petrol and diesels are frugal.
Check the latest used Vauxhall Insignia prices on our sister site BuyaCar...
3. Skoda Octavia Estate
The Skoda Superb may live up to its name, but if you want something a little less expensive and a little smaller, but still want incredible practicality, the Octavia is the model to have. It has a 610-litre boot that expands to 1,740 litres with the seats folded down, so it's actually almost as roomy as the Superb in terms of load space.
There's not quite as much legroom in the back but there's still enough for adults to sit comfortably in the rear seats. There's plenty of modern tech inside including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay on most models.
The 1.5-litre petrol makes sense for those doing shorter, local trips but the best Octavia for long trips is the 2.0-litre diesel, as it's really punchy and economical. The 1.6-litre diesel is good too, but it's a bit noisy.
Check the latest used Skoda Octavia prices on our sister site BuyaCar...
BMW 3 Series Touring
If you want a family car that's practical yet also great to drive, the BMW 3 Series Touring is a great choice. With a boot of 495 litres, expanding to 1,500 litres, it's far from the roomiest car here - but it's by far the best to drive.
The 3 Series has a range of punchy but economical engines - the 320d is the best - and a fantastic chassis that's enjoyable yet comfortable, even on bumpy country roads. The latest 3 Series is the best to date, but there really is no limit on which model you choose - every 3 Series Touring generation is fantastic. Get one that's five years old for a bargain estate car that will fit the whole family inside, but be fun to drive as well.
You could even consider the superb 330i model, which has a six-cylinder engine that's ultra-smooth and very fast - but not very economical. It'll hold its value better than a four-cylinder model.
Check the latest used BMW 3 Series prices on our sister site BuyaCar...
Volkswagen Passat Estate
The Volkswagen Passat and the Skoda Superb share a lot - in fact they're based on a set of common parts, including the engines and gearboxes. It stands to reason, then, that the Passat is a great alternative to the Superb.
It's not quite as big inside - it has a 650-litre boot that can be expanded to 1,780 litres with the seats down - but you'll hardly notice that, and it's still one of the most spacious cars around. The boot is easy to load and a nice square shape.
There's loads of room inside for passengers, and the interior is good quality. There's all the tech you'd want including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay on the central touchscreen display, and it's nice and comfortable as well.
Check the latest used VW Passat prices on our sister site BuyaCar...
Mazda 6 Tourer
The Mazda 6 Tourer is a bit of a left-field choice, but will really suit those who appreciate quality engineering. The 522-litre boot is smallish in the context of this list but still plenty big enough for most people's needs, but what really stands out is the Mazda's high-quality interior and sharp exterior styling.
It's a great-looking estate car that hasn't aged a bit, so used models still look fresh. It's also incredibly well-built so should still feel fresh on the inside as well. The 2.2-litre diesel engine is the one to go for, along with the sweet-shifting manual gearbox.
The Mazda 6 is a driver's car at heart, with responsive and satisfying controls and a great chassis - but it's also comfortable and refined, so make a great everyday car.
Check the latest used Mazda 6 prices on our sister site BuyaCar...
Peugeot 308 SW estate
The Peugeot 308 SW is an estate along the same lines as the Skoda Octavia - it's a relatively small car but there's a huge amount of space inside. This means it's easy to park and fit through narrow streets, but still has enough room for anything and everything you might need to carry. There's a 660-litre boot here, the same as in the Superb, and that opens out to 1,775 litres with the seats folded down.
The Peugeot makes a great used buy because it has depreciated fairly quickly, so even tidy examples are really affordable. It's a great way to get into a really roomy and well-equipped car for less money than in some of the other options on this list.
Okay, the driving position (with the dials above a small steering wheel) won't suit everyone, but you can get used to it - and for some, it's no trouble at all.
Check the latest used Peugeot 308 prices on our sister site BuyaCar...
Find out more about the best used cars you can buy in each market sector with our Used Car Awards...