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Best estate cars to buy 2024

A good estate car delivers practicality, space and low running costs - here are the 10 best estates on sale in the UK today

​Estate cars may be less common than they once were, thanks mainly to the exploding popularity of the SUV, but they’re still an appealing and spacious choice for families. The best estate cars can meet a variety of different needs, too. Whether you want carrying capacity, style, dog-friendliness, towing ability, performance or simply a great all-rounder that does a bit of everything, there’s a great estate to fit the bill. Plenty of models now offer the choice of combustion, hybrid or fully-electric power, too.

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The bread and butter of all the best estate cars is a large, usable boot with a wide tailgate that opens high to avoid bumping your head. The top estates will also have a flat load area, with minimal intrusion from the wheel arches and seats which fold flat with ease. Many models even offer added extras such as ski hatches, load rails or boot dividers.

While estates may lack the ultimate versatility of an MPV or the high driving position of an SUV, they tend to serve up a more appealing driving experience than either. In order to help you find the best estate car for your money, our expert road testers have driven every estate that you can currently buy in the UK, and we’ve rounded up the cream of the estate car crop right here.

The best estate cars to buy

Read on to find the best estate cars to buy right now, listed in reverse order ...

10. Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo

  • Prices from £97,000
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The all-electric Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo definitely sits at the higher end of the estate car pricing scale, but you do get what you pay for.  

Combining the sporty powertrain of the Taycan with a 446-litre boot, the Cross Turismo is just as capable on the track as it is on a weekly supermarket trip. Opt for the range-topping Turbo S and its dual motors will produce a whopping 764bhp - enough for a 0-62mph time of just 2.5 seconds if you use launch control.

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Regardless of your chosen spec, though, the Taycan is highly characterful to drive, especially for an electric car. It may be a heavy car, but the carefully-engineered chassis provides steady handling in all but the most demanding conditions. 

The Taycan Cross Turismo comes with either a 82.3kWh or 97kWh battery, and even the smaller pack claims over 350 miles of range. 

9. Peugeot 508 SW 

  • Prices from £35,500

The Peugeot 508 SW ticks both the driving and practicality boxes, and it offers plenty of style and flair to boot. It isn’t the biggest estate on the market, but the latest model is still more than capable of taking on family car duties. It’s a safe and predictable car to drive, yet a strong equipment list and low running costs count in the 508’s favour. 

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The 508 isn’t as sharp to drive as a BMW 3 Series Touring, but its predictable, neutral balance means the Peugeot is easy and relaxing to pilot. It’s quiet when cruising, too, as the eight-speed auto keeps things calm when you hit the motorway.

8. Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer Electric

  • Prices from £40,000
  • Best for efficiency

The Astra estate has been with us for decades, but now, for the first time, you can have a fully-electric one. The Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer Electric offers the same eye-catching appearance as its combustion-powered counterpart, but with the added bonus of zero-emissions, lower running costs, up to 256 miles of claimed battery range and, most importantly of all, 516 litres of boot space.

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The Astra is no longer a particularly cheap car, but the upside is that even the entry-level models get a decent helping of standard kit including alloy wheels, automatic LED lighting, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and cruise control. The Sports Tourer Electric has been the subject of some very tempting finance deals lately, too. 

7. Mercedes C-Class Estate 

  • Prices from £47,000

Mercedes took a significant step forward with the latest Mercedes C-Class. Its design may be familiar – mundane, even – but thanks to a space-age interior, a wide range of powertrains and slick road manners, the C-Class Estate is among the best of its kind. 

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Traditionally, the BMW 3 Series has edged out the C-Class for outright driving enjoyment, and this trend continues with the latest generation of each. The BMW is more athletic through a series of bends, but the Mercedes has an appeal of its own with a supple, cosseting ride and a relaxed demeanour. 

The C-Class’s cabin feels strikingly modern, too, with an enormous portrait touchscreen that rises up from the centre console and runs the firm's MBUX software. Swathes of ambient lighting and intricate detailing make the Mercedes more than a match for the recently facelifted BMW inside. 

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With a 490-litre boot, the C-Class combines opulence and practicality like few other estate cars, and there's a model to suit all tastes, with petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid options, the latter offering an impressive 65-mile pure electric range.

6. Volkswagen Passat

  • Prices from £38,500
  • Best for boot space

The Volkswagen Passat saloon is dead, but the estate lives on into the model’s ninth generation. Much like the Passats of the past, the latest model isn’t the most groundbreaking car out there, but it is a well-built, smart and attractive estate car that should meet most buyers’ requirements with ease.

One area where the Passat does outshine most of the competition, though, is with its 690-litre boot. On top of all this luggage space, the VW offers a huge amount of space for its occupants, too. It won’t set the world on fire with its performance or driver engagement, but each journey should be a comfortable and stress-free one.

5. BMW 3 Series Touring 

  • Prices from £42,500
  • Best driving experience
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The BMW 3 Series Touring remains one of the most handsome estate cars on sale. It still offers great practicality, too, with up to 1,510 litres of load space available when the rear seats are folded.

Although some rivals have the Touring beaten on load capacity, none of them can deliver the driving experience that BMW has created from its rear-drive set-up. If you prefer all-wheel drive, there’s also the option of the xDrive versions, which could be enough to persuade some customers away from buying yet another SUV.

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The BMW’s cabin is beautifully built, and facelifted models feature the brand’s iDrive 8 infotainment software, which centres around a curved pair of display panels on the dashboard. As well as being a touchscreen, the 14.9-inch infotainment screen can be operated by a traditional rotary dial, making it one of the most intuitive systems on the market. 

4. Mercedes E-Class Estate 

  • Prices from £58,000

The Mercedes E-Class Estate is as chock-full of plush materials and fancy technology as you’d probably expect, so much so that it’s not too dissimilar from the flagship S-Class saloon in terms of the luxury feel. 

Step inside and the dashboard will probably be the first thing that catches your eye. A 14.4-inch central screen and two 12.3-inch displays make up Mercedes’ Superscreen setup. It’s not quite as information-packed as the even more impressive Hyperscreen option, but there’s still plenty of data technology to get your head around. 

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The downside of all the bells and whistles, of which there are many, is a cabin that feels quite compact considering the E-Class Estate’s size. It’s still a very pleasant place to sit, but space to stretch out is a bit limited for a car in this class. Your luggage will have a bit more room to breathe if you opt for the mild-hybrid variant, as this has a 615-litre boot. There’s also a PHEV that offers some temptingly high economy figures, but this comes at a cost of 155 litres of boot space.

3. BMW 5 Series Touring 

  • Prices from £70,000 (i5)
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The BMW 5 Series has long been a firm favourite of company car drivers, thanks to its sporting credentials and an ability to chew up motorway miles with ease. The Touring also possesses these traits, but with the added bonus of far more boot space.

When it comes to power, there’s the choice of petrol or plug-in hybrid or, alternatively, you can opt for the fully-electric i5 Touring. This will be the best choice for company car drivers as it attracts the lowest Benefit-in-Kind tax rate, not to mention further savings on VED road tax and running costs.

No matter which version you choose, the 5 Series Touring is certainly one of the more engaging cars to appear on this list. BMW’s efforts mean that the Touring hides its size well, and this combined with direct steering makes this estate car feel surprisingly agile in corners. 

2. Toyota Corolla Touring Sports 

  • Prices from £32,000
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A thorough midlife update saw a suite of improvements made to the already-impressive Toyota Corolla Touring Sports. Improved looks, an upgraded infotainment system, a bigger battery and increased power output are all significant changes, and they make for an excellent all-round package.

Both the 1.8- and 2.0-litre hybrids can achieve over 60mpg with little effort, yet they both offer decent performance with 138 and 193bhp respectively. The Toyota is good to drive, too, and we found it to be more fun than the Volkswagen Golf Estate when we pitted them against each other in a head-to-head twin test

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One of the Corolla’s biggest weaknesses used to be its infotainment system, which felt dated and sluggish compared to several of its rivals. Thankfully, Toyota addressed this by installing an upgraded system with a larger 10.25-inch screen as part of the facelift. The new system is more responsive, simpler to use and features improved graphics. 

The Touring Sports is one of the smaller estate cars on this list, but it still offers plenty of room for two adults in the front and room enough for all but the tallest of people in the back. Boot size varies depending on your chosen engine size - 596-litres for the 1.8 or 581-litres for the 2.0 - but the load area is well laid out with a low load lip.

1. Skoda Superb Estate 

  • Prices from £36,500
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The Skoda Superb Estate offers sharp styling, enormous practicality and enough tech to easily compete with a number of its executive car rivals, yet it costs thousands less.

The main selling point of the Skoda Superb Estate is its unrivalled practicality. The boot provides a cavernous 660-litre load area or 1,950 litres with the seats down; a number that very few rivals come close to matching.

For rear passengers, luxury is the order of the day, and the Skoda Superb provides a level of rear legroom that can only be outdone by cars like the Audi A8 L. If there's one criticism, it’s that the sheer size of the Superb Estate can make it tricky to park.

The best estate cars to buy

  1. Skoda Superb Estate
  2. Toyota Corolla Touring Sports
  3. BMW 5 Series Touring
  4. Mercedes E-Class Estate
  5. BMW 3 Series Touring
  6. Volkswagen Passat 
  7. Mercedes C-Class Estate
  8. Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer Electric
  9. Peugeot 508 SW
  10. Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo

Estate car buying advice

Here are some of the key questions you should ask yourself when choosing an estate car to help you get the best model for your needs...

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How much luggage space do you need?

Don’t assume all estates are born equal. Luggage capacity ranges from the relatively small Mercedes E-Class Estate PHEV with 460 litres, to the colossal Skoda Superb with 660 litres – naturally these numbers change significantly with the seats folded.

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How much towing capacity do you need?

Towing capacity can vary greatly from estate to estate as well. The Skoda Superb is amongst the best performing estates with a maximum braked towing capacity of around 2,200kg. Should you require slightly less grunt, the BMW 3 Series Touring offers decent towing capabilities too.

How often will you be using the car?

If you are covering a lot of miles you may well want to consider a diesel or even a hybrid. Improvements in battery technology and charging infrastructure means many electric cars are suited to regular long-distance journeys, too. EVs also offer the best tax incentives for company car drivers.

How many seats do you need?

If it’s any more than five you are going to need to look elsewhere, as the days of the seven-seat estate are no more. 

What about optional extras?

Due to the fact estate cars appeal to both private and business users, they quite often have extensive options lists. Parking sensors and blind spot monitoring systems are incredibly useful, while cruise control, heated and cooled seats, and automatic tailgates all help make life a little easier.

Looking for something just a little bit bigger? Check out the best small SUVs...

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Shane is responsible for looking after the day-to-day running of the Auto Express website and social media channels. Prior to joining Auto Express in 2021, he worked as a radio producer and presenter for outlets such as the BBC.

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