Honda Accord Tourer

Winner: Honda Accord Tourer, commended Vauxhall Vectra Estate and Volvo V50

“The Honda looks sharper than an Italian suit, but it is as practical as a set of overalls. And it doesn’t matter which one you go for – there’s plenty of standard equipment, and all the engines are easily man enough for the job.” Mike Brewer

After knocking the Volvo V70 off its perch last year, the Honda Accord Tourer was always going to be hard to shift – and so it proved. Our judges continue to love its combination of looks, space, performance and price. So, it takes the prize for the second year running.

Modern estate cars seem designed to maximise either load capacity (Volvo V70) or style (Peugeot 407 SW), but the Honda proves that it’s possible to have the best of both worlds. As well as looking great, its boot has an enormous 626-litre capacity. And if you use the single-action folding rear seats, there are as many as 1,707 litres on offer.

Last year, we warned that finding a suitable car would be tricky due to limited supply and high starting prices. But 12 months on, the Tourer has never been cheaper or easier to track down.

Its facelift in 2006 was discreet so, if you go for an older model, you won’t be left looking like you’re wearing last season’s colour. Honda’s reputation for building reliable cars seals the Accord’s win, but remember that any used estate is likely to have led a much harder life than its equivalent saloon. Watch out for evidence of a tow bar, too. Extra wear on the rear suspension, engine and gearbox will have been caused if the car’s been used to haul something heavy.

All three engines are robust, but the 2.2-litre diesel is best for pulling heavy loads. Otherwise, consider the smooth 2.0 VTEC or 2.4-litre petrol. The former is £1,000 less than the 2.4, which undercuts the oil-burner by a similar amount.

Commended: Vauxhall Vectra Estate

2002 to present

When space and price are your prime concerns, the Vectra is a hard act to follow. As the oldest car here, it’s also the cheapest, and there’s a wide range of engines. Its standard load capacity of 530 litres can rise to 1,850 litres with the seats down. If that’s not enough, you don’t need an estate – you need a van!

Commended: Volvo V50

2004 to present

This category wouldn’t be the same without a Volvo, and this year the V50 has edged out the V70, which now has to sit among the also-rans for the first time in the 10-year history of Used Car Honours. With a 417-litre boot that grows to 1,307 litres, the V50 isn’t the biggest load-lugger, but it is one of the most stylish. Top-rate safety and build quality complete the package.

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