For the UK’s car buyers, estate cars are a popular choice with families who value ample luggage capacity and expect their car to drive just as well as their saloon or hatchback counterpart. A good estate car should be able to tick these boxes, as well as have all the tech and comfort drivers have come to expect in the best cars of today.
Advantages of estate cars include:
- Good to drive
- Stylish and packed with kit
- A large load bay that’s easily loaded
- A good resale value
Estate cars have been around for decades now and come with a variety of names including ‘shooting brake’, ‘tourer’ or ‘break’, depending on the manufacturer. Whatever they are called, the advantages are clear – a bigger load area without the fixed parcel shelf of a saloon car to provide plenty of height.
On a website like parkers.co.uk, you’re sure to find your next estate car, as there are some great choices on the market right now. Read on to find out five of our favorites.
1. BMW 3 Series Touring
It’s hard to think of a more complete package than the BMW 3 Series Touring. It’s a compact estate car that ticks every box – it’s great to drive, looks good, feels well-built and premium and best of all is immensely practical. The 3 Series’ boot is packed with clever touches – from a tailgate window that can be operated independently of the main tailgate to rubberized anti-slip rails that retract to allow items to be slid into the boot and then raise to hold them in place when the vehicle’s in motion.
2. Toyota Corolla Touring Sports
Nearly every one of Toyota’s models has a hybrid engine option so it’s no surprise that the Corolla Touring Sports does too. In this application we’d recommend the 2.0-litre hybrid powertrain – it’s responsive, powerful, and efficient – a far cry from the old days when hybrid cars could only hope to be the latter. The Corolla’s boot is colossal, too, at 581 liters – or 598 if you opt for the lower-powered 1.8-litre powertrain. The floor is reversible, with a rubberized surface on its reverse side for easy cleaning if you need to transport mucky gear.
3. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate front
Want to combine extreme comfort and a colossal load area? The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate blends the two effortlessly, making it one of our favorite large executive cars. You can have your E-Class in all kinds of flavors, from a sensible diesel or plug-in hybrid to the fire-breathing E 63 AMG, but all have a colossal 640-litre boot capable of swallowing a medium-sized country – or at least half of IKEA. Add in a superb, premium-feeling interior packed with tech and of course the allure of that three-pointed star and there’s little to touch the E-Class as a classy all-rounder.
4. Skoda Superb Estate
The Superb Estate is, to put it simply, the most capacious car of its type on the roads today. If you want a bigger boot than the 660-litres on offer here, your sole option is to opt for a van – and that’s a massive point in the Skoda’s favor, as it offers refinement and driving pleasure far superior to any van we’ve tested. The Superb offers a range of efficient engines, acres of rear legroom and more family-friendly features than you can shake a stick at. At the same time, it’s smart-looking and good value – a true consummate all-rounder.
5. Ford Focus Estate
Proving categorically that extra practicality doesn’t have to harm driving dynamics, the Ford Focus Estate is both incredibly capacious and brilliant to drive. With a huge, 575-litre boot contained within its deceptively slinky bodywork the Focus is big enough for family life, but it’s the driver who’ll really enjoy themselves – just like the hatchback, the Focus Estate handles keenly, grips well in corners and communicates the road through the steering wheel better than any mainstream competitor.