The best estate cars

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6 of the best estate cars for around £5,000
Overseas holidays, DIY projects, helping a friend move, picking up a Christmas tree: there are many situations where the extra carrying capacity of an estate car is invaluable. And you don’t need to spend big to get a good one. Stephen Errity from Auto Express magazine recommends six estate options for around £5,000.
Volvo V70
Volvo V70 (2000-2007)
eBay loves: Smart-looking and spacious load-lugger
Watch out for: Reliability of older cars can be patchy

Swedish company Volvo has a long history of making big, boxy estates, and the Volvo V70 has been one of its most popular models in recent years. An extremely comfortable car that’s enjoyable to drive, the V70 excels at everyday family motoring, while offering you lots of extra boot space when you need it. Some models came with extra fold-down seats in the boot, increasing passenger capacity to seven. The engine choice starts with a 140bhp, 2.0-litre petrol, rising to the range-topping 300bhp T5 model. All perform well, although no petrol V70 is going to be very easy on fuel. The D4 and D5 diesels tend to be a better all-round option for most buyers.
VW Passat Estate
VW Passat Estate (2005-2011)
eBay loves: Upmarket image, decent quality
Watch out for: Not the biggest boot you can get

The Volkswagen Passat is a star performer in the family saloon and company-car ranks, so it’s no surprise to find that the estate version is well worth looking at, too. Swoopier lines and a silver-trimmed grille make this version of the Passat stand out a bit more than its fairly dull predecessor, however the interior is still a bit drab. A choice of familiar VW engines is available, including the impressive 1.8-litre TSI turbocharged petrol and evergreen 2.0-litre TDI turbodiesel. Both mix power and economy very well. Inside, the cabin is very quiet and comfortable, and while the boot is undoubtedly large, several rival models offer a bit more luggage space.
Toyota Avensis Tourer
Toyota Avensis Tourer (2003-2008)
eBay loves: A very practical and reliable estate choice
Watch out for: So plain and anonymous, it’s almost invisible

It has a very bland and anonymous image, but there’s no denying the Avensis Tourer is an effective family estate car. It’s well equipped, comfortable for front and rear-seat passengers alike and boasts a huge boot. On the downside, it’s pretty uninspiring to drive, although the 1.8-litre petrol and 2.0-litre D4D diesel engines feel plenty powerful, even with a big load on board. You also get Toyota’s typically excellent build quality and reliability, as well as a good level of standard equipment on all models.
Skoda Octavia Estate
Skoda Octavia Estate (2005-2013)
eBay loves: Massive boot, tremendous value for money
Watch out for: High-mileage cars that have been worked hard

A Skoda Octavia Estate is possibly the best-value car you can buy - new or used. It offers an exceptional amount of cabin and boot space for a car of this size, as well as being a very comfortable, modern and well equipped family car in every respect. Diesels are king when it comes to engines, but don’t overlook the sprightly TSI petrol models, either. You can also get ultra-economical Greenline versions that really drive running costs down. Ownership surveys have revealed time and again that Skoda owners are among the most satisfied motorists in the UK.
Honda Accord Tourer
Honda Accord Tourer (2003-2008)
eBay loves: Enormous boot, Honda quality
Watch out for: Petrol engines can be quite thirsty

The Honda Accord Tourer is a fine compact executive car, and makes the transition to practical estate with ease. It manages to look quite sporty from the outside while offering one of the biggest boots in the class inside. You also get clever touches such as rear seats that fold flat in one easy movement and a motorised tailgate. Engines are the same as you get in the saloon, with the impressive 2.2-litre i-DTEC diesel standing out, although the smooth, powerful petrol options are worth considering, too. Keen drivers will also be glad to hear that the Tourer handles well for an estate.
Ford Mondeo Estate
Ford Mondeo Estate (2000-2007)
eBay loves: Lots to choose from and great to drive
Watch out for: Humdrum image and loses value quickly

Ford has long been among the best-selling car brands in the UK, and it has achieved that by consistently producing well priced, top-quality products like the Mondeo. The model’s huge popularity is a bit of a double-edged sword, though: it’s become a very common sight on our roads and doesn’t hold its value very well, but that’s good news for buyers in search of a second-hand bargain. Like the hatchback, the Ford Mondeo Estate is well equipped, comfortable and handles nicely. TDCI diesel engines are available, but they’re not as impressive as other manufacturers’ diesels, so we’d recommend the 1.8-litre petrol. Try to get a well equipped Zetec or Ghia model rather than the more common but somewhat sparsely equipped LX.
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