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Small estate cars are often enjoyable to drive and relatively easy to manoeuvre, yet they still deliver a big interior with lots of room and a large practical boot. Our favourite small estate cars offer all this and that little bit more, from fantastic affordable starting prices, to excellent driving experiences. From unrivalled practicality, to a combination of class leading traits.

6 REASONS TO BUY AN ESTATE CAR

Before the surging popularity of SUVs, estate cars were the go-to vehicles for practicality, space, and comfort. Today, estates are making a comeback as buyers begin to realise this class of car can often outperform sports utility vehicles and still offer a practical ride to suit a contemporary lifestyle. Usually modern estates offer:

  • Sleek and stylish exteriors
  • Comfortable and spacious cabins
  • Better miles per gallon (MPG) compared to larger cars like SUVs
  • A large practical boot that is usually flat and with a low-loading lip for ease of use – ideal for heavy shopping and pet dogs
  • The chance to carry a roof box without worrying about car park height restrictions (as you might in an SUV)
  • A very good driving experience with a low seating position

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OUR TOP 10 FAVOURITE SMALL ESTATE CARS

When it comes to choosing favourites from an excellent range of vehicles, invariably there will be some popular models that unfortunately don’t make it on to this list. The competition is fierce, yet the cars listed here stand their ground, regularly featuring in ‘best of’ categories. They have a lot of selling points, which make them our personal choices. Read on to discover our top 10 favourite small estate cars.

1. SKODA OCTAVIA

The Skoda Octavia Estate is a class-leading small estate car which ticks all the right boxes. It is one of the most practical vehicles in the sector, with one of the largest boots too, housing 610 litres of space or a massive 1,740 litres with the rear seats folded down. Inside, the cabin is spacious and comfortable and well-equipped as standard, although we’d recommend upgrading to the SE trim level if it’s within your budget. This adds rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, and a wealth of optional extras. Overall, the Octavia is good value for money, with strong build quality and a five star safety rating. Plus, it comes with a good range of frugal engines for low running costs and is quiet and relaxing to drive.

Best features:

  • Class-leading practicality
  • Spacious and comfortable
  • Quiet and relaxing to drive

USED PRICES FROM £780

2. BMW 3 SERIES

The smallest estate car in the BMW roster, the 3 Series Touring, is often the car to beat when it comes to upmarket and executive estates. What sets it apart from the competition is the fact that it is one of the best to drive in the segment, with excellent handling and great performance to call upon when you need it. It oozes drivers appeal and it has that unmistakable BMW shine. The styling is impeccable, instantly attractive and desirable. Inside, the car is suitably plush and (typical of the famous marque) comfortable, spacious, and designed with a keen eye for detail, including a host of neat touches, such as an opening rear windscreen. It has a large 500-litre boot too, proving practical for everyday use.

Best features:

  • Class-leading to drive
  • Premium styling
  • Spacious and practical

USED PRICES FROM £700

3. VOLKSWAGEN GOLF

If you’ve always liked the look and sound of the Volkswagen Golf hatchback, but wished it had more space and greater practicality, then check out the estate version. Like the hatchback, the estate is one of the best in its class. It is very practical and spacious, with a massive 605-litre boot that extends to 1,620 litres with the rear seats folded down. In addition, the Golf Estate is excellent to drive, providing a smooth ride experience and light steering. It also comes well-equipped as standard, including an 8.0-inch colour infotainment screen, Bluetooth and DAB radio. Other exemplary features include a high-quality cabin, strong build quality, and a five-star safety rating.

Best features:

  • Excellent to drive
  • Strong build quality
  • Well-equipped as standard

USED PRICES FROM £400

4. VAUXHALL ASTRA

For an all-rounder of a small estate car, check out the Vauxhall Astra Sport Tourer. It’s a hatchback-based model that is really good in almost every department: it enjoys a spacious cabin with comfortable seats, an upmarket design, and good practicality, with a 540-litre boot that can grow to 1,630 litres with the rear seats folded. Plus, it comes well-equipped as standard with a 7.0-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, DAB digital radio, air-conditioning, as well as useful USB ports and cruise control. Furthermore, it has an excellent range of engines to choose from, with frugal variants and more powerful options available. The Astra Sport Tourer is great to drive too, striking the ideal balance ride comfort and driver’s engagement.

Best features:

  • Great all-rounder
  • Great to drive
  • Spacious and comfortable

USED PRICES FROM £330

5. KIA CEED

It’s hard to believe the Kia Ceed Sportswagon estate is only in its third generation. More so, that the latest variants continue to improve upon an already successful formula. It has quickly established itself as a true rival to leading small estates like the Skoda Octavia Estate and Volkswagen Golf Estate. Whilst it is a bit lacking in the style department, with pared-back looks, the Ceed Sportswagon nonetheless impresses, with a high-quality cabin in keeping with the competition, lined with soft-touch plastics. This spacious car also boasts a leading boot, up there with the best at 625 litres, extending to 1,694 litres of space with the rear seats folded down. Furthermore, it comes well-equipped for its price tag and when bought it new it comes with Kia’s leading 7 years warranty.

Best features:

  • Spacious and practical
  • High-quality interior
  • Well-equipped as standard

USED PRICES FROM £500

6. MINI CLUBMAN

Introduced in 2007, the Clubman estate is based upon the Mini Hatch, but offering greater practicality and a lot more space, all the while staying true to the Mini formula – distinctive styling and a fun driving experience. It’s a very cool car, with unique features like a twin barn-door boot and a wealth of personalisation options to configure the vehicle to your own tastes. Inside, the upmarket cabin is comfortable and well-laid out, with plenty of space throughout to stretch the legs. It’s practical too, with lots of cup holders, cubbies, and storage areas, in addition to a decent-sized boot. Where the Mini Clubman excels as a small estate, however, is in its playful character, from its stylish good looks, to its agile steering – it’s a fun car through and through.

Best features:

  • Distinctive styling
  • Fun to drive
  • Practical and comfortable

USED PRICES FROM £2,800

7. SKODA FABIA

Unveiled in 1999, the Skoda Fabia Estate is a small supermini-based estate that enjoys excellent levels of practicality and a spacious cabin with a good amount of leg and headroom, seating tall adults comfortably. It also sports a large 530-litre boot that can extend to 1,395 litres when the back seats are folded down. Plus, for extra storage it provides generous door pockets, under-seat drawers, and cup holders. When it comes to driving, the Fabia has low running costs and a fairly engaging drive experience, with agile steering for nipping around the city. Best of all, the Fabia has an affordable starting price from new, as well as lots of excellent used deals on the pre-owned market. It’s a small estate that is great value for money.

Best features:

  • Practical and spacious
  • Low running costs
  • Great value for money

USED PRICES FROM £600

8. RENAULT MEGANE

When it comes to styling, estate cars often look more functional and reserved in their design. The same cannot be said about the Renault Megane Sport Tourer, which is a very stylish looking hatchback-based estate with sleek lines and a sporty edge. Unfortunately, those looks don’t transfer into the driving experience, which isn’t as engaging or as fun as others on this list. Instead, the car focuses more on comfort and practicality, with a spacious cabin that provides plenty of leg and headroom in the front and rear. It has lots of useful cubbies and bays for storage, as well as a 521-litre boot. Overall, it’s a great small estate, especially for those wanting a practical and stylish model.

Best features:

  • Stylish looks
  • Comfortable and practical
  • Spacious cabin

USED PRICES FROM £200

9. HYUNDAI I30

The Hyundai i30 Tourer might not be the most fun small estate car to drive, but it is impressively comfortable and very well refined, proving to be a great motorway cruiser. Inside, the high-quality cabin comes with plenty of soft-touch plastics and plush seating, with the dashboard well-laid out for the driver. It’s spacious and practical, with a large 602-litre boot. Furthermore, it offers low running costs with a varied range of petrol and diesel engines, all of which provide a good return on the fuel with excellent miles per gallon. Finally, the Hyundai i30 enjoys a full five star Euro NCAP safety rating too.

Best features:

  • Comfortable and refined
  • Spacious and practical
  • High-quality interior

USED PRICES FROM £1,000

10. SEAT LEON

The Seat Leon ST is a sportier looking small estate car with the pedigree to match, providing a fun driving experience aided by good handling and a comfortable cabin. If the vehicle has an air of familiarity behind the wheel that’s because (as part of the Volkswagen Group) it has the same underpinnings as the Skoda Octavia and VW Golf, which is never a bad thing as both of those cars prove themselves through their popularity. Furthermore, there are enough differences between the three vehicles that they all have a different personality and feel that goes beyond the exterior design. The Seat Leon ST is the more vivacious option of the trio with its strong styling and character. Inside, the interior is spacious enough for five adults and it has good levels of practicality for daily use, including a large 587-litre boot, extending to 1,620 litres when needed via lowering the rear seats.

Best features:

  • Fun driving experience
  • Spacious interior
  • Sporty styling

USED PRICES FROM £700

Want a practical car with loads of room? Find the perfect estate car at Motors.co.uk

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