Anyone with children will know just how quickly all the space in the car gets used up with kids, friends, toys, school bags…As a result, many family cars have mushroomed in size over the last few decades, making it increasingly hard to fit them in town centre parking spaces.

If you don’t want to compromise on space, but hate spending full minutes trying to carefully fit your car into tight parking spaces, we’ve rounded up some of the smallest estate cars, which offer plenty of boot space, but come in at under 4.5m long – the minimum length allowed for a UK parking space.

Seat Ibiza ST– 4.24m long
This Seat estate pulls off the trick of being both stylish and practical, with boot space extending from a useful 430 litres with the rear seats in place, to a hefty 1,164 litres if you flip the rear seats down – plenty of room for pushchairs, rucksacks, suitcases, flat pack furniture, or anything else you need to load.

A wide range of engines are available for the Ibiza, from a 74bhp 1.2-litre diesel and 84bhp 1.4-litre petrol to a punchy turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol with 138bhp. Official fuel economy stands at more than 80mpg for the smallest diesel, while the most powerful petrol can sprint to 62mph in a speedy 8.1 seconds.

Skoda Fabia Estate– 4.25m long
The Fabia Estate shares a lot of the technology beneath the skin with the Ibiza, but despite just a 2cm increase in length the Skoda offers a much larger boot. Space extends from a generous 505 litres with the rear seats up to a whopping 1,485 litres if you flip the seats down and load the car to the roof. As with the Ibiza, a wide range of engines are available.

The Skoda does feature several additional motors, however, with everything from an affordable 68bhp 1.2-litre petrol to a Tarmac-tearing vRS performance model, which zooms to the 62mph mark in just 7.3 seconds, but is still capable of 45.6mpg.

Subaru XV– 4.45m long
This oddball machine sits between conventional estate cars and off-roaders, with its boxy shape and raised ride height. It also comes with four-wheel drive, providing added all-weather traction, for dealing with slippery roads, ice and snow.

One petrol and one diesel engine are available. The petrol motor returns fuel economy of 40.9mpg and accelerates to 62mph in 10.5 seconds, while the diesel returns 50.4mpg and can canter up to 62mph in 9.3 seconds.

Hyundai i30 Tourer– 4.49m long
The Hyundai i30 Tourer lines up against the Ford Focus Estate and Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer, and while both of these come in at over 4.5m – with the Astra weighing in at a parking space-busting 4.7m – the i30 Tourer offers medium car comfort and a large boot, in a smaller package.

Boot space ranges from 528 litres to 1,642 litres – depending upon whether the rear seats are in use – which surprisingly beats both the Astra and Focus. One petrol engine and two diesel motors are available in the i30 Tourer, with official economy figures of up to 67.3mpg.

Dacia Logan– 4.49m long
When it comes to maximum boot space per pound, there is nothing that can compete with the Dacia Logan. This Spartan machine is available from just £6,995, though boot space stands at a generous 573 litres with five seats in place and rises to 1,518 litres if you flip the rear seats down.

The Logan is available with a 74bhp 1.2-litre petrol motor and a turbocharged 0.9-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel, which both produce 89bhp. Most economical is the diesel, which officially returns 74.3mpg, while the 0.9-litre petrol is the most sprightly, accelerating to 62mph in 11.1 seconds.

There is a payoff for the low prices, however; the Logan is significantly more basic than any other car in our estate lineup – and indeed most new cars on the road – meaning that the Logan makes most sense for those who have to have a new car and value space and price over everything else.

Chris Lloyd


October 22, 2014