Like it or not, estate cars are back in Vogue. For years, only ever bought by sensible-shoed dads and people with dogs, their appeal is now on the up.

Buyers put off by the ever increasing costs associated with running a big 4×4, but wanting a practical family bus have turned the tide, alongside the fact that talented car designers have managed, somehow, to turn some models at least, into objects of desire.

This month sees the launch of two estate cars at polar opposites of the automotive spectrum. First up is the Audi RS6, the fastest accelerating estate car in the world. With a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8, it develops a whopping 553bhp and will cover the 0-62mph sprint in 3.9 seconds. It’s yours for £76,985.

At the more realistic end of the spectrum is the Dacia Logan MCV. It’s currently the cheapest estate on the new car market, coming in at £6,995. That includes a three-year/60,000 mile warranty, a full tank of fuel and…not much else.

While we commend Dacia for offering a range of no-frills cars that will undoubtedly appeal to those looking to maximise economy, we at can’t help but thinking there’s more to life. Scour our pages of quality used cars and your £6,995 will stretch to something with a lot more. More power, more luxury, more style – whatever it is you may look for in a car, but crucially with the large load space that estate buyers need.

?Below are our top-five recommendations for the best used estate cars that £6,995 can buy.

Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG

A long-standing rival of Audi’s hot ‘R’ products, Mercedes’ AMG division has been making hot-rod versions of the company’s usually conservative products. Our budget will only stretch to a first generation model, but even that has a 5.5-litre V8 engine and the ability to hit 62mph from a standstill in 5.4 seconds, while retaining the relaxing driving experience that was lost at the expense of extreme performance in later models. If you want an effortlessly quick estate – with a huge boot might we add – that will soothe away a hard day at work when you don’t want to play, look no further.

Search for a used Mercedes E-Class here

Mini Clubman

BMW’s (arguably cynical) niche exploitation of the Mini brand has yielded some intriguing products, not least of which is the Mini Clubman. Essentially a slightly elongated version of the hatchback model, it has bread van-esque rear doors in place of a hatch and a single rear door for back seat passengers.

?While it’s clear practicality has been sacrificed for the sake of style in the Clubman, this is exactly what the modern Mini has built its success on. If you can live with only a modest load space, you can revel in the car’s retro-chic interior and go-kart driving experience, which is carried over unchanged from the best-selling hatchback.

Search for a used Mini Clubman here

Subaru Impreza Sportwagon

The enthusiast’s choice. As luxuriously equipped as the budget Dacia, it’s evident as soon as you set of in an Impreza that Subaru spent all the budget on what makes the car go, stop and steer. Few cars have such a solidly built feel on the road, and with an enviable reputation for reliability, it’ll most likely be going long after you’ve bitten the dust. The estate-bodied Sportwagon doesn’t offer the greatest load space, but offers useful practicality over the saloon. It also does without that car’s huge rear spoiler, meaning you’ll dodge all those ‘mid-life crisis’ comments, too.

Search for a used Subaru Impreza here

Jaguar X-Type estate

Derided by many as an affront to the Jaguar name, the X-Type didn’t go down well when new, being based on the Ford Mondeo and feeling a tad cheap in places. At this sort of money, however, the baby Jaguar makes perfect sense. It’s available with a wide selection of engines to suit every taste, from the entry-level 2-litre diesel to the full-fat 3-litre petrol V6. It’s boot is also larger than many of its contemporaries and it came with the option of four-wheel drive, meaning you can keep on going when the weather stops others (read BMW drivers) in their tracks.

Search for a used Jaguar X-Type here

Audi Allroad

If you find the image of a high-riding 4×4 questionable, but you still need light off-roading abilities, look no further than the Audi Allroad. It bears the strengths of a conventional Audi estate – quality construction, an easygoing demeanor and classy, subtle styling – but has adjustable air suspension, four-wheel drive and under-floor protection for when the going gets tough. Of course, if you’re about to tackle the Paris-Dakar then wont be much use, but it will cope with everything a modern day Chelsea Tractor can.

Search for a used Audi Allroad here

Picture from Renault UK

Daljinder Nagra


April 19, 2013