Buyers after plenty of space for passengers and luggage may be tempted by high-riding 4x4s or family-friendly people carriers, but estate cars can offer greater value than the typical off-roader, and better road-holding and comfort than a standard people carrier too.

We’ve rounded up some of the most appealing estate cars that offer oversized boots but undersized price tags, from the supersized Skoda Superb Estate, which just sneaks in under the £20,000 mark to the Dacia Logan MCV, which can be bought – brand new – from just £6,995.

All of these models offer comfortable cabins up front and practical boots around the back – perfect for carrying buggies, lawnmowers, furniture or any other awkward loads that you need to lug around.

The smart choice for space: Skoda Superb Estate

Estate cars don’t come much bigger than the Skoda Superb Estate. Despite being available from just £19,815, this Superb is hugely spacious with a cavernous boot that offers up 633 litres of space with the rear seats in place and a mammoth 1,865 litres with the seats folded down. The rear seats should also easily accommodate the tallest of passengers, with a huge amount of both head and legroom.

A variety of engines are available from economical diesels that can return up to 65.7mpg fuel economy to a rapid four-wheel-drive 3.6-litre range-topper that puts performance above economy, sprinting to 62mph in a scant 6.5 seconds. With a new model soon to arrive in showrooms buyers after the current model should be able to drive a hard bargain when it comes time to sign on the dotted line.

The smart choice for those on a budget: Dacia Logan MCV

Dacia has made a name for itself selling cheap new cars, but while most undercut similarly-sized rivals by a few thousand pounds, you’d have to spend around twice the price of the cheapest Logan MCV to get another new car with the same size boot.

The Logan may not be able to compete with other estates for refinement, quality or equipment, but opt for the turbocharged 0.9-litre petrol model – yours from £8,595 – and you have a relatively sprightly machine that can accelerate to 62mph in 11.1 seconds, but is still capable of reasonable 56.5mpg fuel economy.

The smart choice for sharp handling: Ford Focus Estate

The Ford Focus is famed for its impressive roadholding and the practical estate model is no different. With the same range of engines as the hatchback and only the smallest drop in performance and economy, buyers with a budget of £20,000 can find themselves an entry-level diesel or a mid-spec petrol model for less than £20,000.

The best combination of power and low fuel bills comes from the 1.5-litre TDCI 120 model, which returns claimed economy of 74.3mpg yet can accelerate to 62mph in a reasonable 10.7 seconds. If you have a little more to spend, you could get yourself the keys to the ST Estate, which offers sports car performance from its 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, while retaining the standard model’s spacious boot.

The smart choice for equipment: Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer

Despite being a size larger than the Ford Focus, the Insignia Sports Tourer from Vauxhall can also be bought for less than £20,000. With its sleek styling and comfortable cabin, the Insignia Sports Tourer makes a good motorway cruiser and comes with plenty of standard equipment.

Buyers can find both petrol and diesel models within budget, which all include a digital radio, Bluetooth, a USB connection, cruise control, climate control, automatic headlights and 16-inch alloy wheels.

The smart choice for striking styling: Honda Civic Tourer

Estate cars may typically be seen as bland boxes, but the zany Civic Tourer definitely isn’t, with its bulging wheel arches and swoopy interior. On a practical level, it’s also got a colossal boot, making it a sensible choice for those who need plenty of space.

£20,000 will get you the keys to 1.8-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel versions. Opt for the diesel and you’ll benefit from 74.3mpg claimed economy and low enough CO2 emissions to warrant free car tax under the current rules. The petrol, meanwhile, is relatively nippy, sprinting to 62mph in 9.2 seconds, while still returning more than 45.6mpg in the official economy test.

Chris Lloyd


May 20, 2015

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