Estate cars are enjoying a resurgence in popularity at the moment. No longer are they the preserve of caravanners, large families or that strange couple with the seven dogs; estate cars have changed, and there are models to suit all needs. For example, you've got the smaller, hatchback-style estate cars, like the Fiat Tipo, right up to the high-powered, luxurious BMW 3 Series Touring version.
Essentially, there is something for everyone, but with such a wide range to choose from, how can you decide which estate car is right for you? Here are our top considerations:
Power, cabin space, a comfortable drive, low running costs, fuel efficiency - these are all elements that fit under the category of 'practicality'. Estate cars have a reputation for being practical and that hasn't changed just because they've gained a new following in recent years. Among our favourites are the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack and the trusty Ford Mondeo Estate. They might not be as exciting to drive as the Mercs and Beamers, but they have practicality in spades.
This is a concern for a growing number of us, and rightly so. Thankfully, if you're looking for a vehicle which has a lesser impact on the planet, you have lots of choose from. The Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid is not only a nice drive, but omits just 48g CO2 per kilometre, while the Mercedes E Class Estate has an official reading of 49g/km - both fairly low, with the result of road tax advantages for owners.
While the requirement for buying an estate car no longer needs to solely be about space, it's likely that accommodating sufficient junk in the trunk remains on your wish list. If so, then the Mercedes E-Class Estate and the Skoda Superb Estate are the proverbial daddies. Both boast a capacious boot at 1,950 litres, which is about as big as you'll find today. The BMW 5 Series Touring also impresses with 1,670 litres.
Admit it, you want a sexy beast of a car which makes you look good, while, of course, offering all the practicalities that feature on your 'ideal car' list. Though beauty firmly remains in the eye of the beholder, there's no denying that the more luxurious marques are the most attractive - and will turn heads as you drive by. The Jaguar XF Sportbrake is up there with the Mazda 6 Tourer, but we think the BMWs just pip it to the aesthetics post.
However, you're not that shallow, you want beauty on the inside as well as the exterior. When it comes to the interior, the Audi A6 Avant is hard to beat with its leather upholstery and sleek dashboard. Of course, if it's 'fun' you want, then the MINI Clubman (a six-door estate) might be worth a test drive.
Solid and sturdy, estate cars do rank among the safest on the road. Euro NCAP rates the Subaru Outback Estate as one of the most reliable and protective cars, and it scores well for child safety. The Mazda 6 Tourer receives a favourable safety assessment, though (again) the Mercedes E Class delivers top results. It includes driver fatigue detection, optional night vision set-up, radar-guided cruise control and blind-spot monitoring. Impressive stuff.
Estate cars have evolved into so much more than simply storage space on wheels; they have become attractive, high-performing objects of desire. If this has - brace yourself for the car-related pun - fuelled your interest, come and see our range of estate cars in person. If you have any questions, we'd be happy to chat - call us on 01934 808744.
For more information, see our Estate Car Buying Guides: