Best Estate Cars 2021

The Best Estate Cars offer more than just a big boot, the load area has to be a practical shape and allow easy access and the rear seats must be simple to fold flat.

These cars are often used for business as well as family motoring, so they need to combine a spacious, comfortable and well-equipped interior with low running costs and an enjoyable drive. And they need to do all that for an affordable price.
Here we count down our top 10 choices and reveal the models to avoid.

Audi A4 Avant

If you fancy an estate car with a swanky premium badge, the Audi A4 Avant really should be on your shortlist. It shares all the positive attributes of the Audi A4 Saloon but adds an even bigger, cleverer boot, to combine proven driving prowess with practical daily living. 

The A4 Avant is Audi's smallest estate model, directly rivalling the Mercedes C-Class Estate and Volvo V60. Cars like these are plenty big enough to swallow a few suitcases, but, if you want something truly vast that wears a premium badge, you'll want to look at the larger Audi A6 Avant, BMW 5 Series Touring and Mercedes E-Class Estate.It’s worth pondering, though, if you aren't overly fussed about a posh badge, whether the class-leading Skoda Superb Estate might be right for you: not only is it cheaper than the A4 Avant but it's also considerably more practical. 

There’s also the V6 diesel-powered Audi S4 Avant, for those who need to haul around life’s paraphernalia at considerable speed.So how does the A4 Avant compare against its direct rivals? And which engines and trims make the most sense? Read on over the next few pages and we'll tell you everything you need to know.And remember, if you want to buy an Audi A4 Avant, don't forget to check out our New Car Buying pages, where you could save a small fortune without any awkward haggling.

Number of trims8
Available fuel typesdiesel, petrol
MPG range across all versions33.6 - 57.6
Avaliable doors options5
Warranty3 years / 60000 miles
Volvo V90

Volvo and estate cars go together like love and marriage, horses and carriages, and Ikea and flat pack furniture, with this Volvo V90 the most capacious of its current crop.
However, these days the Swedish brand isn't simply content with its estates being practical; they have to be pretty, too. And that leaves us with a big question: do they still have the solidity and functionality of old? On paper, the V90 certainly looks promising.

It's based on Volvo's big S90 luxury saloon. And while it's actually a couple of centimetres shorter than that car (for styling reasons), the V90 still has an enormous boot at the back of its spacious interior.

There’s a good choice of engine, too, including two diesels, three petrols and a powerful petrol-electric plug-in hybrid for green-minded estate buyers. But the V90 isn't short of competition, with the classy Audi A6 Avant, BMW 5 Series Touring and Mercedes E-Class Estate all available for similar money.

Besides, buyers at this end of the market also expect a comfortable ride, a sharp drive, and generous levels of luxury and equipment.

Over the next few pages we'll look at whether the V90 delivers in all these areas. And if at the end you decide it's the car for you, be sure to check out our New Car Buying service, because you could potentially save thousands on a new Volvo V90 without the need to haggle.
Number of trims4
Available fuel typeshybrid, diesel, petrol
MPG range across all versions134.5 - 49.5
Avaliable doors options5
Warranty3 years / 60000 miles
Ford Focus Estate

While the idea of owning a different car for every occasion may sound appealing, most of us have to settle for just the one, due to pesky realities such as limited budgets and parking space. That’s why estates have always been a family favourite – whether for tackling motorway journeys, running the kids to school or visiting everyone’s favourite Swedish furniture store, you can count on an estate to do your bidding.

The Ford Focus Estate has long been a popular choice among families. Historically, it has delivered fun handling to make you smile and low running costs that won't make you weep. In its current guise, it allies the generous rear-seat space of its hatchback sister with a much more versatile boot.

There are various trim levels to cater for most budgets and requirements, along with a number of petrol and diesel engines to choose from. Essentially, Ford has made sure that the Focus Estate really does tick the ‘cater for every need’ box.

On top of the regular trims, those of you with a fondness for the great outdoors are also catered for. There are two SUV-inspired trims called Active and Active X, which deliver extra ground clearance and chunkier tyres to match their more rugged looks.
But the big question is: how does the Focus stack up against its similarly priced rivals, which include the Skoda Octavia Estate, Volkswagen Golf Estate and the one with the biggest boot of the lot, the Kia Ceed Sportswagon? That’s what we’ll be exploring in this review, plus we’ll help you digest the many options of engines and trims and let you know the configuration that makes the most sense.

And, once you’ve found the perfect set-up, head to our New Car Buying pages to see how much you could save for your next flat-pack furniture investment.
Number of trims9
Available fuel typespetrol, diesel
MPG range across all versions34.9 - 67.3
Avaliable doors options5
Warranty3 years / 60000 miles
Audi A6 Avant

Luxury meets space in the Audi A6 Avant. It's got a plush interior that is filled with the latest technology, lots of space for your family and everything they might wish to carry, and it's powered by a strong range of engines. Add in that it's also comfortable and quiet, and the A6 Avant is very easy to recommend.
Many modern estate cars are so-called ‘lifestyle' models: an expression that essentially means they have sleek looks and a posh badge, but are more suited to transporting Yorkshire terriers than Irish wolfhounds. Not the Audi A6 Avant, though.

Okay, it is blessed with handsome looks and an upmarket badge, but, because it’s based on the A6 luxury saloon, it’s a big and genuinely practical choice. There are several petrol and diesel engines to choose from, and there's also a sporty S6 model that we review separately here.
This latest A6 Avant also has an efficient range of engines and cutting-edge infotainment and autonomous driving technology borrowed from the much pricier A8. But how does it compare with other posh estates, such as the BMW 5 Series Touring, Mercedes E-Class Estate and Volvo V90?

That’s what we’ll be exploring in this review, plus we’ll outline the versions that make the most sense and the options you might want to add. 
Number of trims6
Available fuel typesdiesel, petrol
MPG range across all versions31.7 - 50.4
Avaliable doors options5
Warranty3 years / 60000 miles
Mercedes E-Class Estate

Like Volvo, Mercedes has a long history of building large family wagons, and the new E-Class Estate is its best yet. It offers more luggage space than all its rivals, while passengers also get plenty of room to stretch out and the interior is both sophisticated and plush. Just make sure you specify air suspension; it’s an expensive option, but delivers a dramatic improvement in ride comfort.

For more than half a century now, Mercedes has been skilfully blending luxury and space in a large estate model that proudly wears that prestigious three-pointed star. In fact, there have been five generations so far, of which four have been dubbed, in one way or another, the Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate.

And in so doing, it set a trend – one that left other premium producers floundering for years until Audi finally evened up the score with its estates, such as today’s A6 Avant, and BMW with its 5 Series Touring. The premium estate market isn't an exclusive German domain, though – the Swedish Volvo V90 is another formidable rival.

Aside from mentioning the facelift that upped equipment levels and tweaked the styling of the latest model in 2020, that’s the history lesson done and dusted. Now let’s focus on how good the current E Class Estate is; after all, tradition is all well and dandy, but here at What Car? it’s overridden, as always, by sound objectivity.

The E Class Estate is available with an impressive lineup of engines – ranging from frugal diesels and a tax-busting plug-in hybrid, all the way up to fire-breathing, hardcore performance-focused AMG models, which we’ve reviewed separately.

It promises plenty of space for passengers and their luggage, a luxurious, tech-laden interior and, if you pick the right engine, reasonable running costs. But is it the best luxury wagon you can buy, and which engines and trims make the most sense?
Number of trims7
Available fuel typespetrol, diesel, diesel/plugin elec hybrid
MPG range across all versions201.8 - 50.4
Avaliable doors options5
Warranty3 years / No mileage cap
Volkswagen Golf Estate

The Golf Estate is one of those cars that does exactly what it says on the tin, combining the strengths that have consistently kept the Golf hatchback near the top of the UK sales charts with a bigger boot. It's a quiet cruiser with a supple ride and an upmarket interior.

It was the hatchback, launched all the way back in 1974, that made the Golf famous, but this Volkswagen Golf Estate has an awful lot going for it, too. A huge boot with some clever touches gives it plenty of load-lugging appeal to family buyers, and yet it loses little of the current hatchback’s superb dynamics and top-notch refinement.

All of which makes it a cracking all-rounder, with something for almost every family’s needs. And you get a great range of engines to choose from, including tiny three-cylinder petrols, super-economical diesels, right up to a barnstorming 306bhp sports-car-baiting beast that is the Golf R Estate.
If you think an estate buy is the way forward, is the Golf the best one or are others, such as the Skoda Octavia, Ford Focus, or Vauxhall Astra estates, better still?
Number of trims3
Available fuel typesdiesel, petrol
MPG range across all versions47.9 - 61.4
Avaliable doors options5
Warranty3 years / 60000 miles
Volvo V60

The V90 may be the biggest estate in the modern Volvo range, but it's the V60 that's the company's best. It's still a very roomy choice and feels every bit as classy, yet it's cheaper to buy and run and both more comfortable and more enjoyable to drive.
It would be all too easy to come up with some whimsical, antiques dealer-based introduction to the Volvo V60 estate, based loosely around, let’s say, that fella whose name begins with ‘L’ and ends in ‘ovejoy’. But, for starters, that would be an awfully crass way to introduce a car as sharp and shapely as the V60; and it would be wholly out of date for a company that shed its fuddy-duddy, furniture-removal image a long time ago and currently ploughs a style furrow of contemporary chic.

But don’t think that Volvo has discarded the other half of its DNA: safety. This V60 keeps you swaddled securely in a ball of high-tech cotton wool, equipped as it is with many of the bang-up-to-date anti-crash devices that we’ve seen in the larger Volvo models – cars with which the V60 shares underpinnings, along with some of its engines.
Though smaller than the Volvo V90, the V60 still offers generous interior space and a big boot. As for engines, the V60 is available with a range of 2.0-litre petrols and diesels that start at 148bhp and run all the way to 399bhp in the case of the plug-in hybrid T8 Twin Engine Polestar Engineered. Every petrol engine is connected to an automatic gearbox as standard,  diesels get a six-speed manual and optional auto, and the most powerful V60 models have four-wheel drive as standard.
Inside, it’s a fairly business-like atmosphere, with tactile materials and solid build quality, but the darker colour options really do make it cave-like. And, while the portrait-oriented infotainment system touchscreen is large and looks cool, its menu structure is frustratingly confusing.

So the Volvo V60 is handsome, spacious, safe and high-tech, but is it, objectively, the estate of choice? Or should you stick with the usual suspects in the mid-sized premium wagon market, namely the Audi A4 Avant, Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate and BMW 3 Series Touring?

Read on to find out. But whichever estate you decide on, don’t forget to check out our New Car Buying pages for the very best no-hassle deals around.
Number of trims5
Available fuel typesdiesel, petrol, hybrid
MPG range across all versions128.4 - 50.4
Avaliable doors options5
Warranty3 years / 60000 miles
BMW 5 Series Touring

The latest 5 Series Touring shows BMW at the top of its game. This is a hugely appealing luxury estate car because it's comfortable, quiet and enjoyable to drive, with an interior that's as classy as it is practical. Plus, standard self-levelling suspension helps it cope with the heftiest of loads.
What could possibly top a BMW 5 Series? After all, we’ve championed it as one of the best cars on sale. How about a 5 Series with an even bigger boot: the 5 Series Touring? If the theory is correct, it gives you the same driving panache and luxury as the saloon, but with enough space in the back that your dog can enjoy the experience as well.

Is that theory true in practice? Well, the 5 Series Touring features many of the engines that make the saloon so good, the same plush interior and the same abundance of fancy gizmos, so the signs are extremely promising. But being an estate it needs to have the practicality side covered, too.
Like the saloon, the Touring was also treated to an update in the latter half of 2020, introducing goodies such as LED headlights as standard (with super bright adaptive LED headlights as an option), a larger more imposing grille, a more aggressive bodykit and a smattering of new technology throughout the range e.g. it now gets the same fantastic infotainment system as is used by the BMW X5 and X7. 

It all sounds promising on paper. But, when you think that there are a plethora of other big, deluxe wagons to choose from, it's not a given that the 5 Series Touring is the one to choose. So, is the 5 Series Touring better than an Audi A6 Avant, Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate or Volvo V90? And if it is, which engine and trim make the most sense in the range?
Number of trims14
Available fuel typesdiesel, hybrid, petrol
MPG range across all versions156.9 - 55.4
Avaliable doors options5
Warranty3 years / No mileage cap
Skoda Superb Estate

As good as the 5 Series Touring is, though, it has to settle for second place on this list, because Skoda's massive Superb Estate strikes the perfect sweet spot of practicality, comfort, low running costs and value. A range of strong and economical engines completes a superb all-round package.
If space is a luxury, the Skoda Superb Estate must be one of the most luxurious cars in the world. And yet, while its interior and boot are huge, its price is anything but. What's more, Skoda offers a wide range of petrol and diesel engines and manual and automatic gearboxes, as well as offering four-wheel drive on selected models, so there's something for everyone to pick from. There's even a plug-in hybrid version, with enough electric range for a fossil-fuel-free frolic across town.

However, there are many other aspects to consider when buying a new estate car. Is it well made? Does it offer a comfortable ride? Is the handling up to par? Can I work the infotainment system without a tech-savvy teen permanently on hand? All valid points and, because the Superb Estate has a multitude of appealing alternatives to pop on to your shopping list, worth thinking about. Those rivals include the ubiquitous Ford Mondeo Estate, the remarkably similar Volkswagen Passat Estate, and the premium offerings, such as the Audi A4 Avant and BMW 3 Series Touring. 

Read on over the next few pages for everything you need to know, including which engine, trim and options to choose, and how it compares to its rivals. And, once you've chosen your favourite Superb Estate, or any other new car for that matter, remember to head to our New Car Buying pages for the best prices without the bother of haggling.
Number of trims5
Available fuel typesdiesel, hybrid, petrol
MPG range across all versions176.6 - 57.7
Avaliable doors options5
Warranty3 years / 60000 miles