Want space, but don’t want an SUV? Any of these used estates will do a great job
Active lifestyles are all the rage these days, apparently.
Many motorists seeking an appropriate vehicle in which to pursue their wild swimming, rockhopping and brass-rubbing weekends – okay, maybe not brass rubbing, but you know what we mean – are being drawn to the do-it-all versatility of the SUV.
But not everyone wants to be put into that SUV pigeonhole. Luckily there are plenty of posh estate cars on the market now, most of them classily styled, and usually with extra soundproofing compared to their their saloon/hatch siblings. These estates have become at least as desirable as those saloons and hatches.
Of course, they’re not all going to be as affordable new as you might hope, but attractive secondhand examples can be had for much less money.
Here are what we consider to be the ten best used estates you can buy for under £10,000, along with some actual cars we’ve found in our searches.
10. Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer
We found: 2015 2.0 CDTI 16V SRI, 33,496 miles, £8,195
The Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer might not be the best-driving car in the world, but the 2015 example we found shows that it fully delivers on the usual Vauxhall attribute of value. This will be a reliable machine with a well-assembled cabin and a good list of standard equipment. The gutsy 2.0-litre diesel CDTi engine is worth seeking out in preference to the 1.6.
9. BMW 3 Series Touring
We found: 2009 320d SE Business Edition Auto, 47,167 miles, £8,595
As much a lifestyle choice as a functional cargo-shifter, the 3 Series Touring is nonetheless getting more practical with each new model. The hinged back window is useful when there’s not enough clearance to open the complete tailgate. The great thing about the Touring is that it is as entertaining to drive as the 3 Series saloon.
8. Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate
We found: 2011 C220 CDI Sport Auto, 61,446 miles, £9,357)
Mercedes-Benz has gone to great lengths to patch up the damage done to its brand in the early 2000s by poor quality control, and the strong if slightly stoic C-Class is a good indicator of that effort. They’re not cheap to fix if they do go wrong or parts wear out, but the big carrying capacity and the recaptured Merc brand value make it very desirable.
7. Audi A4 Avant
We found: 2009 2.0 TDI 170 S line, 68,652 miles, £9,136
At least as stylish and classy as the A4 saloon, if not quite as spacious as other estates in this sector, the A4 Avant’s quality makes you feel good every time you drive it. Lots of nice details and cubbyholes to maximise the available space, and that special atmosphere of Audi solidity throughout the cabin.
6. BMW 5 Series Touring
We found: 2011 520d SE, 95,326 miles, £9,470
You’ll probably have to accept higher mileages on a sub-£10k 5 Touring compared to others on our list, but in return you’ll get a brilliant all-rounder. The 520d diesel gives the most popular combination of performance and economy. Pre-2013 518d and 520d models had timing chain issues, so check the paperwork carefully.
5. Volkswagen Passat Estate
We found: 2012 2.0 TDI SE Bluemotion, 61,283 miles, £9,922
Maybe not the most exciting choice but if you want smart looks, big space and a solid cabin, the Passat ticks those boxes. Passengers of all sizes and species will like it too, and the flexible diesel engines mean you can put away big mileages without undue effort (or too many fuel stops).
4. Volkswagen Golf Estate
We found: 2014 1.6 TDI SE, 50,531 miles, £9,995
What can you say about the Golf that hasn’t already been said? The Estate adds cargo hauling to its list of family transport, holiday cruiser, and urban runabout talents. The Mk7 Golf drives well and offers a huge engine range from a 1.0 three-cylinder petrol to a 306bhp Golf R. Overall we’d go for the economical 1.6-litre diesel or 1.4-litre petrol.
3. Ford Mondeo Estate
We found: 2011 2.0 TDCI 163 Titanium 41,107 miles, £10,000
The Mondeo Estate is both good looking and pretty big. Its size can make it a handful in tight car parks, and its massive carrying capacity has made it popular among taxi drivers, so make sure you’re aware of a car’s history before you buy. Get a good Titanium spec car though and you will delighted with your choice, for both driving manners and the luxurious amount of kit.
2. Skoda Octavia Estate
We found: 2014 1.6 TDI SE, 31,862 miles, £9,985
If you were only interested in interior space, this would be the obvious choice. Glamour doesn’t come into it, but big-scale functionality does. This is a great workhorse that can be wiped clean at the end of the day/week/month, but it also benefits from pretty much the same choice of engines as its Volkswagen Golf brother uses. Reasonable prices too.
1. Seat Leon ST
We found: 2014 1.6 TDI SE 18,210 miles, £9,611
The Golf may just shade it on perceived class but Seat’s Leon ST is on the money in every other area, and at a lower price too. With nailed-on handling, extra estate practicality and a splash of design fizz, the Leon represents a lot of car for the money.