a hugely popular car type, the SUV dominates the road due to its large size both outside and in
Creating the kind of wagon that is ideal for family road trips or a visit to the recycling centre, estate cars are a roomy solution for those needing to maximise space.
Estates arrived from taking a saloon body shape and then modifying them to create as much boot space as possible on the same chassis, with it running from the bottom of the car to the top. The style was once considered to be something of a boring choice, bought by people who just wanted that increased luggage room at the expense of things such as ride and handling. In fact, these days many estates are as a good as the saloons or hatchbacks that they are based on, offering great style and handling combinations that create a great driving experience.
Admittedly, some models can still feel like they aren't the roomiest, but they do tend to make up for that with plenty of neat touches like a level boot floor, flat-folding seats, low boot lips and electronic opening boot lids. Also, estates tend to match the performance and economy figures of their saloon counterparts, so you get more space with no penalties on performance. If you’re in the market for an estate, keep an eye out for solid models from Volvo such as the V90, V60 and V40, which combine years of know-how for the modern era. There’s plenty to choose from elsewhere though, with most manufacturers making an estate version of an existing model, as with VW’s Passat, Skoda’s Superb or the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
‘Station wagon’ is simply the American name for an estate. Another valid question to ask might be 'what is a shooting brake?' This style is a slight spin on your average estate, taking the idea and making it sleeker – and usually faster, with some sports car panache.
The Audi A4 Avant is a very modern interpretation of an estate, with a sought-after badge.
The Toyota Avensis has looks that help it to stand out from the crowd.
The Skoda Superb is a large family car with a premium feel at an affordable price.
The Mini Countryman pulls together lots of genres into one neat package.
The Volvo V70 is perhaps the classic estate car, and is big on size and ability.