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Is the estate car dead or does it have a future?

By Ted Welford | September 4, 2023

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Popular with those who enjoy outdoor pursuits and need a large boot for work or to carry pets around, estate cars enjoyed significant popularity. But in recent years, vehicles of this type appear to have fallen out of favour.

At one time, and not all that many years ago, the estate car was almost the default choice when it came to families looking for their next car. 

Popular with those who enjoy outdoor pursuits and need a large boot for work or to carry pets around, estate cars enjoyed significant popularity. But in recent years, vehicles of this type appear to have fallen out of favour. 

Driven by the growth of SUVs and crossovers - which are deemed by many as the must-have type of vehicle - estate cars have somewhat been lost against the rise of these high-riding models. 

But are estate cars dead or will they have a future? Let’s investigate. 

What car firms no longer make estate cars?

One of the most recent high-profile losses in the estate car world was Volvo. This Swedish manufacturer has been renowned for its practical wagons over the years, but in August 2023, Volvo UK removed all saloons and estate cars from its range, moving to only selling SUVs.  It put this down to ‘very low levels’ of appetite for such models. 

Volvo isn’t the only car maker to go down this route, with other car firms that have stopped making estate cars in recent years including Alfa Romeo, Dacia and Renault.

Which car firms still make estate cars?

While there might have been some noticeable absences from the estate car market, there are still plenty of choices in this class, and from a broad range of manufacturers. 

Key names in the estate car segment include Ford and Volkswagen, while at the more premium end of the spectrum, Audi, Porsche, BMW and Mercedes all continue to sell droves of wagons. 

You’ll also find estate cars from Toyota, Peugeot and Skoda, as well as Hyundai, Vauxhall, Seat and MG. In short, there is still a great variety of estate cars from a range of different manufacturers.

Are there any new estate cars on the way?

While it’s safe to say that there are lots more SUVs on the way than new estate cars, it’s worth mentioning that there are several new models due to go on sale in the coming years. 

Important new estate cars that are worth looking out for include a next-generation of Volkswagen Passat (now only available as an estate) and the new BMW 5 Series Touring, both of which are due on sale in early 2024. We also know that there’s an estate version of Volkswagen’s new electric ID.7 due to go on sale in late 2024, while Audi is expected to launch an electric version of its next-generation A6 Avant. 

Can I get an electric estate car?

Electric cars often require more investment than conventional petrol and diesel cars, and for that reason, it’s largely been more popular SUVs that have been prioritised as EVs over estate cars,

Currently, there are two main electric estate cars available, both appealing to very different buyers. At the more affordable end of the spectrum, we have the MG5 – a more compact model that boasts an electric range of up to 250 miles, generous equipment and a relatively low starting price of £30,995, though they are available for less than half of that if you’re buying used. 

At the opposite end of the spectrum, we have the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo and Sport Turismo. These are far more focused towards performance and style than outright practicality but are packed full of technology and are great to drive, and arguably some of the most desirable EVs available. 

In the next few years, you can expect to see a range of new electric estate cars available, though, including the Peugeot e-308 SW, Vauxhall Astra Electric Sports Tourer and BMW i5 Touring. Audi and Volkswagen have both also confirmed they will make electric estate cars too. 

Are hybrid estate cars available?

Yes, if you’re looking for a hybrid estate car, fear not as there are plenty of versions available. Given models in this class are often popular with company car drivers, their low taxation makes them quite popular still.

In fact, around half of the estate cars currently available can be had with a hybrid powertrain. The majority of these are plug-in models, also known as PHEVs, which typically can travel on electricity for around 30 miles. 

There are two self-charging hybrid estate cars available, too – the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports and almost identical Suzuki Swace, which are both produced in the same factory in Burnaston, Derbyshire. 

What are the best estate cars available?

If you’re looking for the best estate cars, here’s our quick look at the five best available today. 

Ford Focus Estate

Ford might have a rather SUV-heavy line-up today, but it’s not abandoned the humble estate car just yet. Its Focus Estate is an ideal choice for those who want something they can enjoy driving, while it represents great value with its generous equipment levels. 

Skoda Superb Estate

If you want an estate car that can do it all, it’s the Skoda Superb Estate that you should choose. With its vast dimensions, the Superb offers a huge amount of space, with a huge 660-litre boot and vast amounts of rear-seat room. With a classy interior and comfortable ride, the Superb lives up to its name. 

BMW 3 Series Touring

BMW has been a leader in the estate car segment for some time and the 3 Series Touring is no exception. It’s another wagon that is terrific to drive, yet has a brilliantly upmarket interior that is ideal for longer journeys. With a choice of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid, this BMW most certainly has plenty to offer. 

Toyota Corolla Touring Sports

Toyota’s Corolla Touring Sports might not be the most exciting estate car to drive or look at, but its sensibleness is really its greatest asset. Offering fantastic efficiency from its self-charging hybrid setup, the Corolla is also very comfortable and comes with an impressive level of equipment as well. 

Mercedes C-Class Estate

The latest C-Class is another fairly new model that’s become available in an estate car derivative. Boasting a modern, high-quality interior, which when combined with a super-comfortable ride and excellent levels of refinement makes it an ideal model for long commutes and journeys. The plug-in hybrid versions are particularly appealing, bringing an electric range of up to 65 miles from a charge.

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