Who needs an SUV when you get as much practicality and better handling from an estate?
The surprise one: SEAT Leon ST Cupra
We love this little package - 300bhp disguised as a dullsville small estate. The power surge is so smooth and immediate it feels more exciting than the figures suggest, and the ability to surprise folks away from the lights never loses its joy.
The engine line-up mirrors the standard Panamera, but we love the silhouette of this handsome coupe/estate, with its straight roof and thus extra head room. A posh GT with some extra practicality. Oh, and lots of speed if you go for the Turbo S E-Hybrid… 680PS is enough for an estate car, right?
Timeless, effortless, the BMW 5-Series estate has always held its own, with the box-ticking combo of large boot, smart interior, legendary iDrive infotainment system and smooth, clean diesel engines (yes, they do exist - buy one).
A quirky estate for urbanites who love their Minis but have boxes to boot. Still loving the twin rear-door arrangement, after all these years, and the car, like the rest of the range, is fully customisable.
They don’t make them like they used to - or indeed at all now, sadly, so find a second hand one. Weird looks but incredible economy from the 1.6 litre diesel engine, an engine which took us on a long trip to the Lake District with fuel to spare. A very comfy ride, too.
Dismissed it as a car destined for fleet sales only? Look again - this is a handsome car, especially in red, weirdly. It has a great range of safety and driver assist systems and one of the simplest infotainment systems to navigate, a big plus when so many infotainment systems are needlessly complicated…
There’s not much that’s “Sports” about it, but this model came as a surprise to journalists who drove it at launch, with its refined ride, quiet cabin and spacious interior. Almost too much space, enough space to hold a small orchestral concert (more, even, than the infamous Skoda Superb and Ford Mondeo estates). Excellent value for money.
It’s French, ergo it’s stylish. Not too much fuss inside, and Peugeot’s clever i-Cockpit system with its instruments above the steering wheel, where the eye rises to meet the road. An impressive equipment offering, too.
Powerful, with four-wheel drive and tippity-top handling from another sublime Mercedes chassis. Not as thirsty, or expensive, as the E63 AMG, and a better offering for all that. With a three-litre straight-six engine and a polished interior, what more could you want?
Why take this over the bigger, more powerful RS6 Avant? Because you don’t need a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Smaller, but perfectly formed and eager under foot - thank you Mr Three-Litre Turbo-ed V6 with 444bhp in your pocket.