The estate car has been one of the best loved family-carriers since they were launched in the middle of the last century. The estate models are a step up from the stocky-looking station wagon but still far more economical to drive than family-sized SUVs. Our list of top ten estate cars for the year 2011 include vehicles that have received the highest ratings from both buyers as well as professional reviewers in terms of running costs, on-board equipment, family-friendliness and handling etc.
1. Volkswagen Passat R36 Estate car
Dubbed a Volkswagen having fun, the Passat R36 Estate car is one of the speediest cars available in this price range. The model is also the fastest accelerating VW production car ever and vehicle goes from 0-62mph in just 5.8 seconds. The 300bhp 3.6-litre V6 engine picks the car up from low revs and the effortlessly smooth engine comes mated to an excellent DSG semi-automatic gearbox.
2. Ford Mondeo hatchback
The Ford Mondeo hatchback is offered with many trim levels and a wide choice of engines to suit most owners. With impressive levels of comfort, the model provides an enjoyable driving experience as well. To suit most needs, the Ford Mondeo hatchback comes with three diesel engines as well as four petrol alternatives. With decent economy, the six-speed manual gearbox-fitted 2.2-litre TDCi on the most performance-oriented engine of the range allows it to output 175bhp. The engine has a 139mph top speed and has a 0-60mph time of 8.4 seconds. The Econetic variant is the most environmentally friendly powerplant in the range with just 139g/km CO2 emissions and 53.3mpg fuel economy.
3. Audi A4 saloon
A compelling choice in its segment, the Audi A4 saloon comes with a spacious interior as well as six diesel engines and three petrol engines on offers. The base engine in the petrol line-up is an 118bhp 1.8TFSI that has a 129mph top speed and a 0-62mph time of 10.5 seconds. The 167bhp 1.8TFSI hits a top speed of 143mph and goes from 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds. available in two- and four-wheel drive, the 211bhp 2-litre TFSI petrol as a 153mph maximum speed and goes from 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds. The extensive diesel choices include 134-, 141-, 160- and 174bhp versions of the 3-litre supercharged engine.
4. Mazda 6 estate
With a generous carrying capacity, the Mazda 6 estate comes with a 2.0-litre diesel engine that offers better CO2 emissions and fuel economy numbers from the version used in the outgoing Mazda estate. The model also comes with new exhaust manifolds, a redesigned intake, sequential valve-timing and a remapped ECU. With the seats folded down, boot has hold objects 1926mm long with 519 liters of luggage volume with the seats up.
5. BMW 3 Series saloon
Although its purchase and running costs are high, the BMW 3 Series saloon comes with excellent ergonomics and reliability and the model stands at the top of its class for dynamics. In petrol and diesel forms, the engine variants output 318, 320, 325 and 335 ponies. The slowest model in the range does the 0-62mph run in 11 seconds and hits a top speed of 123mph while the fastest variant does the 0-62mph in six seconds and a top speed of 155mph.
6. Skoda Octavia Estate
With a new four-wheel-drive estate version in place, the Skoda Octavia Estate remains just as popular as its front-drive models. Powered by either a 2.0-litre FSI petrol engine or a 1.9-litre TDI diesel, the Skoda Octavia Estate impresses with its simplicity and practicality. To help fuel economy, 99 per cent of the engine’s power is sent to the front wheels in normal conditions thanks to a Haldex clutch system.
7. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate
Unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September earlier this year, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate is offered with four, six and eight-cylinder engines. The range of engines produce outputs ranging from 136 hp/100 kW to 525 hp/386 kW. With more room for rear seat passengers, the new E-Class Estate is a bit larger than the outgoing model as well.
8. Volkswagen Golf estate
With practical packages, solid build and classy looks, the Volkswagen Golf Estate comes with 1,495 liters of luggage space when the rear seats are folded down. An up market interior and smart looks also make the Golf Estate a classier proposition than its competitors. Thanks to BlueMotion technology, the 1.6 TDI diesels on the Volkswagen Golf estate is able to offer 67.3mpg fuel economy and an impressive 109g/km of CO2 emissions figure.
9. Honda Accord Tourer estate
An enticing buy that offers a comfortable ride plus excellent reliability, the Honda Accord Tourer estate is a well-built and well-equipped family vehicle that is stylish and reliable as well. In petrol variants, the 2-litre unit outputs 154bhp and gives a 132mph top speed going from 0-62mph in 9.3 seconds. The 2.4-litre unit outputs 198bhp and pushes the top speed to 141mph going from 0-62mph time to 7.8 seconds. In diesel models, the 2.2-litre I-DTEC diesel displaces 148bhp offering a top speed of 129mph and going from 0-62mph in 9.6 seconds. The 2.2-litre I-DTEC diesel displaces 177bhp and goes from 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds with a top speed of 134mph.
10. Volvo V70 Estate
Comfortable and well assembled, the Volvo V70 Estate shares its interior with the luxury S80 saloon and is based on the same platform as well. Practical, safe and sensible, the model offers buyers a good range of engines with impressive standard safety features, a nice climate control and stylish alloy wheels.