Ask the experts: The best estates

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Question: I know estates are a bit old fashioned now but I’m in the market for a new car and prefer an estate because I do need to move stuff around occasionally, but prefer the low profile that the estate gives. What would you recommend?

Our experts reply: Estates still offer something to customers and if that’s what will suit you, why not? And don’t forget that an estate can also be viewed as a ‘compact executive’ car.

It’s true that the market isn’t awash with estates, so you may need to do a bit of searching or be prepared to travel, but there are many good bargains out there. Here are three to ponder on.

Hyundai i40 Tourer Estate

The medium-sized estate car market has been moribund for some time, but Hyundai was quick to sense the green shoots of recovery with its impressive i40 Tourer.

The Hyundai i40 Tourer estate offers accessible pricing and plenty of space and equipment along with some impressive quality of finish and maturity of styling. It has a sleek 'sportback' profile coupled with any number of smart details: the concave C-pillars, the intricately finished headlights and door mirrors, the slashing lines of the front wing and the bold wheelarches. It is a very smart piece of design.

The entry-level diesel unit is a decent piece of engineering too, with plenty of torque and impressive refinement. Excellent body rigidity affords Hyundai's chassis engineers the ability to offer crisp and safe front-wheel drive handling coupled with better than average ride quality.

  • Available from: Border Motor Group in Carlisle, J Edgar & Son in Dunmail, DSG in Morecambe and check your local used car specialists.


Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid

With EVs and hybrids so much in the news at the moment, I thought we talk about the Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid. You'll need to get to grips with the three driving modes – 'Pure', 'Hybrid' and 'Power'.

In 'Pure' mode, it runs in 2WD only and offers a 32 mile-range on electric-only power. Go for 'Hybrid' or 'Power' and the car functions in AWD form, and in the 'Power' setting it's certainly fast, hitting 62mph in just 6.9 seconds. Make no mistake, Volvo Twin Engine Plug-In Hybrid technology is very impressive.

How could a well-equipped and beautifully finished estate car that can crack seven seconds to 62mph yet still average better than 60mpg? Okay, there are some compromises like the weight of those batteries and to be honest, it’s not overly spacious. But if this vehicle fits your specific requirements, you'll probably love it for its other-worldly abilities.

  • Available from: Lloyds Volvo in Carlisle, PV Dobson in Levens and your local used car specialists.


Audi A4 Avant

The fifth-generation Audi A4 Avant claims to be class-leadingly efficient, hi-tech and, yes, practical, with the usual cool, classy Audi ambience. This time round, it’s significantly lighter, and as for styling, well here there's a clear evolution on what went before, with all features sharpened and defined.

Aerodynamically this A4 boasts the lowest drag coefficient in its class. The interior is typically Audi, a very classy place to be. Everything is well laid out with high grade materials in all areas you'll interact with regularly.

As for practicality, this estate variant offers a class-leading 505-litre boot, extendable to 1,510-litres if you wish. The truth is that this Mk5 model A4 Avant is a very tough car to fault. It's superbly built, it's big enough to be practical, is a strong proposition for enthusiastic drivers and, when whole life costs are examined, it's surprisingly cost-effective to run.

  • Available from: Swansway Audi in Carlisle, Hadwins Audi in Lindale and remember to check your local used car specialists.

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