Estates used to be the preferred vehicle of choice for many families that needed the additional space afforded by the bigger boot. The differences in dynamics between these and their saloon stablemates was hardly noticeable. In fact, the negligible increase in weight was countered by the slipperier estate bodyshell. A case in point are the pair of Volvo 850 Estate touring cars that campaigned in the 1994 British Touring Car Championships.

Try that in a modern-day crossover, which, in a roundabout way, brings us to our point. Is the current popularity of the crossover justified or is it just a passing phase? Can a high-riding hatchback really compete with the inherent rightness of the tried and tested estate package?

We took a look at some of the best estates and crossovers out there to find out, we won’t say that the results were surprising, but the comparisons sure did highlight some noteworthy pros and cons for both options. But before we even got started, we realised that the very definition of these vehicles was open to a fair bit of interpretation…

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