SUVs may have dominated the sales charts in recent years, vehicles like the Nissan Qashqai and Ford Kuga regularly vie with budget hatchbacks for the top sales spot. But not all that long-ago estate cars used to be the default family choice.

They offer the best of both worlds, more practicality than a hatchback and better to drive and more economical than an SUV. Their fall from grace seems more a result of current fashions and manufacturers expanding their crossover and SUV ranges rather than any failing of the estate platform. Whatever the reason, the estate car is becoming an endangered automotive species, those in the know can still buy some very desirable models though.

Cars that will cost you less in the long run and still offer every convenience bar a higher seating position. We took a look at a range of options from the very cheapest workhorses to supercar scaring load-luggers.