The continuing rise in the popularity of SUVs has not yet killed public demand for estate cars, which are still available in large numbers. The most obvious appeal of an estate is its luggage capacity compared with a saloon or hatchback, so here we’re going to look at the ones on the UK market which offer the most of that. As you’ll see, the relationship between luggage capacity and the overall size of the vehicle isn’t always as straightforward as you might think. All figures shown are the highest quoted for each car to roof level with the rear seats folded down, but may vary if the particular model you’re looking at is a hybrid or a 4×4, or whether it has a full-sized spare wheel or a tyre repair kit.
21: Toyota Corolla Touring Sports
We’ve set an arbitrary qualifying limit for this article of 1,600 litres, and the Corolla Touring Sports – Toyota’s new model which officially goes on sale in the UK in March – just squeaks in with 1,606 litres. Its predecessor, the Auris Touring Sports, would have been significantly further up, but it is no longer officially on sale, though some examples may still be in stock.
19=: Ford Focus Estate
The Focus is one of the most popular cars available in this country. In estate form it’s reasonably if not outstandingly roomy at 1,620 litres.
19=: Volkswagen Golf Estate
The Golf is an obvious rival of the Focus, and exactly matches its 1,620 litres of luggage space.
17=: Ford Mondeo Estate
For such a large car, the Mondeo doesn’t figure very highly on this list, with a capacity of 1,630 litres – only ten ahead of the Focus – though it’s unlikely that most customers would need any more than that.
17=: Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer
Despite being one size class down, the Astra matches the Mondeo with its 1,630 litres of load space.
16: Mazda6 Tourer
Arguably one of the best-looking estates on sale today, the Mazda has a load volume of 1,648 litres.
15: Hyundai i30 Tourer
The first of several South Korean models on our list edges out the Mazda6 by the margin of one large bottle of fizzy pop at 1,650 litres.
14: Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer
The estate version of Vauxhall’s largest passenger car has a luggage capacity of 1,665 litres.
13: Audi A6 Avant
Since there is no such thing as an A8 Avant, the A6 is Audi’s largest estate car, capable of carrying two humans and 1,680 litres of luggage at the same time.
12: Kia Optima Sportswagon
Kia provides an example of what we were saying earlier about the size of an estate car not necessarily having much to do with its ability to carry luggage. To start with, here’s the Optima Sportswagon, undoubtedly a practical vehicle with its capacity of 1,686 litres.
11: Kia Ceed Sportswagon
However, the Ceed Sportswagon, despite being fully ten inches shorter than the Optima, is actually slightly roomier at 1,694 litres.
9=: BMW 5-Series Touring
To get into the top ten of practical estates sold in the UK, a car has to have a luggage capacity of at least 1,700 litres, which happens to be the exact figure for the BMW 5-Series Touring.
9=: Jaguar XF Sportbrake
Like the 5-Series, the estate version of the Jaguar XF premium saloon comes in at exactly 1,700 litres.
8: Hyundai i40 Tourer
There may well be reasons why you’d choose the BMW or Jaguar instead, but Hyundai’s i40 offers more room for less money at 1,719 litres.
7: Skoda Octavia Estate
Skoda is famous for providing lots of room for luggage. The Octavia Estate is a good example, with its load volume of 1,740 litres.
6: Peugeot 308 SW
Peugeot is the only manufacturer with two models in our top six. The first is the 308 SW which, despite being based on a medium-sized estate, has an exceptional capacity of 1,775 litres.
4=: Peugeot 508 SW
The 508 is roomier than the 308, as you might expect, but there’s only five litres in it. The larger car comes in at 1,780 litres.
4=: Volkswagen Passat Estate
The Passat matches the 508 at 1,780 litres. The Alltrack version, which has four-wheel drive and is more suitable for off-roading, is slightly compromised because of the extra mechanical equipment between the rear wheels, but it still scores highly with 1,769 litres.
3: Mercedes E-Class Estate
None of the cars mentioned so far can be faulted for their practicality, but if for some reason you need even more space it’s worth looking into the E-Class, which has a majestic load volume of 1,820 litres.
2: Subaru Outback
You might not have expected to see a Subaru on this list, but here it is. Even though the Outback is four-wheel drive, and therefore compromised by the need to make room for all sorts of gears and shafts under the floor, its luggage capacity is an outstanding 1,848 litres. But even that isn’t enough to make it our number one estate.
1: Skoda Superb Estate
The Czech arm of the Volkswagen Group leads the way here. The load volume of the Superb Estate puts that of all the other cars on this list in the shade at a phenomenal 1,950 litres, despite being significantly shorter than the Mercedes E-Class. Even the hatchback would have qualified in the top six with 1,760 litres if we had allowed it in. And with their rear seats in place, both versions have easily enough room to carry four very large adults. In terms of interior packaging, many other manufacturers could learn a lot from Skoda.