The front exterior of a Skoda Octavia

Best used small estate cars

Looking for a car that’s very practical yet easy to park and cost-effective? A small estate car might be just what you’re looking for. Here’s our guide to the best compact estate cars you can buy.

Small estate cars are the Goldilocks of the car world. They’re not too big and not too expensive, yet they’re brilliantly roomy and versatile.

While the default option for those looking for a car that’s compact on the outside yet spacious on the inside might be an SUV, small estate cars often give you just as much – or even more – space for less money. There’s also a great variety to choose from. There are sleek and stylish examples such as the Mini Clubman, for example, hybrid-powered options such as the Toyota Auris and great-value small estates such as the Skoda Fabia. You’ll even find a range of fast and fun options that combine lots of space with a really enjoyable drive. Here, in no particular order, are our nine favourite used small estate cars.

1. Ford Focus Estate

The Ford Focus Estate is the one to go for if you want something that’s fun to drive yet functional to live with, as well as great value. Every version has a responsive, sporty feel that gives you confidence behind the wheel and might even put a smile on your face. 

The latest model, which was launched in 2018, has a much sportier look than the previous one, yet it’s also more spacious. The boot space is 608 litres (up to the load cover), which is roughly double what you get in a Ford Fiesta. Four big suitcases will fit without any fuss.  

All of the engines give good performance and the 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol engine is a particularly good option. You might think it sounds a bit small but this little turbocharged engine has more power than most 1.6-litre petrols of a few years ago and it gives you strong acceleration.

2. Volkswagen Golf Estate

The Volkswagen Golf Estate is a classy estate car with a beautifully built interior and smart touchscreen system, without the high price tag to go with it. It’s lovely to drive with a composed and comfortable feel, whatever the road. The Golf Estate also has a large, well-shaped boot with a capacity of 605 litres. That’s 255 litres more than you get with the standard hatchback!

A range of efficient engines help to make the Golf a very cost-effective option and you get a lot of standard equipment for your money, including the latest high-tech safety features. If you want big performance as well as a big boot look no further than the brilliant Golf R Estate, a high-performance version that looks restrained yet has acceleration to match some sports cars.

3. Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer

The Vauxhall Astra is one of the UK’s most popular cars and a large part of its appeal is its value. Put simply, it costs less than most of its rivals and that’s just as true of the excellent Sports Tourer estate version. Choose it and you’ll get more equipment and lower mileage for your money than you would with a Focus or Golf. 

At 550 litres, the load space isn’t class-leading but it’s large by any other standards and it’s very easy to fold the back seats to create a long, flat area for larger items. Perfect if you want to throw a pair of bicycles in the back without having to take the wheels off. The interior is solid and the driving position is comfortable while there are plenty of useful high-tech features, with Apple CarPlay and automatic headlights fitted to all of the more recent versions.

4. Skoda Octavia Estate

If you want maximum passenger and boot space in a (fairly) compact car, the Skoda Octavia Estate is the one for you. It’s pushing the limits of what some would call ‘small’, but it’s a lot more compact and easy to park than big estates like the Ford Mondeo and it offers masses of passenger space and a huge 610-litre boot. 

Skoda also has a knack for giving its cars clever, useful features. In the Octavia Estate these include an ice scraper built into the fuel filler cap, a ticket holder on the windscreen and tie-down hooks in the boot to stop your groceries from rolling around. The interior has a high-quality feel and everything is easy to use, including the touchscreen infotainment system. There’s an engine to suit everyone, from very efficient petrols to strong diesels and the powerful turbocharged options in the high-performance vRS model.

5. Peugeot 308 SW

The Peugeot 308 SW (short for Station Wagon) isn’t just one of the best-looking small estate cars, it’s also one of the most practical. The boot, at 660 litres, is bigger than any other car of this type. No more worries about what to take and what to leave behind on those weekends away – with a boot this big you can simply bring everything.

Unusually, the estate version of the 308 has a longer wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels) than the hatchback, so it has more legroom in the back. The interior has a premium feel and is distinctively styled. There’s a comparatively small steering wheel and barely any buttons because early everything is controlled through a touchscreen. It’s an unusually high-tech layout and easy to use once you get used to it. Supportive seats and an especially smooth ride help to make this a great choice if you value a comfortable drive.

6. Mini Clubman

Style statements don’t come much stronger than with the Mini Clubman. The distinctive retro look makes this a small estate that looks like no other, from the big round headlights at the front to the twin ‘barn doors’ (which open out from the middle like a van’s) at the back.

Driving the Clubman is quite different, with a low, sporty driving position and an upright windscreen ahead of you. It’ll feel familiar if you’ve driven one of Mini’s hatchback models, as will the sharp handling and steering that gives you a great feel for the road. No-one would ever claim that the Clubman is the most practical of estate cars, as a 360-litre boot space confirms, but it’s usefully versatile and is a fine choice if you want all the style and fun of a Mini but with a bit more space.

7. Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake

The Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake brings some glamour to the small estate party. It’s based on the CLA (a sporty saloon version of the popular A-Class hatchback) but it adds a swoopy estate rear end. 

‘Shooting Brake’ is a term used to describe cars that combine elements of coupe and estate, and which aim to blend a bit of practicality with a lot of style. That’s the CLA Shooting Brake through and through. It’s not the most practical car here but you still get a long boot floor and a practical hatchback boot lid that makes the odd Ikea run more manageable. The rest of the time you get to dash around in a car that’s good to drive and has a lavish interior.

8. Toyota Auris Touring Sports

The Toyota Auris Touring Sports is one of the few used small estate cars that you can get with hybrid power. It’s a major selling point if you need lots of space but want to reduce your environmental impact and tax bills. The electrically-assisted engine helps to keep tailpipe emissions and running costs low, and this isn’t a plug-in car so you don’t need to worry about charging it. 

While you’re very unlikely to match the official mpg figure you’ll probably see around 45mpg in normal use from the hybrid. Non-hybrid versions are available but they don’t have the performance of the hybrid, or its standard automatic gearbox. Whichever version you choose, you can be sure of a practical estate car that’s comfortable and undemanding and which is likely to be exceptionally reliable.

9. Skoda Fabia Estate

The Skoda Fabia Estate is the smallest car here yet it’s still big on practicality. It’s one of the few estate cars based on a supermini (think cars such as the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa) and as a result it’s super-easy to park and has very low running costs. 

Although it’s compact on the outside the Fabia is cleverly packaged, with a remarkable 530-litre boot space. That’s enough for four large suitcases or a large baby buggy plus all your luggage for a weeks’ holiday. The lower-spec models give you everything you need and are perfect for those looking for maximum space on a tight budget. It’s worth paying a bit more for one of the higher-spec models with a bit more power and equipment since the Fabia is so keenly priced that these are still exceptional value for money. Whichever version you choose the Fabia epitomises everything that’s good about a small estate car, offering a huge amount of space in a car that’s good to drive and cost-effective to own.

You’ll find a range of high-quality estate cars for sale at Cazoo. Use our search tool to narrow down which one is right for you, then buy online and either have it delivered to your door or choose to collect it from one of our Customer Centres.

We're constantly updating and adding to our stock so if you can't find one within your budget today, check back soon to see what's available.