The front exterior of a Skoda Octavia

Best used small estate cars

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

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By Cazoo editorial team

Small estates are the Goldilocks of the car world. They’re not too big and not too expensive, yet they’re brilliantly roomy and versatile, often giving you as much space as an SUV for a lot less money. There’s a huge variety to choose from, with stylish options such as the Mini Clubman, hybrid cars like the Toyota Corolla and great-value examples such as the Skoda Fabia. One could be just right for you. Here are our nine favourite used small estate cars.

1. Ford Focus Estate

The Focus Focus is the small estate for you if you want a car that’s fun to drive yet functional. 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, sold new since 2018, has a sportier look than before, yet it’s much more spacious, with 575 litres of boot space (up to the load cover and roughly double what you find in a Ford Fiesta supermini). Four big suitcases fit easily.

All of the engines give good performance, but the 1.0-litre ‘EcoBoost’ petrol engine is a particularly good option. Despite its small size, it combines strong acceleration with wallet-friendly fuel economy.

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2. Volkswagen Golf Estate

The Volkswagen Golf Estate has a beautifully made interior with a premium feel, yet you won’t pay a premium price for it. It’s lovely to drive, with a composed and comfortable feel, whatever type of road you’re on. It’s practical too, with a boot capacity of 611 litres for the latest version (sold new since 2020) and 605 litres for the previous model. In each case that’s over 200 litres more than you’ll find in a Golf hatchback. Whether you’ve got to carry family clutter or kit for your job, you’ll really notice the difference.

A range of efficient engines makes the Golf a cost-effective choice and you get a lot of high-tech features for your money, especially in the latest version, with its huge touchscreen display. If you want big performance to go with the big boot, check out the Golf R high-performance model. It accelerates faster than a lot of sports cars and, thanks to four-wheel drive, it’s great fun on a winding country road.

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 excellent value. Put simply, it costs less than most of its rivals and that’s as true of the Sports Tourer estate as it is of the hatchback models. The Astra gives you more equipment for your money than you get with a Focus or Golf and it’s likely to have done fewer miles than rival cars at the same price point.

The 540-litre boot isn’t the biggest you’ll find in this type of car but it’s big by any other standard and it’s very easy to fold down the back seats to create a long, flat area for larger loads. Perfect if you want to throw a pair of bicycles in the back without having to take off the wheels. The interior is well-made and user-friendly, and Apple CarPlay and automatic headlights are standard features on all recent models.

4. Skoda Octavia Estate

If you want maximum passenger and boot space in a compact car, the Octavia is for you. It’s on the large side for a ‘small’ estate, but it’s smaller and easier to park than most cars with similar-size boots. There’s 610 litres of boot space in the previous model and 640 litres in the latest car (on sale new since 2020) – more than you get with many larger, more expensive estate cars.

Skoda has a knack for making its cars very easy to live with, and useful features in the Octavia Estate include an ice scraper clipped onto the fuel filler flap, a parking-ticket holder on the windscreen and tie-down hooks in the boot to stop your shopping rolling around. The Octavia feels safe and stable to drive and there’s an engine to suit every need, from super-efficient diesels to 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. Its 660-litre boot is bigger than you'll find in any other car of this type. No more worries about what to take and what to leave behind on those weekends away – just bring everything.

Unusually, the 308 SW has a longer wheelbase (that’s the distance between the front and back wheels) than the 308 hatchback, so it has quite a lot more back-seat legroom. The interior has a premium feel and a distinctive design that features a relatively small steering wheel and a driver’s display high up on the dashboard. Supportive seats and a smooth ride make the 308 a great choice if you value a comfortable drive.

6. Mini Clubman

Style statements don’t come much stronger than the Mini Clubman. Its distinctive retro look makes this a small estate like no other, from its big round headlights to its unique boot doors. They’re referred to as ‘barn doors’ – hinged at the sides so they open from the middle like those on a van and the classic Mini Estate from the 1960s.

Driving the Clubman feels quite different to other estates, with a low, sporty driving position and responsive steering that give you a great feel for the road. A 360-litre boot means it’s not the most practical of estates, but it’s usefully versatile and the Clubman 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 CLA Shooting Brake brings some glamour to the small-estate party. It’s based on the swoopy, stylish CLA saloon, but adds the practicality of a longer roof and full-height boot lid. What about the name? Well, ‘shooting brake’ is a term used to describe cars that combine elements of a coupe and an estate, with the emphasis more on style than outright space.

There are certainly more practical estates than the CLA, but its long boot floor and hatchback boot lid make those flat-pack furniture shopping trips more manageable. It's a more versatile family car than the CLA saloon. Yet you get the same luxurious interior and smooth drive, and the broad range includes the CLA45 AMG model, which is faster than some sports cars.

8. Toyota Corolla Touring Sports

The Toyota Corolla Touring Sports is one of very 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 carbon footprint – and your tax bills. It’s not a plug-in hybrid, so its zero-emissions range is relatively short, but it’s enough to make driving around town more peaceful. And you should get better fuel economy than with some diesel rivals.

There’s a 598-litre boot and, like the 308 SW, the estate model has a longer wheelbase than the Corolla hatchback so there’s a lot more back-seat legroom. It gives a really smooth and comfortable ride, it’s very easy to drive and should be exceptionally reliable. If you want a hybrid estate but can’t quite stretch to the Corolla, check out the model it replaced – the Toyota Auris.

9. Skoda Fabia Estate

The Fabia is the smallest car on this list but it’s still big on practicality. It’s one of the few estate cars based on a small hatchback (or supermini) and as a result has low running costs and is really easy to park.

It’s compact on the outside but the Fabia is cleverly packaged on the inside, creating a remarkable 530 litres of boot space. A week’s holiday luggage or a big pushchair and some shopping go in easily. There’s plenty of passenger space and the Fabia feels reassuringly solid on the road. Lower-spec models have all the features you need and are perfect if you want maximum space on a tight budget. Though 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, these are still exceptional value for money.

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