Owners’ Review Champions – Estates

  • Parkers’ readers reveal their favourite estate cars
  • Spaciousness and high specification are important
  • Skoda’s commodious Octavia comes out on top

Judging by the number of estate cars reviewed by Parkers’ readers, it seems the station wagon’s popularity continues to glisten.

Offering more practicality than both their saloon and hatchback counterparts, estates are a great way of transporting bulky loads or pack in all the detritus that’s part and parcel of life with a growing family.

Long-gone are the days when estates were little more than vans with additional seating and extra glazing along the sides: many of the estates submitted in the owners’ reviews section are from premium brands or are from the upper echelons of the range hierarchy. Today’s discerning motorists like to lug loads in luxury.

Many have even ditched the traditional estate body style name in order to make them sound less utilitarian too: monikers such as Avant, Sportback and Touring add allure for those looking to make more of a statement too.

As always, Parkers readers have been keen to share their estate car thoughts in our popular owners’ review section, telling us about a breadth of wagons across a diverse range of makes and models.

So which ones are most popular with our readers and what do they think of them?

Skoda Octavia – Owners’ Review Estate Champion

We’re now on the third generation of Skoda’s popular Octavia estate, the latest model being the most appealing yet, combining a vast 610-litre boot, ample passenger space and an impressive level of build quality.

Underneath the sharp-suited exterior are very closely-related underpinnings to the Volkswagen Golf estate, but the Skoda trumps the VW’s interior space thanks to its longer body.

Mechanically the two are all-but identical too, so it’s no surprise that TDI-engined diesel Octavias, offering a fine blend of performance and economy are the ones our readers rate the most.

What might be more intriguing to those who’ve still yet to drive a contemporary Skoda are that the majority of the Octavia estate reviews are for the well-appointed Elegance trim and sportier vRS models, often paired with the excellent DSG automatic gearbox too.

Our Senior Road Test Editor, Graeme Lambert, raved about his yellow vRS he ran as a long-termer too.

We rate the Octavia estate higher and so do Parkers’ readers – Derek Hughes confirming his vRS combines “style, practicality and performance.”

Ford Mondeo

Ford’s outgoing Mondeo estate maintains its popularity in the sales chart and in the owners’s review tally, despite the all-new model arriving in showrooms shortly.

Less spacious than the cavernous VW Passat wagon it may be, but the Mondeo estate’s a favourite in the UK with company car drivers and private motorists alike, combining fine driving dynamics, a strong level of standard equipment and useful, relevant technology. And while it might not have the biggest boot out there, 537 litres in five-seater mode is hardly a tight squeeze.

Ford told us recently that over half of Mondeo sales were for the top of the range Titanium and Titanium X models, something mirrored by our readers’ reviews, the vast majority being of the flagship trims, almost exclusively with a selection of diesel engines from the TDCi line-up.

The balance Ford’s struck between comfort, quality and practicality in the Mondeo estate hasn’t been lost on owners either – Johnathan Tuttle tells us his automatic Titanium X is “more like an Audi than a Ford; the quality of the ride is brilliant and the gearbox is faultless.”

Volvo V60

Volvo’s estates are normally famed for their commodious interiors that seem to swallow anything that you approach an open tailgate with, but the V60’s a little off the Swedish maker’s normal path.

Based on the swoopy styling of the S60 saloon, the V60’s more of a lifestyle estate – in other words form is very much before function.

That’s not to say it’s cramped in there: there’s room for five adults – admittedly a bit of a squeeze on the back seat – and the boot’s a reasonable 430 litres when all of them are in use, but the sloping roofline towards the rear of the car impinges on its cargo carrying potential.

Although the majority of readers have opted for the sportier-looking R Design models, fitted with a variety of Volvo’s diesel engines, the V60 majors on comfort over sharp driving characteristics. It also has some of the most comfortable seats you can buy in any car, regardless of the price.

Has Volvo lost out by opting for style rather than space with its newest estate? Not according to Dan Crowe who speaks for other V60 drivers when he says his family and friends are “impressed that a Volvo can be so stylish yet still practical.”

Have you left an owners’ review for your car yet?