Company car allowance picks: estates

  • Our favourite estate cars revealed
  • Engine and trim choices for the best balance of power, luxury, and economy
  • Will one of these tempt you into taking the cash allowance?

A company car can be a very attractive benefit but it can also be pretty restrictive when it comes to which model and engine you end up with.

Some firms insist on diesel power only and others offer cars from only certain manufacturers, so if you’ve got something specific in mind you may be better off taking the cash.

Estate cars – especially those with powerful engines, big alloy wheels or four-wheel drive – often produce more CO2 and are few and far between on user-chooser lists.

It’s worth bearing in mind that you’ll need to budget for tax, insurance and maintenance costs, and if you leave the company you’ll lose the allowance but will be left with the car, which you may no longer be able to afford.

That said, the freedom to choose which model, engine and equipment you want without having to answer to a fleet manager makes taking the allowance an attractive choice.

To help you pick an estate car to spend the allowance on, we’ve picked our five favourites below.

BMW 3-Series Touring

BMW 3-Series Touring

The 3-Series is a no-brainer when it comes to finding a company car, thanks to high levels of refinement, driver enjoyment and comfort on a long trip. Upgrade to a Touring model and you get a 495-litre boot which expands to 1,500 litres by dropping the seats.

When we think of BMW we think of six-cylinder engines, and one of the best in the 3-Series range is the silky-smooth 254bhp, 3.0-litre diesel. Combined with an eight-speed automatic gearbox the 330d is capable of sprinting from 0-60mph in 5.4 seconds, while still promising 53mpg and £130 annual VED tax. A burly 560Nm of torque means confident in-gear acceleration too.

For our money M Sport trim is the one to have in a BMW wagon, as it gets you 18-inch alloys, a bodykit, leather interior, and more M badges than you could shake a stick at.

At a glance...

Price range: £25,570 - £43,955

Parkers rating: 5 stars

Our pick: 330d Luxury 5d Step Auto (£38,405)

Power: 254bhp

Economy: 53mpg – 138g/km of CO2

For our full BMW 3-Series Touring review click here.


Volkswagen Passat Estate

VW Passat estate

If enormous space and subtle looks are your thing then you can’t go too wrong with a Volkswagen Passat, which offers a 650-litre boot with the seats up and 1,780 litres with them down. It’s quiet and cossetting on the move too and offers a mature cabin feel thanks to high quality materials.

You can get one with a powerful biturbo engine, but we think the 2.0-litre diesel offers all the required pace with better economy thrown in. It has 187bhp and promises 61mpg, and 120g/km of CO2, meaning £30 a year road fund licence.

Pick one in top spec R-Line and you get three-zone climate control, a special bodykit and seats, stainless steel pedals and 18-inch alloys.

At a glance...

Price range: £23,745 - £37,035

Parkers rating: 5 stars

Our pick: 2.0 TDI SCR R Line 5d DSG (£31,905)

Power: 187bhp

Economy: 61mpg – 120g/km of CO2

For our full VW Passatt Estate review click here.


Subaru Outback

Subaru Outback

If you want a proper off-road estate car and not a faux-by-four soft-roader, then the Subaru Outback is the one you want. Even better, its on-road behaviour has been significantly improved, alongside the quality of the interior. Seats up you can fit 510 litres in the boot and 1,848 litres with them down.

The diesel engine is expected to make up the majority of sales, but we think the 2.5-litre turbo petrol is criminally overlooked as it offers decent pace and a characterful sound. It’s also smooth and quiet on the move.

Standard SE spec is well equipped but it’s worth upgrading to SE Premium in order to benefit from a sunroof, keyless entry start, 18-inch alloys, leather seats and an electronically opening tailgate.

At a glance...

Price range: £27,995 - £32,995

Parkers rating: 4.5 stars

Our pick: 2.5i SE Premium 5d Lineartronic (£31,495)

Power: 172bhp

Economy: 40mpg – 163g/km of CO2

For our full Subaru Outback review click here.


Mercedes C-Class Estate

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Not the best choice for boot space, offering 495 litres that can be expanded to 1,510 litres by dropping the seats, but the one to have if you want luxury. The C-Class cabin is packed with curves and glossy-high-quality materials, and comfortable suspension gives this wagon plenty of talent for wafting around.

We think the best engine is the 2.1-litre diesel in the C250, as it makes 201bhp and more importantly a colossal 500Nm of torque. At the same time it promises 60mpg and 122g/km of CO2, meaning a VED tax bill of £110.

AMG Line spec gets you DAB Radio, Bluetooth, sat-nav, 18-inch AMG alloy wheels, AMG bodystyling, chrome roof rails, electronic tailgate, reversing camera, parking sensors, AMG sports seats, heated front seats and two-zone automatic climate control.

At a glance...

Price range: £28,470 - £42,530

Parkers rating: 4.5 stars

Our pick: C250 BlueTEC AMG Line 5d Auto (£37,125)

Power: 201bhp

Economy: 60mpg – 122g/km of CO2

For our full Mercedes C-Class Estate review click here.


Dacia Logan MCV

Dacia Logan MCV

Admittedly this is a bit of a wildcard but well worth considering if you take the £6,995 asking price into account. If you want to keep as much of your company car allowance as possible but still be able to move around then the Logan MCV makes quite a lot of sense, as it offers 573 litres of space with the seats up and 1,518 litres with them down.

To make the most of your money we recommend the entry level 1.2-litre petrol offers 74bhp produces 135g/km of CO2, meaning a £130 a year VED bill. It promises 48.7mpg too, which is reasonable.

Entry level cars are known as Access and come complete with a gear shift indicator, daytime running lights and 15-inch steel wheels. The windows and wing mirrors are manual as is the four-speed heating and ventilation system.

At a glance...

Price range: £6,995 - £11,295

Parkers rating: 3.5 stars

Our pick: 1.2 16V Access 5d (£6,995)

Power: 73bhp

Economy: 48mpg – 135g/km of CO2

For our full Dacia Logan MCV review click here.