What is an Estate Car?

November 9, 2023

BMW 3 Series Tourer (Estate Car)

At some point in life, you might find that the perfect vehicle for your needs is an estate car. This realisation often signals the transition to parenthood, where you require a reliable workhorse capable of ferrying kids, pets, bicycles, and the seemingly endless haul of groceries from the supermarket on a weekly basis.

The days of dreaming about a sleek two-seater sports car are behind you, but deep down, you might take pride in your need for an estate car. You might even consider going beyond the realm of reliability and explore sporty estate cars or off-road models with four-wheel drive and powerful engines while retaining practicality.

For businesses an estate car can be a great alternative to a commercial vehicle, offering ample cargo space but comfortable enough to drive on the motorways between meetings and visits to the office. Plus today there are a number of plugin-hybrid and electric estate cars that can be kinder on the Benefit-in-Kind (BiK).

Understanding the Purpose of an Estate Car

The term ‘estate,’ originally referring to a large area of land, is aptly used to describe the spaciousness provided by top estate cars. Estate cars are all about the boot space. Essentially, they are hatchbacks with elongated rears, offering a significant improvement in storage and cargo capacity. These vehicles are designed with families in mind, capable of transporting people and luggage in equal measure.

The average estate car boasts an impressive boot size, spacious enough to accommodate everything you might need for a camping trip with five people, for instance. Fold down the rear seats, and you can even fit a double bed inside, mattress included. Estate cars are ideal for moving homes, embarking on long adventures, or converting into an emergency bed in the middle of the night.

Many estate cars share a striking resemblance to their hatchback counterparts. In fact, their design is so similar that calling them “cousins” seems too distant; they’re more like siblings. This means estate cars inherit all the design finesse of hatchbacks, and nowadays, it’s easy to find attractive estate cars.

The angular, straight-line designs reminiscent of 1980s Volvo vehicles have largely disappeared. The main consideration when choosing between an estate car and a hatchback is whether you regularly require the additional boot space. If you do, opt for the estate car; if not, a hatchback might be a better fit.

Other Names for Estate Cars

In the UK, most vehicles of this design are called Estate Cars. However, manufacturers have taken it upon themselves to give them fancy names, these include:

Advantages and Disadvantages of an Estate Car

Owning or leasing an estate car is a different experience compared to a standard car purchase. Suddenly, the differences become more significant – you can fit a pair of adult St. Bernards in the back, but parallel parking becomes a new challenge. If you’re wondering why you should consider an estate car, here are some pros and cons to help you make an informed decision:


Ample Boot Space

Estate cars are chosen primarily for their expansive boot space. With the rear seats folded down, the boot is spacious enough for a fully-grown adult to lie down comfortably. It’s a balanced compromise between a car and a van in terms of cargo capacity.

Fuel Economy

Estate cars often boast impressive fuel efficiency, especially diesel models. This can lead to reduced everyday fuel costs and surprisingly economical long-distance journeys.


Estate cars tend to have excellent safety records, with sturdy construction designed to cater to family-oriented drivers.


In the higher-end market, luxury estate cars offer expansive cabins and interiors tailored for long-distance drives. Unlike smaller cars, many estates provide ample legroom for even the tallest drivers.



While you gain interior space, estate cars can be challenging to park due to their larger exterior dimensions. Modern estate cars come equipped with parking assistance technology, but parking them still requires patience and practice.


Larger cars don’t necessarily come with larger engines. Many estate cars may lack overall power, affecting both acceleration and top-end speed. Estate cars are often more about a steady pace than speed, especially when carrying heavy loads.


Estate cars tend to be slightly more expensive than other options, although this cost can be offset by the lower running expenses of diesel models.

Lack of Seats

Despite their size, estate cars don’t offer more passenger space than standard hatchbacks. The additional room is dedicated to cargo, and it’s illegal to place a child in the cargo area, no matter how tempting it may be.

Examples of Estate Cars

Here is a list of estate cars that are currently available in the UK:

Flexible Short-Term Estate Cars Available

Here is an example of flexible short-term estate cars:


A4 Avant

40 TFSI Black Edition [C+S]

Audi A4 Avant available with 833 miles per month on a Audi Flexible Car Lease

Specification Includes: Comfort and Sound Pack, Satellite Navigation, Audi Connect, Amazon Alexa Integration, Audi Drive Select, Audi Smartphone Interface, Apple CarPlay, Digital Cockpit, Bluetooth, Front and Rear Parking Sensors, MMI Navigation Plus, Power Operated Tailgate, Reversing Camera, Voice Control, Sports Suspension, USB Port, DAB Digital Radio, Audi Beam, High Beam Assist, LED Headlights, Privacy Glass, Rear Spoiler, Climate Control, Electric Load Area Cover, ISOFIX, Heated Front Seats, Black Styling Pack, Hill Hold Assist, Pre Sense City, Keyless Go, Cruise Control, Speed Limiter, Alloy Wheels

Availability: In Stock

From: £795.00 + VAT p/m

From: £954.00 inc. VAT p/m


V Class Estate

V300 d 237 AMG Line 9G-Tronic [Long]

Mercedes-Benz V Class Estate available with 1000 miles per month on a Mercedes-Benz Car Subscription

Specification Includes: Active Parking Assist, Agility Select, Attention Assist, Cruise Control, Speed Limiter, Easy-pack Tailgate, MBUX, Satellite Navigation, Touchscreen, Side Wind Assist, Agility Control Comfort Suspension, DAB Digital Radio, Bluetooth, USB Port, AMG Bodystyling, Electric Sliding Doors, Privacy Glass, Ambient Lighting, Nappa Leather Upholstery, Climate Control, Heated Front Seats, Hill Hold Assist, Tyre Pressure Monitor, Reversing Camera, Alloy Wheels

Availability: Pre Order

From: £1995.00 + VAT p/m

From: £2,394.00 inc. VAT p/m


Octavia Estate

2.0 TDI 150 SE L

Skoda Octavia Estate available with 1000 miles per month on a Skoda Car Subscription

Specification Includes: USB-C Port, Bluetooth, Boot Lid Release, Satellite Navigation, eCall, Driver Fatigue Sensor, Front and Rear Parking Sensors, Front Assist System, Turn Assist, Digital Cockpit, Voice Control, Wireless Smartlink, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, DAB Digital Radio, Privacy Glass, Heated Front Seats, Hill Hold Assist, ISOFIX, Tyre Pressure Monitor, Keyless Entry, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Assist, LED Headlights, Alloy Wheels

Availability: Pre Order

From: £749.00 + VAT p/m

From: £898.80 inc. VAT p/m

Lease an Estate Car

If you’rein the market for a 2/3 year Estate Car on a lease, then why not try our Find a Car Lease service? It takes 3 minutes to complete the form and it’s free, with no obligation to go ahead.

We compare the prices against no less than 12 different funders, as well as manufacturer backed providers such as Alphabet, Mercedes-Benz Finance and VWFS.

Need help?

If you would like any help with an estate car, please contact the team using the ENQUIRY FORM at the bottom of this guide. You can also call us on 01332 290173. We’re always happy to help.

There are so many circumstances where you may need that flexible vehicle, just call the team on 0330 330 9425 to see how we can help you!

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