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6 of the best small estate cars

By Paul Connolly

There are hulking big estate cars, and medium-sized ones, too.

But if neither large examples like the big-selling German tourers, or mid-sized models like the Skoda Octavia or Ford Focus estates hit the mark (or your budget), then the choice is to downsize.

Small estate cars - are a relatively new concept, but they can be very useful beasts to have around, particularly for families and couples with active outdoors lifestyles.

They are effectively based on the super-mini class of vehicles: larger than city cars but smaller than saloons and the larger hatchbacks.

There is nowhere like the range of choice that there is in the larger estate sector; indeed many supermini manufacturers don’t make estates, preferring to point customers to the larger cars in their range or to the ever-growing compact crossover segment.

But some supermini estates do exist, and here’s our best shot at what to buy, new and used, if you want a small car with a big boot.

All prices are approximate and may change to do discounting, the addition of new features, facelifts, etc.

1. Skoda Fabia Estate

The first supermini-sized model in our top 7, the Fabia is a great all-round little package.

Skoda’s designers have even managed to pack in a boot with a volume of 530-litres, expandable to 1,395-litres, which is great for the supermini class.

It’s a very reliable model (like all Skodas, it has to be said), and is economical to drive (officially returning up to 74mpg). Pricing starts from around £12,390

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2. MINI Clubman estate

If you love retro styling, but need your car to be more versatile than the standard MINI, check out the Clubman estate.

It’s got a 360-litre boot (versus 211-litres in the standard car) and the seats fold flat to open up a larger loadspace. We love the ‘barn doors’ which open either half or fully out to allow you access.

There are lots of other plus points like great handling, a large engine range, toons of kit as standard kit and a lengthy options list. The entry-level car costs just north fo £20k.

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3. SEAT Ibiza ST

The Ibiza ST isn’t simply the standard hatchback Ibiza with a larger boot.

The rear end has been restyled to make it a more practical and versatile family car.

The rear doors are larger than it’s hatchback cousin’s, making the task of getting kids in and out much easier.

The boot has been redesigned, with the addition of flat floor and sides so you can slide cargo in and out easier. A wide tailgate with a low lip also assists ease of use.

It’s a little beauty to drive, with a good choice of engines. Claimed fuel economy figures range from 47mpg right up to 80mpg. From about £12.5k.

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4. Renault Clio Sport Tourer

The latest Clio is a brilliant supermini, but, so far at least, no sign of a repeat of the Renault Clio Sport Tourer, which was made for several years up to about 2014.

It was great to drive, was versatile and comfortable and inexpensive to run. Pick up a decent one for less than £5k.

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5. Peugeot 207 SW

A solid little all-rounder, the 207 SW is very versatile, well-designed, roomy and with lots of cubbyholes for kids’ stuff.

It is economical to run, good to drive, and pleasant to be driven in.

Like the Clio Tourer, they don’t make them new anymore, so the tech will be a bit behind, but on the plus side you can pick up a decent 2013 version for around £5k.

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6. Dacia Logan MCV

It’s a compact car that is surprisingly spacious. Although a bit bigger than most cars here, we’ve included the Logan MCV due to its price: from £7,295.

This puts it squarely in supermini (even citycar) price territory, although be warned for this cost the entry-level model is very basic and the inside feels quite plastick-y.

However, if you need space, you do get a car that can take 573-litres in the boot, and 1,518-litres with the seat folded flat. Trade up to higher-specced models for a better all-round experience.

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