Cars for bikes. Again. Alternatives to a passat estate?

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  • Cars for bikes. Again. Alternatives to a passat estate?
  • Premier Icon ahwiles

    volvo V70 D5?

    skoda Octavia? – even the saloon is worth a look, the boot is massive, and it's a hatchback so easy to load bikes in.

    Saab 9-3 or its bigger brother the 9-5 – both available in estate versions and second hand prices are excellent (for the buyer, not for the seller!) compared to new prices. I got a 2 year old 9-3 with leather, satnav & bluetooth for £13k; would have cost twice that for a new one

    The BMW 3-series Touring, on the other hand, while a lovely car, does not have a big boot compared to some of the other "lifestyle estates". I had one of these before the Saab & although I really liked it, the boot wasn't big enough for my kit – but that was the old model, don't know what the new one's like

    But if you want VFM & a big boot but don't care what it looks like, I reckon a mkII Vectra estate can't be beaten


    Touran, though I have kids I specifically bought it to accommodate bikes and I can get a couple in with wheels on and still have a rear seat up
    with a child seat on. Couldn't do that with my 330d.

    Premier Icon Trekster

    +1 for Touran. Recently drove a "normal" car and it was a nightmare to see out of, reverse etc. Have got used to the elevated position and all round vision the Touran offers.

    For some of the other stuff mentioned ^^^^ up there you might want to check service costs, friend binned his Saab due to expense and lack of dealerships/knowledge.

    Honda Accord, Mazda 626, Octavia, Zafira, Mitsubushi Galant, Mazda5……….


    3 series Touring isn't big – I have to take front wheels off my bikes to get them in but usually stick them on a roof carrier. Good fun getting there though with a 335d Touring 😉

    Do check out the Astra Estate – has a 2005 one from new and the boot was massive for the size of the car. Properly flat folding rear seats too, rapid in 150PS diesel form and cheap to run.

    Premier Icon grtdkad

    My Grand Espace works well for multi-bike trips…

    I know there is a regular influx of cars for bikes threads but i've forgotten what they said and search isn't much help.

    Was looking specifically at a 01-05 VW passat TDi 130 estate but thinking about other options now. need to buy this weekend really!
    Looking at the VW due to (in order) reliability, mpg, performance, and happily cruise across france to the alps

    Have just seen a Ford Mondeo ( ) on ebay though which has made me think otherwise, lower insurance, same mpg, more powerful, larger boot…
    what other cars should i look for?

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash

    The Passat is where it's at – we have an Octavia estate, it's a great car, but we all seem to forget that it is based on the Golf and isn't as big as recommendations on here make you think. MrsSwadey and I have both said that a Passat sized estate might be on the cards next – and as if by magic, the Skoda Superb sprouts a huge boot and gets rave reviews in the moptoring press!

    Premier Icon Northwind

    My Focus estate will take at least 2 bikes complete, without even taking a wheel off, plus a ton of kit. But that needs both seats down, 3 bikes plus a ton of kit plus people will still go I reckon (haven't tried) but the bikes will need to be in more bits. 4 bikes, people and kit will be a bit of a squash. But still, very spacious. I'm sure a Mondeo will be all that and more, but I couldn't fit one of those in my drive.

    Doesn't the Passat have quite intrusive arches? Our old one did IIRC.


    Mazda 6 Estate? I'm doing the same search at the mo (though looking for a big family car rather than specifically for bikes) and its the mondeo, passat or mazda. Mondeo and Mazda seem better value tbh, with lots of quality examples around for between 3-4k.

    This ticks all your boxes and for 3k will be hard to beat

    (I have nothing to do with this hillman hunter)

    nice. and your point is, Macavity?

    Premier Icon Clink

    Citroen Berlingo – loads of space, practical, ok to drive


    I'm on this program too, either Passat, A6, Mondeo or Accord.

    A6 is nice…


    Mercedes E-class if you can afford it – I had one as a hire car and my Gemini went in sideways with the wheels still on.

    My own car is a 9-5 estate. Not the worlds most reliable but a big boot, roof rails, leather(easy clean) and weirdly does 40mpg at 70mph despite being the Aero (Hot) petrol version.

    Premier Icon myheadsashed

    My Passat Estate 07 takes my touring bike with both wheels on and mudguards on laid flat, it's much bigger than my previous car a Focus estate.

    I would highly recommend one, much better for long distances and better put together than the Focus too. Although the Ford was a good work horse.

    Last normal service cost me £150.

    Four tyres £500


    10 year old honda civic estate. even the 1.8 petrol nutter version gets 40mpg on a run. Bikes fit in with no trouble and its a cheap honda so not to bothered about denting it getting it dirty.


    I recently went thru' a similar search for diesel but ended up getting a hatchback and really good tow bar mounted bike rack for £200 (cheaper then the £500 price premium for estate over a hatchback).
    Avensis 2.0 D4D estate is huge and has lower insurance than Mondeo/Mazda/Vectra etc…
    Mazda6 estates are great too but 1 insurance group higher. Mazda6 has the fab "karakuri??" back seat system which means pull a lever above the wheel arch and the seat folds completely flat in 1 second. Walk to other wheel arch pull other lever. Job done in 5secs. Very clever
    I've got the 6 hatch 143bhp 2.0diesel. Fast, dynamic driving and frugal.
    I tried Passat, Mondeo and Avensis but this was just much nicer to drive on A/B roads
    Hope this helps

    thanks for the suggestions!

    Went to see this:
    and this


    ford was pretty noisy in comparison and the passat has been owned by a lease company.

    hard work finding a car!


    Avensis Estate is a good call – well made and very large as is the Mazda 6 estate.

    Passats are okay but dull as ditchwater to drive and run.

    Saab 9-5 Estate. A petrol 2.3T Aero if you can afford the fuel. Very stealthy – stupidly quick, capacious and almost invisible. Genius. Will leave most stuff for dead when required…


    Go for an old style mercedes E series estate.

    A Citroen XM estate or C5.


    Will leave most stuff for dead when required…

    Except any half decent six pot diesel or petrol made by BMW, Audi or Mercedes which all avoid front wheel drive and are plentiful on UK roads… 😉

    Volvo V70. Huge boot. Great seats, great stereo, great engines. Oh, and get the AWD version if you can…!

    I have an Octavia estate 4×4 turbo – Did a recent trip to france and both bikes in (wheels off) as well as camping kit. Ideal!

    Obviously, you need to buy one quickly. However, if you struggle getting anything I'd consider selling mine to you. Its fast, roomy and 4×4. I'm getting a van in a couple of months

    Premier Icon molgrips

    Passats may not be suitable for boy racers but the 'dull' referred to in magazines and such often means 'comfortable and relaxing' which is what some folk (me) like.

    But yes – two different classes of car being discussed here. Octys, Astras, Focus etc are all a smaller class than Passats, Mondies and so on. Even my old B3 Passat could take my Patriot with wheels on, and they get bigger each model revision. Wish I had a new Passat estate rather than saloon 🙂

    Berlingo etc could well be good tho.


    Mini Pick Up.

    Premier Icon epicyclo

    I think the Espace is the most useful. Plenty headroom to stick the bikes in.

    Sadly my ancient one has just died and I have foolishly bought something else just because it was a bargain.

    My 01 Passat estate got written off and I've ended up with an 03 BMW 525d estate (manual) which, so far, I'm really pleased with.

    Not greatly different in price to buy, similar amount of room, nice handling, decent performance and economy. The only downside is the slight chav potential, but I can live with that. Plus will be bit more to service and is more to tax.


    I went for a Mondeo based on cheapness to run and large unobstructed boot.

    Was downsizing from a van at the time, but still had to be able to fit a full size harp in the back. Many estates will fit bikes, but these are the ones with possibly the biggest boots of all from my search

    So, cars with big clear boots were the Mondeo, Vectra, Saab 9-3, Volvo 850/V70, Omega and newer Astra. Also Citroen C5, but you don't want one of them.

    Not a Saab 9-5 though, the rear arches protruded too much, nor Avensis, Octavia, Passat, Laguna, Fiat Stilo, Alfas unfortunately, 3 series or 5 series

    Didn't get to try A6, Mazda 6, E-class or Legacy.


    As a comparison, our Astra (mk5/H 2005) boot was enormous (we slept in it several times) compared to our 3 series Touring. I think the 335d has a slightly smaller boot due to the two exhausts but I may be wrong.

    Do try an Astra Estate – seriously good VFM, well specced, nice handling, the look niceish and very very cheap to run – mine was the 150bhp diesel yet only group 11 insurance and cheap tax. The seats fold flat (they don't in the BM) and there are no rear suspension struts in the way – just a huge, flat loading area. It means the suspension isn't "proper" but it's plenty good enough.

    Premier Icon molgrips

    Didn't you slag off your Astra on another thread? Something went really wrong with it?


    I'd buy on condition of what's out there – the Mondeo will be every bit as good as the Passat.

    For what it's worth, my Passat is an ex-lease car and probably the most reliable vehicle I've owned. I got a complete history printout (of EVERYTHING done, including getting bulbs etc fitted) and I was happy that although it had done a lot of miles in a short time, it had been properly looked after.


    OP I think you'd be fine with the Passat- just make sure its not an ex-taxi or clocked. There are a fair few out there. I came across a couple when I was looking at a Passat.

    I ended up with a Legacy 😀


    Most bike friendly car I've had was a '94 Astra estate. 3 bikes in the boot (wheels off), and the luggage cover would still go over the top. Slow and drove like an unset jelly though.

    '99 Passat estate. Good all rounder – OK to drive – really good long distance cruiser and stupidly economical. The '01 version is the same as this just facelifted. Did the best part of 100k in mine, and still occasionally miss it. Not as big in the boot as the astra, but longer with the seats folded.

    Now on an '06 3series estate. MUCH nicer to drive for fun, although not as sofa like on the m-way. Not as economical. With the seats up, the boot is tiny. With them down, it's smaller than the Passat (bigger wheel arch intrusion), but actually not noticeably less useful. Still managed 3 bikes, 2 people and a fortnights worth of kit below window level. (the seats fold differently, so the back seat footwells are much more accessible than the VW. I still have a hankering for a 5-series though…

    Premier Icon cb

    I bought a 15 month old 2.2SRi Vectra Estate 07 plate for 7,500 with 15k on the clock. Would have preferred diesel but 2k premium at the time (I need auto). Its a Vauxhall and you have to decide whether or not you can live with that but it does everything you said you needed. 18 months warranty left – you won't get much else for that kind of money.


    we've got an 02 Mondeo estate bud and we love it. Have fitted 4 bike, blokes and camping gear in it pretty comfortably:)


    Was looking specifically at a 01-05 VW passat TDi 130 estate

    I was looking at the same too, when I spotted a 130tdi Estate Golf for silly money, compared to the Passat, think the golf version gets over looked for the Passat, so bargins can be found.

    Granted the boot is not as big, but I still have no problem with two bikes & kit, wheels off in the boot, or 3 up on the roof rails.

    Premier Icon stilltortoise

    Is there any reason why you won't consider a rack? I have a Honda Civic with removable tow ball and a 3 bike rack. I used to have a Mondeo and before that an Octavia and in terms of practicality/ease etc the Honda and rack wins every time. I even had 3 bikes on the rack, one inside and four adults. Granted the 2 in the back would not have wanted to drive hundreds of miles like that, but the point is I could never have got 4 bikes and 4 people in a Mondeo or OCtavia without a rack so the question is, why not just get a rack?

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