Thoughts on estate cars pls

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  • Thoughts on estate cars pls
  • Aus

    Having sadly sold my Corrado VR6, we need an estate now that can carry a family + 2 dogs for weekend trips/hols etc (v little tootling about). Reasonably practical but at least reasonable fun/enjoyable to drive. With the Corrado sale money, I’m wondering about the following (all roughly the same year 2002, and roughly the same mileage 70K):

    – BMW 520 touring, petrol
    – BMW 525i, touring petrol
    – Volvo V70, petrol prob (diesel outside budget)
    – Passat estate, V6 petrol or Tdi

    My wife doesn’t like Mondeos so they’re out sadly. So any thoughts o nthe above, with emphasis being on reasonable driver involvement/fun, followed by practicality and running costs.


    Premier Icon geoffj

    I think you’ll find the standard answer is ‘Get a Skoda Octavia 1.9 td estate’.
    Personally I’d go for a diesel Passat estate instead as its a bit bigger with a more premium brand badge and I’m a snob.


    Subaru Legacy…

    Better value to buy than the BMW, Volvo or VW and much more fun.


    Your wife may not be a fan of the good old Ford Mondeo but i can tell you they are a very good vehicle which has more than enough room for a family.I would say they are bigger than the Passat or Octavia.I can also get two bike in the back with ease with only the front wheels and saddles removed.I could get more but have never had the need.
    Test drive a mondeo you will find them a good motor.The higher spec you can get the better.I have a Ghia X which is tremendous and has good fuel economy.Best of luck.

    Sensible answers would include Subaru, Skoda and VW.

    However, the 5 series tourers are absolutely superb…but go for a diesel if you can. Also, the Volvo will be nice too.


    If you like something nice to actually drive I’d avoid the Passat (dependable maybe) and I’d avoid the V70.

    The BMW or the Subaru for a drivers car. I test drove a 54reg 2.0petrol and it was duller than dull – not the speed (it didnt have any), the steering/feel/suspension- everything was woolly.

    I imagine the Octavia drives like a mkIV Golf? No thanks.


    I’ve got a V70 and it’s fab. Cavernous boot. Takes family of 5 plus all our bags, etc plus two medium spaniels. If you’ve got small kids the built-in booster seats in the back are excellent.
    Very comfy, very quiet and solid as a rock – you def feel safe. T5 so it’s a touch thirsty but get’s you there quick. On dual carriageways people seem to think it’s a police car coming up behind them so they move over 🙂


    I was talking to a Ford engineer recently about getting a Focus estate (diesel). A useful piece of info was that around 2001-2002, due to improvements in materials+ manufacturing, the service intervals for all ford engines (including diesel) increased from 6k (4.5k for diesel) to 12k. So second-hand, post-2002 Fords are likely to be in better shape than earlier models. I suspect the same is true for other makes but possibly not in the same year – might be worth checking.


    We’ve had good success with our vw touran very usable, if I could afford to change I would get a vw caddy maxi life, check them out!


    Audi A4/A6 avant?
    or for more driver enjoyment S4/S6 avant
    or for pure lunacy, RS4/RS6?

    The Beemer for driving pleasure or perhaps the Merc 200 for even more load swallowing ability.

    Wouldn’t rule out diesel the 520 maybe too gutless for you


    Shame about the Mondeo. I admit I’m not that keen on the look of them, but they’re huge! And the higher ends one a pretty good fun to drive (relatively speaking – it is an estate car).


    We’ve just bought a Focus estate and I have to say it’s a cracking bit of kit. Well built, comfy, handles supebly (Lift-off oversteer, just like a Mk2 Golf GTI) and even for a 1.6 petrol it’s pretty lively and still does nearly 40mpg with the bikes on the back.
    I’ve never had a Ford before and so far I’m very impressed
    I wouldn’t have another diesel. I don’t like them.

    Premier Icon onewheelgood

    Dunno what your budget is but an A6 is huge, and you don’t have to worry about the mileage – my last 2.5Tdi was still mechanically fine at 170000 miles.On the longlife service plan it only asked for a service every 25000 miles or so. If you want driver involvement avoid the SE, as it’s a bit soft – the S-line is much tauter.

    Premier Icon molgrips

    One of those cars you list will have way better fuel economy than the others. How can you compare a V6 petrol against a TDi? Different raison d’etre altogether.

    Diesel every time for me, esp with the Passat as there are millions of TDis about. Would get almost double the economy of the Legacy I’d guess.

    Plus, Octavias aren’t that big being only golf-based.


    For a driver, BMW tourer, 3 or 530D, or a Scooby Legacy (B4?) with a manual box (the auto box is too much of a risk and £1200 a pop to rebuild). 520 and 525 are gutless wonders, you’ll cry coming from the VR6.

    For a sensible car – WV/Audi. I personally went for a peugeot which a lot of people shun, but despite having a few fundamental electrical issues (door wiring fails so speakers are crackly) its a perfectly good motorway mile muncher. When loaded it handles fairly well and evenly, when unloaded it cant corner for toffee.

    Or maybe a Caldina GT4 (engine and running gear from a celica GT4 in an estate car…)

    ~25-30mpg though.

    Premier Icon Tiboy

    Might not be your cup of tea, but I’ve got a Saab 9-5 Aero estate, which is awesome. huge boot, with loads of cubby holes and nice well thought out bits. I get 31mpg on the motorway, which is ok considering it has a pretty decent 230bhp on tap. Servicing isn’t as cheap as ford, but is cheaper than BMW. With the aero you also get leather seats which are great for bike dirt and kids, nice and wipe clean! I’ve had four people and three bikes in mine, no need for a rack.


    My personal fave’s in the fun & useful genre are:

    BMW 530 Touring

    Mitsubishi Legnum


    I’d second the Saab – they can go on forever.
    I’ve also got a mate who’s selling a Mondeo diesel estate, 53 reg, 62k miles, for less than £3000, which sounds good to me.

    another saab 9-5 estate owner here (tho mines the 2.0 SE estate)

    Premier Icon chakaping

    The Honda Accord estate looks very nice and is probably very reliable, might be worth a look?

    I’d get a Mondeo personally though, I’m a Ford convert after buying my hatchback last year.

    Premier Icon jam bo

    i drove an RS6 avant last week.

    i want one.



    We need a budget before we can spend your money!

    I’ve got a V70 at the moment very rapid V70R)and spacious, but not the last word in driver involvment. 3 bikes in the boot, whilst seat 5 people is pretty good.

    My old A6 would only take two bikes in the boot and the 5 series is smaller again I think. A6 had more room for the passengers though. A6 had a big volume boot, just not a great shape for bikes.


    I’ve got a Hinda Accord Tourer, loads of space, very comfortable, 100% reliable, nice to drive (but you wouldn’t put it in the ‘fun’ class)


    Another V70 here. Not great on fuel in the city but excellent on the motorway.

    Another Saab 9-5, 3.0 V6 diesel i love it for chucking bikes in! Another benefit is it lights up like a stadium making it perfect for night riding.


    thanks all …

    Not too worried about bike carrying ability as will carry them on a towbar rack, and have a roof box when we go away en masse. Nor too worried about fuel economy as the mileage will be prob 7-8K per year biased to long runs.

    Driver fun/involvement most important. Interested that some suggestion that the BMW525 might be gutless? I guess any estate will be dullish after my VR6.

    And budget is c.4-6K which tends to force some limitations … hence my initial listing.

    And no matter what I tell my wife, she just doesn’t like the look of a Mondeo so it’s a no-no sadly.


    Upto £6k and 7kmileage?

    Subaru Forester 2.0Turbo
    As you have a roof box and bike carrier this opens it up…..

    …Subaru Imprezza sportswagon WRX


    Honda Accord Tourer cdti – massive boot, well screwed together, reliable, excellent diesel engine. Practical and nice to drive, but not fun.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout

    My old 2000/X plate Passat tdi Sport was ace – went like a train (no matter how heavily you loaded it), did 50mpg+ on a run, very comfy seats (recaro VW ones), big stereo, heated seats, cruise etc etc Really nice car to drive and do big journeys in – with family or for work. It had lowered/stiffened (factory) suspension, and bigger brakes I believe. The engine was a proper peach – a few garages have commented that ‘that Tdi is the best engine VW ever made’ *wipes tear from eye* It was a shame to sell it.

    It was however quite expensive – it never broke down, but did seem to have a few bits go wrong with it – suspension was incredibly expensive (£800), clutch (£700), windscreen wiper motor (£250…)We got it at 80k on clock and took it upto 160k on clock before it became just too expensive to run – our new Touran is cheaper to run, but not as comfy or as many toys, or as nice to drive. Mind you, depreciation was low. We bought at £6k, ran for 5 years/60k and sold/traded in for £2k…

    If you want to stick to VW and you fancy a petrol I can definitely recommend the 1.8T Passat, mine’s 10 years old and covered 122kish and still goes like stink. More economical than the V6 (although it doesn’t sound as nice) and probably not much slower either. Not amazing to drive (especially after a Corrado I’d imagine) but with the sports springs it’s not too wallowy.

    Or why not spend 3k on a TDi estate and a grand on a MK2 GTi?


    Mazda 6 estate?

    The ONLY estate car worth having 😉



    Couldn’t agree more, and at the second hand prices they are now very tempting.

    15k for an 50,000 mile RS6…mmmm, its almost rude not to.

    I’ve had mine 3 years and only a water pump fail *touches wood*. oh and the whole suspension!

    It’s kerrching time if they go wrong! Pump bill was £900. £150 part, the rest labour. Cash job at an independant too!



    Mazda6 estate – half brother to the mondeo.

    For value the Passat is pretty difficult to beat. My 2001 100ps one has done 202k miles and is fine mechanically (touches wood quickly). Still on the first clutch too – amazingly. It may not be the most exciting to drive, but you can enjoy getting the most out of any car.


    I can vouch for the Mitsubishi Legnum VR4 (red Mitsu shot posted by acjim – plenty space and seriously impressive driving experience) – running gear of an Evo (originals were EVO IV’s and I think they went up to EVO VII (but not certain!)) – very good to drive and very entertaining when the foot got planted…but very heavy on fuel (on a good day about 23.5mpg best). Saying that, you can pick them up for about £3.5k so the money you save in purchase can fund the fuel.

    Only other issue with them is the short service intervals – every 6k the fluids need replaced.



    £5,200 65,000 2.0ts


    £5.800 54,000 wrx power


    MountainMutant, a mag once said A6 is a great car but when something goes wrong……BIG bills. Subjective, to some, I’d say epic bills!


    saccades, that looks almost ….porn

    The fast Audis are great cars,but if ANYTHING needs replacing it’s mega bucks…..and they have attracted an unenviable image.
    If you can live with the fuel economy get a fast Subaru any model will do.Great to drive, ultra reliable and soooo cheap……shame the Mrs doesn’t like Mondeos though…..Any particular reason,or is it just daft snobbery?


    Interested to see what comes up here, we have a 130 Passat Sport, very effective, 50mpg, amazingly quick, but quite dull – A6 similar even the quick ones, only interesting because of the speed, We had a Scooby estate before, great fun but down to 20mpg!! and ate tyres for breakfast. Merc before that, great build, very quick real gents express, still not really fun. We have borrowed a Honda, maybe more effective than the VW but still dull. If you liked your VR6, a fav of mine, then try a 130 tdi Golf a pretty good – compromise good luck R


    Audi A6 Avant 1.9Tdi

    130hp, 65mpg, cheap to run – vaiable servicing, reliable.

    Cheap to buy secondhand.


    I love sports cars and estates are crap.

    Until we wise up and think hang on that guy with an estate years ago was on to something.

    I would like a sports convertible but the weather sucks and I need the room for bike and luggage.

    I’ve been offered a V-reg BMW 520 estate E39 for £1000. It has a new head but the bottom ends are strong. It’s not fast on 0-60 9.8 secs but cruises on the motorway and will go up to 138mph.

    Might be just the thing for those Wales trips.

    Crap I’m getting old!

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