SUNDAY Times Driving has created their brilliant Top 100 Cars of 2016 guide. Read excerpts here or the full list at Driving.co.uk.
1. Skoda Superb Estate
If you want maximum carrying capacity for minimum cash, this is where you need to be looking. Prices for this Skoda start at less than £20,000 — bargain bucket deals in this company — but the Superb is more than worthy of your consideration. You can upgrade to a version with more toys and muscle by spending a little more than £25,000, but that’s still small beer for something so capable.
If your priority is a huge boot, the Superb will also appeal, as it can stow the same amount of baggage as the Mercedes E-class — a hefty 1,950 litres. Hate having to change gear? Fine: choose the DSG automatic option. And if you want to tow, no problem — as long as you opt for a four-wheel-drive version.
- Our pick: Skoda Superb 2.0 TDi 150PS SE L Executive (£25,120)
- Price: £19,840 – £35,940
- Engine: 1968cc, 4 cylinders
- Acceleration: 0-62mph: 8.9sec
- Top speed: 135mph
- Fuel | CO2: 67.3mpg | 110g/km
2. Ford Mondeo Estate
Ford’s big car has gained better looks, a softer ride and a much improved cabin. In a class where rivals offer hangar-like boot capacities, the Mondeo’s 500 litres (1,605 litres with the rear seats down) is merely average, but that’s still plenty of space to carry a holiday’s worth of luggage.
The comfortable ride means you’ll be able to take it across Europe without any complaints from passengers.
- Our pick: Mondeo Zetec 2.0 TDCi 150PS, £24,345
- Price: £21,745-£29,510
- Engine: 1997cc, 4 cylinders
- Acceleration: 0-62mph: 9.4sec
- Top speed: 130mph
- Fuel | CO2: 65.7mpg | 112g/km
3. Mercedes E-Class Estate
It’s due to be replaced in a matter of weeks, so the fact that the current E-class remains one of the best large estates says a lot about how good it still is. It’s packed with kit and is fabulously built and has one of the biggest cargo bays of any estate on sale. It’s even big enough to slot in a couple of pop-up children’s seats, turning this into a seven-seater.
- Our pick: Mercedes E350 BlueTec AMG Night Edition, £43,815
- Price: £36,660 – £43,815
- Engine: 2987cc, 6 cylinders
- Acceleration: 0-62mph: 6.6sec
- Top speed: 155mph
- Fuel | CO2: 51mpg | 143g/km
4. Audi A6 Allroad
Of all Audis, it’s this that its richest buyers opt for. That tells you everything you need to know about this exceptionally discreet estate: it offers performance, space, luxury, comfort, even grip. It doesn’t come cheap, but you get quattro four-wheel drive as standard and a super-smooth 3-litre V6 diesel engine. There’s also plenty of kit, plus one of the best cabins in the business.
- Our pick: Audi A6 allroad 3.0 TDi quattro S tronic Sport, £51,015
- Price: £45,755-£55,825
- Engine: 2967cc, 6 cylinders
- Acceleration: 0-62mph: 6.2sec
- Top speed: 155mph
- Fuel | CO2: 50mpg | 149g/km
5. Volvo V60
Considering Volvo made its name with boxy load-luggers, its V60 has a small boot. However, by focusing more on looks than luggage, the Swedish manufacturer has produced one of the most stylish estates on the market. It’s good to drive, the diesel engines are frugal and it’s got a relaxing, luxurious interior. Volvo hasn’t abandoned all its values: it’s one of the safest cars on the road.
- Our pick: V60 D4 SE Nav, £31,045
- Price: £22,445-£51,820
- Engine: 1969cc, 4 cylinders
- Acceleration: 0-62mph: 7.2sec
- Top speed: 140mph