Car Choice: Seeking better luck with the third estate


Peter Cade wants a large diesel estate car. His recent experience has been with Vauxhall Vectra 2.0s. He's had two from new, but once the three year warranty period has expired he has experienced serious electrical failures. He wants a replacement vehicle that would cost a similar amount to a brand new Vauxhall.

A car for the head

If Peter does fancy another Vauxhall, the equivalent to his old Vectra would be the Insignia Sport Tourer. Prices start at £18,885, but with a diesel engine, the 2.0 CDTi costs £22,200. If he wants a change, there are plenty of options, and probably the most obvious would be the Ford Mondeo. This is a huge vehicle, and probably the best family estate car on the market. The boot space, even before you start folding the rear seats, is absolutely massive. It has a 2.0 TDCi engine, which will deliver around 47mpg. Standard equipment is good, with air-conditioning, cruise control, electric front windows, a heated windscreen and CD player. A diesel estate on Ford's website, in basic Edge trim, would be £20,895 – although Ford is offering a contribution of a £500 towards your deposit if you take out a 4.9 per cent finance package. Overall, the Mondeo is a large and very comfortable car and does not seem to have had any major reliability issues, so is definitely worth considering.

A car for the heart

If Peter wants an estate that has a touch more class, there are a couple of options. Usually a Volkswagen Passat would fit the bill, and a 2.0 TDI 140 starts at pretty much £23,000. It is spacious and practical, and certainly comfortable. The Volkswagen Group also offers another option, in the shape of the Skoda Superb. When it comes to large estate cars, they really don't come much bigger. It has been very well received and is great value, as prices start at just £18,550. However, a 2.0 TDI – which has the same engine as the Passat – in SE trim costs £22,310. At the time of writing, there were no national offers on this model, though it is always worth asking for a discount. All the passengers have plenty of room and there is more than enough space for their luggage in the rear load bay. The Superb is a wonderfully stylish car that does not look out of place parked alongside a Mercedes or an Audi. I'd urge Peter to give one a go.

Looking to buy?

Please write to Car Choice, Features, Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF or email James Ruppert at carchoice@independent.co.uk giving your age, address and phone number, details of the type of vehicle in which you are interested, and your budget.

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