Currently reading: Buy them before we do: second hand picks for 22 October
We take a dive into the varied world of estates

Top-class estate options are innumerable and many of them offer a great deal of value as used cars. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate is this week’s case in point, geared towards making the school run or your daily commute a stress- free and even economical proposition while offering excellent practicality.

Mercedes E220 CDI Estate, £8800: The fourth-generation E-Class was launched in 2009 and continues to make its case today to counter the BMW 5 Series Touring and Audi A6 Avant. While those rivals are arguably easier on the eye, the E-Class is still imposing and possesses a fine blend of refinement and versatility. Like the saloon, the estate has a world-class ride and a plush, lounge-like interior.

Mercedes offered a choice of two 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesels at launch, producing 168bhp and 201bhp. A 228bhp hybrid diesel was an option, along with a powerful 3.0-litre V6 diesel. A few petrol engines were also available, including a 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 AMG model, but these are expensive to run and used prices remain high.

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As 90% of all E-Class sales in the UK were diesel-powered, these dominate the used market. Our choice is the E220 CDI, mated to Mercedes’ seven-speed 7G-Tronic gearbox for a blend of economy and usable everyday performance. We found a 2014 model in the classifieds for £8800 with choice kit such as nappa leather upholstery, privacy glass, a reversing camera, a speed limiter, 17in alloy wheels and a tyre pressure monitoring system. That’s in addition to Bluetooth, cruise control and heated front seats. Rarely has the school run been done with such style or in such comfort. 

Skoda Superb Estate, £5699: The Superb estate is aptly named for its abilities as an all-round workhorse. This one is powered by the Volkswagen Group’s more powerful 2.0-litre turbo diesel and it’s in good working order under the skin after 10 years and 90,000 miles on the road.

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BMW M5 Touring, £18,250: Yes, V10 power really can be yours for just a smidge over £18,000. This example is one of just a few M5 Tourings on the used market and has covered 98,000 miles. It’s a sought- after model, but make sure you don’t get bitten by those tax payments.

Ford Mondeo Estate, £9480: The Mondeo may be on its way out but that doesn’t mean you have to disregard it as a potential used buy. This 2016 model has sat-nav, parking sensors, a full service history, two keys and a 2.0-litre diesel, which has covered 118,000 miles.

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Volvo 940 Wentworth, £4995: The 940 was built to last and this 1993 Wentworth model is now a full-blown classic. It sports its original paintwork and has a new battery, alternator and cambelt, along with a full service history. It’s also winter ready, with a set of Pirelli Snowcontrol 3 tyres.

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Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IV RS: This fourth-generation 1997 Lancer Evolution was imported into the UK in 2020, having spent its life in Japan. It’s driven by a 2.0 turbo engine that puts out 276bhp and 260lb ft. In fact, Mitsubishi rotated the unit 180deg to help eliminate torque steer and improve weight distribution. The RS model certainly kept the Evo’s enviable rally pedigree in tact, with its strengthened chassis and a kerb weight of just 1260kg courtesy of ditching niceties such as the air-con. This one appears to have been looked after supremely well, is largely unmodified and sold recently for £15,250.

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Future classic

Ford Fiesta ST, £4450: The Fiesta ST is now a modern-day phenomenon, but it all started with this model, which is a classic in the making. Built from 2005 to 2008, the original ST is driven by a 2.0-litre engine producing 150bhp, with a satisfying 0-62mph time of 7.9sec. Its suspension was lower than the stock Fiesta’s and its springs, dampers and steering were adjusted to produce an impressively agile hot hatch. We found this one-owner ST with a below-average 60,000 miles under its wheels, two keys and white side stripes in the classifieds for £4450.

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Clash of the classifieds

It’s raining outside, so find me a weatherproof car for under £10,000.  Subaru Impreza WRX, £8995 vs Fiat Panda Cross, £7750

Oliver Young: If it’s weatherproof you’re after, what fits the bill better than this 2007 Impreza WRX? Essentially a road-legal rally car, it has a 227bhp 2.5-litre boxer engine, all-wheel drive and, drawing on all that WRC heritage, the ability to cope with whatever is thrown at it, come rain or shine, snow or ice.

Mark Pearson:  Well, hold on a minute. What I have here is a weatherproof car of the highest order that’s going to be much easier on the pocket than your ageing Subaru. My 2016 Panda Cross tackles the biggest weather issue facing the planet at the moment – increasing sea levels. You see, it has the best wading depth of any car on the market at 780mm (okay, any car other than enormous and expensive Defenders and Discos), so I’ll still be motoring while your low-slung Impreza’s dancing with the fishes.

OY: Fine, in the unlikely event of a flood, your wimpy Fiat might trump my mighty Subaru. However, 99% of the time, the WRX is unequivocally superior. What better way of escaping the rain clouds than in my fast, fun and capable Scooby? That 70bhp sorry excuse of a 4x4 will be left toiling far behind.

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MP: Doesn’t rain lead to rising water levels? I still think your car is but an adolescent’s dream. And I should imagine 99% of the time, your old crate will have broken down.

OY: Not every downpour results in a flood, Mark. And while on the subject of reliability and quality, remind me of the Panda's Euro NCAP rating?

MP: Meh.

Verdict, James Rupert: "I’ll take the pocket-sized Fiat, please."

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Add a comment…
jason_recliner 24 October 2021
Diesels? VWs? Grow some balls and an imagination.
SAS32 22 October 2021
Surprised not to read of the rather significant and costly timing chain issues with the Mercedes OM651 2.1d. This engine is fitted to pretty much everything below the S Class (200, 220 and 250 models), so it's a very prevalent. From my own research it's the V6 CDI that's the one to go for.
BenzinBob 22 October 2021

Good point 

Mainlysideways 23 October 2021
Think you're going to need to do a bit more research, the OM642 is seen as less reliable than the OM651, just ask the Mercedes specialists, OM642 are know to have issues with crankcase ventilation, pre 2010 known for leaks from oil cooler, other issues include the injector copper seals. Timing chain on the OM651 is the only issue but is pretty rare for the volume on the roads and are normally linked to poor maintenance and lots of use of the stop-start, I have OM651 with 165k miles - not a problem, there is a reason taxi drivers use them and it's not just economy.
BenzinBob 23 October 2021

Good for you but like you said, it depends on how well they've been looked after, and how many people are doing that? There are other reasons these are used as taxis

BenzinBob 22 October 2021

 Subaru Impreza wrx vs a Panda. Hmm let me think about that one