Whatever happened to estate cars? People don’t talk about them like they used to. There are, of course, so many options to consider: fancy people-carriers, and crossovers and SUVs, whatever they are. The thing is that estate cars are just so blinking useful. They can be really rather quick, too.

I’ve had a Volvo V70. It was boring but it did the job, so let’s start with this load-shifting icon. Between £750 and £1000 gets a cleanish 2000 2.4 Classic. This is all the estate you’ll ever really need, because the load bay is big, long and flat. The rear-facing seats are outclassed by modern seven-seaters but are fine for children.

Go for the newer, less slabby model. Don’t worry about miles too much if it’s a petrol example, and an SE has all the essential kit. However, if you have a need for speed, you’ll find T5s for £1500 to £2000 and you might stumble across an AWD, but some can be a lot of trouble.

If you want a quick estate, the Audi RS4 Avant is the first choice. It is a banker in the long term because it has stopped depreciating and is on the gradual rise. They start at £10k, but the nicer ones with proper history are £12,995 and up for the earlier 2001 models. If you want a facelifted 2007 example, that’s £15,995, but it doesn’t look as special.

Many would say that if you want to shift stuff, you need the bigger RS6. The larger Avants are also a bit cheaper, often because they get used and the miles can be big. About £9000 will get a 2003 example with a reasonable 100,000 miles on the clock.

If you don’t care about style and just need cubic inches, there’s the Ford Mondeo estate. They are huge and also huge value for money. You can find them almost anywhere, too.

Firstly, I adore the old 2000-on model, which now costs buttons and is the Bangernomics choice if you have only a grand to spend, and a 2.0 Zetec would be perfect. But if your budget is bigger, pop along to a car supermarket and you’ll find loads of them parked in a row.

A 2011 2.0 TDCi 140 Titanium with a solid 80,000-plus miles is just over £8k. About £3k gets you into new-shape models, and they won’t be worn out. A 2007 2.0 petrol Ghia would be a good buy. It will have a six-figure mileage, but the engine is decent and pretty durable.

I’ve hardly scratched the estate car surface here. Vauxhall Astra estates from 1998 on are proper vans with windows. The E39 BMW 5 Series Touring is utterly unburstable…I think we’re going to need a part two to this. We just can’t fit them all in.