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buying advice

How to buy a premium estate with change from €20k - and 4 models you need to see

Want a big car that will buck the SUV craze? Look no further.

THE WORLD MIGHT be going SUV crazy these days but if you need to have enough room to carry your stuff around, whether it be family life or work-related, estate cars still offer some of the best boots around.

Their boxy shape means that you can usually cram a lot more in compared to a hatchback or SUV, and that’s before you even have to consider folding down the rear seats.

This week we’re looking at some of the best premium brand estate offerings that you can now pick up on the used market for less than €20,000.

1. Volvo V70 Estate (2007-2016)

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The largest new Volvo estate today is the V90, but that costs quite a lot and doesn’t actually offer all that much extra space in the back due to its sloped rear window.

Its predecessor the Volvo V70, on the other hand, can be picked up relatively cheaply these days and offers loads of boot space. It has classy looks and decent passenger space inside. Just as importantly it is still one of the safest cars around.

The boot is 575 litres, and that can increase to 1,600 litres.

Most models on the used market in Ireland are diesel. Pre-mid-2008 models will be on the older motor taxation rates making them costly to tax, although this is often reflected in a lower selling price. If you’re keen on greater performance search out the T5 model, which could hit 100km/h in 7.7 seconds.

2. Audi A6 Avant (2012 onwards)

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Prices for the C7 version of the Audi A6 are now starting to dip below the €20,000 mark for early 2012 models. The A6 Avant (Audi-speak for estate) is a very good-looking car and came in SE and sportier S Line specifications.

Boot space ranges from 565 to 1,680 litres and the cabin layout and design is almost unchanged to a brand new version sold today. Of the cars sold in Ireland, almost all are diesel with most utilising the 2.0-litre TDI engine. This turbocharged four-cylinder came in 177 and 190hp versions. A more powerful 313hp BiTurbo diesel was also sold, but this is still likely to break your €20,000 budget.

One buying tip is to consider a model with smaller wheels for added comfort. Yes, it does look more impressive on larger diameter rims, but it can impact on ride quality.

3. BMW 5 Series Touring (2010-2017)

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Since the arrival of the latest generation 5 Series, prices for the F11 model has begun to soften, making the Touring (estate) model look even more appealing.

It has one of the largest boots on the market with up to 1,670 litres of cargo volume.

The most common engine by far in the 5 Series in Ireland is the 520d. It has sufficient power to pull the BMW along at a reasonable rate even if it is laden with cargo. Our tip is to try to get the automatic transmission; it’s just that bit better than the manual, which isn’t BMW’s finest gearbox.

It is a car that can eat up the motorway miles and leave you feeling refreshed at the end of a long journey. But it still drives and handles like a BMW, so you should still enjoy covering ground on some of the more winding sections of tarmac.

4. Mazda6 Tourer (2012 onwards)

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Having included Audi and BMW, the obvious thing to do would be to add the Mercedes-Benz E-Class – but the Mazda6 Tourer makes for an interesting alternative.

Higher-spec models come with leather upholstery inside and the design both inside and out place this up there with the more established premium brands. With a boot space of between 506 and 1,648 litres it’s not quite the largest, but it doesn’t lag far behind.

The 2.2-litre diesel may seem big on paper, but it can return some economical consumption figures. Both the automatic and manual are equally lovely to drive. Two power outputs were available, 150 and 175hp versions, though the lesser is fine to drive and doesn’t feel noticeably underpowered.

More: How to buy a serious performance car for the price of a family hatchback (and 3 models to see first)>

Even more: How to buy a serious Audi for under €12k – and the 4 models you should look at>

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