Q. My daughter and son-in-law need to upgrade their car for a growing family. They want a petrol-powered estate that’s economical to run, can hold children’s paraphernalia in the boot, takes two child seats and offers enough space for a 6ft 4in driver. They have £12,000 to spend.
A. Do they value a premium badge? The poshest and largest of the many estates on the market is the Mercedes E-class. Your son-in-law should find it comfortable and its boot carries a whopping 690 litres of luggage. Get the post-2006 model — it has Isofix mounting points for child seats. We suggest a 2007 E 200 Kompressor, though bear in mind that the supercharged petrol engine returns 30.7mpg combined, the worst of our selection.
The Skoda Superb estate is nearly as large and better value for money. The 1.8 TSI returns 38.7mpg and there is no shortage of 2010 and 2011 models with Skoda dealers, who will give you a one-year warranty. The boot holds
595 litres, and nice touches include umbrellas that slide into slots in the rear doors and an air-conditioned glovebox. There is plenty of room in the front and rear, so a tall driver can slide the seat back easily.
There’s also much to like about the Ford Mondeo. It drives well, with a secure yet responsive feeling that every motorist can appreciate, although, as with all the cars here, its economy (35.8mpg) is not as good as that of a diesel. The boot takes 542 litres of clobber, but bear in mind that the size of its rear doors relative to those of the Skoda makes loading child seats slightly trickier. Your budget will stretch to a low-mileage 2011 2.0 Zetec.
Skoda Superb estate
For Lots of rear legroom; smooth engine; best fuel economy here
Against Boot isn’t as vast as the Merc’s
Mercedes E-class estate
For Huge boot; spacious cabin; upmarket image and interior
Against Comparatively expensive
Ford Mondeo estate
For Responsive to drive; affordable servicing costs; wide availability
Against Depreciates faster than the others