I'm not sure why, but motoring journalists, in general, love estate cars, yet the Irish buying public does not, preferring SUVs. For a given price point, however, we'd argue that you get a lot more for your money in an estate than in an SUV, and most of them look really good too. Here are our favourites, cars we'd happily live with day-in, day-out, whether we had families or not.
1 - Skoda Superb Combi
It could have gone so horribly wrong for Skoda, calling its big car the Superb, but it has undoubtedly lived up to the tag and the latest Combi estate is just exceptional. It looks great, is simply, unbeatably huge inside for passengers and luggage, it's well-equipped and competent on the road. What's not to love?
2 - Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate
If the Skoda Superb Combi is missing anything then it's badge cachet, something the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate has in spades. That's not the only thing going for the big Merc wagon though, which is great to drive, very comfortable and loaded with high-tech equipment. Helps that it looks fab too.
3 - Mazda6 Tourer
Ask people to mention a family estate and I bet they'll come up with the Ford Mondeo, Toyota Avensis and Volkswagen Passat to start with. Few will think of the Mazda6 Tourer, but it's better than them all thanks to a great cabin, sharp design, good engine and impeccable driving manners.
4 - Volvo V90
The Volvo brand is synonymous with safety and big family estate cars, though you'll be tempted by the large new V90 because of how it looks and because it has one of the finest cabins in the business. A good range of diesel engines and a comfortable chassis seal the deal.
5 - Kia Optima SW
The presence of the Kia Optima SW on this list might raise a few eyebrows given the choice in the market, but it deserves its position, though the range is limited to a single model. Just as well then that it looks good, has a big boot, a high-quality interior and a long list of standard equipment. On top of all that the Optima is more interesting to drive than most cars of this size.