Buying a Station Wagon - the Ten Best Station Wagons in July 2010

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The Ten Best Station Wagons in July 2010

While sedans and hatchbacks continue to dominate the car market, station wagons and estate cars offer great versatility and load carrying capacities. Perfect for carpooling school kids or taking off with the family for a weekend in the hills.

Tata Indigo:

The Tata Indigo station wagon is an extension of the Indian-made compact car range. It is equipped with a 1.4-litre engine and despite its relatively small overall size, offers a reasonable load carrying capacity. With the load curtain in place you have a 410-litre space. Fold down the rear seats and you increase this to 1,370 litres.

Standard equipment includes an ABS braking system, driver and passenger airbags, air conditioning and power steering.

Mini Clubman:

The Mini Clubman estate combines the go-kart like ride and handling of the Mini, but by extending the body by 24 centimetres the engineers have created space for four people inside and still allowed for a reasonable 100 litres of stowage space.

The Clubman has a slightly bizarre body shape, so it stands out from the crowd.

Peugeot 5008:

The Peugeot 5008 has family connections to the Citroen Picasso, sharing much of the mechanical and under the surface components, but outside it is all Peugeot.

It can take seven people in comfort. With the middle and rear seats able to fold down to a fully flat position, the load carrying capacity is impressive and even with the relatively small 1.6-litre engine the performance is sprightly enough to satisfy most drivers.

Volvo V50:

The Volvo V50 offers comfortable seating for five adults and with the rear seats able to be folded fully flat, it has a reasonable load carrying capacity of 417 litres.

The interior has a typically Swedish finish, with the light wood inlays and clean design. And in line with Volvo’s reputation for safety, the V50 has both active and passive safety features.

Subaru Outback:

The Subaru Outback is based on the Legacy platform and is classed as a Cross Over Utility Vehicle (XUV) which basically means it’s a multi-purpose vehicle, capable of taking on off-road conditions as well as highway driving and with a versatile load carrying configuration.

With the rear seats in the normal position, the luggage capacity is 490 litres. Fold down those rear seats and the load capacity increases to an impressive 1,690 litres.

BMW 3-Series Touring:

The BMW 3-Series Touring version has plenty of room for passengers and with the rear seats in the upright position it has a luggage capacity of 460 litres. The rear seat back can be split 60-40 as with most estates and with both seatbacks folded down the luggage space increases to 1,385 litres. There is an additional storage space under the boot floor.

Audi A4 Avant:

The Audi A4 Avant has a range of petrol engines equipped with FSI direct injection technology, or you can choose the 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine.

The Avant comes with an impressive list of innovative features such as LED running lights for maximum daytime visibility, a lane change assistant that uses radar to monitor the driver’s blind spot and warn of unseen vehicles, adaptive cruise control that can be used in traffic or busy roads and full adjustment of various characteristics such as suspension and steering.

Mercedes Benz C Class Estate:

The C Class Estate from Mercedes Benz offers three models, from the restrained Classic model, through the comfort and luxury of the Elegance version up to the sporty, agile AvantGarde model.

Luggage capacity is impressive at 485 litres in normal configuration up to a maximum 1,500 litres with the rear seats folded flat. In addition, the C Class Estate models feature the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) for trailer stabilisation, should you require even more carrying capacity than just what the vehicle offers.

Honda Accord Tourer:

An impressive range of standard features makes the Accord Tourer an attractive proposition.

Luggage capacity is not the largest – with the rear seats up, the capacity is 406 litres, rising to a maximum of 660 litres. However, standard features such as an electric glass sunroof, parking sensors and automatic Xenon headlights add to the appeal.

Mercedes Benz E Class Estate:

If the Mercedes Benz C Class Estate is too small for your taste, then maybe the E Class Estate is for you.

Luggage capacity in the E Class Estate ranges from 695 litres with the rear seats up, to a massive 1,950 litres with the rear seats folded flat. This generous luggage capacity has been mated with a range of engines with power available to handle extra loads, ranging from an in-line four cylinder 1.8-litre version in the E200, up to a huge 5.4-litre V8 in the E500 model.

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