The estate car was once a very common sight on UK roads, but in recent years the more fashionable SUV has become the must-have accessory.
Times are changing, however. Electric power and the more slippery, aerodynamic shape of an estate car are the perfect pairing for those who carry kids, shopping and boot-fulls of garden rubbish to the tip, and want to travel long distances.
A hybrid (or ‘self-charging hybrid’), which pairs a petrol engine with a small electric motor, can be a good option for those wishing to dip their toe into electric motoring and want to carry lots of stuff. A plug-in hybrid, meanwhile, offers a larger pure-electric driving range and can be plugged into a charging point just like a normal electric car.
Read on to discover the best hybrid estate cars on sale.
10. Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid Sport Turismo
Our pick: Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo
Price: Range from £88,900
Electric range: Up to 34 miles
We'll admit the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo isn't the roomiest estate car on this list with a boot measuring just 418 litres. But if you're after a performance car that can cope with the family grind while also returning low running costs (sometimes) then you can't do much better.
There's a wide choice of models including a range-topping Turbo S E-Hybrid version with a frankly incredible 690bhp, but we'd opt for the entry-level 4 E-Hybrid which has to make do with just 456bhp. That'll get you from zero to 60mph in 4.4 seconds and onto a top speed of 174mph, while Porsche claims fuel economy of up to 134.5mpg and between 49 and 60g/km of CO2.
Importantly, beneath the cool, swooping body lies a 17.9kWh battery that'll give a claimed 34 miles of pure electric range. It’s the plug-in hybrid equivalent of the pure-electric Porsche Taycan – and we’re big fans of them both.
The Panamera engine options vary between the very fast and ridiculously quick
We're huge fans of Peugeot's current renaissance and rank models like the e-2008 crossover and e-208 hatchback as our favourites. The 508 is more of the forgotten child in the range, but in many ways it's even more appealing.
Admittedly, we say that because of the way it looks. While many of the mainstream brands like Ford and Vauxhall have abandoned the family estate car market, Peugeot is sticking at it with its stunning 508 SW. Its super sharp design is matched with a quality interior and a surprisingly large 530-litre boot (1,780 litres with the seats down). The rear seats fold down with neat handles in the boot and the seat backs lie pretty flatly. There's even a ski hatch.
Peugeot says the 222bhp 1.6-litre plug-in hybrid should give up to 39 miles of electric range, while company car drivers will love how the 508 emits a low 26g/km CO2. There's even a high performance model on offer called the Peugeot Sport Engineered (or 'PSE' for short), which packs 355bhp, yet still offers up to 34 miles of EV range.
8. Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate
Our pick: Passat GTE Advance
Price: Range from £44,240
Electric range: Up to 36 miles
The Passat GTE was actually one of the first plug-in hybrid estates available in the family sector, originally going on sale in 2015. Despite the car’s large dimensions, the boot isn’t the largest at 483 litres (you can blame the placement of the batteries under the boot floor for that) but it is of a good shape. The interior is also really nicely put together and it’s a comfortable car to soak up the miles.
While many of the plug-in hybrid cars on this list are available in different trim levels, the Passat only comes in GTE guise. While GTE might denote some sporting pretensions, the Passat GTE is far from being a sporting PHEV load-lugger like the Peugeot 508 SW PSE, with the big VW favouring a more relaxing driving experience. The 1.4-litre plug-in hybrid set-up is the same you’ll find in other hybrid estate cars featured further down this list, and here it develops 215bhp. The 13kWh battery gives a range of up to 36 miles, while VW claims CO2 emissions are between 31-38g/km – good but quite a few rivals are even cleaner and will cost less to run as a company car.
The Passat is due for replacement soon, but even the old car is a fine lugger
7. Volvo V90 Recharge
Our pick: V90 Recharge Plus T6 AWD
Price: Range from £63,065
Electric range: Up to 54 miles
Think estate car and you think Volvo. The Swedish brand has peddled a nice line in plug-in hybrid estate cars for a few years now, and the V90 is its largest. Despite its fabled reputation for load-luggers though, the V90’s boot space is beaten by its closest German competition, but let’s face it 560 litres and 1,526 litres when the seats are folded is enough for most people.
Along with a spacious boot, the V90 has one of the nicest interiors around that’s brimming with lovely, minimalist detailing and quality plastics. The infotainment system has been improved over the years, too, thanks to a Google operating system.
There’s a range-topping T8 version that packs a mad 450bhp, but the 345bhp T6 is more our cup of tea. Both get the same 18.8kWh battery that gives up to 54 miles of pure electric range, while 19g/km of CO2 will please company car drivers. The only elephant in the room here is that in summer 2023 Volvo UK decided to discontinue the V90 and its smaller V60 brother. At the time of writing, Volvo was still selling both estate cars until stocks run out, so if you want one you’ll have to act quickly.
Thousands of police drivers can't be wrong - the V90 offers more than just space
6. Cupra Leon Estate e-Hybrid
Our pick: Leon Estate VZ2 e-Hybrid
Price: Range from £37,920
Electric range: Up to 32 miles
Cupra is taking electric seriously. It already has the Born EV and the Formentor plug-in hybrid SUV, but it hasn’t forgotten about the good old estate car. The Leon Estate e-Hybrid isn’t as sporty as petrol-powered versions, but it offers a good blend between performance and super-cheap running costs.
Apart from sitting marginally higher off the road (and the charging flap) you’d struggle to tell the difference between the PHEV and the powerful petrol Cupra Leon Estates on the outside, and that’s a nice touch. The e-Hybrid still has all the visual aggression we’ve come to expect from SEAT’s sportier sister brand, and, like the Golf and Passat GTEs, pairs a 1.4-litre petrol engine with an electric motor. In the Cupra there’s a punchy 243bhp allowing a 0-62mph sprint in a very respectable seven seconds, while the 12.8kWh battery gives a claimed 32 miles of silent electric running.
The sporty exterior is carried over to the inside where there’s plenty of bronze trim and a pair of sport seats up front. In the back, there’s plenty of headroom and the boot measures a very impressive 470 litres – that’s almost as much as the Mercedes C300e featured next in this list.
The Leon uses the same powertrain as the Passat and isn't short of space either
5. Mercedes-Benz C300e Estate
Our pick: C300e AMG Line Premium Plus
Price: Range from £60,585
Electric range: Up to 65 miles
Mercedes has dabbled in both petrol and diesel plug-in hybrid motoring for a while now, and the new C300e is probably its best yet. The 1.5-litre petrol engine may seem a little small for a mid-sized Merc but the 25.4kWh battery certainly isn’t – it gives a whopping electric range of up to 65 miles, which is large for a plug-in hybrid. More than that, the C300e can travel up to 70mph in pure EV mode, while fast-charging is possible at speeds of up to 55kWh – that’s very impressive.
The C300e uses a lot of the larger S-Class PHEV’s hardware and there’s a whiff of the posh limo inside, too. There are plenty of expensive feeling materials used while the tech is arguably best-in-class with plenty of features accessible through the large (optional) 11.9-inch portrait touchscreen. And while previous PHEV C-Classes felt spatially compromised due to where the batteries were placed, that’s not the case with the new one – there’s still a useful 490-litre boot that grows to 1,510 when the seats are folded.
Emitting just 14g/km, the C300e falls into the 8% BiK bracket which undercuts its nearest rivals like the BMW 330e Touring. But you have to pay for that three-pointed star on the nose and that long EV range – the C300e isn’t a cheap hybrid estate car, that’s for sure.
The diesel PHEV's tax bracket is as attractive as the rest of the C-Class estate
The Corolla Touring Sports is the only car on our list that’s a conventional hybrid, or a ‘self-charging hybrid’, as they’re sometimes known as. You don’t plug it in like the other cars on this list as it has a very small battery; consequently the electric range is very small, but – and this important – it’s still incredibly fuel efficient with 64mpg possible (in our testing it’s possible to get over 70mpg).
Toyota has been building hybrids for over 25 years now and the expertise shows as the Corolla is very pleasant and relaxing to drive. In contrast to earlier Corollas, the interior is attractively styled and nicely made, and it’s a very easy car to live with. It’s quite good looking too, we think, and there’s more than enough space for a family in the back with decent head and knee room. The boot is absolutely enormous – there’s between 581 to 596 litres on offer, depending on the engine you choose, rising to around 1,600 litres with the seats folded.
The Corolla Touring Sports is a very rational car, but beware of the Suzuki Swace. It’s identical to the Toyota but comes with a set of Suzuki badges instead, and is noticeably cheaper to buy.
The Corolla is more interesting than its reputation would suggest
3. Volvo V60 Recharge
Our pick: V60 Recharge Plus T6 AWD
Price: Range from £51,970
Electric range: Up to 54 miles
Unlike most of the hybrid estate cars in this list, the V60 Recharge doesn’t lose anything when it comes to space compared to its petrol-powered sister versions. The batteries have been cleverly designed so that there’s no difference in boot space between petrol and hybrid models, meaning the V60 offers a very healthy 519 litres – that’s more than its key German rivals. The boot is well shaped, too, and there’s a handy divider to stop items rolling around.
In many ways the V60 offers virtually everything the V90 does in a slightly smaller package. So there’s the same discreet styling and well made, minimalist interior. There’s also the choice of T6 and T8 plug-in hybrids which all come with the same 14.7kWh battery, giving a claimed 54 miles of electric driving.
Again, like the V90, though, Volvo has decided to no longer offer its estate cars in the UK and to only sell buyers SUVs. At the time of writing Volvo still had V60s in stock, so if you want one – and we can see why you would – you’ll need to act quickly.
Hurry if you want one, as Volvo is killing off the estate
Other hybrid estate cars in this list have longer electric driving ranges, but none seem so complete at the BMW 330e Touring. It’s a car that can really do it all – it looks good in the company car park, it can easily accommodate the family dog, it handles well and (if driven properly) can be cheap to run.
Unlike the Volvo V60 Recharge, the 330e has a smaller boot than petrol and diesel versions of the 3 Series, but at 410 litres it’s still of a good size. There are also plenty of neat touches, too, like the rear window glass that can be opened separately from the boot, making it easy to throw in a couple of bags of shopping.
The 330e uses the same 2.0-litre engine as the petrol-powered 320i, but adds a 68bhp electric motor for a combined 288bhp. It's quick with 0-62mph taking less than six seconds, while its EV range is between 32 and 37 miles depending on spec. That's some way off the Mercedes C300e, but the 330 has lovely rear-wheel drive handling (there is a four-wheel drive xDrive version available if you need extra grip) and is entertaining to drive.
1. Skoda Superb Estate iV
Our pick: Superb iV SE L
Electric range: Up to 35 miles
From a purely logical perspective, if you want a hybrid estate car then you want one that has a big boot that can haul around lots of things, right? It's for that reason we love the Skoda Superb iV Estate as it has the largest boot of any hybrid we can think of.
There's a vast 510 litres of space on offer, but more than that the boot is very wide, it's of a good shape and the rear seats fold down flat. If you need to move things then the Superb is the car for you.
Aside from that, the interior is well made, the styling is tasteful, it's quiet and refined on the move, and it uses the tried and tested 1.4-litre plug-in hybrid set-up which other hybrid estate cars use in this list. That gives silent motoring up to 35 miles and the 26g/km of CO2 means it's good for company car drivers.
Like many carmakers, Skoda had problems sourcing components for its Superb and smaller Octavia hybrids in recent years. As such, the Czech firm has temporarily removed the Octavia from sale, and with a brand new Superb just around the corner, we presume has stopped the Superb iV PHEV altogether. There's still stock around, so if you need a big hybrid estate car look no further - or wait for the all new car, which promises to be even better.
Grab a bargain with the old car, or wait for the new?