Published on Thursday 27 August 2020 in Car news
Looking for a really big boot with your next family car? With plenty of families planning staycations and UK holidays this year, being able to pack everything you'll need into your car is more important than ever. Vanarama's Jonathan Crouch takes look at your options.
You know it's like when you've a family to carry about – there's never enough room in the boot. But to some extent, you can address that problem with careful choosing of your next family car. Not all manufacturers prioritise cargo capacity and you don't necessarily need to get yourself an SUV or MPV to get really flexible space for luggage. If for you, packages are as great a priority as people, here are a few cars I'd recommend you check out as leasing options.
Skoda Octavia Estate
If you like the concept of three-for-two and more-for-less, then you should like the idea of a Skoda Octavia Estate because basically what you're getting here is a medium-sized estate for the cost of a compact-sized one. This Czech contender offers a 640-litre boot – and that's before you start folding the seats. If you do that, you'll extend capacity to 1,700-litres. This is all thanks to the fact that this latest fourth generation version of this car is 22mm longer than the previous model – and 50mm wider, hence its 30-litre increase in luggage capacity.
Inside, the cabin's now much classier and Passat-like, with most models getting a 10-inch central infotainment display. Engine-wise, probably the best option is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel. In the Vanarama Cars 'Offers' section, you'll find a 2.0 TDI 'SE L' Octavia Estate variant with DSG auto transmission at a very affordable monthly rate.
What about a family-sized SUV with decent boot space? Well here I'm going to raise an option you might not have considered, the Mercedes GLB. For some time, the market has offered mid-sized SUVs with seven seats from volume brands, but if you wanted a Crossover of this kind with a premium badge, there was only the Land Rover Discovery Sport.
The Mercedes GLB takes on the Discovery directly offering up to three rows of seats and a very practical cabin. There's 560-litres of cargo capacity in the five-seat model – that's 140-litres more than you'd get in an Audi Q5. And you can increase this by lowering the 40:20:40-split backrest to free up as much as 1,755-litres. In the seven-seat GLB variants, the third row chairs fold flat into the floor when they're not in use.
The GLB uses the same powerplant you'll find in other compact Mercedes models, which means that the starting point for the line-up is provided by 1.3-litre petrol turbo engine borrowed from the A-Class and badged 'GLB 200'. It puts out 163hp and offers decently peppy performance.
In the our offers section, you'll find a GLB 200 'AMG Line Edition' variant with auto transmission at a very affordable monthly rate.
Skoda Superb Estate
Skoda really is a go-to brand if you need to lease a car with a big boot – and the Superb Estate is the biggest of the company's estate options. You get 660-litres of space with the seats up and a huge 1,950-litres when the rear bench is folded down. The current model is based on the third generation Superb design and was significantly updated towards the end of 2019, with smarter looks and the option of a Plug-in Hybrid 'iV' variant. This electrified derivative claims to be able to provide up to 35 miles of all-electric WLTP-rated driving range, as well as a WLTP combined cycle fuel figure of more than 200mpg.
For most drivers though, I'd recommend the 2.0 TDI diesel. This engine can be had offering either 122, 150 or 190PS. The 150PS version offers a manual or auto choice; otherwise, you have to have DSG auto transmission. In our 'Offers' section, you'll find a Superb Estate 2.0 TDI 150PS DSG with mid-range 'SE L' trim at a rate you'll find difficult to beat.
Mercedes E-Class Estate
It's a bit of a 'Top Trumps'-style questions isn't it? What is the biggest estate car on the market? Well if you want the answer, this is it, the Mercedes E-Class Estate. Unlike its rivals, the BMW 5 Series Touring, the Audi A6 Avant, the Volvo V90 and the Jaguar XF Sportbrake, this station wagon version of the E-Class hasn't adopted a swept-back silhouette that compromises its luggage compartment. So it easily beats its rivals when it comes to cargo capacity, offering 670-litres of it with all the seats in place. Fold the rear bench and you can increase that to 1820-litres.
A neat touch is the way that the rear bench seat has a cargo-related functionality feature which makes it possible to position it at a 10-degree steeper angle. This creates an extra 30-litres of cargo volume but you'll still be able to make full use of all five seats. That could make the difference between being able to get all your suitcases in on an aircraft airport run - or having to leave one at home or put it on the roof.
The rear bench has a 40:20:40- split as standard, so you can poke long items like skis through between two rear-seated occupants. And if you've a large family and don't fancy the idea of a seven-seat People Carrier or SUV, there's the option of a fold-out third row of chairs for the estate compartment.
This tenth generation E-Class Estate has recently been lightly facelifted, with softer re-shaped headlights that feature full-LED beams, plus there's a re-styled grille. More significantly, the cabin gets the brand's latest MBUX infotainment system with its clever "Hey Mercedes" voice-activated functionality. And under the bonnet, there's wider provision of mild hybrid technology for the engines on offer, which start with the entry-level E 200 petrol variant.