Big car battle: is an SUV or an estate car best suited to your needs?

A man fixing a bike on top of a car
Space invaders: drivers seeking a spacious vehicle are often torn between an estate car or an SUV Credit: Getty

When it comes to space, SUVs and estate cars both pack a punch. But which is best suited to your needs?

It’s a perennial debate among space-loving, practicality-craving motorists. Do you opt for a large estate car or a sports utility vehicle (SUV)?

This is not an easy question to answer, as anyone who’s pondered it will confirm. But there are some considerations to bear in mind as you reach a decision. Here’s a list to help steer your choice.

1. Is an SUV or estate car better for boot space?

There is one thing that most people in the market for an SUV or estate car have in common. They need space, and lots of it.

Boot it: the Volvo V90 offers 560 litres of load space with the rear seats up Credit: Newspress

So one of the most important factors to weigh up is the load-carrying capability of the vehicle you’re looking at. Take the estate as a case in point: it offers 560 litres of load space with the rear seats up.

That sounds like a healthy amount of room for all your gear but compare it to the 775 litres on offer in the SUV and you’ll soon see the benefits of the larger body style.

In short, when it comes to maximising boot capacity, a large SUV is always likely to trump a standard estate car.

2. How many seats do you need?

This is a simple decision to make. If you need accommodation for up to seven people, you’ll be choosing a full-size SUV rather than an estate car.

Take a seat: if you need to accommodate a large family, an SUV like the Skoda Kodiaq is a good choice Credit: Newspress

There are loads of examples of the former offering this type of seating configuration, with cars such as the standing as perfect examples.

Meanwhile, there isn’t a single seven-seat estate car available in the UK market. Decision made.

3. What’s best for practicality?

SUVs like the offer seven-seat configuration and epic amounts of storage, but that’s not the whole picture when it comes to practicality.

Perfectly practical: make sure you don't compromise boot space with a seven-seat configuration Credit: Newspress

The boxy shape of many SUVs can make it difficult to make optimum use of the boot capacity and they’re not always the easiest vehicles to load.

An estate car such as the , meanwhile, offers an accessible boot area that is the perfect shape for loading up to the nines before hitting the road.

4. Is fuel economy better on an estate car or an SUV?

Thanks to their lower profile, lighter weight and cleaner lines, estate cars tend to be more economical than large SUVs.

Economy: estate cars tend to be more economical than SUVs, like the Land Rover Disovery Sport Credit: Newspress

The , for example, delivers an official combined fuel consumption figure of 40.7mpg in D150 AWD automatic guise.

Compare that to the 53.3mpg quoted for the and you’ll see the benefits of opting for a streamlined estate car when it comes to reducing fuel costs.

5. What offers the most go-anywhere ability?

This is where your deliberations become especially interesting. While the majority of SUVs come equipped with four-wheel drive, and the majority of estate cars are two-wheel drive, that’s not always the case.

Best of both worlds: if you want a balance between traction and affordability, try the Subaru Outback Credit: Newspress

You can buy a estate as an all-wheel drive. So it’s not as simple as choosing an SUV for its all-terrain abilities.

If you’re regularly traversing rough ground and need some clearance beneath the arches, a 4x4 SUV will be just the ticket. But if your predominant use is on-road, with an occasional field to slither across, a four-wheel-drive crossover estate such as the may offer the perfect balance between traction and affordability.

6. What makes you king of the road: an SUV or estate car?

Everyone knows that SUVs sit higher than conventional cars, offering enhanced visibility for drivers. But the trade off in comparison to an estate car is more ponderous handling and a bouncier ride.

Smooth ride: the Mercedes-Benz C Class offers estate-car refinement Credit: Newspress

All of which means you’re faced with a choice: go for the king-of-the-road stance of an SUV like the .

Provided you know the compromises associated with your decision, it’s unlikely you’ll end up regretting it.

The simplest way to drive a new car

Select Car Leasing is one of the UK's largest independent specialists for car leasing as well as business leasing.  They have been providing customers a cost effective, hassle-free way to lease cars and vans for more than 15 years.

Browse their extensive range of  here or simply speak to one of their expert leasing consultants on 0118 920 5130.