Whether you’re driving in the remotest location known to man or walking through a busy city centre, you’re bound to see an SUV. Their supreme ride height and ‘increased safety levels’ supposedly make them the perfect family car. But does anyone really need a huge 4×4?
When driving on your local roads or venturing further afield into the country, you’ll notice some hefty road damage. Flying over this in a hatchback is uncomfortable at best and may shatter your alloy at worst, in an SUV this is never a worry. So, does an increased level of comfort warrant a huge car? We believe an All-terrain estate can offer the practicality of the SUV but with reduced running costs throughout your ownership.
The majority of car makers who offer an estate also offer an ‘off-roading version’, these vary greatly however, between adding some plastic skirting to prevent scuffs on the paint or a dedicated all-wheel drive system and beefy new suspension. The benefits of an estate are huge, they’re far less imposing on the road than an SUV, you can put your foot down without the risk of body roll taking you into a ditch, and often, the off-roading capability is more than enough for daily life.
Steve from Finance My Motor Car said, ‘I love estate cars, they’re practical, good looking and economical. They make the ultimate motorway cruisers!’
The Mercedes E-Class All Terrain is a perfect example of an estate car to rival an SUV, it offers decent off-road capability, a vast 640-litre boot and a huge amount of technology. The car is then powered by a diesel V6, its easy nature means you forget it’s even there as you waft down the road on air suspension. At £58,000 it’s hardly cheap, however compared to the base spec GLE Mercedes, the closest SUV option, it works out at about £10,000 less than the behemoth.
The Subaru Legacy Outback started the All-Terrain estate in 1994 with a car that was as comfortable in a field as it was on the motorway. Since then the Audi A6 Allroad and Volvo V70 Cross Country have joined the market and subsequently taken over. Practicality is key to these cars, gargantuan boots, low loading sills and a refined driving experience really make you question if an SUV is really needed in the modern world; apart from the Range Rover obviously! Estates cater to family life perfectly with reduced running costs, long distance comforts and performance to match the majority of cars available today.