The modern estate car is light years away from the old. The boxy look and wallowly ride are gone. The fusty image of dog owners and antique dealers has been replaced with one that is more about a lifestyle vehicle for young, trendy families or sports and leisure enthusiasts.
Estate cars are being portrayed as the new lifestyle vehicles and are attracting customers who would previously have owned SUVs.
Volvo has long been the purveyor of big, safe estate cars for the middle classes but the Volvo Concept Estate recently shown at Geneva is a glimpse of the future of the estate car and there is nothing boxy about it at all.
While estate cars have never been as popular in the UK as they have been in other markets, the tide appears to be turning.
There has been a similar increase in interest across Volkswagen Group owned brands here that offer a number of estate models like the Audi A6 Avant, SEAT Leon Sports Tourer, Volkswagen Passat Estate and SKODA Octavia Combi.
In addition tougher emissions laws and increasing road taxes there is a move towards something with the practicality of an SUV and the frugality of a saloon car and the estate car seems to be filling that void.
With the surge in popularity of SUVs and MPVs over recent years, it seemed that the estate car was dead and buried. But with the help of new names like “sportswagon” and “sports tourer” and swish new styling it’s fair to say that the humble estate car has mastered a huge rebranding – without a whiff of l’eau du Labrador.
17th April, 2014