What's the most reliable estate car to buy for under £3k?

I need an estate car with a large boot space. It must be reliable, have good fuel economy and low tax. It must cost less than £3000.

I am currently a full time carer to my young son who has leukaemia so no work commute but also no income. I do a 3 mile round-trip to his school twice a day, 5 days a week, a 100 mile round-trip motorway run to his hospital a couple of times a month plus other varied use totalling around 3000 miles a year.

We live in a renovation project which means I regularly transport bulky materials and do tip runs so an estate car is essential.

Less than £100 per year road tax is ideal which does seem to rule out most petrol options. I think the regular hospital trips will give me enough heat to keep a DPF in good order, so a £35 road tax diesel seems to be the economic option and would also bring good fuel economy.

Everything in my budget will have significant mileage, so it needs to be something with a reputation for longevity, even if I won't be adding huge miles myself.

More than happy to compromise mod-cons and comforts in favour of ownership costs and reliabilty. I'm capable of fixing and maintaining things myself if that influences options at all.

I understand I'm asking a lot from my budget, but any help narrowing down my search criteria would be greatly appreciated.

What would you recommend?

Asked on 29 February 2024 by Rich

Answered by Andrew Brady
I think you might need to compromise on the low road tax requirement. An older diesel has the potential to throw up a big bill and wipe out any savings in road tax (and fuel) - especially if you don't cover many motorway miles. We'd recommend a Kia Cee'd Sportswagon with the 1.6 petrol engine. It's likely to be reliable and cheap to run.
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