Which petrol estate cars would you recommend for reliability, fuel economy and performance on a £12,000 budget?

I want to buy a petrol estate car, manual, up to 5 years old on a budget of £12,000. I'm looking for something reliable and economic, but also fun to drive. The current short list is a 2012 - 2013 Ford Focus ST Estate 2.0 petrol, a 2014 SEAT Leon ST Estate 1.4 TSI 138, a 2015 Peugeot 308 SW estate 1.2 130 and a 2014 Honda Civic Tourer 1.8. Which cars would you recommend?

Asked on 21 February 2017 by Robertas

Answered by Honest John
Nothing wrong with the Honda Civic 1.8 i-VTEC Tourer apart from looks, and the strongest engine here. Should do more than 40mpg as well (I got 48). The 1.2 Puretech 130 in the Peugeot 308 is excellent. 230Nm makes is punchy up hills and I averaged 49mpg over 12,000 miles in one. No reports of any problems with this engine as yet. The 1.4 TSI in the SEAT Leon depends on whether it is chain or belt cam because the quality of the chains turned out to be variable and unpredictable. The Ford Focus ST has Ford's tough old chain cam 2.0 litre engine with a turbo good for 250PS (and good enough fore the Jaguar XE) but on the early ST models the behaviour of the electronic diff was so inconsistent we switched it off.
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