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Paris Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

Paris Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

Paris Motor Show 2016: the best practical carsWild concepts and crazy supercars might grab the headlines in Paris, but back in the real world, what are the cars you might be driving in 2017? We’ve selected some of the best practical cars at the 2016 Paris Motor Show.

Skoda KodiaqParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

A decade or so ago, it would have been crazy to start a motor show round-up gallery with a Skoda, but it just goes to prove how far the Czech brand has travelled. Without question, the Kodiaq SUV is one of the star attractions at the Paris Motor Show – it’s a car you know will sell like very hot cakes. The large off-roader was actually unveiled in Berlin earlier this month, but this is the first time the Kodiaq has been shown to the public.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive, but then the Kodiaq ticks a lot of very important boxes. It’s an SUV, so it enters a growing market; it’s a Skoda, so value is virtually guaranteed; plus it will be offered with a choice of either five or seven seats. It also helps that it looks cracking, especially under the bright lights of the Paris show. Bank on paying upwards of £23,000 when it goes on sale later this year.

Land Rover DiscoveryParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

Do not adjust your set, this is indeed the new Land Rover Discovery. Much has changed since the first generation ‘Disco’ was launched in 1989 and the new one looks like a larger Discovery Sport. But is that necessarily a bad thing? After all, the Evoque and Discovery Sport are two of the most popular premium SUVs on the planet.

The Discovery had to change, of course. Faced with strong competition in the form of the Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7, the new Discovery has emerged with a fresh new look, a range of more efficient engines and improved technology. Prices start from £43,493 for the base Discovery S, but if you’re quick you can get your hands on a First Edition, priced at £62,695. Only 600 are coming to the UK.

Peugeot 3008Paris Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

As expected, Peugeot is putting on quite a show at its home motor show, with the 3008 likely to be one of its most popular new models. It’s no coincidence that the new 3008 looks more SUV than it does MPV, because people carriers are like so yesterday, darling. The new 3008 is chunkier than before, with a raised right height adding a modicum of off-road ability.

The new Peugeot 3008 is actually smaller than the outgoing model, but thanks to a longer wheelbase there’s more space inside. It shows, because the cabin feels spacious, while the boot can swallow 520 litres of family life. Throw in a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines, plus some class-leading technology, and we think the 3008 has what it takes to give the Nissan Qashqai a bloody nose.

Honda CivicParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

Before the show got underway, the SMMT (Social of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) put on a display of British-built cars beneath the Eiffel Tower, one of which was the new Honda Civic. It’s fair to say that not everyone has welcomed the new styling, although it certainly stands out.

You may or may not like the exterior, but you’ll almost certainly appreciate the interior. The new cabin is a huge step forward, with a more premium feel and a semi-freestanding infotainment system. This is a big car for Britain, with the Swindon plant expected to build some 160,000 Civics a year, many of which will be exported around the world.

Audi Q5Paris Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

This is a big deal for Audi, with the Q5 pushing even more upmarket and introducing a style that’s more in line with the Q7. The new Q5 switches from the MQB to the MLB platform, making it up to 90kg lighter than the outgoing model. Five engines will be available at launch, while a hot RS Q5 will follow in 2017.

Other big news from Paris includes the availability of air suspension – a first for the Q5 – along with LED rear lights and a future plug-in hybrid model. In common with other Audi generation changes, the styling is more evolutionary than revolutionary, but when parked side by side, we reckon the new Q5 will make the outgoing model look and feel a bit frumpy.

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

The humble people carrier is dead? Not according to Vauxhall, which has just refreshed its popular Zafira Tourer. The Opel-badged cars on show in Paris showcase a new, mildly refreshed face, which to our eyes is less appealing than before. Not that this matters, because the big news is on the inside.

The Zafira Tourer now boasts Vauxhall’s rather excellent OnStar personal assistant, while the clever Flex7 seating remains its standout feature. Aside from that it’s largely as you were. This truly is the mildest of midlife facelifts; a case of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. If you fancy a ‘new’ Zafira Tourer, you’re in luck, because they go on sale from the 1st October.

Renault AlaskanParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

The Renault Alaskan is to the Nissan Navara what the Fiat Fullback is to the Mitsubishi L200. In other words, it’s a thoroughly Japanese pick-up that’s been treated to a European makeover. The pick-up market is buoyant, so it’s little wonder Renault has chosen to enter this part of the light commercial vehicle sector for the first time.

Thanks to that huge badge at the front, it certainly looks like a Renault, and the engines will be familiar, too. In the UK at least, we expect the Alaskan to be powered by the same 2.3-litre turbodiesel engine found in the Renault Master van. If you like what you see – and we certainly do – the Alaskan is expected to arrive in the UK in the first half of 2017.

Peugeot 5008Paris Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

Wait, haven’t we featured this already? Actually, no, that was the Peugeot 3008. This is the 5008, Peugeot’s response to the Kodiaq. In other words, this is Peugeot’s new seven-seat SUV, which looks a whole lot better than the outgoing 5008.

It’s a cracking looking thing, especially at the rear, which is dominated by those claw-like lights and a rather striking design. Inside you’ll find a new i-Cockpit system, which is Peugeot’s version of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, but with a French twist. It’s totally driver-focused and includes an 8-inch touchscreen and 12.3-in digital cluster. If this is the future of the MPVSUV, we rather like it.

Mitsubishi OutlanderParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has been treated to a makeover, with a new EV priority switch, designed to keep the car in electric mode when required. You’ll also find an electric handbrake and auto hold function, plus support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This is a welcome addition, because the current Outlander isn’t blessed with the greatest of infotainment systems.

The Outlander diesel now gets a PHEV-style full length console with electric handbrake, smartphone link and a host of new safety features. The new Mitsubishi Outlander diesel will arrive in the UK at the end of 2017.

Audi A5/S5 SportbackParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

If the Audi A5 coupe is a little too cramped for your liking, Audi has a ready-made answer in the form of the new A5 Sportback. Available as both an A5 and a sportier S5, the cars boast an additional two doors, as well as more cabin space.

The Sportback is 17mm longer than the coupe and it’s fair to say it’s not as attractive as the three-door version. But on the plus side, the cabin is noticeably larger, with more shoulder space and knee room, plus an additional 15 litres of luggage space.

Mitsubishi ASXParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

Ahead of its imminent launch, the Mitsubishi ASX has sharpened up its act with an interpretation of the so-called ‘Dynamic Shield’ visual identity. Highlights include a revised front bumper, chrome streaks and an upper grille that connects with the headlights. It’s a good look, right?

Other features include a shark fin antenna, more supportive rear seats and a new 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine. You can order your new ASX in either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.

Suzuki SX4 S-CrossParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

The Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is a much improved car, although the jury is still out over the new face. Look beyond that ‘Vanden Plas’ grille and you’ll find the brilliant 1.0-litre Boosterjet engine, which replaces the old 1.6-litre unit. It’s a terrific engine: eager to rev hard when the mood takes you, but frugal when the mood doesn’t.

In common with other Suzukis, you get the impression you’re getting far more for your money. It might be a credible rival to the Nissan Qashqai, but the pricing structure is more in line with the Juke. And it’s well-equipped, too. Prices start from below £15,000 and the SX4 S-Cross is available from October.

Renault KoleosParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

The Renault Koleos has made its European debut in Paris and the big news is, it’s coming to the UK. It is to the Nissan X-Trail what the Renault Kadjar is to the Nissan Qashqai. In other words, the Renault shares its platform with its Japanese counterpart, with the Koleos receiving a French makeover.

To our eyes, the Koleos is more appealing than the X-Trail, especially in the range-topping Initiale Paris trim shown here at the show. Renault is promising class-leading space for passengers and the latest four-wheel drive technology. It’s set to go on sale in the UK in summer 2017, by which time we should know more about the engines, specs and prices.

Practically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Practically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Practically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000Given the popularity of crossovers and SUVs, you’d be forgiven for thinking the humble estate car has had its day. But we’re hear to fly the flag for the traditional load-lugger, which is why we’ve assembled a list of great estate cars you can buy for £5,000. All you need is a labrador to go with the car.

Definitive: Volvo 240Practically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

When aliens land on Planet Earth and demand to see an example of the definitive estate car, this is what they’ll be shown. The Volvo 240 is the archetypal wagon – big on space, big on practicality, big on safety. You won’t even need to spend the entire £5k budget, because prices start from a few hundred notes. Our pick: the 240 GLT.

Style: Alfa Romeo 159 SportwagonPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Estate cars have no right to look this good. The Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon is the antithesis of the Volvo 240 – achingly beautiful to look at and just as great to drive. On the flip side, it’s not the most spacious estate car in the world, so your dog and rear seat passengers may prefer the big Swede to the pert Italian.

Rural life: Subaru OutbackPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Some folk will tell you, with some justification, that the Subaru Outback is hamstrung by a naff interior and high running costs. But don’t let that put you off, because when it comes to off-roading and withstanding a lifetime of abuse, these things are peerless. Quite simply, if you live in the country, the Subaru Outback has to be on your shortlist.

 

Space: Mercedes-Benz E-Class EstatePractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

The W211 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate is not without its problems, so you’re advised to do your homework before parting with £5,000. But if you’re after a cavernous load area, sumptuous interior and rock-solid image, this makes a great deal of sense. Also available as a seven-seater.

 

Compact: Skoda Fabia EstatePractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Not everybody needs to carry a grandfather clock or ferry half a dozen labradors, which is why cars like the Skoda Fabia Estate are so appealing. What it gives up in terms of load capacity, it makes up for in terms of convenience, value for money and low running costs. It’s like a Volkswagen Polo wagon and you’ll be able to afford anything up to a 2010 model. Also available as the rugged-looking Scout.

 

No frills: Dacia Logan MCVPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

If you fancy something nearly-new, your best bet is the Dacia Logan MCV. Buy new and you can drive away in a base-spec Logan for £6,995, but we’d suggest opting for a used example with a few bells and whistles. It’s hardly plush, but the Logan MCV offers a huge 573 litres of boot space, extending to 1,518 with the seats folded flat. Quick confession: the cheapest we can find are just over the £5,000 mark. Time to start haggling…

 

Lifestyle: Lexus IS300 SportCrossPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Once upon a time, we all knew where we stood. A spade was a spade and an estate car was an estate car. But then the carmakers started being all fancy dan with their Sport Wagons, Sport Tourers and Tourings. Lexus got in on the act with its IS300 SportCross, which added a touch more practicality over the saloon. It might have a mere 340 litres of luggage space below the parcel shelf, but with the seats folded it can carry up to 2.6m in length. The IS300 SportCross looks superb and drives as well as the saloon.

Performance: Volvo 850 T-5RPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

The Volvo 850 T-5R sticks two fingers up at convention. Who says you can’t have a boot the size of Watford yet still have the potential to keep up with a sports car? Volvo turned to Porsche to show a new racier side, with the Stuttgart wizards assisting with the engine tuning, transmission and interior. Top speed was limited to 155mph and 60mph was polished off in under six seconds. A modern classic? We think so.

Rallying: Subaru Impreza WRX Estate

Practically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000Perhaps it’s us, but we always found the wagon version of the Subaru Impreza WRX a little less baseball cap and branded rally jacket than the saloon. It presents a more grown-up, sensible personality and yet still retains the same outstanding cross-country pace. It won’t be cheap to run, but it should prove to be reliable.

Classic: Mercedes-Benz W123 TPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

It says something about the enduring appeal of the Mercedes-Benz W123 T that you might struggle to find a good one for less than £5,000. They do exist and your search will be rewarded with a cavernous boot, potential for seven seats and what is one of the best-engineered cars of the 20th century. Alternatively, it’s worth considering its successor – the W124.

 

Budget: Citroen ZX EstatePractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

On a strict budget? Not keen to spend the entire £5,000 on a car? You need something utterly unfashionable, cheap to run and highly practical. The Citroen ZX Estate should fit the bill, especially in super-frugal diesel guise. Spend a few hundred notes buying one and if it dies, simply buy another one. Simple.

 

Wildcard: Chrysler 300C TouringPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

You know us, we love to throw a couple of wildcards into the mix and the Chrysler 300C Touring is about as wild as you can get for this money. A Mercedes-sourced 3.0-litre V6 diesel should provide some reassurance and acceptable fuel economy, while the 630 litres of boot space means it’s surprisingly practical. You’ll also find the 300C to be well-equipped.

 

Volvo V70Practically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Weirdly, the Volvo V70 isn’t as spacious as its German rivals, so if space is your final frontier, you’d be better off with the A6 Avant, E-Class Estate or 5 Series Touring. But nobody does estate cars quite like Volvo and the V70 is one of the most comfortable cars in its class. For a dash of performance, the V70R is worth hunting down. That’s if you can keep up.

 

Veyron wagon: Volkswagen Passat W8Practically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Could this be the world’s greatest Q-car? Underneath that Colin-from-accounts exterior lies the beating heart of a W8 engine, which makes this a Bugatti Veyron for the family (of sorts). With a mere 275hp on tap and a heavy four-wheel drive system, the performance is best described as brisk, but we can’t help but adore the W8. We just haven’t got the guts to take the plunge. Have you?

If it’s good enough for the Queen: Jaguar X-Type EstatePractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

If it’s good enough for Her Majesty, it’s good enough for you. For some reason, the X-Type Estate has a far better image than that of the saloon version and we happen to think it is ageing rather well. Opt for the all-wheel drive version and you’ll be equipped for all weathers.

Golf GTI estate: Skoda Octavia vRSPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Fancy a Volkswagen Golf GTI estate? Sadly, this budget won’t stretch to a Golf R Estate, which means the Skoda Octavia vRS is the next best thing. Opt for the Mk1 Octavia vRS with its 1.8-litre turbocharged engine and your budget will ensure you have the pick of the crop. The Mk2 is arguably a better all-rounder, whilst benefiting from the option of a diesel version.

All-rounder: Ford MondeoPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

The Ford Mondeo is so good, it’s a wonder why people consider buying anything else. Cliche alert: this thing ticks all of the boxes. The boot is huge, the cabin is spacious, it’s dynamically sorted and it’s also, depending on spec, very well-equipped. A candidate for all the estate car you could ever need? Sorry, that’s two cliches in quick succession.

Reliability: Honda AccordPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

But we do accept that not everybody wants to drive a Ford Mondeo, which is why cars like the Honda Accord exist. Why should you be interested? Well, for a start, the Accord is regarded as being one of the most reliable cars in the world. Secondly, it’s packed full of gadgets. Thirdly, the not-so-small matter of 626 litres of boot space.

 

Not a crossover: Audi AllroadPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

The Audi Allroad wasn’t the first off-road estate car, but it helped to define the sector. Today, the A4 and A6 Allroad are welcome antidotes to the march of the crossover. Along with the Volvo V70 XC, this is where the whole premium off-road estate car thing began. Good ones aren’t cheap, but the image is rock-solid.

 

Still not a crossover: Skoda Octavia ScoutPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Here’s another car that retains its value surprisingly well. Or is it a surprise, given the Octavia Scout’s reputation for reliability, practicality and off-road capability? Owners love these things.

Not German: Citroen C5 TourerPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Remember the television ads for the Citroen C5? ‘Unmistakably German, made in France’, or words to that effect. We’re not quite sure what Citroen was hoping to achieve with this approach, but the C5 Tourer remains one of the best looking estate cars you can buy. What’s more, the diesel engines are excellent, contributing to what is a terrific long-distance cruiser. They also depreciate like a stone, which is good news if you’re buying used.

 

Club door: MINI ClubmanPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

The all-new MINI Clubman might be a better car than its predecessor, but we’ll always have a soft spot for the original. There’s something rather British about the styling, although that ‘club door’ is a nuisance over here. If you’re looking for something more distinctive than the regular MINI and aren’t too fussed about a massive load area, the Clubman holds strong appeal.

 

Swede dreams: Saab 9-5Practically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Saab’s unfortunate demise has led to plummeting secondhand values, which is good news if you’re looking to buy a 9-5 Estate. There’s a network of Saab specialists to call upon, while original parts are in plentiful supply. The 9-5 is spacious, comfortable, well-equipped and, in Aero guise, properly quick.

 

Space and image: Audi A6 AvantPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

We conclude with three estate cars that will probably account for the majority of shortlists up and down the land. Take the Audi A6 Avant, which benefits from a massive load area, an extremely good interior and the kind of image many rivals can only dream of.

 

The home banker: BMW 3 Series TouringPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

If, on the other hand, you’re not prepared to sacrifice driving dynamics in favour of practicality, the BMW 3 Series Touring is hard to beat, especially in 330d guise.

Home banker, but larger: BMW 5 Series TouringPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Or, if you’re after a little more space, the BMW 5 Series Touring is great to drive, well screwed together and, if equipped with EfficientDynamics gubbins, super-frugal.