5 fast estates that cool Dads can drive without feeling embarrassed
If you are a cool Dad, and you loathe SUVs, these are some fast alternatives that you wouldn't be embarrassed to be seen in.
Imagine, you're in your mid-thirties, you have two children that need to go to school. You need a car to carry your kids to school, but you only have one parking space. Many parents would opt for an SUV, but as a petrolhead, you'd rather die than get into a boring, humdrum, uninspiring jacked-up hatchback.
That is why we have shortlisted a few estate cars that will not a) make you embarrassed and b) bore you to death. Hence why these are some of the most fun you can have, while capable of carrying two children, a wife and a dog in the boot.
1. Ford Mondeo ST220 Estate - £2,499
There was once a time when Ford made fast Mondeos because of their success in touring car championships. And often that would spawn some incredible crossbreeds, such as this Mondeo ST220 Estate.
Being the only one on sale currently in the UK, you would have guessed that Ford didn't exactly sell many of these fast wagons. But think about it - you're paying not much for essentially a car that's rarer than most of the cars on UK roads, is that cool or not? Plus, it drives well, it handles brilliantly, has an awesome howl from that Duratec V6 engine, and comes with a manual gearbox. Cheap cars don't get better than this.
2. Volvo 850R Wagon - £4,495
Back in the nineties, there was a time when British Touring Cars weren't allowed to have massive spoilers mounted on the boot. So Volvo being Volvo, hatched a plan. They just searched all over the rule books and found that the cars didn't strictly have to be a saloon, it can be something different, something that can gain advantage on the racetrack, something like a wagon. Which is why they've built the iconic 850 Wagon Touring Car. It was proven scientifically that it did generate more downforce than the normal saloon without a wing.
The 850 Wagon Touring Car wasn't that fast, but the pair of them did wow the audience, and it was a simple case of 'Win on Sunday, sell on Monday'. And so, Volvo launched the 850R in both estate and saloon form, with the 850R Wagon being the more desirable of the two.
All 850R come with an inline-five, turbocharged engine, partnered with either an four-speed auto or a manual. This one is an auto, but auto might be the better choice of the two, considering you'll mostly be doing school runs right, which means you'd most probably spend your time in front of a red light in a city somewhere. You wouldn't want to cramp your leg on the journey to school right?
3. Subaru Legacy Wagon - £4,995
We told you a few weeks back that the Subaru Legacy really is a hidden gem in the car community, it has the underpinnings of a rally car, an engine from a fast Subaru, and the looks which to this date, no Subaru can match. We call it the bargain of the century. (More on the Subaru here)
This particular Subaru had something better under the bonnet. Instead of the usual flat-four unit, it's got a better three-litre, flat-six engine. Which means low-end torque is going to be dramatically improved, power up top is going to be much better, and just a better package overall.
What makes this Subaru stands out, is that it's the only three-litre car in the UK with a manual in it, grab it while you can would you?
4. Audi RS6 Avant - £18,500
A list talking about wagons cannot be complete without some love to the Audi estate cars. Audi calls them 'Avant' to give it that posher name, but in truth, we know full well that it's a saloon with the extra bit at the back, just like any other wagons.
This Avant however is something of a marvel, and probably something we'd never see again in our lifetime. Because under the bonnet of this ginormous ship, is a five-litre, twin turbocharged V10 engine, which is somewhat similar to the ones you find in the Lamborghini Gallado and the Audi R8 V10, but doubly better because of the twin turbos.
What's better is that it comes in a full package, big brake kit, double clutch gearbox, the lot, so you shouldn't worry too much if your kids are late, it'll cruise along on the outside lane at 70mph comfortably, tailgating everybody in front.
5. BMW M5 Touring - £18,990
The twin-tubochargers in the Audi above might be cool and all, but what beats the beauty of a naturally aspirated engine singing at it's redline. What's better, when it's got ten cylinders to die for.
Jeremy once road tested this car on Top Gear, and he said that it's one of the best bang for buck cars he's ever driven. It feels alive, it goes as fast as the F430 of the time, only with two more doors. With this wagon version, you even got room for your doggy to come along with you on your journey, but be careful, because the dog is bound to get sick, experiencing the ferocious power.
This is truly the last of the breed, never will BMW ever produce a naturally aspirated V10 like they did in the bygone era, so might as well buy it before their prices go skywards.