Looking for a fast estate car that you don’t need to flog a kidney to buy? Check out our pick of the best cheap and affordable fast estate cars…
Ford Mondeo ST220
On the face of it, a Mondeo estate is never going to be the last word in sporting prowess or handling precision. But don’t write the idea off just yet… the aftermarket is surprisingly keen on these cars, there’s plenty you can do to sharpen up the chassis – and if you get yourself an ST220, you’ll find yourself enjoying a creamy 3.0-litre V6 with 224bhp, along with a highly-specced interior. Prices for these stealthy bruisers start at around £1,700, which is stonking good value for a 150mph car.
Alfa Romeo 156 GTA Sportwagon
The GTA badge on this car is a bit silly, as the A stands for ‘Alleggerita’, which means ‘lightened’ – whereas the GTA Sportwagon was actually a fair chunk heavier than a stock 156. Nevertheless, it came packing a 3.2-litre V6 and stiffened-up suspension; if you swap the crap original diff for the better Q2 unit, you’ve got a slab-sided pocket-rocket on your hands. 250bhp, 155mph, and you can pick one up these days for around £7,500 – not exactly bargain-basement, but not M5 money either.
Mitsubishi Legnum VR-4
The Legnum is the estate version of the Galant, and the VR-4 has proper rally pedigree. Quite why Mitsubishi decided to cram the guts of their über-saloon into an estate car is something known only to themselves, but we should be very glad that they did. The Legnum VR-4 boasts a twin-turbo 3.0-litre 24v V6 producing 276bhp, along with Active Yaw Control from the Lancer Evo, lovely Recaro seats, and much more besides. Ridiculously, you can get all of this for under £5,000.
Volkswagen Passat R36
It may look like the sensible Passat estate that your elderly neighbour’s been taking his grass clippings to the tip with, but the R36 has a 296bhp 3.6-litre VR6 and a DSG ’box, along with 4Motion all-wheel-drive. How nuts is that? Brilliantly, there are plenty of importers bringing R36 wagons over from Japan and flogging them off cheap – so if you can twist your insurer’s arm that this is a good idea, you can pick up a tidy R36 for a smidge over £5,000. Imagine that.
Subaru Legacy 3.0R Spec B
It’s easy to overlook the Legacy, because when you think of hot Subarus it’s natural to immediately gravitate toward the Impreza. But the Legacy estate hides a secret in GT-B Spec B form: its 242bhp flat-six (yes, not a flat-four, a flat-six) is mated to the six-speed manual from the Impreza STi in place of the Legacy’s usual autobox, which impressively knocks a full two seconds off the 0-62mph time, down to 6.6 seconds. The wagon’s also got Bilstein suspension, huge brakes, and an LSD. The engine and 4WD setup is effectively a 911 Carrera 4 installed the other way around, and yet you can buy a 3.0R Spec B for £4,000. Which is insane, frankly.
Words Dan Bevis