Irvin Gordon’s Volvo P1800S is set to cement its place in the record books when it passes the three million mile mark this autumn.
Best large family cars to buy
Budget buy - Skoda Superb (estate or saloon) - £17,810-£30,910
Skoda has launched an estate version of the Superb, with prices starting at approximately £1,100 - £1,300 more than the hatch.
We like: huge, refined diesel engines, estate looks striking, sensible pricing
We don't like: feels heavy, might be too big for some people
Read our Skoda Superb review
Long-term test: Skoda Superb Estate
Affordable buy - SEAT Alhambra - £23,535-£32,590
Hot on the heels of the related VW Sharan, SEAT throws the covers off its new Alhambra seven-seat MPV.
We like: VW quality for SEAT price, vast and adaptable interior, clever seat folding system, punchy and refined engines
We don't like: size could be an issue, second row headroom, dull styling, big blind spots
Read our SEAT Alhambra review
Premium buy - BMW 5 Series Touring - £33,470-£49,905
BMW 5 Series Touring is now more practical and more capacious, but the star is the fine four-cylinder diesel. It's the cheapest new 5 Series engine, but also one of the best all-round.
We like: all-round competence, classy rear end, handy practicality, exceptional 520d diesel engine
We don't like: many suspension gadgets are optional, no stop-start on auto yet, Merc beats it for space
Read our BMW 5 Series Touring review
Volvo V70 - the quintessential family car
Ford Mondeo estate - great to drive and with enough space for the family
Mercedes C-Class Estate - a car you would never regret choosing.
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer - comfortable, a smart interior and good looks
0-£4k: Toyota Avensis Estate
The Toyota Avensis estate is a paragon of versatile, reliable motoring, only marred by minor issues. Expect competition for nice ones: don't walk away for the sake of a hundred-quid haggle.
We like: Avensis estate is huge. Two builders' sacks of garden rubbish will fit in the back if you're feeling abusive towards it. £4k buys a lot of car: sensible-mile D4D with all the toys if you look hard enough.
We don't like: woeful holes in sat nav data from new, so don't pay a premium. Update discs pop up on eBay. Some scratchy plastics inside and base trim is none too special.
£4k-£10k: Honda Accord Estate
Honda pulled out all the stops to advertise the 2002 Accord, and the car deserved every penny. The estate was a firm fleet favourite: the frugal CDTi diesel saving mucho Benefit-in-Kind tax for company car drivers.
We like: huge boot, big enough for Berkshire. Perky 2-litre petrol said to make 2.4 redundant, but diesel trounces both. My word, that boot is huge: a flat floor with one click of a button. Did I mention the boot?
We don't like: reports of excessive road noise, and cracked exhaust manifolds gassing occupants. Expensive non-warranty repair prices. Clever electric tailgate motors can fail: a complicated fix. Find a local specialist via owners forums.
£10k+: Mercedes E350 CDi Saloon/Estate
Despite a basic cost new of almost £40k before you add a single option, the '09 Mercedes E-Class 350 CDi saloon has just dropped below £20k used (09/58 with 60k miles). Estate prices are coming down, albeit not as hard as yet. With 50% of cost new already lost in depreciation on 4-doors, watch the 5-doors carefully.
We like: exceptionally quick 3-litre V6 diesel. 0-60 in just over 6 seconds and on to a limited top speed of 155mph, with a max of 47mpg in an ideal world. E350 Estate takes the E-Class back to top form: styling has presence.
We don't like: Smaller diesels look good on paper but some reports of failing injectors. Repairs wipe out the fuel savings. 350's mpg is respectable enough: give yourself some perks.
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