DESPITE the continued growth of crossovers, small SUVs and medium sized people carriers and the like the good, old-fashioned estate car carries on regardless with no mainstream car maker daring not to have one in their model line-up.
There's also nothing old-fashioned about estate cars either because they have kept up with changing trends and most are now stylish looking, sophisticated and better to drive and ride in and with all the latest technology on board.
Their big plus factor though remains their interior space particularly when it comes to transporting huge amounts of luggage and other loads around and a prime example is the current and third generation Skoda Octavia Estate.
Capable of carrying five adults in comfort it's rear luggage space is a class-leading 610 litres - drop the rear seats down and this extends to a remarkable 1,740 litres, far more than any rivals.
In addition in the cabin there are innumerable storage places and cubby-holes making it ideal for families on the move or business users needing acres of interior room to carry their wares around.
The Octavia Estate has been around since 1998 and with Skoda now being part of the giant Volkswagen empire has inherited much of their technical know-how and mechanical hardware used in cars like the Golf.
With a wide range of VW inspired petrol and diesel engines on tap the Octavia Estate (and matching Hatchback) buyer can choose from a three-cylinder 1.0-litre 113bhp petrol engine right through to the out-and-out sports derivative vRS powered by a 2.0-litre developing 227bhp.
For those drivers wanting a bit more sure-footedness, such as those living in rural areas or those driving long miles of country roads in all weathers, then the Octavia Estate Scout is the answer.
Based on the mainstream SE trimmed model this 4x4 version looks quite similar to the rest of the range but it does have an extra 33mm of ground clearance and what Skoda calls a rough road package and it had the two-litre turbo diesel 182bhp engine under bonnet rather than the 148bhp version.
This includes engine and underbody stone guard ‘plates' fitted front and rear to cope with any unexpected rough road/track surfaces while the six-speed DSG on this car was simply a joy to use with its quick and responsive gear change up and down the gearbox.
In normal everyday driving conditions the car drives the front wheels only but once the car's electronics detects it's struggling for grip the rear wheels are automatically brought into play.
And it works too having driven the Scout over some severe hill tracks across the Yorkshire Moors in pouring rain as soon as it felt the car was losing out on grip and staying on track the 4x4 came into play.
This was quite effective and done so with such seamless transition allowing while overall the ride on this 4x4 was perhaps too firm for some drivers/passengers it did seem to soften up when driving at motorway speeds.
In terms of fuel economy the Scout returned an average of 49.8mpg over some 800 miles of quite varied driving, such as from heavy stop-start town work to out and out motorway driving.
Inside the cabin there's a distinct VW look about everything (i.e. lots of black trim finish) with solid if not spectacular but with easy to read dials/controls with a touch screen that straight from the Golf/Passat shelf which means it's easy and simple to use and with an excellent sat nav system. There's also plenty of decent leg and head space even in the rear seats for adults.
Looking at the standard specification on all Scout models and it's certainly impressive compared to rivals, both in-house and other rival outside car makers, and it includes 17-inch Polar alloy wheels, Alcantara and leather upholstery with good lumbar supporting seats both front and rear.
Also included in the basic package are cruise control, lane assist, LED daylight running lights plus various Scout designated logos, badging, door trims, side body mouldings in black and special front fog lights.
The asking price for this Scout Estate is Â£28,495 on the road and for those who wish to have a spare space saver wheel on board in case of a puncture Skoda charges Â£100 plus there's a special winter pack at Â£600 that includes heated washer nozzles, front windscreen and front seats.
Obviously the 4x4 has limited appeal in terms of numbers but for those looking for such a practical, comfortable and easy to drive estate with 4x4 available then it's a sensible choice and it represents good value for its money.