Best cars for cyclists

A large boot and a roof rack are the basic requirements for the cyclist on the move. Here are eight cars that are up to the challenge

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Nov 12, 2020

Whether you’re into road cycling or mountain biking, chances are that you’ll require a car to transport your bike to the best cycle path or trail. Something practical and affordable, not to mention comfortable for the drive home after a long day in the saddle.

For some help, we turned to our friends at Cyclist magazine to see what they look for in a car. The answers were pretty conclusive: an estate car for the big boot, and decent roof bars for adding a bike rack. It’s as simple as that.

Modern SUVs might offer ample storage space in the boot - and potentially four-wheel drive and added off-road ability with some models - but it can be a pain to lift a bicycle onto the roof. Unless you carry a stepladder around with you, a handily placed tree stump might be your only answer. In short, we've focused on estate cars here, as you can't always count on a convenient tree stump or low wall to give you a leg up.

With the advice of Cyclist magazine in mind, we’ve pulled together a list of the best cars for cyclists, including five estate cars and three bike-friendly alternatives. And should none of these quite hit the spot, don’t forget to check out our guide to the best cars for mountain bikers, where we've included several off-roaders for mountain bikers who want to get closer to remote trails than a standard car could get them.

Best cars for cyclists

1. Skoda Fabia Estate

Used deals from £5,600
Monthly finance from £112

If you’ve watched any footage of the Tour de France in recent years, you’ll know that Skoda has a strong link with road cycling. This should come as no surprise, because Skoda started life as a bicycle manufacturer.

Today, it boasts a pretty impressive portfolio of some of the most practical and excellent value cars you can get, including the brilliant but underrated Skoda Fabia Estate. The boot offers 530 litres of luggage capacity in five-seat mode - far more than most cars of this size - or a massive 1,395 litres with the rear seats folded down. That’s enough for a couple of bikes with their front wheels removed.

Alternatively, you can opt for a lockable bicycle holder for the roof, which is used in conjunction with the aluminium roof bars. We’d recommend the SE model for its rear parking sensors, black roof rails, 6.5-inch touchscreen media system and air-conditioning. You even get an umbrella under the passenger seat, but that won’t be much use when you’re riding your bike.

SKODA FABIA BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Honda Civic Tourer

Used deals from £7,965
Monthly finance from £142

We’re big fans of the Honda Civic Tourer, so we’re surprised it didn’t sell as well as its hatchback counterpart. Not only does it look striking, but the boot offers an enormous 624 litres of luggage space, which is more than you’ll find in the Volkswagen Golf and Skoda Octavia equivalents.

There’s more, because there’s 117 litres of under-floor storage, and a maximum of 1,668 litres with the rear seats down. That’s more than enough for a couple of large bikes. Alternatively, the optional roof bars can carry a maximum of two bicycles.

There's another plus point for cyclists, too: Honda offered an in-car bicycle rack that's worth investing in, if you can find one. It uses an aluminium rail, sliding brackets and a T-bar to provide the ultimate storage setup for your bike. A driver and passenger can sit with two full-size bicycles mounted behind them, or you can mount one bike and retain seating for three people. It’s like having your own support vehicle.

HONDA CIVIC TOURER BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Dacia Logan MCV

Used deals from £5,491
Monthly finance from £109

There’s nothing fancy about the Dacia Logan MCV. Instead, Dacia has focused on providing the maximum amount of space for the minimum amount of cash. In fact, in terms of brand new cars it’s the cheapest estate car you can buy in Britain, so it’s ideal if you’d rather have some money left over to spend on your bike. That's especially true if you go for a used Logan MCV.

The boot offers an impressive 573 litres of luggage capacity with the rear seats in place, increasing to 1,518 litres with the seats down. It’s a useful space, aided by a wide opening and a flush loading lip.

We’d avoid the super-basic Access model, as the absence of air-conditioning might be an issue if you’re hot and sweaty after your ride. You don’t even get a radio. The spec on the other trims is more generous, but we’d recommend the Comfort versions for the seven-inch media system, sat-nav, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Since the Logan is so affordable, even these more luxurious versions shouldn't break the bank.

DACIA LOGAN MCV BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Skoda Octavia Estate

Used deals from £8,099
Monthly finance from £136

Wait, a second Skoda? Absolutely, and we offer no apology for featuring another Czech model. If practicality and value for money are your priorities, the Skoda Octavia Estate is hard to beat, largely thanks to its cavernous boot. We suspect a maximum of 1,740 litres of bike capacity with the rear seats folded down will be more than enough for most cyclists.

But there’s more to the Octavia than a big load area. It’s the little things that matter, like the torch in the boot, which could be handy if you’re late back from the trails. Some models come with heated front seats as standard, while heated rear seats are an option in others. Great for those early morning rides.

Accessories include a lockable bicycle rack for the roof, a bicycle carrier for the tow bar, and a fold-out boot mat if you decide to carry your bikes in the boot. There’s a sporty vRS model if you’re always in a hurry, and a rugged Scout version if you enjoy venturing off the beaten track.

SKODA OCTAVIA ESTATE BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Volkswagen Golf Estate

Used deals from £7,790
Monthly finance from £115

Although the Volkswagen Golf shares the platform it's built around with the Skoda Octavia, it can’t rival its larger Czech sibling when it comes to practicality. Still, with up to 1,620 litres of boot space available, we don’t think you’ll be feeling the squeeze.

Besides, the Golf trumps the Octavia in other areas, including a noticeable step up in terms of quality and the appeal of the Volkswagen badge. There’s also a flush boot floor, which can be lowered or removed for maximum versatility. Meanwhile, the low sill height means that loading bikes into the boot won’t be a struggle.

We’d recommend the Golf GTD, which offers similar styling to the Golf GTI, but with the lower running costs and improved fuel economy of a diesel. With a pair of bikes on the roof, you’ll look like you’re living with the dream. Thanks to BuyaCar, the dream could be much more affordable than you think - especially as this version of the Golf has now been superceded, meaning used prices are getting more and more affordable.

VOLKSWAGEN GOLF BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Vauxhall Corsa

Used deals from £4,295
Monthly finance from £87

No, we haven’t taken leave of our senses: the Vauxhall Corsa supermini is an excellent car for cyclists. We’re focusing on the previous-generation Corsa, which was available with an integrated two-cycle carrier.

Called the 'Flex-Fit', the system comprises a pop-out platform located behind the rear number plate. It’s deployed by pulling a handle in the boot to create a neat and simple solution for carrying bikes.

New, it was more expensive than most traditional bike carriers, but the clever system and robust design makes it worth seeking out on the BuyaCar website - especially as models with it are unlikely to cost much more than those that do without. Some Corsa owners may not even know it’s there!

VAUXHALL CORSA BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Citroen Berlingo

Used deals from £12,995
Monthly finance from £212

At 1,844-1,849mm in height, the Citroen Berlingo is a little tall for lifting bikes onto the roof - but you don’t have to. That’s because the boot is positively van-like. Well, it helps that the Berlingo happens to be based on a van.

It means that you can carry a full-size bike without having to twist the handlebars or remove a wheel, which makes this one of the best cars for cyclists. You’ll like the fact that the huge tailgate opens to reveal a very low loading lip, along with a handy shelter from the rain.

If you’re not afraid of heights, it’s possible to buy a bicycle carrier for the roof, too. Alternatively, you could opt for a carrier that mounts on the tow bar. Either way, you’ll never be short of space for bikes in a Citroen Berlingo - wherever you choose to load them.

CITROEN BERLINGO BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Mitsubishi L200

Used deals from £13,194
Monthly finance from £323

A double-cab pick-up is an excellent alternative to an estate car or SUV. Think about it: rather than creating a mess in the ‘living accommodation’, you can sling your bikes in the load area and drive home. Perfect whether you're on a road bike or a mountain bike that routinely gets covered in mud.

We’re speaking from experience here, as we recently carried four mountain bikes in the back of a Mitsubishi L200. On one trip, the bikes were loaded on top of each other under the load canopy. On another occasion, we removed the front wheels and stood the bikes upright, with the handlebars sticking out of the top section of the canopy. Perfect. Be aware that pick-ups are available with a variety of load covers - some of which are the same level as the top of the load bay, while others rise to the same level as the roof of the cabin - giving you more loading options.

The L200 is one of the toughest workhorses you can buy, but the latest version features the most car-like cabin to date - a great combination. Opt for the Barbarian X trim to enjoy luxuries like a heated steering wheel, heated seats, ambient lighting, Apple CarPlay and Alcantara seats.

MITSUBISHI L200 BUYERS' GUIDE

 

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