The 1980s saw the diesel car achieve mass acceptance throughout Europe, with enhanced refinement, more power and improved fuel economy.
For this week’s Top 3, Diesel Car turns back the clock to the decade of the Rubik Cube, rara skirts and Roland Rat to remember the top three diesel estates of the 1980s.
1. Austin Montego Countryman
The Austin Montego was Austin Rover’s solid, if unspectacular Cavalier rival. It was spacious and comfortable, but as a saloon, it found itself in a shrinking marker segment. That can’t be said for the Montego Countryman. The versatile estate, combined with a near-bulletproof Perkins diesel engine made the Countryman a big hit with families, especially with the optional seven seat layout. As reliable as the engine was, the same couldn’t be said of the bodywork and today the majority of Montegos have rotted away to nothing.
2. Peugeot 505 Estate
The 505 was classic Peugeot – big, classy and incredibly comfortable. Compared to the saloon, the Estate was massive for its day – almost three metres long – making it one of the most spacious cars on the market at the time. As well as the standard Estate there was also a version that offered a third row of seats, making it capable of seating eight, a real boon for bigger families and taxi drivers. A proper Peugeot, and no mistake.
3. Volvo 740 Estate
Ask someone to draw you a Volvo and the chances are they’ll sketch out a car that’ll look an awful lot like a 740. With its brutal, angular lines the 740 is quintessential Volvo. And, being a Volvo it’s well-built, spacious and safe. The 740 helped Volvo make significant inroads into the UK market and helped earn the company a first-rate reputation. It also ensured plenty of repeat customers for the Swedish marque, many of whom continue to buy Volvos to this very day.