As any parent will testify, if you’ve got children, your choice of car is critical. Aside from the practicality requirements of transporting children, there are the little things to consider. A harsh ride will make the kids feel ill, as will small windows, which increase the claustrophobic feel of the rear cabin. Then there are entertainment options to consider, because the last thing you’ll want is a long journey being continuously punctuated with “are we nearly there yet?”.
Thankfully, Motors.co.uk is here to lend a hand. We’ve rounded up the best family cars from each market sector, to make your next road trip a more pleasurable experience, whatever your budget.
Budget – Dacia Duster from £9,495
Dacia has made a name for itself in the UK with its budget offerings. The cheapest version of the Duster only offers two-wheel-drive, but you can get your hands on a 4X4 version for an additional £2000. While the Duster is a cheap, cheerful and a very basic option, it does offer impressive boot space to carry all the road trip essentials.
Mid-range – Land Rover Discovery from £39,990
A somewhat pricey option, but the talented Discovery offers a lot of the luxury found in its bigger brother, the Range Rover. Aside from a large boot and the option of seven seats, tasty extras include eight-inch TV screens in the back to keep the kids entertained, as well cooler boxes to keep drinks and snacks refrigerated.
Blow the Bank – Mercedes G-Class from £83,805
Some may find the image a turn-off, but there’s no doubt the leviathan ‘G-wagon’ would make for quite a family car. Aside from multi-contoured and air conditioned seats, the G-Class is loaded with hi-tech kit, including DVD playes and radar-guided cruise control, which will take the sting out of those motorway miles. With so much bodywork around you, you’ll feel invincible on the road, too.
Budget – Skoda Fabia Estate from £11,215
As with most budget options, this Skoda is fairly basically equipped. The only entertainment system on offer is a standard CD/Radio with MP3 connectivity. However, it is reasonably commodious for such a small car, and a combination of nippy handling and a combined 67.3mpg fuel economy will be enough to put a smile on dad’s face.
Mid-range – Ford Mondeo Estate from £17,245
The Mondeo Estate is a great all-rounder. It boasts a 537-litre luggage capacity while the seats are upright – perfect for carrying a lot of luggage. A decent range of engines is available too, giving you the option to choose between the fastest, the most efficient or something in between. Whichever you choose, you’re guaranteed a cracking driving experience and commendable long-distance comfort.
Blow the Bank – Jaguar XF Sportbrake from £31,945
The stunning looks of Jaguar’s XF saloon transfer well onto the Sportbrake estate version. With the option of heated and cooled soft grain leather seats and dual-zone automatic climate control, as well as a supple ride, drivers are guaranteed superior comfort no matter how long the journey. We’d recommend the supercharged 5.0-litre V8 of the banzai XFR-S version, though a 3.0-litre V6 diesel is also available, which is less likely to melt your credit card at the pumps.
Budget – Citroen C3 from £8,995
The C3 is a relatively small car, but would have no trouble transporting a family of four. Thanks to its diddy size this Citro?n can deliver impressive fuel economy. And there’s a panoramic ‘zenith’ retractable sunroof – perfect for those summer trips.
Mid-range – Ford Focus from £13,995
A standout car in its class, the Focus is a hatchback that appeals to drivers, with its composed handling and a range of powerful yet frugal engines – including Ford’s excellent new 1.0-litre EcoBoost unit. That’s not to say it’ll be useless for families as it offers sufficient passenger room and luggage space.
Blow the Bank – Ferrari FF from £227,000
Ferrari may prefer the term ‘shooting brake’ but the FF – standing for Ferrari Four – is technically a hatchback. It’s also the first Ferrari model to offer four-wheel-drive, which makes it the perfect winter wheels, or so you can try and convince your better half. Best not to mention running costs, though, as its mighty 6.3-litre V12 engine is rather thirsty.
Budget – Peugeot Partner Teepee from £11,810
A spacious seven seater, the Partner Teepee is right on the money for a bargain people mover. With a cavernous boot and room for at least five to sit in comfort, it has your summer road trip needs covered. What it lacks in luxury (and looks, if we’re honest) it makes up for in value.
Mid – Hyundai Santa Fe from £27,550
The Santa Fe is not a traditional MPV. It is actually a crossover with seven seats and, unlike much of its taxi-alike competition, offers a superior driving experience. Unlike some crossovers, however, it is relatively spacious, meaning no more grumbles from kids in the back row of seats.
Blow the Bank – Mercedes-Benz R-Class
Though not on sale new in the UK, there simply isn’t anything else in the MPV sector to touch the (admittedly oddly styled) R-Class for luxury and opulence. Vast amounts of space, Mercedes tech and a range of powerful engines (including a monster petrol V8), combine to create a family car par excellence. If you prefer new, you may want to consider the van-based Mercedes Viano.
Budget – Skoda Rapid from £13,185
Saloon cars are traditionally less practical than their hatchback counterparts, with their smaller boot apertures and usual lack of rear-folding seats. Skoda has got around this with the Rapid, by offering the smart styling of a saloon fitted with a hatch rear opening. It’s good looking, cavernous inside and some models can even return up to 74.3mpg. What more do you want?!
Mid – Honda Accord from £23,195
If you fancy something a bit less obvious, you could do worse than to consider the understated but accomplished Honda Accord.
Honda is well known for producing stylish cars, and the Accord is no exception to that rule. The interior comes fully equi