The best family cars balance comfort and space with safety and style. They’re generally cost-effective and are pleasant to drive, with good manoeuvrability. Most importantly, they should be well suited for:

  • Day-to-day use
  • The school run
  • Supermarket shopping
  • Holiday driving

Car Body Types for the Best Family Car

Like families themselves, family cars come in all shapes and sizes. The most popular body type is often the 5-door hatchback, followed by SUVs, MPVs, estates and saloons. To help get to grips with different models, here are some of their different strengths and selling points –

  • Hatchbacks typically have lower running costs, provide good value for money and come well equipped with lots of different features
  • SUVs and MPVs are bigger, offering more space, storage and often flip-down tables
  • Estates typically combine the low running costs of hatchbacks with more space and storage, similar to that of SUVs and MPVs
  • Saloons are larger than hatchbacks usually with more interior space, but the boot opening tends to be smaller and less practical

Features of the Best Family Cars

The best family cars are, more often than not, spacious, but it’s equally important to find a comfortable vehicle which has low running costs and solid safety ratings. Bearing that in mind, here’s our selection of the best vehicles for family use.

1. Skoda Octavia Hatchback

The Skoda Octavia is an award-winning vehicle recognised as a leading family car. It offers good mileagewith more than 50mpg, and is a notoriously safe vehicletoo, with standard kit including seven airbags and lots of driver assistance aids, like autonomous emergency braking. 

Best features:

  • Economical engines with reasonable running costs
  • Spacious interior

2. SEAT Leon

The highly acclaimed SEAT Leon is a comfortable vehicle with good fuel economy. Cars from the range come with fuel-saving technology as standardair-conditioning, a colour touchscreen and a Bluetooth phone connection. There are plenty of cabin storage spaces, while the driving experience itself is also reasonably quiet, thanks to the extra sound insulation.

Best features:

  • 7-seater
  • Spacious and versatile with sliding and folding seats


The Audi A3 is a treat to drive, with the latest Sportback version also offering easy access to the rear of the car (and in turn the better storage space found there), making it perfectly suited to families. It comes with a 380-litre boot, while entry-level models comprise sat-nav, Bluetooth, air-con, xenon headlights, cruise control and seven airbags as standard.

Best features:

  • Good mileage and low running costs
  • Lots of technology features, from driving assistance to heated front and rear seats


The latest Vauxhall Astra is a renowned family car, providing ISOFIX child seat restraint systems for the outer rear seats and a 370-litre boot. You can also add features like parking sensors and a camera, which can be used on top of the highly acclaimed self-parking system.

Best features:

  • One of the safest family cars on the market
  • Impressive driver-assist technology


With clever engine tech, the latest Ford Focus provides good fuel economy and low CO2 emissions. The entry-level model comes with air-conditioning, DAB radio with Bluetooth connectivity, autonomous emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance as standard. All in all, it’s a spacious, family-friendly vehicle with lots of room in the rear and a 375-litre boot.

Best features:

  • 520-litre boot
  • Good mpg


The Renault Megane hatchback is a comfortable car that consistently scores high safety marks. All models come equipped with cruise control, daytime running lights and Bluetooth connectivity. It also has one of the largest boots in its class, coming in at a capacity of 434 litres!

Best features:

  • High-tech interior
  • Spacious cabin

7. Peugeot 3008

Peugeot’s 3008 model has already won a variety of accolades, including the 2017 European Car of the Year. It’s a stylish vehicle which comes with a variety of useful features, such as an eight-inch touchscreen and DAB radio with an infotainment system. Certain models also come with rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking and a distance alert system. 

Best features:

  • 7-seater
  • Massive selection of storage areas

8. Volkswagen Touran

It might not be the prettiest car on this list, but the Volkswagen Touran certainly makes up for it with a tremendous amount of space, sturdy foldable picnic trays on the back of the front seats and big rear doors (ideal for putting in car seats). This spacious vehicle caters well for large families, with features that make it ideal for long days at the beach or sunny summer holidays 

Best features:

  • Impressive safety features
  • Low running costs

9. Hyundai i30

The Hyundai i30 is an economical car which can offer more than 50mpg. Standard models are fitted with technological features like autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane-keeping assistance and headlights that dip automatically. The boot provides 395 litres of storage space and there are plenty of storage areas and internal cubbiestoo, making this a good choice for families with young children. 

Best features:

  • 434-litre boot
  • Lots of useful cabin tech

10. VOLVO XC90

Perfect for large families, the Volvo XC90 is a comfortable 7-seater SUV. It’s a spacious vehicle – so spacious, in fact, that even the third row of seats is suitable for adults! Standard safety features include automatic emergency city braking (with pedestrian and cyclist detection), a road sign recognition system, six airbag systems, traction control and ISOFIX mounts on the outer middle-row seats, amongst others.

Best features:

  • Rear parking sensors as standard
  • Good fuel economy


Back to articles May 20, 2021

The Best Electric Cars of 2021

The electric car segment is growing thick and fast with new models being added all the time. In fact, with this rapid rate of expansion, there are more options than eve...

Read More

The Best vans to drive

The humble van is relied upon by thousands of people each day to perform all sorts of functions. From builders to removal companies, delivery drivers and everything in ...

Read More

The Best Electric Cars for New Drivers

Just passed your test and curious about electric cars? Our top ten’s got you covered.

Why Go Electric?

Whilst electric vehicles normally cost a little more upfront initially, they do offe...

Read More