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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:
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 –
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.
The Skoda Octavia is an award-winning vehicle recognised as a leading family car. It offers good mileage, with more than 50mpg, and is a notoriously safe vehicle, too, with standard kit including seven airbags and lots of driver assistance aids, like autonomous emergency braking.
The highly acclaimed SEAT Leon is a comfortable vehicle with good fuel economy. Cars from the range come with fuel-saving technology as standard, air-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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 cubbies, too, making this a good choice for families with young children.
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.
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