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The best family cars for camping have to juggle several things at once. They need to be reliable and tough enough to face muddy terrain and the elements, as well as needing to be suited to your everyday needs. You’ll want a car that’s:
Family cars ideal for camping come in all shapes and sizes, much like families themselves. Each body type has its own set of pros and cons worth considering too. If you like camping in comfort, you’ll typically want a larger car. Things you’ll need to bear in mind:
Campsites today are usually well equipped for all kinds of vehicles, with parking bays and facilities to boot. However, if you like pitching a tent beside your car then it’s worth considering four-wheel-drive options, especially if you like going off-road to find a tranquil camping spot. For a comfier journey, you’ll also want to look out for:
With these points in mind, take a moment to consider your motoring needs. Now read on for our top 10 family cars that are best for camping.
With the declining popularity of MPVs, the Ford Galaxy might seem an unusual choice for first place on this list. Yet for family camping, this 7-seater packs enough room for the kids and all the kit needed to enjoy an outdoor adventure in comfort. Fold the two rear seats down and you’ll have a whopping 1,300 litres of space – perfect for carrying tents, air mattresses, sleeping bags and more. Better yet, it’s a good drive with a full 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating and a host of safety features like autonomous emergency braking and traffic sign recognition to help prevent exceeding speed limits. The Galaxy is even large enough to sleep in.
The Nissan Qashqai might not be as spacious as some of its rivals and its boot space is only 430 litres. Nonetheless, you’ll find the car’s styling makes it possible to pile the camping kit high against the back seats in the boot. What places the Qashqai in second is the fact that this car is all-round one of the best family cars on the market. It comes well-equipped, has an excellent range of engines and a huge selection of additional technology add-ons. Low running costs allow you to go camping more often, and the 5-star rating by Euro NCAP offers safety and assurance.
Although MPVs and SUVs are certainly well-suited to camping, if you prefer driving an estate then look no further than the Volvo V90. It’s a spacious car with enough room in the back to comfortably seat three kids with all the necessary camping equipment in the boot. The car scored 5 stars on the Euro NCAP safety ratings, too. In addition, you could opt for the V90 Cross Country model, a design purpose-built with the outdoor active lifestyle in mind – with extended wheel arches, tough body cladding around the lower body, a raised ride height and an off-road mode.
One of the great icons of motoring, the Range Rover was built with both comfort and the great outdoors in mind. This luxury SUV gives you the opportunity to drive anywhere in style with genuine off-road capabilities. It’s spacious, with more than enough room in the back for the kids and plenty of boot space for all your camping equipment. The Range Rover is a sturdy car too, with a fantastic 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating. For off-road adventures, no other SUV does it better.
The Volkswagen Touareg is a large 4×4 SUV that offers family campers a generous amount of space both in the cabin and in the boot. That extra space means extra comfort for you and your kids. It also means you can carry more gear to make camping even easier. The car scored a 5-star safety rating with Euro NCAP and there’s a whole host of impressive technologies to choose from. Campers might want to check out the night vision: a thermal imaging camera to help detect and avoid animals and pedestrians when it’s dark out.
The big brother to the Nissan Qashqai, the X-Trail offers more of the same to the extent that the current generation even looks pretty much the same inside and out. However, if you need the extra space the X-Trail will allow you to carry more camping gear and more kids with its 7-seater option. Go for a four wheel drive and you can take the X-Trail off-road in search of adventures. Like the Qashqai, the car has a full 5-star safety rating with Euro NCAP. For its size, the car has good running costs too.
The Skoda Superb Estate is a leader in its class for interior space, providing ample room for camping enthusiasts and all their equipment. As a family car, the Skoda Superb ticks all the right boxes too. It’s cheap to run, great value for money, safe and reliable, with a 5-star Euro NCAP rating. In addition, the car comes fitted with a good selection of safety equipment as standard, such as stability control, seven airbags and ISOFIX child-seat mounting points in the outer rear seats. The Skoda Superb is something of a rarity, combining lots of space with practicality and a decent drive, all at a very low cost.
The Peugeot 5008 is a comfortable 7-seater with a huge boot that’ll easily carry all of a large family’s camping gear. But, even if you were to need more room, you can adjust the third row of seats forwards or fold them flat to create a much larger space. Whilst it’s not as well-equipped as rivals like the Nissan X-Trail, the car still comes with some useful kit. Opt for the mid-spec Allure trim and get a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, picnic tables and retractable window blinds for the middle row. The Peugeot 5008 also ranks highly, with Euro NCAP scoring 5-stars.
Proving you can have a capable 4×4 at a low cost, the Fiat Panda Cross is ideal for families on a tighter budget who still want to explore the countryside. With a raised ride height and bulky off-road protective cladding, the car looks the part of an off-roader and performs exceptionally well in that domain too – you certainly won’t have to worry about getting stuck in muddy fields with this car. Despite its compact dimensions, you’ll also find the interior and the 225-litre boot spacious enough for children and essential camping gear. The Panda Cross is a solid drive too, giving you the sense it can tackle any terrain. One downside, however, is that the Fiat Panda Cross only scored a 3-star safety rating with Euro NCAP.
If you’ve got a large family and a lot of camping equipment that you just can’t enjoy the wilds without, this is the car for you. The Ford Grand Tourneo Connect is essentially a Ford Transit van turned people carrier. It’s incredibly roomy and the optional third row of seats that can move forwards and backwards, as well as fold flat into the floor, providing even more space when needed. Whilst it looks like a van, the Grand Tourneo Connect drives like a car. It’s durable, practical for camping and great value for money.