Whilst many families are turning away from traditional large cars and MPVS, opting for ever-popular SUVS, we at think it’s time the large family car made a comeback. After all, there are some truly exceptional models on the market to choose from and they come with lots of benefits for families. Typically – compared to SUVS and MPVS – large saloons, estates and hatchbacks:

  • Are more fuel efficient
  • Are cheaper to run
  • Offer a lower ride height, making it easier for kids to get in and out
  • Offer a more exciting and involved driving experience
  • Usually come kitted out with quality standard equipment
  • Often provide more than enough space in the cabin and in the boot

Useful Family Features to Look for in Large Cars

Like any family car, there are certain features you won’t want to live without that’ll make life a whole lot easier. In terms of what’s essential, it differs person to person although there are basics that most parents would agree on. You’ll want to look for:

  • A car that scores highly with Euro NCAP, taking particular note of child occupant protection
  • ISOFIX child-seat fittings
  • Air conditioning / dual climate control
  • USB ports (preferably in the rear as well) to charge electronic devices
  • Electric windows
  • A comfortable, spacious cabin (particularly in the back)

The Top 10 Best Large Family Cars

All the vehicles in this top 10 list have rear-seat ISOFIX fittings as standard and they all scored five stars out of five in Euro NCAP safety ratings, with great percentages for adult and child occupant protection. It’s always worth remembering cars reviewed in more recent years are often tested more rigorously. Read on to discover our pick of the best large family cars.

1. Volvo V90

The Volvo V90 tops this list as one of the safest cars on the market. As standard, it comes equipped with a hefty list of excellent safety kit and driver assists. You’ll get autonomous emergency braking (AEB), adaptive cruise control, a lane-keeping aid and so much more. There are brilliant optional extras to consider too, like integrated child seats. The car is very spacious and comfortable, particularly in the back, and there’s a 560-litre boot too. It’s nice to drive, and ride comfort is very refined and relaxing. Overall, the V90 is Volvo’s attempt at reclaiming the estate crown and as a large family car, it certainly succeeds.

Best features:

  • Brilliant safety kit and driver assists
  • Very cheap to run
  • Incredibly spacious and comfortable

2. Volkswagen Passat

The Volkswagen Passat is available as a saloon, an estate, or a four-wheel drive off-road (Alltrack) estate with a raised ride height. Whilst we’d recommend the saloon as a large family car, the other variants also perform brilliantly. In short, the Passat offers an astonishing amount of room inside the cabin and a plush, comfortable interior. The big, wide opening doors make it easy for parents to attach and remove child-seats too. It’s an easy car to drive with a quality, easy-to-use infotainment system. For storage, the Passat saloon offers a huge 585-litre boot – and if that wasn’t big enough for you, the estate provides 650 litres.

Best features:

  • Excellent build quality
  • Incredibly spacious and comfortable
  • Very comfortable ride

3. Skoda Superb Estate

Named the best estate car of 2018 in the prestigious What Car? Car of the Year Awards, the Skoda Superb estate also achieved second place in our top 10 list of the best family cars for dogs. In other words, it’s a fantastic vehicle for every member of the family. You’ll find the Superb estate lives up to its name in every way – it’s superbly spacious, superbly reliable and superbly packed with useful tech, safety kit and driver assists. Admittedly, families will want to opt for the above entry-level models, like the SE trim, which comes with rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control and dual zone climate control.

Best features:

  • Excellent value for money
  • Low starting price
  • Great reliability

4. BMW 5 Series

This smart executive saloon looks the part and certainly performs the part as well. That is, the part of a large family car offering a fantastic, comfortable driving experience. There’s not a bad engine in the range and the car comes with some great standard equipment. Plus, the optional Driving Assistance Plus Pack will transform your car into a trustworthy, efficient co-pilot from the future. The 5 Series is fairly spacious too, with a 530-litre boot. We’d also recommend the BMW 5 Series Touring – another winner of the best estate car according to the What Car? Car of the Year Awards 2018.

Best features:

  • Very comfortable to drive
  • Lots of impressive tech and options to choose from
  • One of the best all-round saloons on the market

5. Mazda 6 Saloon

The reliability of the Mazda 6 is a major selling point. Add the fact that it’s one of the best cars to drive in its sector and you have a large family car capable of keeping both you and the kids happy. Better yet, the entry-level trim comes packed with equipment and safety kit, such as a 7.0 inch touchscreen system, a DAB radio with USB connectivity, Bluetooth, emergency brake assist, traction control, hill hold assist and cruise control. Still, we recommend upgrading at least one level to get front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control and smart city brake support.

Best features:

  • Excellent reliability
  • Entry-level well-equipped
  • One of the best cars to drive on this list

6. Audi A6

The Audi A6 saloon juggles driving refinement with a cleverly-designed interior that’s comfortable and spacious. It’s also a quiet ride, whether you’re on the motorway or navigating country roads, which is great for long journeys and making sure the kids are comfy. Also, there’s a good sized boot at 530-litres, but if that’s not practical or big enough for you, then it’s worth checking out the equally impressive A6 estate model. In terms of safety, the A6 performs very well as you’d expect from any Audi. There’s a fantastic range of optional driver assists and safety kit to choose from too. In addition, the entry-level trim boasts cruise control, four-zone air conditioning and a version of Audi’s brilliant MMI Touch.

Best features:

  • Luxurious interior
  • Quiet, refined drive
  • Spacious and comfortable

7. Kia Optima

The Kia Optima proves great value for money and is a fair bit cheaper than some of the other cars on this list. Off the bat, families can expect an excellent amount of kit with the Optima 2 entry-level. You’ll get family-friendly tech such as a sat-nav, a reversing camera, Bluetooth connectivity, a DAB radio, all-round electric windows, air conditioning and a 7.0-inch touchscreen. Also, the cabin is spacious and there’s a decent 510-litre boot. Safety wise, the entry-level model comes with nice features like hill-start assist control and intelligent stop and go. However, the Kia Optima is not the best to drive.

Best features:

  • Great value for money
  • Very well-equipped as standard
  • Spacious cabin

8. Ford Mondeo

Available as a saloon, hatchback or an estate, whatever model of the Ford Mondeo you go for, you’ll get a car that’s good value for money with plenty of cabin and boot space. The Mondeo also offers a comfortable ride that might not be as thrilling to drive as a Mazda 6, but is certainly as quiet – great for the youngsters in the back.  There’s a top range of engines to choose from too, suiting a wide variety of needs and wants, and the entry-level trim comes reasonably well-equipped. If you can afford it, it’s worth upgrading to the Titanium model for extra safety kit, front and rear parking sensors and a lane keeping aid.

Best features:

  • Good value for money
  • Spacious
  • Good all-rounder

9. Peugeot 508

The Peugeot 508 stands out from the crowd with its stylish looks, but it has more to offer than its rugged appearance. Get behind the wheel and you’ll find it’s comfortable to drive, providing a truly engaging experience. The 508 has nice handling and is great around corners too, which is an aspect often overlooked by families – yet a car’s drivability can be just as important for families as its practicality. The 508 performs admirably in that department too. Whilst not as roomy or comfy as its rivals, the car is spacious and relaxing enough. Also, it’s quite reliable and comes well-equipped.

Best features:

  • Good to drive with nice handling
  • Stylish interior and exterior
  • Good running costs

10. Hyundai i40

One of the finest cars in the Hyundai range, the i40 might just surprise you. Whilst it’s not as practical as other cars on this list, it does offer a good drive and plenty of room for the family, including a big 525-litre boot. It’s also fairly economical and cheap to run. The i40 cements its status by coming packed with lots of useful storage compartments and a decent amount of standard equipment. We recommend opting for the middle range SE NAV for heated front seats, a DAB radio, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and more. Overall, the Hyundai is a balanced large family car ultimately let down by its choice of engines and the stiff competition.

Best features:

  • Cheap and good to drive
  • Accomplished all-rounder
  • Roomy, comfortable interior
Back to articles December 12, 2018

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