Whether you have young children or older teenagers, sports utility vehicles are well-suited to the growing needs of families. They are practical, spacious, and provide a good sense of security with a commanding view of the road. When it comes to the best mid-size SUVs for families, they offer all this and that little bit more.


SUVs have quickly become one of the most popular car types on the market, with lots of different variations available. Today, there really is an SUV to suit most families, from small crossovers right up to large seven-seaters. If you’re not sure whether this type of vehicle is right for you and your family, read on and see if any of these selling points resonate with your needs. Usually, SUVs:

  • Are very practical with lots of storage spaces, handy cubbies, and a large boot volume
  • Are spacious on the inside, for adults to sit comfortably in the front and rear
  • Have better fuel economy than most people assume, particularly small crossovers and mid-size SUVs
  • Have a raised ride height and a commanding view of the road
  • Are convenient for installing and removing car seats thanks to the ride height
  • Are four-wheel drive, providing extra grip and control in extreme weather
  • Have lots of safety features and useful equipment like parking sensors and a reversing camera
  • Have excellent towing capabilities – ideal for carting a trailer for bikes on a family weekend away
  • Are available with a petrol, diesel, hybrid, or all-electric powertrain

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To give you extra peace of mind and security for you and your family when driving about town, all of the cars on this list have scored an impressive five out of five stars in rigorous Euro NCAP safety tests. Please, read on to find out our top 10 best mid-size SUVS.


A best seller for the company, the Volvo XC60 is often high up on the list for families and that should be no surprise, as it’s one of the safest cars available on the market, packed with loads of safety tech and a wealth of useful driver assists. The XC60 excels when it comes to comfort and practicality too, delivering a refined ride experience and plenty of space in the upmarket cabin for five people to sit comfortably. It has a nice flat boot, with 505-litres of space to the window line, and plenty of storage and cubby spots to store everyday items, such as children’s colouring books, toys, and electrical goods. The XC60 comes very well-equipped as standard, including a 9.0-inch touchscreen, sat-nav, cruise control, and climate control. Plus, it offers a good range of engines, with petrol, diesel, and hybrid powertrains providing good miles per gallon (MPG). Simply put, it is a great all-rounder for families.

Best features:

  • Class-leading safety
  • Practical and comfortable
  • A great all-rounder


2. BMW X5

With a premium cabin that houses lots of leg and headroom, the BMW X5 is a very spacious SUV that’s popular with taller families and those with older teenagers. As a five-seater, it sits adults very comfortably in all seats and you can enjoy a massive 645-litre boot for family day trips and holidays. Alternatively, you can fit a third row to turn the car into a seven-seater, which is perfect for larger families. Fitted with air suspension as standard, the X5 also offers a smooth ride experience which dampens uneven road surfaces for greater comfort – ideal for children who like to nap during the journey. It has impressive performance, is enjoyable to drive, and has that premium finish and seal of quality that you’d expect from BMW. The X5 is another great all-rounder for families.

Best features:

  • Spacious cabin
  • Optional seven-seater
  • Smooth and enjoyable to drive



Another spacious SUV that offers an optional third row of seats for larger families, the Volkswagen Tiguan has a reputation for setting the standards of refinement in the class. But that’s not all. It’s also renowned for its superb build quality and excellent levels of practicality, with lots of storage spaces and useful cubbies, as well as a 615-litre boot with a low loading lip and a practical square shape. It’s very quiet and smooth to drive and is available with a very good selection of diesel and petrol engines too, from frugal options with low running costs, to ones with more power for quicker performance. And whichever engine you choose, the cabin remains just as refined and peaceful, whether driving in the city or along the motorway – perfect for helping the little ones sleep.

Best features:

  • Class-leading refinement
  • Quiet and smooth to drive
  • Superb build quality



For a family SUV that drives just as well off the beaten track as it does on the road, be sure to check out the Land Rover Discovery Sport. It is a more compact and more affordable version of the mighty Land Rover Discovery, so straight off it is a fantastic car. Inside, the Sport is very roomy and finished with lots of soft materials for a comfortable ride and a premium look. Across the range, most models are available with seven seats too, although the third row is best reserved for children. It’s also a very practical SUV with a large boot (754-litres with the third row folded down) and handy USB and 12-volt charge points for every row – perfect for contemporary lifestyles. It has lots of deep pockets and storage cubbies for games and snacks too, as well as controls for heating and ventilation for each section, and rear doors that almost open ninety degrees making it a breeze for fitting and removing child safety seats. Finally, it offers you that go-anywhere quality thanks to its excellent 4×4 off-road performance – great for camping trips and exploring the wilds with the family.

Best features:

  • Excellent off-roader
  • Very practical
  • Premium cabin



Launched in 2015, the stylish Jaguar F-Pace is renowned as the driver’s SUV of choice, with deft handling, a lightweight body, and dynamic performance. It is a fantastic car to drive and not just as an SUV. It has an agility that defies its size and excellent power when it’s needed. As a family car, it gets arguably the most important aspect about driving spot on: it engages the driver with an enjoyable experience. But that’s not all, because the rest of the family will no doubt be happy too, thanks to a very comfy and spacious cabin, finished with easy to clean leather upholstery. It’s also very practical with a 650-litre boot, plus it comes with an impressive range of engines, with fuel efficient options and variants with impressive performance power. In addition, it is well-equipped as standard and packed with safety kit.

Best features:

  • Fantastic to drive
  • Spacious and comfy
  • Well-equipped as standard



Arriving on the scene way back in 2001, the Hyundai Santa Fe is a very practical mid-size SUV that is ideal for larger families, coming with seven seats as standard. It’ll comfortably fit adults in the third row for reasonable journeys too, thanks to a spacious cabin with excellent leg and headroom (although the third row is still best reserved for children as with most SUVs). Furthermore, the Santa Fe is good value for money with an affordable starting price and lots of fantastic used deals, including older models that are available for under £1k. This car might not be the most exciting to drive, but it is a very comfortable cruiser for long journeys. Until the arrival of the plug-in hybrid variant, it only has one diesel engine on offer, which offers fairly good fuel economy, particularly for its size.

Best features:

  • Good value for money
  • Very practical
  • Comfortable cruiser



If it is sheer practicality that you are after, then you can bump the Skoda Karoq into first place, as this mid-size sports utility vehicle is a class leader in that domain. It offers a large 521-litre boot and plenty of storage cubbies for snacks, toys, and electronics. A tall roofline and a raised ride height, with wide opening doors, make it easy for kids to get in and out, and for adding or remove child safety seats. In addition, the Karoq is good to drive with a comfortable and spacious cabin, which provides a smooth ride experience and good levels of refinement. The choice of engines ranges from 1.0 to 2.0-litres in size, with both petrol and diesel options, giving you a decent selection of frugal and powerful variants to choose from.

Best features:

  • One of the best in segment
  • Class-leading practicality
  • Comfortable to drive



Taking to the streets in 2015 to challenge the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, the Mercedes-Benz GLC is an attractive SUV that comes in two body types: regular and coupe, the latter enjoying sportier styling with a sloping roofline. Whichever variant you choose, you’ll be getting one of the best looking cars in the class in our opinion. But that’s not all it offers. The GLC is also practical with a 550-litre boot and wide opening doors for ease of use. As you’d expect from the renowned marque, the premium interior is suitably plush, with a smooth and quiet ride experience. Entry-level models come packed with equipment too, including a reversing camera, Mercedes’ Parktronic (a handy assist to help you park), a useful powered tailgate, leather upholstery (great for easy cleaning and spillages), and more. Finally, the GLC is nice to drive, particularly as a long distance cruiser, and it is offered with a good range of petrol, diesel, and plug-in hybrid powertrains.

Best features:

  • Superior styling
  • Premium interior
  • Smooth and comfortable


9. AUDI Q7

Another seven-seater SUV, the Audi Q7 is everything you’d expect from the premium brand: it has a stylish exterior, enjoys an upmarket cabin lined with soft materials and plush leather, is agile for its size, and comes with a selection of powerful diesel, petrol, and hybrid powertrains. It’s a very practical car as well, with a huge 865-litre boot with the third row folded down. Plus, every seat (except the driver’s) comes fitted with useful Isofix child-seat mounting points. For increased comfort and a smoother ride experience, adaptive air suspension is also available, which adjusts to the conditions of the road for a gentler journey. As usual with seven-seaters, the third row is best saved for children, although for shorter trips they will sit adults fairly comfortably.

Best features:

  • Very practical
  • Upmarket cabin
  • Smooth ride experience



In its plug-in hybrid form, the Mitsubishi Outlander (PHEV) is a best seller in the UK. It enjoys fantastic miles per gallon and good electric range, proving cheap to run (especially for this class of car). If you’re after a fuel efficient five-seater, this SUV is definitely worth considering. In its petrol form, the Outlander is available as a seven-seater if required, offering a large 591-litre boot from behind the second row. Whilst the third row is best reserved for children, the rest of the cabin is spacious and comfortable for adults. It’s practical too, with excellent interior storage including a generous glovebox, numerous cup holders, and wide door bins. Whilst the driving experience on the road is a little sluggish, off the road, the Outlander proves itself to be quite capable – ideal for family camping holidays and for added security in poor weather conditions.

Best features:

  • PHEV is very cheap to run
  • Excellent practicality
  • Optional seven-seater


Need plenty of room for the whole family? Why not try a mid-sized SUV?

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Back to articles January 12, 2021

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