Like families themselves, the best used family cars come in all shapes and sizes, from superminis to SUVs. What they all have in common, however, is excellent practicality and great safety ratings.  


When it comes to choosing the right car for you and your family, there are also some useful features worth considering that will make day-to-day journeys even easier and more enjoyable. Consider getting a car with: 

  • Isofix child-seat fittings 
  • Driver assist systems and handy safety tech 
  • USB ports in the rear to charge electronic devices 
  • Air conditioning and dual climate control 
  • Electric windows in the front and rear 
  • A comfortable and spacious cabin 

In addition to thinking of the needs of your family, when it comes to picking the right car it’s just as important to think of yourself, as well as your budget. So we recommend choosing a vehicle that you enjoy driving, that’s affordable for you, and that offers high miles per gallons (MPG) for low daily running costs.  


There is a broad range of cars and body types on this list to suit a wide variety of families. Additionally, all of the vehicles featured enjoy affordable prices on the pre-owned market, with some excellent deals available for those on a lower budget. Please, read on to discover our top 10 best used cars for families.  


The iconic Volkswagen Golf is a popular car with small families and it’s no surprise why. The Golf is a pleasure to drive, with precise handling and a smooth ride. Inside, it enjoys a high-quality cabin and excellent refinement, including comfortable seats in the front and rear 

Furthermore, because of its popularity there are always excellent used deals available with a wide selection of trims to suit different budgets. And usually such trims come well-equipped as standard, with useful tech and features. It also has a good reliability rating and premium German build quality. 

In addition, the Golf is very safe. Since 2009, it has scored a consistent overall five-star rating in Euro NCAP safety tests (pre-2009 there wasn’t yet an overall rating system, though the Golf still scored very highly). In short, it’s an excellent all-round family hatchback.  

Best features:

  • Enjoyable to drive 
  • Comfortable cabin 
  • Very safe and reliable  



Much like the Volkswagen Golf, the Ford Focus combines practicality with an enjoyable driving experience. It also enjoys a consistent overall five-star safety rating from 2009 onwards with Euro NCAP, proving to be very safe on the road.  


Again like the Golf, it has a stylish exterior and a spacious interior that is very comfortable. In fact, the Ford Focus is a class-leader when it comes to how roomy the rear seats are – handy for growing teenagers.  

As one of the UK’s most popular cars, you will have no trouble finding a really good used deal near you, giving you thousands of models and mileages to choose from. You should find it comes well-equipped as standard too. 

 Typically, average prices for the Ford Focus are just £11k, but you can even find lots of deals for less than £2k as well.  

Best features:

  • Perfectly balanced  
  • Great fun to drive 
  • Light and agile 



Available as a hatchback or as an estate (for added practicality), the Skoda Octavia offers families a very practical vehicle, with a comfortable interior that is lined with lots of cubbyholes and massive door bins – perfect for children’s colouring books, toys, snacks, and electronics, particularly for longer journeys. It has an excellent overall five-star safety rating from 2013 onwards too. Furthermore, the Octavia has an excellent reliability rating, which is always reassuring when buying a used car. Whilst the Octavia is enjoyable to drive, it’s not as fun as the Golf or Focus, howeverInstead, it offers a more relaxed experienceOverall, the car is great value for money, with an average price of £12k. There are also plenty of models available for less. 

Best features:

  • Very practical  
  • Very safe and reliable 
  • Great value for money 



Moving back into small car territory, the Volkswagen Polo is a superb supermini that is very popular with smaller families. It’s also a best-selling vehicle in the UK, with thousands of used models available on the market.

The Polo has an average sale price of approximately £9.8k, so it’s also a very affordable car too. Like its bigger brother the Golf, the Polo is lots of fun to drive, providing low running costs and excellent practicality for this class of car. In many ways it actually defies the ‘small car’ tag, proving rather spacious inside. 

It also has strong build quality, a comfy cabin, and an equally impressive five-star safety rating as its sibling.  

Best features:

  • Fun to drive 
  • Strong build quality 
  • Practical and comfy 



When it comes to safety, the Volvo XC60 is a class leader amongst all types of vehicles. In rigorous 2017 Euro NCAP tests, the mid-size SUV scored a massive 98% for driver’s safety and a fantastic 87% rating for child occupant protection, and that’s in addition to an amazing 95% for driver safety assists – which aim to avoid collisions in the first place. But that’s not all it has going for it.

The XC60 also offers a luxurious and highly comfortable interior, plus good levels of practicality, and an enjoyable driving experience, albeit on the safer side of things.

If you like the sound of the XC60, then we’d also recommend checking out Volvo’s compact SUV, the XC40, or if you have a larger family, then the luxury seven-seater XC90 – both of which share a very similar safety rating and sensibilities. It can also increase your range when searching for a used model and the best deal.  

Best features:

  • Class leader for safety 
  • Luxurious and comfortable 
  • Good levels of practicality 


6. VOLVO V40

The Volvo V40 is a rival to premium hatchbacks and to leading small family cars like the Volkswagen Golf. It enjoys a stylish exterior and a premium interior, which is spacious for children in the rear and very comfortable. 

And as you’d expect from Volvo, it has an excellent safety rating too. Furthermore, the V40 comes with lots of safety equipment as standard and that’s great news for used car buyers who might not have the budget to choose a model with a higher trim level.

When it comes to buying a pre-owned V40, the car averages around the £12k mark, with some excellent second-hand deals available. It’s a great car to buy used too, as it represents good value for money.  

Best features:

  • Stylish exterior  
  • Premium interior 
  • Excellent safety rating 


7. MAZDA 6

Available as a hatchback, saloon, or an estate, the sleek and stylish Mazda 6 offers families an excellent variety of body shapes to suit the various needs of a family. Whichever type you opt for, you’ll be getting a car that is great fun to drive.

In fact, the Mazda 6 is one of the best to drive in its sector. It also has an excellent reliability rating too, which is always very reassuring when purchasing a used vehicle. For more practicality, we recommend the saloon or Tourer models, as they come fitted with Isofix points for child seats and have more space for family items.

Again, like others on this list, the Mazda 6 has a consistent five-star safety rating from 2009 onwards. There are hundreds of models on the used car market too, so you should have no trouble finding an excellent deal near you. 

Best features:

  • Sleek and stylish 
  • Great fun to drive 
  • Excellent reliability 



Available as a saloon or as an estate, the BMW 5 Series is a fantastic car for families.

As an executive saloon, it’s the go to mid-size car in its class and one of the best, if not the best, saloons to drive.

As the Touring estate, the 5 Series expertly blends performance, versatility, and practicality, again to a class leading level.

And both variants are well-suited to families, able to cope with whatever you throw at it.

As you’d want and expect from BMW, the 5 Series has strong build quality, as well as stylish looks, a premium cabin, and a very safe five-star rating with Euro NCAP.

Average prices are around £18k, but the popularity of the 5 Series means there are hundreds of used models to choose from. 

Best features:

  • Class leading  
  • Strong build quality 
  • Premium cabin 



One of Britain’s best-selling cars, the Nissan Qashqai is a family-friendly SUV that is great value for money, particularly on the used car market.

It also offers affordable running costs for an SUV, with good miles per gallon. In addition, the Qashqai has lots of cabin space, good levels of practicality, an excellent safety record, and a decent driving experience for a car of its size. 

With fantastic suspension, it provides a really smooth journey too, whether driving around town or along the motorway – a point welcomed by adults and children alike, but particularly for youngsters who like to take a little nap in the car. 

Whilst there are more practical SUVs on the market, the Nissan Qashqai is still user friendly and it has a wealth of pre-owned deals.

It has an average price of £13.3k, but with thousands of used models available you should have no trouble at all finding a brilliant deal near you. 

Best features:

  • Great value for money 
  • Very smooth ride experience 
  • Affordable running costs 



The eye-catching Kia Sportage is another SUV that’s excellent value for money, whether buying new or used. It’s also a best seller, meaning there are thousands of pre-owned deals available too. As a car for families, the crossover provides a very comfortable ride experience for those in the front and in the rear, proving spacious and practical for a family of five.

The roomy cabin is also refined, with a sizeable boot for added practicality. Sure, there are SUVs that offer a better driving experience and others that provide more boot space, but while the Sportage might not be a class leader in those departments, it is a great all-rounder of an SUV. And when it comes to being a great family car, that aspect can often be a decider.

Finally, models come well-equipped as standard and the car scored a full five stars in 2015 and 2010 safety tests.  

Best features:

  • Excellent value for money 
  • Very comfortable ride 
  • Great all-rounder SUV 


Looking for the perfect car for your family? Whether your budget is large or small, we’ve got a used car that’ll suit your needs. 

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Back to articles February 12, 2021

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