Best family cars for a road trip

Your choice of car is critical when you’ve got children.

Aside from the practicality requirements of transporting little ones, there are many other things to consider. A smooth drive should limit any carsickness, while bigger windows help make road trips more fun and entertaining since everybody can see the changes in the landscape and get plenty of natural light. You’ll also want a car with ample safety tech and plenty of entertainment options to keep the kids safe and happy.

Thankfully, our guide is here to help. We’ve rounded up the best family cars from each market sector to make your next family road trip more pleasurable – no matter what your budget is. They include:

  1. Dacia Duster
  2. Land Rover Discovery
  3. Mercedes G-Class
  4. Volvo V70
  5. Skoda Octavia Estate
  6. BMW Alpina B3 Touring
  7. Vauxhall Astra
  8. Ford Mondeo
  9. Ferrari FF
  10. Peugeot Partner Teepee
  11. Kia Sportage
  12. Mercedes-Benz V-Class
  13. Honda Accord
  14. Skoda Rapid
  15. Audi A8

Best 4x4s for a family road trip

Four-wheel drives are great for road trips. Not only do they offer better grip and traction, but they also tend to be bigger and more spacious for extra passengers and luggage. So if you’re looking for the best big car for family road trips, read on.

1. Budget - Dacia Duster

From £3,690 (used)

If you’re after a budget 4×4, the Dacia Duster is a great choice. Its engine performance and interior equipment are average, but its decent fuel economy and low insurance group mean it’s great for families wanting a smart but affordable drive.

Best Features
  • Smart but affordable
  • Fuel-efficient
  • Low insurance group
  • Fuel economy: 50mpg
  • Insurance group: 2-22
  • Boot space: 445 litres
  • 0-62mph: 10.6 seconds

2. Mid-range - Land Rover Discovery

From £5,995 (used)

With space inside for up to seven passengers, the Land Rover Discovery is ideal for growing families. It’s comfortable to drive with luxurious interiors and ample safety features, making it great for long-distance adventures with the family in tow.

Best Features
  • Multi-row SUV set-up
  • Ample safety features
  • Comfortable and luxurious
  • Fuel economy: 25-33.5mpg
  • Insurance group: 33-34
  • Boot space: 228-2,406 litres (depending on seating arrangements)
  • 0-62mph: 6.8-8.1 seconds

3. Luxury - Mercedes G-Class

From £21,995 (used)

The Mercedes G-Class is an icon in the crossover SUV world, offering a fun and fast driving experience on the open road. It’s also luxurious to look at, with plenty of storage for family luggage and enough entertainment tech to keep the little ones happy.

Best Features
  • Luxurious interiors
  • Ample luggage storage
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Fuel economy: 25.7mpg
  • Insurance group: 50
  • Boot space: 667 litres (1,941 with rear seats folded)
  • 0-62mph: 4.5 seconds

Best estate cars for a family road trip

Estate cars are another wise choice for family road trips. Firstly, the boots tend to be bigger and easily accessible. And compared to 4x4s, modern estate cats tend to offer better mpg on the highway and lower running costs.

1. Volvo V70

From £1,695 (used)

The V70 is no longer in production but you’ll be able to pick up a used one for less than £2,000. With its superb interior comfort and advanced safety credentials to boot, it’s a practical and affordable choice for families planning a road trip on a budget.

Best Features
  • Impressive safety technology
  • Good rider comfort
  • Practical boot space
  • Fuel economy: 57.7-62.8mpg
  • Insurance group: 24-30
  • Boot space: 575 litres
  • 0-62mph: 8.6-9.8 seconds

2. Mid-range - Skoda Octavia Estate

From £7,698 (used)

Featuring a spacious boot and interiors, the Skoda Octavia Estate is a smart and practical family estate car. It’s also safe and reliable and good fuel efficiency means you’ll get a huge bang for your buck when you’re out on the road.

Best Features
  • Smart and spacious interiors
  • Large boot capacity
  • Cheap to run
  • Fuel economy: 50.4mpg
  • Insurance group: 15-19
  • Boot space: 640 litres
  • 0-62mph: 8.5-10.9mph

3. Luxury - BMW B3 Alpina Touring

From £6,985 (used)

Smooth and comfortable, the BMW Alpina B3 Touring delivers a great ride and excellent performance — there’ll be very little chance of any carsickness! It’s fast, it’s fancy and its smart design is sure to impress fellow drivers when you’re out on the road.

Best Features
  • Excellent road performance
  • Great ride and handling
  • Comfortable and smooth
  • Fuel economy: 28.2mpg
  • Insurance group: 49-50
  • Boot space: 500 litres (1,510 with the rear seats folded)
  • 0-62mph: 3.8 seconds

Best hatchbacks for a family road trip

Hatchbacks also offer additional luggage space but tend to be smaller than 4x4s and estate cars, making them easily adaptable to both off-roading and city driving. Not only can they easily store extra things like prams and bicycles, but they’ll also fit seamlessly onto most driveways.

And because of their size and shape, hatchbacks offer great views of the road ahead. Mini passengers in the back will love the views!

1. Vauxhall Astra

From £1,995 (used)

With its spacious interiors and smart design, the Vauxhall Astra combines style and comfort. It’s fuel-efficient, making it an affordable road trip car for families. Meanwhile, its high-quality materials and extensive crash-avoidance technology offer peace of mind.

Best Features
  • Ample safety technology
  • Comfortable and spacious interiors
  • Great to drive
  • Fuel economy: 65.7mpg
  • Insurance group: 14-20
  • Boot space: 370 litres
  • 0-62mph: 9.7-10.2 seconds

2. Mid-range - Ford Mondeo

From £2,495 (used)

Offering a relaxing and comfortable drive, the Ford Mondeo is a classic and refined hatchback and a firm family favourite. Why? Well, it’s fuel-efficient, cheap to run and features a huge range of safety features to reassure families while they’re out on the road.

Best Features
  • Spacious interiors
  • Wide range of safety features
  • Affordable to maintain and run
  • Fuel economy: 62mpg
  • Insurance group: 17-29
  • Boot space: 550 litres
  • 0-62mph: 9.2 seconds

3. Luxury - Ferrari FF

From £103,950 (used)

Now discontinued, the FF was Ferrari’s first four-wheel drive but families wanting to splash out on a smart and unique drive can easily pick one up on the used car market. It’s pricey, but it offers incredible performance on the road and its large boot makes it family-friendly.

Best Features
  • Luxurious and comfortable
  • Practical boot storage
  • Incredible road performance
  • Fuel economy: 18mpg
  • Insurance group: 50
  • Boot space: 450 litres
  • 0-62mph: 3.7 seconds

Best MPVs for a family road trip

MPVs, or multi-purpose vehicles, tend to offer upwards of five, six or seven seats with flexible seating arrangements – ideal for growing families. And because many of them tend to have folding second and third-row seats, they provide flexible and substantial storage facilities.

1. Budget - Peugeot Partner Teepee

From £3,975 (used)

If you’re looking for a budget MPV, the Peugeot Partner Teepee is a fine candidate. It’s reliable with a choice of five or seven seats to keep the whole family comfortable. And you won’t need to worry about the hefty costs of long-distance drives — the Partner Teepee is economical to run!

Best Features
  • Versatile and reliable
  • Practical and economical
  • Spacious cabin and boot
  • Fuel economy: 67.3mpg
  • Insurance group: 2-18
  • Boot space: 675 litres
  • 0-62mph: 12.2 seconds

2. Mid-range - Kia Sportage

From £6,995 (used)

Offering a range of engines, the Kia Sportage is a reliable, versatile and family-friendly MPV with a hefty towing capacity. It features a spacious boot for easy storage of family essentials, as well as plenty of tech and safety features as standard.

Best Features
  • Large boot size
  • Ample safety features
  • High-tech interiors
  • Fuel economy: 52.3mpg
  • Insurance group: 11-25
  • Boot space: 587 litres
  • 0-62mph: 10.7 seconds

3. Luxury - Mercedes-Benz V-Class

From £13,000 (used)

Expensive to buy but cheap to run, the Mercedes-Benz V-Class is a luxury MPV with spacious interiors. With a roomy boot and up to eight seats, it’s a great choice for larger families. The powerful engine will please the driver, while ample safety features provide reassurance for the entire family.

Best Features
  • Luxurious and spacious interiors
  • A minimum of six seats featured
  • Powerful performance
  • Fuel economy: 47.9mpg
  • Insurance group: 36-46
  • Boot space: 610 litres
  • 0-62mph: 7.8 seconds

Best saloon cars for a family road trip

Saloon cars have waned in popularity over the years thanks to the rise of SUVs, but they do still have their benefits.

Firstly, they’re long in design, which tends to up the comfort factor for passengers as it allows them to stretch out. Their self-contained boot also helps to keep road noise out, causing minimal disruption to family singalongs and games of ‘I Spy’.

1. Budget- Honda Accord

From £1,750 (used)

Decent to drive and comfortable to ride, the Accord is a great all-rounder family saloon. Its fuel efficiency and running costs could be improved, but overall it’s a great affordable family car for those on a budget. Its high-quality interiors will also keep the whole family comfy.

Best Features
  • Great reliability record
  • Comfortable to drive
  • Quality interiors
  • Fuel economy: 33-53mpg
  • Insurance group: 25-30
  • Boot space: 467 litres
  • 0-62mph: 10 seconds

2. Mid-range - Skoda Rapid

From £3,250 (used)

Available in a range of petrol and diesel engines, the Skoda Rapid is actually a small hatch but with a saloon profile. It’s reliable on the road with an appealing price tag and smart styling. A strong and efficient engine will also keep family road trip costs down.

Best Features
  • Strong, efficient engine
  • Smart design
  • Flexible boot capacity
  • Fuel economy: 61.4-70.6mpg
  • Insurance group: 13-18
  • Boot space: 550 litres (1,490 litres with the rear seats folded)
  • 0-62mph: 11.7 seconds

3. Luxury - Audi A8

From £4,550 (used)

The A8 boasts a powerful engine, decent tech and first-class safety credentials. This luxury saloon really does tick every box when it comes to keeping the family safe and entertained! And for some bonuses — it’s reasonably fuel-efficient with cheap second-hand options on the market.

Best Features
  • Premium safety credentials
  • Wi-fi-enabled infotainment system
  • Luxurious but affordable
  • Fuel economy: 29.4-40.9mpg
  • Insurance group: 44-50
  • Boot space: 505 litres
  • 0-62mph: 5.6 seconds

Now that you know more about finding the best car for family road trips, you’ll hopefully feel more informed when it comes to choosing your next family vehicle. Remember – it’s possible to install add-ons like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto onto most cars by changing the stereo system and many models come with the option of an electric motor.

Start your search for your next family road trip cars here.