Best family cars 2019

Families come in all shapes and sizes, and so do family cars. That means it can be hard to know which family car is right for you.

Whether you’ve got a small family and need an urban runaround, or you regularly carry three children and some of their friends, you’ll be looking for something practical, cheap to run, easy to drive, and able to stand up to the treatment that children can inflict upon it.

To help steer family car buyers in the right direction, we’ve rounded up some of the best family cars, from city-friendly SUVs to spacious seven-seaters.

Jump to:
Small family cars
Funky family cars
Affordable family cars
Stylish family cars
Large family cars
Buying tips
Best small family cars
Perfect for those who need a smaller, runaround car.
Renault Captur
The Renault Captur is one of our favourite crossovers, and a car that combines supermini-sized ease of use with the high driving position and chunky style of an SUV.

Why choose the Renault Captur as a family car?
The Captur is more practical than many of its rivals, it’s smooth and quiet on the road, and it’s offered with some really good engines. We’d point you towards either the 120-horsepower petrol or the 90-horsepower diesel, both of which deliver a good mix of performance and economy.

Read the full review.
Front view of an orange Renault Captur, a family car parked near a coastal view
Rear view of an orange Renault Captur, a family car parked near the coast
Volkswagen T-Cross
The Volkswagen T-Cross is a small SUV with a roomy interior, which ticks plenty of boxes by offering an attractive design and classy driving experience.

Why choose the Volkswagen T-Cross as a family car?
The T-Cross is quiet and comfortable to drive, and it’s safe too, having scored five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests. All versions come with six airbags, including curtain airbags for rear passengers. Crucially for a family car, there’s plenty of room and plenty of places to store things inside the T-Cross. The boot has 385 litres of space as standard, but this can grow to 455 litres if you slide the rear seats forward.

Read the full review.
Profile view of the Volkswagen T Cross, a great small family car
Volkswagen T Cross boot with rear seat let down
Funkiest family cars
Cars for those who want to stand out on the school run.
Peugeot 3008
Peugeot 3008 is a compact SUV that blends quality, style and image to stand out in the market. The 3008 was voted New Car of the Year 2019 thanks to its comfort, interior quality and features.

Why choose the Peugeot 3008 as a family car?
The Peugeot 3008 looks good inside and out. It’s spacious, with lots of head and leg-room in the rear seats and a large boot that folds down into a flat load space. The 3008 also comes with some generous safety equipment, with even the most basic car including autonomous emergency braking and speed limit recognition on top of air bags and stability control.

Read the full review.
Front view of a Peugeot 3008, a funky family car
Rear view of a Peugeot 3008, a funky family car
Toyota C-HR
The Toyota C-HR stands out in the small SUV market thanks to its stylish looks and impressive driving manners. It also won the title Best City Car in our 2019 New Car Awards.

Why choose the Toyota CH-R as a family car?
We gave the Toyota CH-R 5/5 for safety, thanks to the extensive systems included in even the basic versions (nine airbags, road sign assist and adaptive cruise control to name but a few). It’s practical enough for a small family, sensibly priced and shouldn’t cost too much to run.

Read the full review.
Front view of Toyota CH-R, a funky family car
Rear view of Toyota CH-R, a funky family car
Affordable family cars
Working to a budget? These affordable family cars are worth a look.
Dacia Logan MCV
The super-affordable Dacia Logan MCV (maximum capacity vehicle) offers frugal engines and decent interior space for those on a tight budget.

Why choose the Dacia Logan MCV as a family car?
The Dacia Logan MCV is probably the biggest new car you can get for the money. For the price of a city car, you’re getting a fully-fledged five-seat estate car. Just don’t expect much in the way of niceties or plushness.

Read the full review.
Front view of a red Dacia Logan MCV, an affordable family car
Side view of a red Dacia Logan MCV, an affordable family car
Skoda Superb Estate
The Skoda Superb Estate is a large family wagon that offers affordable prices, generous standard kit and masses of space, making it a must for any parent’s shortlist of family cars.

Why choose the Superb Estate as a family car?
The Skoda Superb Estate offers an unrivalled 660 litres of space in the boot (1,950 litres with the rear seats down) which is plenty of room for all the stuff that comes with kids. The cabin is roomy, and it’s great to drive, with impressively low running costs too.

Read the full review.
Front view of a red Skoda Superb Estate, an affordable family car
Rear and side view of a red Skoda Superb Estate, an affordable family car
Stylish family cars
Ideal for those who don't want to compromise on style.
Skoda Kodiaq
The Skoda Kodiaq SUV comes with space for seven, loads of equipment and a high-quality interior for a low price.

Why choose the Skoda Kodiaq as a family car?
The Skoda Kodiaq will entice families with a roomy and practical cabin. MPVs might better suit those who regularly need seven seats, but this is great for those who want a choice between a huge boot and a seven-seater. There are also plenty of handy features, like an automatic boot lid, which will make family journeys easier.

Read the full review.
Front view of a blue Skoda Kodiaq parked near the sea
Rear view of a blue Skoda Kodiaq parked near a cliff
Seat Tarraco
The Seat Tarraco SUV is a practical choice for families, offering seven seats, plenty of equipment and excellent value for money.

Why choose the Seat Tarraco as a family car?
The Seat Tarraco offers enough room for a six-foot adult in each of the seven seats, alongside lots of handy storage spaces, including door pockets deep enough to fit a large bottle of water. It also scored a full five-stars in Euro NCAP’s crash tests, thanks to a host of great safety features.

Read the full review.
Front view of a white Seat Tarraco, a stylish family car
Side view of a white Seat Tarraco driving through a park
Large family cars
Spacious cars for those with lots of passengers.
Citroen Berlingo XL
Citroen Berlingo XL gives you a lot of space for your money, with clever storage solutions taking that premise further.

Why choose the Citroen Berlingo XL as a family car?
The Berlingo XL is very spacious indeed, offering tons of head, leg and shoulder room for rear-seat passengers. It’s one of the few cars where you can fit three child seats (provided they’re not too bulky) across the middle row.

Read the full review.
Front view of the Citroen Berlingo XL, a spacious family car
Citroen Berlingo XL's boot space
Seat Alhambra
The Seat Alhambra is an MPV that offers lots of space and versatile seating, but also provides an enjoyable and comfortable drive.

Why choose the Seat Alhambra as a family car?
The Seat Alhambra offers loads of space for seven inside, as well as their luggage, and the sliding rear doors make it incredibly easy to get the kids in and out, even in tight parking spots. It should also prove pretty reasonable to run, too, thanks to its fine range of petrol and diesel engines.

Read the full review.
Front view of a white Seat Alhambra in an underground carpark
Rear view of a white Seat Alhambra in an underground carpark
What is a family car?
Traditionally, family cars came with a big engine, big boot and enough seats for four or five passengers. The Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat are two classic examples.

Modern family cars come in a greater range of shapes and sizes than ever before, with SUVs, estate cars and affordable hatchbacks proving amongst the most popular.
What to look for in a family car

1. Safety
One easy way to check the safety of a family car is to use the Euro NCAP five-star rating system. This is the standardised crash safety scoring system across all new cars on sale in Europe. A car’s safety rating is determined by a series of tests.

Also look into that car’s individual score for areas such as child occupancy protection, too.
The Volvo XC90, for example, is one of the safest family cars on sale, scoring 97% for adult occupancy protection and 87% for child occupancy protection.

Also check whether you can deactivate the front airbag – something you have to do if you need to fit a rear-facing child seat in the front.
2. Shape
Try to choose a car shape that is tall and boxy. That may not sound as appealing as a sporty coupe, but it lets you maximise every litre of space.

A taller car usually gives you a higher driving position, as well as lightening the load on your back as you don’t have to stoop so much to install child car seats or get buggies in and out.
3. Doors
In most circumstances, five-door cars are the best choice for families given they provide to rear seats.

If you take a test drive, try opening the doors when stopped on an incline to see whether close on you. This would obviously be inconvenient when trying to get children into their seats.

Also see if the car has wide-opening doors. These make it easier to install child safety seats, and make it easier for adult family members to get in and out of the car, especially if they have difficulty doing so.

Some MPVs and people carriers have sliding rear doors, which may better suit you if easy access is a key factor.
4. Seats
It’s critical you check the flexibility of those rear seats. Are they easy to tumble and fold for more boot space?

Also check whether the seats slide. If so, you can slide them back to give extra legroom or slide them forwards to make passing things back easier.

If the seats are all the same size, you could avoid arguments about who sits in the middle. Accessibility to these seats is another factor that needs considering, especially in seven-seaters where the rearmost seats can be hard to access. Take a look at our best cars for large families.

If you’re going to be using child safety seats, check the number of Isofix points in the car. And remember, dark cabin materials are better at hiding stains and spillages.
5. Storage
Most cars come with plenty of storage cubbies but be sure to check whether they’re a good size for all your parental paraphernalia. Are they easy to reach if you have any spillages when driving? Do the kids have enough storage if, for example, you want to hide their toys and games when the car is parked up?
6. Specification
Specifying your vehicle correctly will not only help make your life easier, it will help ensure you get a better price for your car when you come to sell it.

You can often spec a new car with family-friendly features like tinted rear windows with UV-filtering, or in-built sun blinds, to limit sun exposure on long journeys. If you do longer journeys, it’s wise to consider a setup for tablets or DVD screens to keep the kids entertained. Take note of whether the car has enough internal power sockets.

Consider options such as a reversing camera in addition to reversing sensors, hill-hold assist to prevent the car from rolling back on any awkward hill start, plus a panoramic sunroof to increase your sense of space and light.