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Best Family SUVs 2023

There are plenty of family SUVs available offering a great deal of convenience, safety feaures and an elevated driving perspective - but which should you choose for your next car?

Auto Trader

Words by: Auto Trader

Last updated on 17 July 2023 | 0 min read

There’s a reason SUVs are so popular these days – it’s because they’re absolutely ideal for families. Whether you’ve got one newborn or three or four older children, an SUV is an ideal choice as it’s such a versatile class of car. There are five and seven-seater models to choose from, they always have large boots to chuck all types of luggage in, and they’re typically fitted with roof racks so you can bolt even more useful stuff to the roof. There’s now a wide range of drivetrain choices, from traditional petrols and diesels, to more advanced hybrids and pure electric SUVs. And as they’re normally four-wheel drive and heavy, SUVs are ideal towing vehicles, making them the perfect tool for busy family life.
To help you decide on which car might suit you best, here’s a list of the best family SUVs available. We’ve included a mix of all different sizes and types to hopefully suit all budgets. If you’re thinking about a new car that isn’t an SUV, take a look at our rundown of the best family cars available.


The BMW X3 is one of the best premium midsized SUVs going. The EV version, the iX3, is arguably even better, thanks to a super-smooth and eco-conscious electric drivetrain. You get up to 285 miles of charge from its 80kWh battery pack, which makes it more than capable of going on longer trips, but you also get incredibly quiet and refined driving manners for local journeys. It’s a truly brilliant five-seat SUV, that has no compromises compared to internal combustion-powered models – the iX3’s boot is exactly the same size as a petrol or diesel X3’s.
Find out everything you need to know about the BMW iX3, or check out our range of used BMW iX3 or new BMW iX3 lease deals.

Hyundai Tucson

The Hyundai Tucson is far more than just a striking-looking SUV. It has a very spacious and generously equipped interior, as well as a huge boot, so the practicality box is comprehensively ticked. Then there are the driving manners, which are smooth and refined no matter which model you go for. And almost the entire range of drivetrains are electrified in some way, including full hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants at the top of the Tucson line-up for truly economical family motoring.
Read our expert review of the Hyundai Tucson, or check out our range of used Hyundai Tucson offers and new Hyundai Tucson lease deals.

Kia Sorento

Kia’s biggest SUV, the seven-seat Sorento, is brilliant for families. It’s one of the few SUVs in which taller people can fit in the two rearmost seats. It follows that the boot is huge - assuming you’ve got those two rear seats folded away. The passenger compartment is hugely practical, too. There are USB sockets, cupholders and storage places in all the key seating positions - not just the front - so every passenger will be comfortable. And with the fully configurable seating, meaning a second row of seats which all individually slide back and forwards, this is one brilliant family SUV.
Find out everything you need to know about the Kia Sorento or take a look at the latest used Kia Sorento offers and Kia Sorento leasing deals.

Land Rover Defender

The Land Rover Defender is an excellent large family car. It comes in three body lengths but you can ignore the three-door 90 model – what you want to look at is five-seat, five-door 110. Or, if you’ve got a particularly large family, the mighty eight-seat 130. Whichever one you go for, though, you get a proper off-roader and a brilliant tow car, but one that’s also as refined and comfortable as the best luxury SUVs. That’s not something you could ever say of the classic Defender.
Read the full review of the Land Rover Defender 110.

Mercedes-Benz EQB

If you want an electric seven-seat SUV your options are pretty thin on the ground at the moment. But the Mercedes-Benz EQB is probably all the seven-seat electric SUV you’ll ever need. Based on the same underpinnings as an A-Class, it’s actually a fairly compact vehicle, making it easy to park and manoeuvre about in urban areas - despite all the seats and interior space. It has all the practicality you could possibly need from a family SUV, as well as a battery that’s big enough to do around 250 miles to every single charge.
Read our expert review of the Mercedes-Benz EQB, or check out our range of used Mercedes-Benz EQB


For families on a budget, you could do a lot worse than the MG HS. This is a big five-seat family SUV that comes with a choice of turbo petrol or plug-in hybrid (PHEV) drivetrains. It drives in an assured and enjoyable manner - especially the PHEV because it’s quick - but the real bonuses of the MG HS are its remarkably comprehensive equipment list, be that on the base model or the upper-level version, and a generous seven-year, 80,000-mile warranty. You’re getting a lot of value-for-money with this family SUV, that’s for sure.
Find out everything you need to know about the MG HS, or take a look at the latest MG HS leasing deals.

Peugeot 3008

A previous Auto Trader award winner, the Peugeot 3008 Mk2 remains one of the best five-seat family SUVs going, despite the fact it has been on the market for a while now. It’s defined by sharp exterior styling and a really high-quality interior, featuring Peugeot’s trademark ‘i-Cockpit’ layout with its small steering wheel and very high-set instrument cluster. There’s loads of space for the family to get comfortable, too, while the boot is a good size on all models. Peugeot provides a choice of mild-hybrid petrol or full-on plug-in hybrid drivetrains – two of those, to be precise – to ensure that the 3008 is just as economical as a good family vehicle should be.
Read our expert review of the Peugeot 3008, or check out our range of used Peugeot 3008 offers and new Peugeot 3008 lease deals

Skoda Kodiaq

Few family SUVs, of any size or price, do things better than the Skoda Kodiaq. It has absolutely acres of interior space and a vast boot, with genuinely top-notch cabin quality, an array of the Volkswagen Group’s great engines, and a cabin that can accommodate up to seven people if you need it to. Sure, SEAT does much the same thing badged as the Tarraco, while parent company Volkswagen’s effort is the Tiguan Allspace, but for our money, the Kodiaq is the best of the breed here.
Check out the full review of the Skoda Kodiaq for more details.

Toyota RAV4

Toyota has been doing hybrids for a long time now, but it’s been doing the RAV4 compact SUV for even longer. So when you combine to the two things together for this fifth-generation model, what you end up with is a super-assured family wagon that will be cheap to run, more reliable than the proverbial Swiss timepiece, and also great to look at – outside and in. Choose either the regular hybrid or the potent plug-in hybrid model, which has 306 horsepower. That’s more power than plenty of hot hatchbacks, so great news if you need to transport your family around swiftly and smoothly.
Check out the full review.

Volvo XC90

The XC90 is just wonderful in every regard. The interior is beautifully made and spacious enough that seven adults can get comfortable. And as you’d expect from a Volvo, it’s packed with safety kit to protect you and your family at all times. A range of efficient hybrid drivetrains culminates in the 450-plus horsepower T8 plug-in hybrid, which is both very quick and extremely efficient. It’s rated at around 200mpg, and although you won’t achieve anywhere near that in real life, you can expect 42 miles of all-electric range. That could make a short daily commute very cost-effective indeed.
Find out everything you need to know about the Volvo XC90 or take a look at the latest used Volvo XC90 offers and Volvo XC90 leasing deals. So that’s our preferred list of family SUVs, but if you fancy another shape of vehicle, then have a look at our guide to the best saloons, or our seven-seat rundown, or our collection of the best MPVs. For even more on SUVs, check out list of the very best SUVs in 2023.

Best Family SUV FAQs

Why are SUVs so popular for families?

SUVs are popular because they meet the varied needs of families so well. They sit higher off the road, which in turn leads to higher seating positions – which is great for mums and dads trying to lift and then buckle child seats into the interior. They’re often very safe, as they are structurally solid and equipped with the latest advanced driver assist systems, while the boot capacity is also large so they can swallow lots of gear. They’re also great towing machines, and lots of them have seven-seater capability – ideal for larger families to travel as one unit, instead of having to split into two five-seater cars instead.

Are SUVs reliable family cars?

Yes, modern SUVs are – like so many new vehicles – incredibly reliable. And they’re all covered by an array of impressive manufacturer warranties, the minimum of which will give you at least three years and 60,000 miles’ worth of cover.

What’s the most spacious family SUV?

There are plenty on our list which are very roomy, such as the Kia Sorento and Skoda Kodiaq, but for the absolute maximum of interior space, you need the vast Land Rover Defender 130. Be warned, though – this is a family SUV which isn’t exactly cheap, nor is it small on the outside. You’ll need a lot of room to park it up safely.

Are SUVs safe family cars?

Yes, because they have very strong structures and, typically – as high-end models within a manufacturer’s product portfolio – they will have lots of the latest advanced driver assist safety systems fitted to them as standard. The Volvo XC90, for instance, has recorded some of the highest-ever figures for adult occupant and child occupant safety scores in Euro NCAP crash tests.

Which family SUVs are the most fuel-efficient?

There are plenty of hybrid and plug-in hybrid family SUVs these days – both Kia and Hyundai, for instance, provide almost exclusively hybrid drivetrains for their Niro, Sportage and Sorento, and then Kona, Tucson and Santa Fe ranges (respectively). Peugeot is also in on the act, providing two plug-in hybrid derivatives of its excellent 3008. But for the ultimate in low running costs, you need an electric SUV. So check out the BMW iX3 and Mercedes EQB, or even alternatives from Audi and Tesla.