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Best Cars

Best family cars for 2019

By Martin Pratt

Article 16 of 16

Looking to buy the best family car? Our experts have done the hard work for you. Our pick of the best family cars has a car for every budget.

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

You might think that buying a family car means your only choice is getting a people carrier (MPV) - but that's not true at all.

Our Best Buy family cars come from a range of classes - from SUVs and small cars, as well as the best MPVs to come through our tests. All are safe, economical and spacious enough to fit in everyone and their luggage.

Whether you'd prefer an SUV or an estate, there are plenty of suitable cars on our best family cars list.

Of course, what you don't want to be left with is a car your family will quickly outgrow, or end up with a vehicle that conks out part way through your driving holiday. Worse of all - there are family cars available that have a low safety rating.

What makes a great family car?

The best family cars need to excel in a number of different areas to be brilliant:

  • Should be easy to get in and out of
  • Offer a decent amount of rear seat and boot space
  • Not too noisy
  • Be both safe and reliable
  • Be easy to drive

All the cars in the below meet all these requirements. Separately, we have also listed the electric cars that make excellent family vehicles - but you'll need to be comfortable with the range they will cover.

Want more advice on what to look for in a family car? Either scroll down or go to:

How to choose the best family car for you

Which? members can log in to see the family cars we recommend. If you're not already a member, join Which? to unlock our best family cars and all of our independent, expert reviews.

Best new Family cars

81%
£46,277
Reviewed

The unusual design won't be to all tastes, but this SUV is a very impressive luxury 4x4. There’s plenty of space for passengers front and rear, plus a decent-sized boot. It's well made and comfortable, and has lots of advanced technology.

81%
£68,751
Reviewed

Imposingly large, yet with an agility that belies its enormity, it pulls off a seemingly impossible feat. This car's not just super-fast in a straight line, it also corners with precision and confidence. And it can also seat up to seven passengers in one of most comfortable, high-quality cabins we've come across.

80%
£63,159
Reviewed

A masterclass in luxury and technology. This upmarket SUV has the potential for very low running costs, provided you can live without seven seats.

76%
£21,312
Reviewed

This large SUV is a good value option for families, offering masses of space inside for both luggage and passengers - well, five people at least; the seven-seat model's extra two seats are tiny. It's also comfortable and well made. Overall, this is practical, spacious and better value than the last model.

75%
£35,638
Reviewed

This large estate stands out from rivals by being sharper and more fun to drive than any enormous estate car has any right to be. This dynamism hasn't come at the expense of practicality or long distance comfort, either.

74%
£24,769
Reviewed

A hugely practical estate given a refreshing turn of speed in this high-performance model. The ride is stiffer than regular versions, but that's the only real compromise in this impressive estate express.

74%
£26,086
Reviewed

Exhibiting the strengths of larger models from the brand: excellent cabin quality, plenty of tech and a comfortable ride, this compact SUV is an accomplished and desirable model.

73%
£24,787
Reviewed

This model is the complete MPV package, with seven adult-sized seats, plenty of luggage space, and a comfortable ride. Only high NOX emissions in our tests let it down.

73%
£14,588
Reviewed

It's a small car but immensely practical. Passengers will be comfortable and the boot is huge - its strong reliability record seals the deal as a Best Buy. We did find that fuel consumption was some way off official claims, however.

73%
£37,083
Reviewed

A medium-sized SUV, it's a little larger than the first-generation model and competes with premium 4x4 models.

Best used family cars

79%
£10,583
Reviewed

This car is all about practicality. Despite this, boot space is disappointing unless you fold the rear seats, which isn't easy. It drives very much like other members of its premium family - which means very well.

79%
£10,136
Reviewed

Big, spacious and very good to drive, whether you opt for a petrol or diesel engine. The handling and steering are top-drawer. The only real gripes concern visibility and an interior that can be daunting to get used to.

77%
£5,261
Reviewed

Robust and dependable, but a little short on space for those in the third row of seats. Thankfully this model's levels of equipment and safety make it a Best Buy.

77%
£2,490
Reviewed

Hybrid technology in a conventional hatchback package. This medium car appeals with its familiarity and ease of use. A rock-solid reliability rating further boots its appeal as a used buy.

75%
£11,319
Reviewed

It's satisfying to drive, returns decent fuel economy and has a comfortable, high-quality interior. It's not cheap to buy, but if it's within budget, you won't feel short-changed with this premium mid-sized SUV.

74%
£13,218
Reviewed

The plug-in system adds extra versatility to this brand's groundbreaking hybrid. It works well as an everyday car, and you'll struggle to find a more fuel-efficient vehicle around town. It's a Which? Best Buy.

74%
£3,140
Reviewed

This car has an impressive array of talents that makes it a Best Buy. It drives in a very agile manner, thanks to suspension that's well balanced: both cushioning and sporty. The refined, powerful engines and smooth gearboxes work seamlessly, too. Inside, everything is well laid out and its surprisingly practical.

72%
£4,822
Reviewed

This Japanese SUV impresses with its solid feel, spacious cabin and actual off-road ability. The 2.0-litre diesel is unspectacular and it's cramped as a seven-seater. However, it's not enough to prevent it being a Best Buy.

72%
£7,235
Reviewed

This hybrid may not be sporty to drive but it gets the basics right and is well suited to drivers looking for simplicity. Practicality remains a great plus point: although the hybrid version loses around 100 litres of boot space due to its batteries (they're under the boot floor), it's still highly capacious and usable as a family car.

72%
£3,407
Reviewed

A spacious cabin and well-designed seats help make this car feel bigger than it actually is. The clever rear seat system only increases that practicality. It's a very easy to drive car.

Best new electric family cars

75%
£23,504
Reviewed

Aside from the usual electric car compromises of a high purchase price and limited range, this car is a thoroughly practical and likeable electric compact crossover. Low day-to-day running costs (and government grants) should help ease the financial burden, however. So if your lifestyle and budget can accomodate this car, then it should certainly be considered.

74%
£29,575
Reviewed

This all-electric hatchback has decent range and performance, and an upmarket feel typical of the brand. A range extender hybrid version is also available or those who regularly travel further afield.

 

How to choose the best family car for you

Arguing over music, asking if we’re there yet and using sweets as bribes – and that was life before you had kids. When you’re blessed with the pitter-patter of little feet, you’re going to have to make sure you have a car that will fit your family and suit your lifestyle.

And ‘your lifestyle’ is the operative term. No family is identical, so it’s important to consider your specific needs. For instance:

  • Double or triple buggy? You need to make sure your boot can accommodate.
  • Looking after the last generation as well as the next one? Take extra care when assessing the amount of space the car offers, and how easy it is to get in and out.

For our full guide on what to look for when picking out the best family car, head for our guide on buying the best family car. Otherwise keep reading for a roundup of key advice.

Your first child?

Welcome to the dizzying world of age-rated car seats, changing regulations and something called Isofix.

Before you head to a car dealership, you’ll want to do a bit of background reading. We have separate, simple guides that explain everything you need to know:

Remember, there’s nothing to stop you taking your seat and/or child to the dealership with you, just to make sure both fit.

Cars for three children or more?

Had even more children? If you’re looking for a car that can get three or more car seats in, you’ll find choice is limited – but here’s our guide to cars with multiple child car seats.

But changing your car is expensive. And should the size of your brood increase unexpectedly, the finance needed to buy a new car could be more fleeting than ever.

But there is an alternative: the Multimac.

The Multimac is a bench of multiple car seats that is designed to fit into most medium-sized cars. You can get a Multimac with either three or four seats, and the manufacturer claims it can carry any combination of children - from birth up to twelve years old.

It's expensive, at £1,500 to £2,000, but an awful lot cheaper than buying a new car.

To find out if it's worth buying, head to our Multimac review

We test cars more thoroughly than anyone else

Every car we test goes through a combination of hundreds of lab tests and assessments, plus real road driving to make sure every Which? car review is informed and accurate.

Because our tests are performed in a controlled lab we can compare the results against different cars and scientifically determine which is better and why. This wealth of reliable information is used in conjunction with our extensive survey data.

Every year we send our car survey to over 100,000 car owners who tell us how reliable their car is and how satisfied they are with it. Only Which? uses this reliability data to inform reviews so you can buy with the confidence that comes with knowing which your car won't let you down.

You can join Which? to access all of our independent, expert car reviews.

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