Best family SUVs

There's no denying the SUV has become the undisputed champion of family cars, but which one is the best?

Simon Ostler James Wilson
Nov 25, 2019

The SUV, above all else, is a practical and comfortable choice for families looking for the easy life. Whether it's deployed for the daily school run, family outings to the countryside, summer holidays abroad, or even a daily commute, an SUV is generally a pretty safe bet.

In some cases, they can also be capable off-roaders thanks to their rugged build and high-rise stance, but this is by no means a universal SUV trait.

What is absolutely undeniable, though, is that SUVs have become the ultimate family car. Their popularity among busy mums and dads tells you everything you need to know. Not only do they offer all the practicality you'd get with a hatchback, with the added bonus of a high driving position for that extra feeling of security and safety, but they come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes, so you're almost guaranteed to find an SUV to suit your very specific needs.

Whether you need space for your family of seven, or you fancy going a little more upmarket with all the latest gadgets to keep those little ones entertained, there is something here for everyone, and often at a relatively affordable price.

 

So if you're ready to begin your search to find the perfect family SUV, we've pulled together a list of 10 such models that we believe offer the absolute best that this market sector has to offer. From the most compact to the largest and most luxurious, it's all here to satisfy your appetite. Read on for more details on the best family SUVs available right here, right now on BuyaCar.

Best family SUVs

The best small family SUVs

1. Citroen C3 Aircross

Latest Citroen C3 Aircross deals from £9,250
Monthly finance from £133

The Citroen C3 Aircross is an excellent option for the fun-loving family. Its funky styling, bright colours and quirky yet comfy cabin really help it stand out from the crowd. A five-star Euro NCAP crash test safety rating cements its position as a go-to family car.

Go for a Feel model, as they have alloy wheels, air-conditioning and cruise control. One word of warning, though, the clunky entertainment system isn’t to everyone's liking.

Citroen C3 Aircross buyers' guide

2. Dacia Duster

Latest Dacia Duster deals from £10,231
Monthly finance from £149

Thanks to a price tag starting at less than £10,000, you might as well buy a brand new Dacia Duster and make full use of Dacia’s 3 year/60,000 mile warranty if you have the cash. The interior isn't the most luxurious, but it looks surprisingly good and is simple and effective to use.

Regardless of age, entry-level Access models are best avoided, though, as they barely come with any equipment - a radio and electric windows are absent, for instnace. Middle-of-the-range Comfort models, which start at around £13,000 come with alloy wheels, cruise control, air-conditioning plus Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and represent a sweet spot in the range in terms of price and equipment. Both petrol and diesel models are available with two or four-wheel drive.

Dacia Duster buyers' guide

3. Seat Arona

Latest Seat Arona deals from £10,999
Monthly finance from £149

Here we have the Seat Arona, a small but peppy family SUV that brings with it a touch of excitement for the driver. Based upon the Seat Ibiza hatchback, and aimed at younger families primarily, the Arona offers strong practicality and enough space for a small family and a good 400-litre boot.

Seat is part of the same parent company as Volkswagen and Audi. This means that when you buy a Seat you are buying many of the same parts used on more expensive VWs and Audis, such as the engines, gearboxes and media systems - which is good news - as Seats are typically a good chunk cheaper than Volkswagens and Audis, despite many of those shared parts.

We’d pick the punchy yet frugal 1.0-litre TSI 115hp petrol engine for the Arona. This makes it feel relatively nippy, but should still be capable of close to 50mpg when driven gently, meaning fuel bills should be low.

Seat Arona buyers' guide

The best medium family SUVs

1. Mazda CX-5

Latest Mazda CX-5 deals from £10,099
Monthly finance from £164

The Mazda CX-5 isn’t too flashy or in your face. Plus it’s well-equipped, well built, and offers a level of driving engagement that's well above its rivals.

We’d recommend the latest version, which has been on sale since 2017. If buying new, SE-L Nav+ models are a great option (despite being the entry-level version, they still come with tonnes of standard kit) with new prices starting around the £26,000 mark.

Mazda CX-5 buyers' guide

2. Volvo XC60

Latest Volvo XC60 deals from £12,699
Monthly finance from £216

There is a type of family out there that we all envy. They tan when they go on holiday, their dog sits when it's told, and they're about to redo the kitchen, despite their house already being stunning. To top it all off they have a car which is cool, stylish, reliable, refined, comfy, safe and packed full of technology sat on the drive. While we can’t help with the tan, dog or kitchen, we can tell you that the car on the drive is most likely a Volvo XC60.

The XC60 is Volvo’s medium-sized SUV, and while it is at the pricier end of the market, the kudos is worth the cash. The used market is healthy thanks to the current XC60 going on sale in 2017, and so too is the choice of trim level. New or used, Momentum models come with great levels of kit.

Volvo XC60 buyers' guide

3. Skoda Yeti

Latest Skoda Yeti deals from £9,999
Monthly finance from £166

The Skoda Yeti may be a car designed to offer great practicality in a small package, but it's the car's quirky styling and fun feel that has made it a family favourite. It combined all the things people liked about hatchbacks, but added a dash more practicality, lifted ride height (so it was easy to get in and out of) and the impression it was built to last. Where it differed from most other SUVs that came before, is its characterful styling that makes it more interesting to look at than most of the small crossovers that predate it.

The Yeti is no longer on sale (production stopped in 2017), but good 2015 models can be picked up for less than £10,000. Irrespective of whether you want a Yeti which is petrol, diesel, automatic, manual, two or four-wheel drive, there is a model for you. SE trim is a good one to go for, striking a good balance between price and equipment.

Skoda Yeti buyers' guide

The best large family SUVs

1. Hyundai Santa Fe

Latest Hyundai Santa Fe deals from £13,371
Monthly finance from £202

The latest generation Santa Fe is a notable step up in quality compared with the previous versions. Yes, it isn’t as affordable as previous models but with the range starting at just over £33,000, the Santa Fe is still good value for a car of this size. All models come with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, autonomous emergency braking and a digital radio, while further up the range you can opt for heated seats in the front and outer middle seats.

Practicality is key for the Santa Fe. It offers 625 litres of luggage space when the rearmost seats are folded down. A word of caution if you regularly tackle long journeys with a full car, however; the first two rows of seats have ample room for adults, but the third row is best reserved for children.

Hyundai Santa Fe buyers' guide

2. Lexus RXL

Latest Lexus RXL deals from £37,670
Monthly finance from £485

The Lexus RXL is well built and even though its looks may divide, they create a striking vehicle in a sector crying out for creativity. It’s only available as a hybrid, much like most of Lexus’ range, and offers seating for seven.

Buying new you can expect to pay at least £52,000 while you can knock £10,000 off that for the more affordable second-hand variants. Trim levels have been kept to a minimum, which, combined with the fact all Lexus models come very well equipped means you should have no problem finding a car with goodies such as air-conditioning, cruise control and heated seats.

Lexus RX buyers' guide

3. BMW X7

Latest BMW X7 deals from £69,081
Monthly finance from £963

BMW recently joined the luxurious large SUV battlefield - so recently in fact, you may well struggle to find a used one. Prices start around £72,000 new but for that you get one of the most upmarket and modern interiors on this list (rivalled only by the I-Pace below).

The BMW X7 is similar in size to the Volvo XC90 and Land Rover Discovery. It offers similar levels of technology too – so you’ll be treated to front and rear heated seats, soft-close doors and BMW’s excellent sat-nav system as standard.

BMW X7 buyers' guide

4. Jaguar I-Pace

Latest Jaguar i-Pace deals from £51,910
Monthly finance from £655

The Jaguar I-Pace is a fully electric SUV. Prices start just north of £64,000 for new cars, while top of the line HSE models come in at £75,000. At least the government provides a low-emission vehicle grant to the tune of £3,500, lowering the price slightly. Even though the I-Pace was only launched in 2018, there are a surprising number on the used car market.

Electric range is claimed to be 298 miles, but in a similar fashion to petrol and diesel fuel economy claims, the distance you will get in the real world is likely to be less. Even so, this is an electric car that is more than capable of long journeys. For those worried about the life of the battery, Jaguar provides an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty.

Jaguar I-Pace buyers' guide

 

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