Best luxury cars for families

Family ferriers don’t have to miss out on the finer things in life. We’ve picked eight top upmarket cars to carry you and yours in style

Graham Hope
Jul 21, 2020

While cars designed for families have to work hard to earn their keep, there’s still room for some upmarket appeal. After all, who doesn’t like a little bit of luxury in their life? Anything to numb the cries of 'are we nearly there yet?' from the back seats...

There are plenty of basic models out there for those determined to keep costs to a minimum, but for those who would rather spend a little bit more to get additional dashings of comfort, there’s a wide variety of upscale options available to add that extra dose of desirability to the driveway.

Our list takes in an array of different bodystyles - from easy-to-drive compact hatchbacks to SUVs and estates with enormous boots - to ensure all bases are covered, but whatever your preference, you can be assured that any of our recommendations will ferry your family around in style and comfort.

And the good news is that you don’t have to break the bank for an extra-special set of wheels. You’ll find all eight of our models available here on BuyaCar in the £10,000 to £25,000 price range. Go for PCP finance and the cost of putting one of these cars on the drive should tumble to around £150 to £360 per month upwards.

Best luxury cars for families

1. Volvo V90

Used deals from £17,490
Monthly finance from £230

Volvo has transformed its image over the past few years, and now has an extremely stylish range of cars. The sleek V90 estate is a long way from the boxy load carriers associated with the Swedish company in the past, although boot space is still substantial at 560 litres (stretching to a hefty 1,526 litres with the rear seats folded). Yes, there are bigger estates, but few that feel quite so cushy and luxurious once you shut the door.

Engine-wise, there are 2.0-litre diesels, a 2.0-litre petrol and a powerful petrol-electric plug-in hybrid to choose from, and the V90’s on-road ability is characterised by its comfortable cruising ability rather than especially sharp handling. That fits the bill for a luxurious drive, though. Why zoom around when you can sink into the seats and relax?

And sink into the seats you will. It’s inside the cabin where the V90 really scores, with some of the most comfortable seats you’ll find in any car and a chic, minimalist dashboard with a nine-inch portrait touchscreen media system taking centre stage. It’s undeniably cool, and a lovely place for families to spend time.

VOLVO V90 BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Audi A3

Used deals from £8,597
Monthly finance from £158

The Audi A3 blazed a trail for others to follow when it launched in the nineties. Until then, nobody had launched a model that blended the dimensions of a compact family hatchback with the build quality and upmarket interior of a far more expensive large car.

These days the A3 is a common sight, and with good reason. Although it shares mechanical bits with the VW Golf, Seat Leon and Skoda Octavia, it has that added element of desirability that makes it a hit with families who want something with the right badge. It’s marked out by impeccable build quality and beautiful fit and finish inside, plus handsome exterior styling.

There’s a wide range of engines - including petrol, electric and plug-in hybrid versions - trims and options, so you can afford to be choosy, and on the road, it delivers a grown-up drive in line with its image as a compact but upmarket car.

AUDI A3 BUYERS' GUIDE

3. BMW 3 Series

Used deals from £10,500
Monthly finance from £180

BMW built its reputation on the 3 Series as the 'Ultimate Driving Machine' - a slogan BMW used for many years - and it remains the upmarket saloon to go for if a rewarding drive is a priority alongside ferrying the family.

Agile handling ensures plenty of engagement for keen drivers on the road, and there’s an engine to suit all tastes, but there’s much more to the 3 Series than that. Inside, all occupants will appreciate the excellent quality, although the focus is more on form and function than outright style.

The 3 Series is practical, too, with a competitive luggage capacity, and only the very tallest teenagers will struggle to get comfortable in the back seats. With such an abundance of models available, choosing which one suits you can be difficult, but the 320d diesel and 320i petrol are good options for their all-round ability. Choose a Touring estate model if you want the extra practicality of a hatchback and the larger boot.

BMW 3 SERIES BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Lexus RX

Used deals from £19,500
Monthly finance from £357

Growing families with a need for space would do well to consider the Lexus RX. This large SUV is a superbly built car which always fares well in owner reliability and satisfaction surveys, meaning high-mileage models are not to be feared.

And if green credentials are important to you, the RX ticks all the right boxes as a petrol-electric hybrid. The RX450h combines a 3.5-litre V6 engine with an electric motor to deliver a compelling blend of performance and efficiency, and while the 'CVT' (Continuously Variable Transmission) automatic gearbox is an acquired taste - it holds the engine at a set speed when accelerating - most buyers learn to live with it.

Inside, the RX is beautifully constructed and finished and the ownership experience should be pain-free too, as Lexus dealers have a reputation as being among the best in the industry. No, the boot isn't the absolute biggest but the RX offers a great balane of comfort and all-round space. 

LEXUS RX BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Mercedes E-Class Estate

Used deals from £19,084
Monthly finance from £246

Incredibly, Mercedes was the third best-selling car maker in the UK in 2020, begging the question, can a brand that is so popular still be considered upmarket? Pick an E-Class Estate and you will appreciate why there are so many Mercs on the road, with its comfy cabin and low noise levels.

It’s a wonderful mix of attractive design, plentiful space and a luxurious feel, with the added bonus of delivering a more composed drive than you would get if you bought a tall SUV. If you do a lot of motorway miles, in particular, it is a fantastic choice on account of its excellent comfort and superb high-speed refinement.

Boot space is obviously a key consideration for any estate buyer, and here the E-Class Estate really does deliver with a massive 640-litre capacity. Add in punchy and efficient diesel engines, and you have a great choice for families. If you want to steer clear of diesel, however, fear not - there are plenty of petrol options, too.

MERCEDES E-CLASS ESTATE BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Ford Fiesta Vignale

Used deals from £21,699
Monthly finance from £323

Everyone’s familiar with the Fiesta, traditionally Britain’s best-selling car. But the Vignale version is less well known. It is, essentially, the poshest version of the Ford favourite you can get - poshed up to take on the upmarket VW Polo - and so a much rarer sight than standard models.

For your money, you get niceties including plenty of chrome, quilted leather upholstery, a panoramic glass roof, a Bang and Olufsen sound system and an eight-inch colour touchscreen media system. It’s genuinely plush; a small car that feels like a big car. What also comes as standard is a great drive.

While it’s not the pick of the Fiesta range in this respect, being more comfort-oriented rather than feeling particularly sporty, it still compares favourably to other superminis with its ability on the road. Both petrol and diesel engines are available, and the back seats can comfortably cope with a couple of average-sized kids.

FORD FIESTA BUYERS' GUIDE

7. DS 7 Crossback

Used deals from £21,598
Monthly finance from £303

DS Automobiles is Citroen's upmarket brand, launched as a standalone name in 2016 after years of strong sales for the Citroen DS3. The premise is quite simple; it aims to cash in on the world’s appetite for French luxury. While many car manufacturers, such as Audi and BMW try to make ever sportier cars, DS unapologetically prioritises comfort.

The DS 7 Crossback is its Audi Q5 and BMW X3-sized SUV, and comes as a petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid options. On the road, the focus is on comfort rather than a sharp driving experience; some models come with Active Scan suspension which uses a camera to read the road surface and adjust the suspension accordingly.

The interior has a genuinely opulent feel and is dominated by an eight-inch touchscreen media system (or a 12-inch one on high-spec models). Plenty of space and equipment make the DS 7 Crossback an attractive buy. As a new upmarket brand, however, you're likely to get the best deal picking an older DS which has lost much of its value compared with a rival from a more established upmarket alternative.

DS 7 CROSSBACK BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Range Rover Evoque

Used deals from £17,500
Monthly finance from £266

Long acknowledged as one of the most stylish smaller SUVs available, it’s a tribute to just how groundbreaking the design of the original Range Rover Evoque was that the all-new model released in 2019 was such a gentle evolution.

The result is that even early versions of the Evoque still look quite sharp on the road, and the good news is they are more affordable than ever. If you want to keep fuel bills down, go for a diesel rather than a petrol, and models fitted with the nine-speed automatic gearbox - available from 2013 onwards - are worth seeking out for a smoother drive.

The interior still feels top-quality, and there’s no denying the feelgood factor the car offers - but be prepared for running costs and servicing costs befitting of a premium car. The inclusion of four-wheel drive on most versions means that the Evoque isn't as fuel efficient as most similarly sized two-wheel drive estates, either. If you ever want to go off-road, however, the Evoque will definitely take you much further, though.

RANGE ROVER EVOQUE BUYERS' GUIDE

 

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