Biggest family cars

Whether you are after the biggest family car or the car for the biggest family, BuyaCar has you covered with family-friendly options

James Wilson
May 30, 2022

Let’s face it; having kids requires a lot of space. You need space before they are even born to store the small mountain of baby bric-a-brac you know they're going to need and when they finally arrive things only get worse. Keep your children fed, watered and occasionally exposed to sunlight and they will grow like there is no tomorrow.

Assuming your car has enough boot space for a buggy and rear doors that open wide enough to easily install and remove a baby seat, there will soon be another problem once your children can form their own sentences.

This is because, depending on the size of your offspring, it won’t be long before they can starting screaming, 'Are we nearly there yet?', when crammed into a car with poor room in the back. It makes sense then to find a big family car that can see you and your children through as many stages as possible - with as few complaints from the back seats as possible.

One of the hardest factors for family car drivers to decide upon is what fuel type their car should have. Diesel cars are traditionally best for higher mileage drivers (normally seen as those who do at least 12,000 miles or so per year) but diesels are also less suited to the kind of short journeys families do when nipping to school or weekend clubs. So, it is important to think about what type of driving you expect to be doing.

If you don't do too many long journeys, petrol cars seem like the best option. However, while petrol models can be perfect for a family (and they are some of the most affordable options), hybrid or fully electric cars can also be worth your consideration; yes, you'll typically have to spend more upfront, but fuel costs should be lower. If you are yet to decide on the best fuel type for you then take a look at the articles listed below.

Happily, there is a huge choice of makes and models that are diesel, petrol, hybrid and fully electric which are big enough for family car drivers. There is also a great selection of body styles, such as people carriers, SUVs and estates. Estates are closely related to hatchback cars (such as the Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus) but feature a larger rear end, normally meaning more boot space - perfect for bulky prams, mountains of nappies and/or family pets.

SUVs on the other hand tend, to be taller than regular hatchbacks which can make getting in and out easier for some drivers - with less stooping when putting kids in and out of child seats - but they typically use more fuel due to being heavier and less aerodynamic.

Below we've rounded up a selection of models that are different in shape, size and fuel type but all of which offer plenty of passenger and luggage room and could suit a broad range of families.

Biggest family cars

1. Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer

Family car with low running costs

Our pick Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer 2.0 Turbo D SRi Nav
Used deals from £9,800

Vauxhall knows how to make cars that are reliable, affordable to run and practical. In the case of the Insignia Sports Tourer, the latter is especially true thanks to a boot which is large enough to handle sports gear, a large dog and/or everything needed for a European family road trip. The rear seats are also very spacious, so there is room for the kids even if they have failed to leave the nest well into their 20s.

Being a British brand, Vauxhall also knows a thing or two about making cars that can deal with lumps, bumps and potholes so the Insignia is a comfortable car to tackle long and short journeys in. Despite its practicality, the Insignia's looks are impressive, too, being rather sleek, especially in sporty trims such as SRi and SRi Nav.

VAUXHALL INSIGNIA SPORTS TOURER BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake

Family car with sleek styling

Our pick Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake 2.0 TDI R-Line DSG
Used deals from £26,750

The Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake is quite rare compared to alternatives such as the BMW 3 Series Touring and for the life of us we can’t work out why. The VW has a large boot and a spacious cabin, which are important elements for any family car drivers.

It also has sleek styling inside and out, including unusual air vents that appear to span the entire width of the dashboard. Generally speaking, the interior is constructed from very high-quality materials, making it feel like an upmarket product.

Standard equipment is also a strength, with tech such as a digital driver’s display available. The best digital driver displays, like the one in the Arteon, not only replace traditional dials for things such as speed but they can also show sat-nav maps and instructions in a very clear format. This is a great safety feature as it means the driver doesn’t have to look away from the road to yet another display when getting direction information.

VOLKSWAGEN ARTEON BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Volvo XC90

Family car with great passenger safety

Our pick Volvo XC90 D5 R-Design
Used deals from £18,750

SUV style and safety. We really don’t need to say any more as these are two of the biggest advantages to the Volvo XC90. Actually, that would be doing the big Swede a disservice as it has a number of other strengths, including being very comfortable to drive and be driven in. This combination of traits has made the XC90 a very popular posh family car, which means there is a huge selection of second-hand models to choose from.

All versions have seven seats which are all spacious enough for adults, although those approaching six feet will probably prefer the extra headroom available in the front two rows to the rearmost one. Being able to get fully-grown humans in the rearmost seats is a huge bonus for those that need it, as many seven-seaters can only fit children or very small adults in the sixth and seventh spaces.

As for the styling, this large SUV offers a lot of off-roader style - though it's not particularly capable on rough surfaces - with the option of a more sporty look if you go for an R-Design model. Alternatively, for a more luxurious look, go for Inscription versions.

VOLVO XC90 BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Land Rover Defender

Family car with off-roader style and ability

Land Rover Defender 110 front three quarters view

Our pick Land Rover Defender 110 D250 X-Dynamic SE
Used deals from £62,440

Some big cars are wide, some are long and some are tall. The Land Rover Defender, specifically the ‘110’ version, is big in all directions. The ‘110’ is how Land Rover identifies its longer version of the four-wheel-drive beast, with its ‘90’ model being a shorter, three-door option.

The sheer size of the Defender translates well into practicality with the vast but well-designed cabin coming stocked with cubby holes and cup holders - plus plenty of power outlets and air vents to keep passengers in the back happy. It's also incredibly capable off-road, so if you want to take the family into the wilderness for fishing trips, rock climbing, hiking or any other outdoor activities, the car should be able to get you there.

The Defender is remarkably refined, too, with the range of petrol, diesel and hybrid engines all offering enough power to make light work of moving the big car down the road. To help motorists drive such a large car, Land Rover offers a range of assistance technology. One such example is the 3D surround camera, which provides a 360-degree camera feed of the area around a Defender and is a godsend when parking.

LAND ROVER DEFENDER BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Peugeot Traveller

Family car with big boot

Our pick Peugeot Traveller 2.0 BlueHDi Long
Used deals Limited stock

People carriers are a type of car primarily designed to prioritise passenger space and comfort above all else. So, if you're a super-sensible parent and simply want the most practicality for your money, a people carrier is a great family car option.

As the best way to transport people is in a square box, some manufacturers take the basis of a van they already make, install a more plush interior, some rear doors and a smattering of extra equipment and then sell them as people carriers. This is exactly what the Peugeot Traveller is and we are pleased to say the result is a huge but brilliant family car.

Being such a useful shape the interior offers space for eight - with six-foot-tall people able to get comfortable regardless of which of the three rows of seats they sit in. There are two lengths of Traveller to choose from, referred to as ‘standard’ or ‘long’.

Although the former offers as much luggage space on paper as large estate cars (like the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer above) the actual shape of the space is quite tall and narrow. Therefore, if you need to transport lots of people and luggage, we’d recommend going for the ‘long’ model.

6. Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer

Family car with funky styling

Our pick Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer 1.2 PureTech 130 Flair
Used deals from £15,151

There is another type of people carrier which is car-based rather than van-based and the Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer is one such vehicle. The big Citroen has seating for seven, although taller adults may find the rearmost seats a little tight. Other than that, the cabin feels quite airy and is a comfortable place for the family to travel.

Depending on your personal preferences, you may or may not like the styling of the Grand C4 SpaceTourer, but it is visually much more appealing than the boxy Peugeot above. Citroen offers the Grand C4 SpaceTourer with a range of very frugal engines, so fuel bills should be relatively low for a car of this size.

If you expect to travel more than 12,000 miles per year, then a 1.6-litre diesel is worth considering but any mileage less than that and we’d recommend a ‘PureTech’ petrol instead - as these are surprisingly punchy and still economical.

CITROEN GRAND C4 SPACETOURER BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Ford Ranger

Family car that's best for towing

Our pick Ford Ranger 2.0 EcoBlue Wildtrak
Used deals from £15,995

A lot of people won’t think of a pick-up as a suitable family car, but the latest Ford Ranger is such a practical and versatile vehicle that we think it is perfect for those who want a big car to get their clan from A to B - especially those who love the tough styling of an off-roader and may want to head off-road from time to time.

Take the boot - more commonly called a ‘load bay’ in pick-ups - which is huge and can easily handle dogs, bikes, sports gear or even massive loads for the tip. Handily, pick-ups can come with plastic-lined load bays so when they get dirty they can be hosed or swept clean.

Many drivers may worry about the security of luggage left in the open back of a pick-up but many models come with lockable covers - and if not these can be bought separately. As pick-up trucks are primarily designed to be workhorses, they can also tow hugely heavy trailers and caravans; the Ford Ranger can tow up to 3,500kg, which is as good as it gets for a car or pick-up.

Last but not least for the Ranger, there is the interior. Yes, there are some hard-wearing plastics - as this is a vehicle made to be tough enough for builders and tradespeople to use as their work vehicle - but with a car-like media system and plenty of tech such as cruise control, the Ranger is relatively upmarket.

FORD RANGER BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Tesla Model X

Family car with zero exhaust emissions

Our pick Tesla Model X Dual Motor
Used deals Limited stock

If you and your family are ready to make the move to an electric car, then one of the biggest options is the Tesla Model X. When shopping for a Model X you will find five-, six- and seven-seater versions available but it is worth keeping in mind that the rearmost seats in models with more than five seats are best suited to children due to the amount of space available.

Regardless of seats, all Model X versions come with something called ‘falcon doors’. These provide access to the back and look like something from a sci-fi movie. The doors electronically fold up and out - looking a bit like wings when open, hence the name. Tesla has included a number of sensors in the doors so they can open in tight parking spaces without bashing into things around the car.

On top of being very practical, the Model X can come with up to 348 miles of range per charge. This is based on official tests, so you're likely to get less with everyday driving, but even so, the range is impressive and up there with the best available. One final thing to mention; the Model X can accelerate incredibly fast. The fastest Plaid model is claimed to be able to race quietly from a standstill to 60mph in just 2.5 seconds - which is faster than just about every other car on the road.

TESLA MODEL X BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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