Best used family cars

From hatchbacks to crossovers - for every budget - these are the best used family cars

BuyaCar team
Dec 12, 2017

Just as there's no typical family, there's no average family car. There are tall ones and low one; short ones and long one. You can opt for five seats or seven; a big boot or a sleek shape. As well as petrol and diesel options, you can pick a hybrid or electric car too.

With so much choice, there's bound to be a car that's the perfect fit for your family. We've highlighted a selection of ten of the best used family cars below, each offering practical features, reasonable fuel economy and excellent value-for-money. For a full range of options, you can go on to search all family car deals


Best used family cars

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Nissan Qashqai

Our pick Nissan Qashqai 1.2 DiG-T Acenta (2014, 30,000 miles)
Typical price £10,500  Representative finance £150 per month

Nissan’s Qashqai isn’t Britain’s best-selling crossover by accident. It perfectly combines the comfort and low running costs of a standard hatchback, with the extra height of an off-roader.

With an uncomplicated interior layout, comfortable ride and light steering, it’s a big hit with families who want an straightforward car that can handle urban and long-distance driving with as little stress as possible.

The current version of the car, pictured above, has been on sale since 2014 and the earliest of these examples are now available for less than £10,000. Even the basic Visia cars all come with air conditioning and cruise control; for a few hundred pounds more, the Acenta model adds alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel and climate control as standard.

As with many of the other cars on this page, look out for some early diesel models that don’t meet the latest Euro 6 emissions requirements, so will face some inner-city emissions charges.
Read the Nissan Qashqai buying guide

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Mazda 6 Tourer

Our pick Mazda 6 2.2d SE-L Nav (2014, 25,000 miles)
Typical price £9,995  Representative finance £151 per month

With an enormous boot, generous equipment levels and excellent fuel economy, the estate-version of the Mazda 6 is a bargain at less than £10,000 for a 2014 model. It's also good to drive, feeling nimble in corners and remaining smooth and composed over bumps and potholes. If you were considering a VW Passat, Ford Mondeo or Vauxhall Insignia, then it's worth adding the Mazda 6 to your list.

The majority of used models are badged Nav, which means that sat-nav comes as standard. Most are diesel models and should all meet the latest Euro 6 emission standard, which means that they are less likely to be affected by future diesel charges. You can double-check this in the 'technical specifications' section for each used car.

If you don't need the extra space of an estate car, then there's also the option of the Mazda 6 saloon, which carries all of the same benefits with a little less bulk.
Read the Mazda 6 buying guide

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Vauxhall Astra

Our pick Vauxhall Astra 1.0T Tech Line (2016, 20,000 miles)
Typical price £10,000  Representative finance £158 per month

For Astra read ‘value for money’. Vauxhall's family hatchback is an excellent car that's well-built, spacious and economical. It's comfortable, nippy in corners and there are plenty to choose from. In fact, there are so many sloshing around that the car loses value fast, bringing large numbers of low-priced used models to the market.

The latest Astra was launched in 2015 but only really hit the roads in large numbers in 2016. If you buy an earlier car, it's likely to be the previous generation, which only has one chrome strip on the grille (the current model has two). For £10,000 - or just over £150 a month, you can have a 2016 Astra in Tech Line trim, which includes sat-nav, a leather steering wheel and cruise control, as well as the efficient and powerful 1-litre engine.
Read the Vauxhall Astra buying guide

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Skoda Octavia

Our pick Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI SE (2016, 15,000 miles)
Typical price £12,995  Representative finance £200 per month

If you're looking at a nearly-new car then very little will come close to a Skoda Octavia for space and value for money. Its enormous boot and spacious rear legroom are unmatched by cars in the same price bracket, such as the VW Golf, Ford Focus and Renault Megane. For example, the Octavia's 590-litre boot will swallow far more than the 380-litres in the VW Golf.

The car was updated in 2017 with a new four-headlight design and some technology improvements, but the best prices are to be found on earlier models, which are little different. The diesel versions are best if you're covering extremely long distances, where their efficient fuel economy can save hundreds of pounds. But most drivers covering less than 10,000 miles a year will be better off with the smoother - and still efficient - petrol engines. Both the 1.2-litre engine and its replacement, the 1-litre motor, will motor along with reasonable acceleration at all speeds, returning around 40mpg in real-world conditions. Fuel economy for the larger 1.4-litre engine is virtually the same but acceleration is noticeably faster.

Every Octavia comes with air conditioning, a touchscreen with Bluetooth and alloy wheels, so you're guaranteed a basic level of equipment. SE trim adds useful extras, including rear parking sensors, voice control for your phone and electric rear windows.
Read the Skoda Octavia buying guide

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Citroen C4 Grand Picasso

Our pick Citroen Grand C4 Picasso 1.6 E-HDI Exclusive+ (2014, 50,000 miles)
Typical price £10,999  Representative finance £180 per month

Buying a used car often gives you the opportunity to buy a high-specification model for a small premium over an average one. And that's very much the case with the seven-seat Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, where an extra £1,000 will allow you to upgrade from a mid-specification VTR+ car to the top-of-the-range Exclusive+. For around £11,000 (or £180 per month), you'll have a 2014 version of one of the most comfortable people carriers available, with a reversing camera, panoramic sunroof, sat-nav, keyless entry; front seats that will massage you and part-leather seats. There's even a scented air freshener, as well as a hi-tech dual-screen screen dashboard.

Alternatively, for £16,000 or £250 a month, you may want to opt for a nearly-new 2017 car, with minor technology improvements and renamed trim levels over earlier cars. This price, for an entry-level Feel model, is a saving of almost £8,000 on the list price of a new one. Most used Citroen Grand C4 Picasso cars do have diesel engines and many older ones don't meet the latest Euro 6 emissions regulations, which means that they could face charges to drive in some city centres.
Read the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso buying guide

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Mini Clubman

Our pick Mini Cooper Clubman (2016, 18,000 miles)
Typical price £15,500  Representative finance £225 per month

Combining the charm of the standard Mini with the extra space of a larger hatchback, the Mini Clubman offers families character with reasonable practicality.

Most buyers will be best opting for the current model, which went on sale in 2015, because the previous-generation car had a quirky set-up with only door to get into the back, which opens out into the road (if you’re facing in the direction of traffic).

Even basic cars come with sat-nav as standard and an interior that has more charisma than any other family car on the market. There’s reasonable boot space and room in the back, although bumps in the road do make themselves felt - a result of the Mini’s nimbleness in corners.

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Honda CR-V

Our pick Honda CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC SE-T (2014, 40,000 miles)
Typical price £12,500  Representative finance £190 per month

Honda’s crossover is a big car with a little price tag. For less than £12,000 you can have a diesel SE models that comes with rear camera, parking sensors. Models badged SE-T also include Honda’s sat-nav and start at around £12,500.

There’s masses of space, along with Honda’s reputation for reliability. The car has been engineered for comfort, which will suit most families, but if you like to get to places as quickly as possible, you’ll find the car sways and leans in corners uncomfortably - that’s no fun for the driver or passengers.

The CR-V is also a good tow-car, particularly the most powerful versions built after 2015. These have a 1.6-litre diesel engine with 160 horsepower (the CR-V is also available with a less powerful 1.6-litre diesel that has 120hp), along with a smooth-shifting nine-speed gearbox.
Read the Honda CR-V buying guide

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Audi A4

Our pick Audi A4 2.0 TDI SE Technik (2014, 35,000 miles)
Typical price £12,000  Representative finance £160

Quality doesn’t come at too high a cost when you can have a 2014 Audi A4 for around £12,000. Even at this price, you can expect leather seats, sat-nav, three-zone climate control and parking sensors with the SE Technik specification. You also get enough space for a young family

Your selection will be limited to the previous version of the A4 - used prices for the latest car start at around £17,500 - but this still feels upmarket, with an interior that feels well built, with quality materials - even if the design gives less prominence to the dashboard screen than in modern cars.

The majority of cars available are diesel models (badged TDI). It was only part-way through 2014 that all engines were updated to comply with the latest Euro 6 emissions standards. If you do buy an older car that only meets the earlier Euro 5 standard, then you could face future inner-city emissions charges. You can check every car’s emissions rating in the “technical specifications” section of each listing.

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Dacia Duster

Our pick Dacia Duster 1.5 DCI Laureate 4x4 (2014, 30,000 miles)
Typical price £8,500  Representative finance £150 per month

It's cheap as a new car, and the Dacia Duster is also a used car bargain, with early 2013 models starting at less than £7,000. If you're not concerned about the company's budget image, then it's an ideal family runaround, with a high driving position and a rugged design.

Entry-level cars are known for their miserly specification, but it doesn't cost too much for a better-equipped used car in Laureate trim, which includes air conditioning, a leather-covered steering wheel and chrome roof rails. Choose a model with optional four-wheel drive and your Duster will have the ability to tackle slippery conditions that its off-road looks suggest.
Read the Dacia Duster buying guide

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Hyundai Ioniq

Our pick Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Premium SE (2017, 10,000 miles)
Typical price £17,995  Representative finance £239 per month

Forget Toyota's Prius: the best-known hybrid car is in-demand, keeping used car prices high. Look instead at Hyundai's Ioniq. It's a close match for the Prius, offering excellent fuel economy in town and plenty of space in the front, back and boot. Its hybrid system recovers energy that's usually wasted while braking and uses it to power the car when accelerating, which improves fuel economy. As it's a relatively obscure car, prices are affordable, so a nearly new 2017 hybrid car will cost from around £250 a month with representative finance.

Slightly more expensive is the plug-in hybrid version of the Ioniq. With bigger batteries that can be charged up from a socket, this Ioniq can travel much further on electric power alone, making short journeys extremely cheap.

And if you want even more glint on your green credentials, then opt for the fully electric Ioniq, which has no petrol motor and relies entirely on its battery pack.
Read the Hyundai Ioniq buying guides

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