Best used family cars: sturdy, spacious and great value

From hatchbacks to crossovers - for every budget - these are the best used family cars starting at under £10,000

BuyaCar team
Dec 11, 2020

If you have a family, chances are that you'd value a car that can alleviate the stress of childcare. Now there are hundreds of cars out there that offer enough space for children - sometimes up to seven, eight or even nine seats - and all the stuff they bring with them, but whether you want to sacrifice your own enjoyment of driving the car in order to make your life easier is another matter.

While the choice of cars you could go for is vast, the amount of cars that are going to be suitable for you and your family is realistically much smaller - depending upon how many people and pets or luggage and other gear that you need to fit in.

Just as there's no typical family, there's no typical family car. There are tall ones and small ones; short ones and long ones. 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.

There's bound to be at least car that represents the perfect fit for your family. We've highlighted 10 used family cars that we think offer the best mix of practicality, fuel economy and value. The cars we've gone for cost around £15,000, or £200 per month with PCP finance.

We understand that different families have different requirements, so we've put together a list of cars that are all substantially different. Some will be better equipped, some will be more spacious, and some will be more satisfying to drive. But they all have one thing in common: they're all very good at doing their job as capable and practical family cars. 

Just be aware that older diesel cars, which were on the road before September 2015, may not meet the latest emissions standards, known as Euro 6, and could incur future diesel charges, including clean air zone tolls in some areas or the ULEZ in London.

Best used family cars

1. Mazda 6 Tourer

Best used family car for boot space

Our pick Mazda 6 Tourer 2.2d SE-L Nav
Used deals Limited stock

With an enormous boot, generous equipment levels and excellent fuel economy, the estate-version of the Mazda 6 is a bargain, starting at £189 per month with finance. 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, so 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.


2. Vauxhall Astra

Our pick Vauxhall Astra 1.0T Tech Line
Used deals from £7,700
Monthly finance from £136*

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 less than £10,000 - or around £150 per 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.


3. Nissan Qashqai

Best used family car for uncomplicated journeys

Our pick Nissan Qashqai 1.2 DiG-T Acenta
Used deals from £7,995
Monthly finance from £155*

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 (but lacklustre) 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 well under £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.


4. Volkswagen Tiguan

Our pick Volkswagen Tiguan Match 2.0 TDI BlueMotion
Used deals from £10,100
Monthly finance from £248*

A taller version of the Volkswagen Golf, the Tiguan feels just as solid, with a well-finished interior, comfortable ride and quiet performance.

The car was replaced by an all-new version in 2016 and prices for the older model have now dropped to well below £15,000, with finance costing from under £200 per month.

Cars in this price range include equipment-laden Match models, which have sat-nav, digital radio and Bluetooth as standard, along with 17-inch alloy wheels, climate control and parking sensors. Few pre-2016 diesel cars meet the latest emission standards though, so they are likely to face charges in some future clean air zones.


5. Citroen C4 Grand Picasso

Our pick Citroen Grand C4 Picasso 1.6 E-HDI Exclusive+
Used deals Limited stock

High-specification cars are often good value as used models, because expensive optional extras don't make much of a difference on the used market. This is certainly the case with the seven-seat Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, where £1,000 is the difference between a mid-range VTR+ model and a top-of-the range Exclusive+ car 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 high-tech dual-screen screen dashboard for around £12,000.

Alternatively, a 2017 car can be yours for less than £15,000. These are updated versions with improved dashboard software and minor styling changes. They also have diesel engines that meet the latest Euro 6 emissions regulations, which means that they shouldn't face clean air zone charges to drive in some city centres.


6. Mini Clubman

Our pick Mini Clubman Cooper
Used deals from £10,999
Monthly finance from £183*

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.


7. Hyundai ix35

Our pick Hyundai ix35 SE 1.6 GDI
Used deals from £7,699
Monthly finance from £179*

The Hyundai ix35 crossover is affordable, available with petrol power and has a big boot. It also came with a five-year warranty from new, which means that many used cars are still covered. That ticks a lot of boxes for family car buyers.

SE models include 17-inch alloy wheels, heated seats in the front and back; parking sensors; cruise control and Bluetooth. The 1.6-litre petrol engine, badged GDI, should return around 35mpg in real-world driving, which is reasonable for a car of this size. It's not the last word in comfort, though - expect some bouncing on bumpy roads and leaning in corners.

8. Skoda Superb

Our pick Skoda Superb SE 1.6 TDI
Used deals from £9,999
Monthly finance from £195*

For less than £200 per month, you could have a 2017 Skoda Superb on your driveway, in SE specification, which includes adaptive cruise control that will adjust the car's speed to maintain a safe distance from the one in front; climate control; parking sensors; 17-inch alloy wheels and enough room for your little ones to grow into great hulking teenagers. For a little bit more, you could have the even larger estate car.

Alternatively, you could choose a previous-generation Superb - replaced in 2015 - which has curved front lights rather than the straight-edged ones on the current car, shown above. It's still enormous and comfortable, and more affordable. .


9. Dacia Duster

Our pick Dacia Duster 1.5 DCI Laureate 4x4
Used deals from £5,999
Monthly finance from £136*

It's cheap as a new car, and the Dacia Duster is also a used car bargain, with early 2013 models (previous generation) 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.


10. Hyundai Ioniq

Our pick Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Premium SE
Used deals from £12,000
Monthly finance from £212*

Forget the Toyota Prius: the best-known hybrid car is in-demand, keeping used car prices high. Look instead at this Hyundai 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. Prices are affordable, so even nearly-new cars start at £300 per month.

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 - although it will be substantially more expensive to buy.


*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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