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
Mar 24, 2020

The SUV has proven itself as the perfect family car. Not only are they comfortable, spacious and hugely practical, they are also perfectly easy to drive thanks to their high driving position. They aren't even that big either in many cases, with smaller SUVs sporting hatchback-like dimensions.

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. If you go for one with four-wheel drive, they can also make quite capable off-roaders, but this is by no means a universal SUV trait.

The popularity of SUVs among busy mums and dads tells you everything you need to know, they come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes, so you're almost guaranteed to find a model 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 - especially on the used car market.

Best family SUVs

If you're ready to begin your search to find the perfect family SUV, we've pulled together a list of nine 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.

The best small family SUVs

1. Citroen C3 Aircross

Latest Citroen C3 Aircross deals from £8,999
Monthly finance from £142

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, while a five-star Euro NCAP crash test safety rating cements its position as a go-to family car.

In terms of practicality, there is plenty of space for a family of five - or four adults - and the rear seats slide forwards or backwards up to 150mm to create even more space. The boot is also a very handy size, with 410 litres proving competitive among similarly sized rivals.

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 £11,199
Monthly finance from £166

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 £10,750
Monthly finance from £170

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 £10,495
Monthly finance from £175

The Mazda CX-5 isn’t too flashy or in your face. It’s well-equipped, well built, and is by far the most enjoyable to drive among it's rivals in this medium SUV class.

We’d recommend the latest version, which has been on sale since 2017, but still available with some very good value used deals. Entry-level SE-L Nav+ models are a great option; they come with tonnes of standard kit and enough space for your family and all their luggage.

A 505-litre boot is a headline feature, making the CX-5 the perfect choice for the family holiday, especially if you're going somewhere with exciting roads to drive on.

MAZDA CX-5 BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Volvo XC60

Latest Volvo XC60 deals from £13,495
Monthly finance from £232

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 £7,995
Monthly finance from £156

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 £15,999
Monthly finance from £249

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. BMW X7

Latest BMW X7 deals from £61,481
Monthly finance from £842

BMW recently joined the luxurious large SUV battlefield with the big and shiny X7 - but you can still find some pretty good value used deals on BuyaCar, even if prices do start from over £60,000. For that rather substantial investment you do get one of the most upmarket and modern interiors around, which is only really 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.

It's big, so you won't be skipping through traffic during the school run like you might with a Seat Arona, but it is hugely comfortable and perfect if you have a trio of high-maintenance teenagers in the back.

BMW X7 BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Jaguar I-Pace

Latest Jaguar i-Pace deals from £46,500
Monthly finance from £633

The Jaguar I-Pace is a fully electric SUV the consequence of that is that even used prices start just north of £45,000. It's much cheaper than the BMW X7, though, so you could save money on the car itself as well as fuel bills. Even though the I-Pace was only launched in 2018, there are plenty to choose from on BuyaCar.

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.

If you and your family are ready to go green, you might struggle to find a better electric car anywhere, so the fact the I-Pace is also a very capable family car makes it a very enticing option indeed.

JAGUAR I-PACE BUYERS' GUIDE

 

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