Best family cars 2024
There’s a vast selection of cars available that are great for ferrying families around. But which is right for you? Here we take a look at 10 of the very best family cars.
Looking for the perfect family car? It’s not an easy task, because each family is different. But once you have decided on what your priorities are, there’s certain to be one that suits your needs.
There are countless options available in various shapes and sizes, and each of them has a slightly different take on what makes the ideal family car, but all offer safety and comfort, plus useful space.
Whether you want an SUV, a more roomy MPV or even a traditional family hatchback, there are many things to take into account, such as standard equipment, price, value for money, fuel economy and driver satisfaction.
Making sense of it all can be a daunting prospect, but BuyaCar has done the hard work for you to present the 10 best family cars you can buy right now.
Best family cars 2024
- Skoda Kodiaq
- Ford S-MAX
- Dacia Jogger
- Honda Civic
- Renault Scenic
- Kia Sportage
- Skoda Octavia
- Volvo XC40
- Peugeot 3008
- Nissan Qashqai
Best family seven-seat SUV
Our pick: Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 TDI 150 SE L
Read our full Skoda Kodiaq review
Skoda has made some impressive cars in recent years and the Skoda Kodiaq is up there among the very best. It took Skoda into new territory when it made its debut, as the company’s first SUV and first seven-seater, although a five-seat model is also available. Whichever you opt for, you’re getting one of the most spacious family cars around.
In the five-seat version, the Skoda Kodiaq offers 835 litres of boot space with the rear seats upright, which is huge. Fold the seats down and you have an oustanding 2065 litres of space to play with.
More than that, the Skoda Kodiaq is great to drive – comfortable and refined. There’s also a well-equipped cabin along with great safety kit and all the latest tech. As a family car, it’s an alluring option.
Best family MPV
Our pick: Ford S-MAX ST Line 2.0d EcoBlue
Read our full Ford S-MAX review
It may have been around for quite a while, but the Ford S-MAX still has massive appeal as one of the best family cars thanks to its agile handling and seven-seat flexibility.
It features loads of space for five adults in the first two rows and a smaller occasional third row of seats that’s ideal for smaller children. It’s great for luggage with both rear rows of seats folding flat and a number of concealed storage areas. Also worthy of note is that the middle row of seats has three Isofix mounts, which is ideal if you need to ferry small children around.
Equipment levels are good and Ford’s infotainment systems are among the best around, too. But the Ford S-MAX’s real trump card is in the way it drives – if you want a family car that puts a smile on your face, there’s nothing to compare with it. As MPVs go, it handles superbly and is a lot of fun to hustle along in.
Best family car if you’re buying new
Our pick: Dacia Jogger Comfort TCe 110
Read our full Dacia reviews
Most of the cars in this list only represent great value for money when they’re used, but the Dacia Jogger is different. Indeed, if anything, it makes most sense of all when new, as there’s nothing out there that even comes close on price.
A full seven-seater, the Dacia Jogger is available new from less than £20,000, yet it’s a full seven-seater. Some of the fit and finish could be a bit more upmarket, but it all feels sturdy and well screwed together, and it’s a handsome car, with bold front-end styling and a well laid-out cabin.
There’s even a hybrid model available if you want something more frugal or environmentally friendly, although you will need to find a chunk more cash up front. As a result, it’s the lower specification petrol models that have the most appeal.
Best family hatchback
Our pick: Honda Civic EX Sport
Read our full Honda Civic review
For some people, hatchbacks have greater appeal than upright MPVs or SUVs, as they’re often more agile and stable when driven at speed. But for families, space is often a compromise – and that’s where the Honda Civic comes into its own. The 10th generation has now ceased production, but it remains a massively sought after car on the used market and for good reason.
All options are lively to drive, including the hybrid models, the handling is reassuring and it’s a lot of fun on twisty roads. If you need a family car but don’t want the compromise that comes with a larger model, the Honda Civic makes a lot of sense.
Best family car for cabin flair
Our pick: Renault Scenic Dynamique S Nav 140 TCe
Read our full Renault Scenic review
Offered as a five-seater new or as a both a five or seven-seater used – the larger model being the discontinued Renault Grand Scenic – the French model is one of the most stylish family cars you can buy, plus also offers the practicality of an MPV bodystyle.
There’s a huge boot, lots of clever storage cubbies and the tech and infotainment on offer are impressive. There’s also a decent amount of safety kit, as well as a wide range of petrol and diesel engines and a choice of six-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Whichever Renault Scenic you go for, the best way to buy one is used as they tend to be much better value after a couple of years old.
Best family car for a long warranty
Our pick: Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi 157
Read our full Kia Sportage review
The popular Kia Sportage SUV now looks even better than ever before, with purposeful looks to match its family-friendly functionality. It’s offered with a competent range of engines, whether you favour petrol, diesel, a hybrid or plug-in hybrid, with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed automatic, so there really is something for everyone.
For most owners, the diesel will still make most sense – it can do over 500 miles on a tank of fuel and return 50mpg. But the plug-in hybrid is better for urban drivers, with about 40 miles possible on a charge, enough for most daily commutes.
And don’t forget Kia’s incredible warranty – seven years or 100,000 miles of quibble-free cover remains one of the best peace-of-mind packages on the market.
Best family car for space and value
Our pick: Skoda Octavia 1.6 TDI 115hp SE
Read our full Skoda Octavia review
The Skoda Octavia is about as close as can you get to defining what a family hatchback should be all about. It shares mechanical parts with the excellent Volkswagen Golf, which ensures it’s incredibly well built, but it’s a bigger car, with a 590-litre boot (210 litres larger than the Golf) and more rear passenger space, too.
In fact, the Skoda Octavia feels roomier than SUVs such as the Nissan Qashqai and the fact it’s lower to the ground makes it more involving to drive. Plus, it’s comfortable, quiet and efficient while the Skoda badge means that it’s cheaper to buy than the Volkswagen Golf.
The 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol is surprisingly nippy and is a great fit if you tend to ride solo and don’t venture on long motorway trips too often, although even at speed it acquits itself well. For higher mileage drivers, the 1.6 TDI remains the one to go for though, with over 70mpg available at cruising speeds.
Best family car for stylish SUV designn
Our pick: Volvo XC40 T3/B3 P R-Design
Read our full Volvo XC40 review
The high-tech Volvo XC40 has won plenty of awards, thanks to its blend of avantgarde design and quality. It’s cool in a way that only something Scandinavian can be, plus has a high-tech, innovative interior. The quality of materials rivals German manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedes and Audi too.
It’s also good to drive, especially with the surprisingly powerful petrol engines. As you’d imagine, the SUV scores highly on safety and comes with software that can detect potential collisions with other cars, pedestrians and cyclists.
If you’re looking at later models, what was originally the T3 became the B3 P. The main difference was the addition of mild hybrid tech, which ekes out a couple of extra miles per tank.
Best family car for French flair
Our pick: Peugeot 3008 1.2 PureTech 130 Allure
Read our full Peugeot 3008 review
The arrival of the Peugeot 3008 sparked a change in buyers’ perceptions of the French brand. It’s a highly polished family SUV, far removed from the frankly sub-par old model. Notably, the interior quality is fantastic, while outside it sports a daring design.
Under the bonnet, there is a selection of frugal engines including hybrid options and diesels, but the Peugeot 3008 is particularly good when fitted with the 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine and automatic gearbox, especially in flagship 130PS form.
It's best-served in higher trim levels – the Pure is a little stingy on specification, so seek out an Allure or Allure SE if you can, or even the sportier GT Line. The all-round appeal of the Peugeot 3008 has made it one of the most sought-after family cars on the market and you’ll find used examples get snapped up quickly.
Best family car for all-round appeal
Our pick: Nissan Qashqai 1.3 DIG-T N-Connecta
Read our full Nissan Qashqai review
The original Nissan Qashqai was one of the pioneers of the SUV revolution and, now in its third generation, it continues to innovate.
Its latest technological leap comes in the form of the extended range e-Power model that is powered at all times by a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which in turn serves as a generator to charge a 1.8kWh battery. The battery then powers a 188PS electric motor that drives the front axle. The self-charging battery doesn’t need plugging in.
Aside from that, the latest model is packed with high-tech equipment and class-leading safety kit, increasing its appeal. The Nissan Qashqai to go for if you can’t stretch to the e-Power is also by far the most popular – the 1.3-litre turbocharged mild hybrid, which has power outputs of either 140PS or 158PS depending on trim level.