Best used family cars 2023
From hatchbacks to SUVs - for every budget - these are the best used family cars starting at under £10,000
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 you might still be hoping the enjoy your time behind the wheel as well.
There's no such thing as 'one size fits all' when it comes to family cars. You might need more boot space, in which case an estate car might be the best choice. Or, if you have babies or smaller children, a comfortable and practical SUV could suit you down to the ground. Then there's the question of seats - do you need five, seven or more?
Fortunately, the huge variety of cars on offer means there are virtually no gaps left in the market. There are cars to meet practically any mix of lifestyle you could think of and manufacturers are constantly introducing new models to fill any niches that might appear.
We're confident that we can find a car that will perfectly match the needs of your family. And we've started the process by picking out some of the very best family cars that meet a wide range of requirements. They're all pretty cheap, too, with deals starting from around £150 per month with PCP finance here on BuyaCar.
Best used family cars
Best used family car for boot space
Our pick Mazda 6 Tourer 2.2 Skyactiv-D Sport Nav+
Used deals Limited stock
The Mazda 6 Tourer is a well-equipped estate car with an enormous boot and excellent fuel economy. It's fun to drive if you're tackling a twisty country lane, and it's comfortable, even over rough roads and potholes. Alongside the likes of the Volkswagen Passat, Ford Mondeo or Vauxhall Insignia, the Mazda 6 is a match for all three, and it comes at a great price, too.
The majority of used models include sat-nav as standard, with a choice of petrol and diesel engines that should all meet the latest Euro 6 emission standard, so you can make use of them in low-emission zones. 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 many of the same benefits as the Tourer version, but has a smaller boot.
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 of these around that the car loses value fast, bringing large numbers of low-priced used models to the market.
This version of the 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 (this version has two). Most models come with sat-nav, a leather steering wheel and cruise control, but be sure to check each car's individual specification. We like the efficient but punchy 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine.
Best used family car for uncomplicated journeys
With an uncomplicated interior layout, comfortable ride and light steering, it’s a big hit with families who want a straightforward car that can handle urban and long-distance driving with as little stress as possible.
A taller version of the Volkswagen Golf, the Tiguan feels just as solid, with a well-finished interior, comfortable ride and quiet performance. This version was introduced in 2016, though there have been numerous updates to keep the inside and outside fresh. Going for a sporty R-Line trim will usually age well.
Cars in a reasonably comfortable price range include well-equipped Match models, which have sat-nav, digital radio and Bluetooth as standard, along with 17-inch alloy wheels, climate control and parking sensors.
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 top-of-the-range models come with a reversing camera, panoramic sunroof, sat-nav and keyless entry.
Most models are petrol-powered, but there are some diesel-powered options around if you tend to travel long distances. They all meet Euro 6 emissions regulations, which means that they shouldn't face clean air zone charges to drive in many city centres.
Drivers looking to keep costs low should consider the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso that was sold before Citroen changed its name. Little separates either model, although as with any car newer examples will have more sophisticated tech.
Combining the charm of the standard Mini with the extra space of an estate car, the Mini Clubman offers families character with reasonable practicality.
We'd recommend looking for deals on the current model, which went on sale in 2015. Even the more basic versions 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.
The common SE specification 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 Superb Estate.
If you're willing to part with a bit more cash, a plug-in hybrid version has been introduced. It uses the same 1.4-litre petrol setup as many of the other hybrids across the Volkswagen Group, like the Seat Leon eHybrid and VW Golf eHybrid. While it costs more in the first place, you will be able to reap the benefits spending less time at the pump and more time charging up overnight for far less.
Forget the Toyota Prius: probably the best-known hybrid car. 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.
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
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
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.