Best used family cars 2024
If you’re on a tight budget, but still need a car that is fit for the family, there’s a wide choice of used models for £10,000 or less. Here are our 10 best used family cars.
If you’ve got a family, then chances are practicality, functionality and space are your main priorities when choosing a used model. Whether you favour an estate car, a multi-function MPV, or an SUV, there are lots of options, including multiple seats, engine choices and boot sizes.
There’s no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to family cars. You might need more boot capacity, in which case an estate may be the best choice. Or, if you have babies or smaller children, a comfortable SUV could suit you down to the ground. Then there’s the question of seats – do you need five, seven or more? Also, how much value do you place on driver appeal?
There are cars to tick every box imaginable, and manufacturers are constantly introducing new models to fill any niches that might appear – most recently in terms of alternative propulsion, with lots more electric and hybrid models joining the market. Although these are generally not yet available below £10,000, keep an eye on them, as they soon will be.
In the meantime, at BuyaCar 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 used 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 2024
Best used family car for boot space
Our pick: Mazda 6 Tourer 2.2 Skyactiv-D Sport Nav+
Read our full Mazda 6 Tourer review
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 standards, 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 Mazda 6 Tourer, but has a smaller boot.
Best used family car for outright value
Our pick: Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport 2.0 CDTi SRi Nav
Read our full Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport review
In production from 2017 to 2022, the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport never matched the popularity of its predecessors, but that’s not because it isn’t any good. Far from it, in fact.
Changing fashions in the car market mean that large hatchbacks no longer have the appeal they once had. But if you want a great-value car that’s a good thing, as it means you can buy a spacious, comfortable late model that’s impressive to drive, but costs substantially less than a family-sized SUV of a similar age.
The Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport is a big car, and that means loads of passenger space and a huge boot (even more so if you prefer the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer estate model). Furthermore, because it’s both low and wide, it’s also impressively agile, while the styling is quite sharp. Even the lower-specification models are well-equipped. 2.0 CDTi BiTurbo models are remarkably quick, while still returning 50mpg+ fuel economy.
Best used family car for the school run
Our pick: Nissan Qashqai 1.3 DiG-T Tekna
Read our full Nissan Qashqai review
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.
Even the basic Visia cars all come with air-conditioning and cruise control, while slightly more expensive Acenta models add alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel and climate control as standard. Plus, the recent arrival of a new model means that the previous-generation Nissan Qashqai (sold from 2014 to 2021) is now better value than it ever has been before.
Best used family car for premium appeal
Our pick: Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace 2.0 TDI Match DSG
Read our full Volkswagen Tiguan review
Based on the platform of the Volkswagen Golf, the Volkswagen Tiguan brings SUV styling and practicality into the mix and thanks to the premium badge, is one of the most desirable cars in its class. The Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace even adds seven-seat versatility.
The Volkswagen Tiguan benefits from a well-finished interior, comfortable ride and quiet performance. This version was introduced in 2016, and there have been numerous updates since to keep the inside and outside fresh. Going for a sporty R-Line trim will keep it desirable for a long time to come, whilst also adding smart alloys, sports seats and a few exterior embellishments.
Cars in a lower 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.
Best used family car for practicality
Our pick: Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer 1.2 PureTech Flair
Read our full Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer review
High-specification cars are often good value as used models, because expensive optional extras don’t make as much of a difference on the used market. This is certainly the case with the seven-seat Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer, 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 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 to add the SpaceTourer badge. Little separates either model, although as with any car, newer examples will have more sophisticated tech.
Best used family car for comfort
Our pick: Skoda Superb 2.0 TDI SE Technology DSG
Read our full Skoda Superb review
The most 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 hulking teenagers.
If you’re willing to part with a bit more cash, there’s a plug-in hybrid version. It uses the same 1.4-litre petrol set-up as many of the other hybrids across the Volkswagen Group, like the SEAT Leon eHybrid and Volkswagen 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.
Best used family car for SUV appeal at a bargain price
Our pick: MG ZS 1.5 VTi Tech Exclusive
Read our full MG ZS review
The MG ZS is that car that made people sit up and take notice of the Chinese-manufactured, British-badged brand. Introduced in 2017, the five-seater SUV has incredible specification and, when new, was amazing value for money and came with a seven-year warranty.
This means that all but the very earliest cars are still under warranty, and they represent even greater value on the used market. A simple three-model range makes it easy to shop around – although if buying used, the relatively small price difference makes the flagship Exclusive model the one to track down. The only downside is that the 1.5-litre engine isn’t especially refined or economical, but for the price it’s perfectly acceptable.
Best used family car for outright SUV appeal
Our pick: Hyundai Tucson 1.7 CRDi Premium
Read our full Hyundai Tucson review
The 2015-2021 Hyundai Tucson represented a seismic shift for the South Korean company, seeing it evolve from being a manufacturer of good value, well-equipped and functional cars to one that produced genuinely desirable models. As a bonus, they were offered with a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty as a testament to their quality.
That quality still shines through on the used market, with an impeccable reliability record and durable, high-quality interiors. The styling is smart and the 1.7-litre CRDi diesel engine a bit of a hidden gem – it’s Euro 6 compliant, so suitable for low-emission zones and offers excellent fuel economy with 60mpg attainable on a long journey.
It’s a smart and well-specced car that will happily take on any of the challenges that a growing family can throw at it.
Best used family car workhorse
Our pick: Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi 180 Titanium
Read our full Ford Kuga review
It’s now over a decade since the first Ford Kuga appeared and in that time it has gone on to become one of the most popular family-sized SUVs on the market. A combination of low running costs, familiarity, ride comfort and impressive handling help make it stand out among a sea of other models.
If you want a diesel that’s compliant with low-emission zones, you’ll need a 2015-2021 model which has the Euro 6 2.0 TDCi engine. It’s a strong performer with frugal economy.
The Ford Kuga also has a spacious, comfortable cabin with good-quality plastics and an impressive in-car entertainment system. Zetec specification can be a bit stingy, so it’s worth the modest premium to upgrade to Titanium, which has leather trim as standard.
Best used family car for safety
Our pick: Volvo XC90 2.0D R-Design
Read our full Volvo XC90 review
When it was introduced in 2016, the Volvo XC90 had almost a year-long waiting list. That’s how desirable the big Swedish SUV was – and on the used market it enjoys a similarly strong appeal, with it being by far one of the most frequently searched-for models.
It’s easy to see why. Huge and spacious, beautifully built, sumptuously equipped and offering class-leading safety systems, the seven-seater Volvo is a car that’s perfectly suited to the needs of a growing family. It’s also one with a massive feelgood factor, its airy and neatly designed cabin offering comfort levels to match its visual appeal.
There’s a plug-in hybrid model, the Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge, but this loses the back row of seats. The 2.0-litre diesel models are better suited to family life and are cheaper to run over long distances.