Family cars have a long list of requirements with space, comfort and refinement all at the top of the checklist. They must be easy to drive and straightforward to use, well equipped and not too expensive to run. As if that wasn’t enough, it also needs to look sharp in the company car park.
There are so many practical family vehicles on the market, it can be tricky to choose the right one for you. We’ve done the research for you and picked out the 10 best large family cars on the market right now.
- Skoda Superb
- Audi A4
- Mercedes C-Class
- BMW 3 Series
- VW Passat
- Jaguar XE
- Ford Mondeo
- Alfa Romeo Giulia
- Kia Optima
- Mazda 6
1. Skoda Superb
The Skoda Superb is, put simply, a superb family car and one of the very best cars on sale. Both the saloon and Estate versions offer Rolls-Royce levels of passenger space, with a vast boot that you’ll really struggle to fill. The Superb’s interior is well put together, suitably plush and refined on the move.
The ride is well controlled and rivals the kind of control and comfort in cars at least twice the price. All Superb models are also impressively efficient, with the Greenline version producing 76.4mpg and emitting less than 100g/km of CO2 to make it free to tax.
2. Audi A4
The Audi A4 further enhances its predecessor’s smart looks and generous cabin space, making it one of the roomiest and most comfortable options in this class. The interior is beautifully built with high quality materials and features a host of great tech, including the brilliant Virtual Cockpit system.
As you’d expect, a range of powerful and efficient engines producing impressive fuel economy figures and low CO2 levels are offered. The 2.0-litre diesel is a popular option returning 74.3mpg and emitting 99g/km of CO2 emissions in its most frugal Ultra form, while the 2.0-litre petrol uses an advanced combustion cycle for 50.4mpg and 127g/km of CO2.
Put the Audi A4 in our car configurator to see the deals carwow could help you get.
3. Mercedes C-Class
The Mercedes C-Class is the brand’s A4 rival and proves to be a great match. It has the most luxurious cabin of the three and – provided you don’t fit massive wheels – is the comfiest of the lot. It can’t quite match the Audi’s sense of cool sophistication but its extra focus on comfort will matter more to some buyers.
The cabin is packed full of technology and the options list is extensive. It’s not quite as economical as rivals, with the C200d diesel returning 72.4mpg and the faster C220 averaging 70.6mpg. If you want free road tax, the hybrid version sneaks below the 100g/km CO2 limit.
4. BMW 3 Series
The BMW 3 Series and 3 Series Touring are among the best cars in this class to drive thanks to their intuitive controls, stable chassis and potent engines. There’s also plenty of interior space, with impressive head and legroom in the front and back. The interior feels dated now next to its competitors, but remains a plush and comfortable place to be.
Engine wise, there’s a good range of powerful units on offer. The 2.0-litre diesel will be the most popular option and, in EfficientDynamics guise, it can return 72.4mpg and emit less than 110g/km of CO2 for road tax of just £20. Be sure to avoid the six-speed manual gearbox, however, because it’s overly springy and the automatic is much better.
5. VW Passat
The Volkswagen Passat and Passat Estate are great value, roomy and practical family cars. Both have a range of great in-car tech such as the Active Info Display seen on some Audis – and a host of driver aids to make your life easier behind the wheel.
It’s a little conservative both inside and out, but it’s simple to use, well built and up for the challenge of daily family life. Like any Volkswagen, the range of engines are both powerful and efficient. The 2.0-litre diesel returns 68.9mpg and emits 109g/km of CO2 making it ideally suited to those after a balance of power and efficiency.
6. Jaguar XE
Looks are subjective but many are saying the Jaguar XE is one of the most attractive cars on the market right now. It’s not the biggest family car on this list but offers enough legroom and boot space for most families. The cabin can’t match the build quality or plushness of its German rivals, but it’s a pleasant enough place to sit.
The firm’s latest engines offer good levels of performance and efficiency – the 2.0-litre diesel returns 74.3mpg and low CO2 emissions means it costs nothing to tax. More powerful versions share a potent petrol engine with the F-Type sports car.
Spec up a Jaguar XE in our car configurator to see the savings you could make.
7. Ford Mondeo
The Ford Mondeo has a more upmarket look than ever before thanks to its stylish front grille and sharp exterior design. The saloon and Estate version are both spacious and practical, with generous equipment levels and a refined ride making the interior a comfy place for long family trips.
The dashboard is a bit bland and material quality can’t match some of the more premium family cars on this list but, considering it’s a cheaper option, the Mondeo fills tha family car brief well. There’s a range of efficient and punchy engines with the 2.0-litre diesel likely to be the most popular option, returning 68.9mpg and emitting 107g/km of CO2.
8. Alfa Romeo Giulia
The Alfa Romeo Giulia adds some much-needed Italian flair to the family car sector. It’s a sportier option compared to the rest of this list, with great handling, aggressive exterior styling and respectable interior space.
Boot capacity, interior styling and material quality aren’t quite on par with its German rivals, but an Alfa Romeo is bought for style, rather than practicality. The car is powered by a new 2.2-litre diesel engine as well as a potent 2.0-litre petrol – high performance versions get a V6 developed by Ferrari.
9. Kia Optima
The Kia Optima represents great value for money, with plenty of space inside and sharp looks outside. It’s the Korean manufacturer’s alternative to the more mainstream Mondeo and it proves to be a good match. Simple trim levels and a limited range of options mean almost all Optimas leave the factory with impressive kit levels.
It’s not especially fun to drive but is a comfortable and quiet motorway cruiser, perfect for long family road trips. The UK only gets one engine option – a 1.7-litre diesel returning 67.8mpg and emitting 110g/km of CO2, meaning it costs just £20 to tax.
10. Mazda 6
The Mazda 6 saloon and Estate are best suited to those who want a family car with a fun driving experience leaning toward the sportier end of the class. The driving experience is both engaging and comfortable, with agile steering and a composed ride quality.
Interior materials and equipment aren’t quite on the level of its competitors but the Mazda more than makes up for it with its handsome styling and sporty handling. It features a range of very advanced petrol and diesel engines – the most efficient of which returns 67.3mpg and emits 108g/km of CO2.