Here are the 10 best used family cars:
- Ford Focus
- Volkswagen Polo
- Audi A6
- Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
- Skoda Karoq
- Volvo V60
- SEAT Tarraco
- Nissan Leaf
- Mercedes A-Class
- Citroen C4 Cactus
The current generation of the Ford Focus has only been on sale since 2018, but it’s already available to buy as a used car via carwow. It even won carwow’s Family Award in 2018, which is why it tops this list. The Focus’s cabin is spacious enough to accommodate four adults and although the boot is smaller than average, it will still happily swallow all the luggage necessary for a week-long family holiday. On the road, the Focus complements its family-friendliness with a splash of fun. It has loads of grip and always feels composed in tight corners. It’s a family car that can put a massive smile on your face.
Despite its “small car” tag, the Volkswagen Polo is actually very roomy. For passengers in the rear, leg- and headroom are about the same as what you would expect from the larger VW Golf, exceeding the spaciousness of such alternatives as the Vauxhall Corsa. The boot is similarly generous, with a 351-litre capacity that eclipses the likes of the Skoda Fabia. The Polo isn’t quite as fun to drive as a Ford Fiesta, but it’s more comfortable and, so long as you avoid the basic engines, is cheap to run and nippy.
Even as a used car, the Audi A6 is a high-tech alternative to other upmarket saloons that is guaranteed to keep your family (children or adults) entertained. Even the entry-level trim has a big infotainment touchscreen equipped with smartphone mirroring, satnav and Bluetooth connectivity. The interior itself is rather posh, packed with high-end materials and capable of carrying four tall adults in complete comfort. Driving the A6 is similarly comfortable, and it’s available with a stack of autonomous driving kit that means the car can take the strain on long journeys. Consequently, if you desire stress-free family motoring, this is an option to shortlist.
If you want the family-swallowing spaciousness of an SUV but also want to have a bit of a laugh, then the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio should be up your street. It has a 2.9-litre, petrol V6 engine that churns out 510hp and can catapult the car from 0-60mph in 3.8 seconds. Through twists and turns, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio has excellent grip, thanks to its all-wheel-drive system. Sadly, the trade-off for this awesome performance is that the interior can feel cheap in places and the fuel economy is far from ideal.
The Skoda Karoq is like your favourite pair of slippers: dead easy to live with day-to-day, but not exactly stylish. Inside and out, this small SUV looks smart without ever really being flashy. It’s also supremely practical, especially for families. Its cabin can easily accommodate four tall adults and the boot dwarfs the one found in a Nissan Qashqai. You’ll also appreciate its 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, which has handy smartphone mirroring on every version. When it comes to driving the Karoq, you’ll find it easy, but far from exciting.
Volvos are consistently recognised as some of the safest cars you can buy, so the Volvo V60 is an excellent bet for those after a family-friendly, practical estate. Its interior might not have the build quality of a German alternative, but it does get a minimalist interior design that’s very easy on the eye. It isn’t particularly fun to drive; instead, Volvo has focussed on comfort. So, it’s a brilliant car for soaking up long motorway drives thanks to its quiet cabin and supportive seats. It’s also available as a powerful plug-in hybrid, which makes up for the lack of creamy-smooth six-cylinder engines available with alternatives.
The SEAT Tarraco is an ideal family SUV, because it’s smartly designed and has the durability needed to survive long-term exposure to younger children. It’s spacious too, with a cabin that will easily take four adults, while the third row of seats in the boot is fit for two kids. Plus, fold away the third row of seats and the Tarraco has a 700-litre boot, which can take all the luggage your family will need for long holidays. Every model gets an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, with sat-nav and phone mirroring standard on the SE Technology trim and up. Driving the Tarraco isn’t exciting, but it’s certainly smooth and relaxed.
As an all-electric car with an impressive range, the Nissan Leaf is the last word in planet-friendly motoring. When compared to the alternatives, the Leaf undercuts the likes of the Volkswagen e-Golf: it has a smaller price tag and an ability to travel up to seventy miles further before needing a top up. Plus, if you live and/or work in London, the Leaf’s status as Congestion Charge-exempt makes it a top candidate for your daily commute. Behind the wheel, you’ll find that the Leaf provides a stress-free drive and it will fit four adults in comfort.
The Mercedes A-Class gives you big-car luxury in a relatively small package. It has an interior to die for (well, almost…), particularly if you can find a car with optional upgraded infotainment, which has spoken-word voice activation and augmented reality sat-nav. There’s also room for four adults and a boot big enough for a couple of suitcases. Conveniences, even on the base model, include lane-keeping assistance, keyless start and cruise control. The Mercedes is easy to drive and comfortable but not as fun as a BMW 1 Series.
The current generation of the Citroen C4 Cactus has ditched the oddball side panels and flat face of the previous model, but this remains a quirky and characterful quasi-SUV. Its interior is full of unique touches, including thick foam front seats that are both supportive and extremely soft. The cabin is spaciousness enough for a family of two adults and two children – sadly, the back feels a little cramped for grown-ups. The boot is slightly impractical, too, due to its high load lip and rear seats that don’t fold flatly. The good news is that the C4 Cactus is very comfortable with a clever suspension that floats over bumps.
For more used cars, take a look at our used cars hub page.