The best family cars should provide good value, space and practicality whatever your budget. So if you are looking to choose from a range of great family cars, you’ve come to the right place. Here, the carwow experts bring together a selection of the best family cars for sale in 2018. To help you narrow down your choice, our experts have also selected some of the best large family cars, the safest family cars and if you are after some fun too, we’ve got the fastest family cars sorted too.
Best family cars on sale
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The best family cars have to be spacious enough to fit you, your other half, the kids and everyone’s luggage. It’s also got to be stylish enough for you to want to buy it and offer a level of technology that fits in with your lifestyle. You’ll want decent performance – without high running costs. Toughest of all – it needs to tick all these boxes, yet still offer great value. Thankfully, you’ll find this list offers a variety of different cars that deliver all of the above.
The Ford Focus is crammed with the latest technology, looks great and is brilliant to drive. It comes with a range of efficient engines and is competitively priced – no wonder it won our Family Award at the 2018 carwow Car of the Year Awards. The interior is the poshest yet for a Focus, it's relatively spacious, and has a decent sized boot too.
The keenly priced Skoda Karoq is the definition of a great all-rounder and, as a result, it won our Value Award at the carwow 2018 Car of the Year Awards. It looks handsome on the outside and is well built on the inside. The spacious interior is heaven for families and is crammed with features that make the car easier to live with every day. Its boot is also a healthy size, but the Karoq’s party piece is that you can remove all the back seats for big jobs. You won’t find holes in the way it drives, either, it is very comfortable and comes with a choice of great engines.
The Mercedes A-Class is a sensible family that’s also an aspirational purchase. Buy it and you get a car with smart styling and a lovely interior that’s packed full of unbelievable technology. It’s for this reason that the A-Class won the Game-changer Award at carwow’s 2018 Car of the Year Awards. It’s not all style and no substance, though, the A-Class is a tidy car to drive that’s available with a decent range of engines.
The Peugeot 3008 is a bold-looking, practical family car with a funky, well-designed denim-clad interior. It doesn’t just look great either – the material quality and tactile switches feel fantastic too. There’s enough room in the back for three teenagers thanks to a flat floor and wide middle seat.
No list of the best family cars is complete without the Volkswagen Golf. For decades it has always been a well-built and spacious family car that’s easy to drive and pleasant to live with. And although the VW Golf isn’t a huge car, its boot is big enough to cope with taking the family’s luggage when you head off on holiday.
You want a spacious, well-built family car that comes with all the equipment you would want? Well, take a look at the Skoda Octavia. It comes with a wide range of engines and is cheaper than some alternatives.
The new BMW 1 Series comes stacked with high-tech kit, a bit more space than the previous 1 Series. There is a decent range of engines to choose from even if the looks won't be to everyone's tastes.
The latest Vauxhall Astra looks pretty cool, is good fun to drive and comes with decent infotainment kit. It's cheaper than a lot of alternatives too.
With a bit more class than your average family car, the Audi A3 Sportback has a high-tech, posh interior. It's not the cheapest in this list, but a new A3 is on the way so keep an eye out for good deals on this one.
If you’re running out of space in your family hatchback, or just need extra rear legroom to stop the kids kicking the back of your seat, you’re going to need a bigger car. Just because the cars on this list are large doesn’t mean they have to break the bank - all provide great value for money.
The Skoda Kodiaq is a very practical and very large family car. And unlike some family cars, you get a decent sized boot even when all seven seats are being used. It comes packed with useful features such as umbrellas hidden away in the front doors on certain models and above and a removable magnetic torch in the boot.
The Audi A6 Avant is a very practical, very high-tech family car that comes with a futuristic cabin and efficient hybrid engines as standard. There's room for three teenagers in the back seats - and they will be pretty comfortable there too. To top it off, the boot is big enough to pack a week's camping kit.
The Skoda Superb estate is one of those rare cars, where there is very little to criticise. You want space, practicality and excellent value? The Superb gives you all of that, plus a fine drive as well. If you have got a crew of lanky teenagers and their kit to transport there are few cars that can do that job as well as the Superb Estate.
The Audi Q7 is a plush seven-seater family car that’s comfortable, surprisingly good to drive and packed full of tech. While the third row of seats is only really suitable for children, the seats in the middle would do the job in a luxury limo. All three recline individually, as well as sliding forwards and backwards independently.
The Volkswagen Tiguan is spacious, comfortable and good to drive, while its raised driving position gives you a great view out. There are numerous useful storage areas throughout the interior and the roomy back seats can be reclined for more comfort, or slid forwards to increase the boot capacity.
The cars in the list below are all practical, comfortable to drive, should be economical and big enough to fit your family, without them rattling around like a few peas in a warehouse. In short, these are the carwow best small family cars.
The Ford Focus is a superb family hatchback that comes with lots of high-tech equipment, sharp looks, decent space and you'll love it if you love driving.
Surprisingly spacious, reassuringly well-built the Volkswagen Polo is comfortable for passengers and has a relatively big boot for a small car.
The Mercedes A-Class has such a modern and stylish interior packed with high-tech kit it puts many more expensive cars to shame.
This latest BMW 1 Series is more practical than ever before thanks to increased boot and passenger space, and the infotainment system is one of the best in the business.
Nothing is as important as keeping your loved ones safe when you drive. According to Euro NCAP, the following are small and large family cars that have scored particularly well in the area of child occupant protection.
The Volvo XC40 is one of the safest family cars you can buy. Not only did it score a full five stars in the most stringent 2018 Euro NCAP crash tests, it scored 87% in the area of child occupant. It’s a small family car with funky styling that’s comfortable to drive.
The latest Ford Focus also scored an impressive five stars in the 2018 Euro NCAP crash tests – another one of the reasons it won our Family Award at the 2018 carwow Car of the Year Awards. Its five-star rating included getting an 87% child occupant score. It's not just a safe car, though: it's pretty much a great all-round family car.
One of the highest scoring cars in Euro NCAP crash tests, the Subaru XV is worth considering if you need a compact SUV that’s practical and not intimidating to drive, but also capable on slippery roads and muddy fields.
Every Volkswagen Polo comes with a wide range of high-tech safety features as standard, and even the most basic S models come with automatic emergency braking that’ll apply the brakes if it senses an obstacle on the road.
You want a family car that has the practicality you need, but does it have to be that sensible too? Here, our experts pick out exciting, fast family cars for you to consider.
From a distance the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio looks like any other smart, four-door saloon but as soon as you see those four-wheel clover decals (quadrifoglio means four leaf clover in Italian) on the side you know it’s something special. Performance is stunning but it’s has decent space in the back and in the boot, too.
The Audi RS 4 Avant is a practical car with ballistic-missile performance and its four-wheel drive means it’s quick in all weathers. It will comfortably take a couple of teenagers in the rear seats and the boot is big enough to pack for a week's camping in the Pyrenees - and you'll have an absolute blast getting there.
The Hyundai i30 N is a great-to-drive, practical yet fast family car. The i30 N is roomy, with space for four tall adults and a boot that’s bigger than average for this size of car. Even when it’s fully loaded, the i30 N is not short on poke and fuel economy is OK, considering the oomph that you have available.
The Mercedes AMG C63 has a superb V8 petrol engine that brings big performance and raucous soundtrack. It's well equipped and reasonably spacious for passengers and luggage.
The short answer is a family car is one that is ideal for a growing family. But over the years, what constitutes as ‘ideal’ for a family has changed as people’s tastes change, trends move on and as cars develop.
Traditionally a family car was epitomised by the likes of the Ford Mondeo or Volkswagen Passat - big engine in the front, big boot in the back and enough room for four or five in the middle.
While those cars are still popular – though perhaps more popular with fleet buyers rather than families – other types of car are now considered under the banner of ‘family cars’. SUV cars are aimed squarely at families as they are practical, stylish and, well, a bit more modern. Families love the raised driving position and most of them come with the latest tech buyers desire.
And then there are estate cars. From the cheap to the plush, some families just want the car with a big boot to help transport their stuff.