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Best family cars of 2023

The best family cars have always had an enticing mixture of practicality, low running costs, reliability, and a hint of enjoyment for the driver, once the kids have been dropped off and you’ve got the road and the car to yourself. So, which is the best family car in the UK right now?

Outstanding family cars come in all shapes and sizes. What’s right for you and your crew could be a hatchback, a big SUV, or an estate car. Whichever type of family runabout you choose, the best should be practical, reliable, good to drive, and affordable to run. Here’s our pick of 2023’s best family cars.

Skoda Kodiaq

1. Skoda Kodiaq

Skoda Kodiaq review
Audi Q4 e-tron

2. Audi Q4 e-tron

Audi Q4 e-tron review
Battery range up to 329 miles
Tesla Model 3

3. Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 review
Battery range up to 394 miles
Volvo XC40

4. Volvo XC40

Volvo XC40 review
Battery range up to 26 miles
BMW 3 Series Touring

5. BMW 3 Series Touring

BMW 3 Series Touring review
Honda Civic

6. Honda Civic

Honda Civic review
Volkswagen Golf

7. Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Golf review
Skoda Enyaq

8. Skoda Enyaq

Skoda Enyaq review
Battery range up to 348 miles
Kia Sportage

9. Kia Sportage

Kia Sportage review
Vauxhall Astra

10. Vauxhall Astra

Vauxhall Astra review
Battery range up to 35 miles

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Advice about family cars

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There are three overriding concerns for family buyers. Space, so that you can fit everyone in. Reliability, because you don’t want a non-starter on the school run. And economy, because family budgets are always at full stretch. These days, it’s definitely worth looking long and hard at electric-powered cars.

The all-but unquestionable answer here is the Dacia Jogger. No, it’s not the most stylish car around, nor the one with the best safety rating, but on a value-for-money scale, it’s unbeatable and is roomier than most of the competition.

If you’re trying to carry five, you probably don’t want to go down the route of a seven-seater, but you’ll still want a car with three individual seats in the back. This means you’re best looking for an MPV, such as the Volkswagen Touran, Peugeot 5008, or the (now electric-only) Citroen e-Berlingo or Vauxhall Combo-e Life.

In terms of family-sized cars with the most frugal powertrains, you could look at the Hyundai Ioniq Electric (which scores a tough-to-beat 4.5 miles per kWh), or a Toyota Corolla 1.8 Hybrid (up to 62mpg). If you’re still keen on diesel, then look at Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI 116hp (which can get up to 68mpg).

Want to save money at the pumps? Check out our guide on how to improve your car's MPG.

While there are family cars with better individual safety ratings in some categories, the mainstream car with the best-combined adult and child occupant protection rating is the Nissan Qashqai, which scores 91% in both categories, according to Euro NCAP. The Skoda Enyaq has a higher adult occupant rating (94%) but loses out on child occupant protection (89%). The Hyundai Ioniq 6 has a better rating for adult protection than the Qashqai and Enyaq (97%), but a slightly lower child occupant score of 87%.
The only car with a better overall occupant rating than the Qashqai is the all-electric Mercedes EQS, but that’s only a family car if the family has won the lottery.

To find out more on car safety, read our explainer guide on Euro NCAP ratings.

The most affordable car on this list of best family cars is the Vauxhall Astra, with prices starting around £21,000. In its latest form, it looks snazzy and drives nicely too. Plus, it's large enough to keep the kids happy and hold your weekly shop.

Brands from Japan and Korea tend to rank the highest in surveys, meaning the most reliable family cars tend to come from the likes of Toyota, Kia and Honda, among others. It's worth noting that Kia offers a 7-year warranty on all models, as does Chinese-owned MG.