What makes the perfect family car?
Is it the space for a growing family and their never-ending trail of belongings? Perhaps safety features to protect precious little ones? Or maybe it’s running costs that won’t empty a bank account faster than a phishing scam?
In truth, it’s all these and more. But increasingly, demanding parents and their even more demanding brood expect more from the latest cars.
So, drivers looking for a family car that comes with ‘what a great idea’ features should read on. Here are five family cars that go the extra mile…
1. Technology that’s worth your attention: Nissan Qashqai
Price: from £18,545
Our pick: Qashqai Tekna DIG-T 163, £25,300
Mornings are frequently a mad dash against the clock and parents are typically bleary eyed, so it’s little wonder mistakes can happen in the car.
With the Nissan Qashqai, there’s enough computing power for the geekiest of geeks – and it’s keeping an eye out for distracted drivers. So if you wander out of lane, fail to spot the car in front of you is braking hard, or don’t know what the speed limit is; the Qashqai’s suite of gadgets and gizmos will take care of everything.
2. The cheap n’ cheerful cabin that lets families play dirty: Citroen Berlingo Multispace
Price: from £13,355
Our pick: Berlingo Feel BlueHDi 100 manual, £16,040
Ever get the feeling that being a parent is one long slog of clearing up? Maybe Citroen’s Berlingo Multispace is for you.
Its interior is as hardy as a child’s waterproof romper suit when it comes to withstanding biscuit crumbs and Ribena. It also borrows a neat trick from aeroplanes and trains, with an overhead storage system called ‘Modutop’. This holds 170-litres worth of teddy bears, headphones and storybooks and features built-in lighting and ventilation.
3. Banish bills with an affordable SUV and a seven-year warranty: Kia Soul
Price: from £12,800
Our pick: Soul Connect Plus 1.6 GDi, £15,800
The last thing most of us need from the family wheels is for it to go wrong and cost a packet to put right. Which is why the Kia Soul could make so much sense: it comes with a seven-year warranty. That’s a whole heap of peace of mind.
As ever, there’s small print to consider carefully, including a 100,000-mile limit and certain components that have reduced length of cover (including the audio system.) But all the big, expensive stuff is included, which means if the gearbox grumbles like a moody teen, Kia should take care of it.
4. The MPV that doesn’t look frumpy: Citroen C4 Picasso
Price: from £18,270
Our pick: C4 Picasso BlueHDi 120 S&S auto, £22,135
Why do the designers of most MPVs or people carriers seem to have assumed that drivers of practical cars have given up on life?
The Citroen C4 Picasso proves it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s one of the best-selling MPVs, and it looks interesting both inside and out. It’s original rather than formulaic yet, significantly, it’s not at the expense of being a practical family vehicle. The three rear seats all move independently of one another and come with Isofix mounting points for child car seats. So with a little huffing and puffing, three car seats can be installed in the back. Unfortunately, Citroen’s designs can’t do much to fix mum or dad’s bad back.
5. Plug n’ play in the car: Land Rover Discovery Sport
Price: from £30,695
Our pick: Discovery Sport 2.0 TD4 Diesel (180) automatic, £35,700
A new generation of cars like the Range Rover Evoque and Discovery Sport is changing the image of Land Rover. Now, its best-selling models are designed to appeal to young, happening families.
With the company’s latest model, the Discovery Sport, Land Rover has played its Ace to appeal to the touchscreen generation. It can come with a USB charging port for nearly six passengers. As any parent knows, these days the secret to a successful long-distance car journey isn’t just hours of playing car games. Letting kids watch movies, text friends or surf their favourite social media can help too. The ports are a £250 option in selected models, which we think is a price worth paying for in-car harmony.