Family man? Yummy mummy? If you’ve got kids, your car probably means a lot to you. The faithful family run-around has got to be reliable, roomy and robust – these days that tends to mean an SUV or MPV – but that doesn’t have to be the case.
Hatchbacks still play a large part of the competitive family-car market. They’re small and easy to park, and therefore economical, yet big enough to fit a family of four or even five, if you pack light and the kids get on (no kicking on the backseat please). These cars are comfortable enough to cope with day trips and longer journeys - yet still provide a quick, nimble drive for when it’s your turn at the wheel.
So, what makes a great family car? Today we’ve listed our top five - choosing models that are affordable, spacious, well-equipped and practical… But still fun to drive!
5. Ford Focus
Ok, so it had to be done. The good old, reliable and famous-for-being-a-family-favourite Ford Focus simply had to feature on this list. While it’s pretty basic, this car is actually loads of fun to drive – with a nifty little engine that delivers truly impressive fuel economy.
Yes, the interior is a little dated and it’s not exactly Bugatti-level good-looking, but it’s comfortable, can fit loads in the boots and the kids will have plenty of space in the back.
4. Renault Megane
This one’s great if you love nothing more than packing the kids in the boot (Did we say kids? We meant bags) and taking a long, leisurely drive to the country. Or coast. Or wherever your ideal holiday destination may be. What we’re trying to say is that the Renault Megane offers a smooth, relaxing drive that feels more like an executive saloon than a family hatchback.
It’s easy to drive around town, and again, economical – great for the school-run and getting to and from work. Like the Focus, it’s well-equipped, but the interior is just a smidge snazzier for your cash. Overall, a great value option.
3. BMW 1-Series
Probably the most fun to drive out of all our five cars, although you do have to compromise on space. For a sporty, upmarket feel, the BMW 1-Series is a sure-fire winner for the more serious motorist in need of a family car.
It looks classy and delivers on fuel efficiency, so you can easily justify this model if your other half starts asking. Think twice if you’ve got more than two kids though – or it could be quite a squash in the back.
2. Vauxhall Astra
When Team cartime sat down to create this list, we were torn between the Astra and the Volkswagen Golf. Both are fantastic if it’s a family hatchback you’re looking for, but as it outdoes the VW Golf in price, Vauxhall’s Astra has made the cut.
The Astra’s well-thought-out engineering makes it very light, which in turn makes it nimble on the road and cheap to run. You’ll find generous space inside, plenty of equipment to play with and, under the bonnet, a surprisingly powerful engine – all of which make the Astra a solid performer in its class.
1. Audi A3
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! The Audi A3 promises everything that the Astra and the Golf offer, plus a souped-up range of engines to choose from. Because it’s compact and light, fuel economy is still good – but it’s not the cheapest option on this list. It’s not unreasonable though, and by buying used you can bag yourself a bargain.
Inside you’ll find a swanky interior, plus a range of cool, modern in-car technology for you to play with. That’s you, not the kids. They’ll have plenty of space in A3’s roomy cabin, especially with bags and buggies stored safely in the generous boot.
Performance is punchy and near-perfect, particularly for this class, and the drive it delivers is sprightly and swift. As a package, the Audi A3 is a fantastically fun family car, ideal for anyone who appreciates a great drive.
Looking for your next family car? We’ve got all these and more available at cartime. Browse online or give us a call on 0161 638 7481 to book a test-drive.