A family car is a car classification used in Europe to describe normally-sized cars. The name comes from the suitability of these cars to carry a whole family locally or on vacations. Most family cars are hatchbacks or sedans, although there are MPVs, estates and cabriolets with the same structure as with the other body style. The term covers two types of family cars.
- Small Family Cars
- Big Family Cars
The family car is quickly becoming the new family room. With families spending more time on the road, sing alongs, silly games, heart-to-heart talks, sibling rivalry, screen time, and even the occasional date night (if you’re lucky) all happen in the car. That’s why finding the best family car is so important. The biggest news this year might be the mass proliferation of safety, assist and entertainment technologies across these mainstream people movers. Most of the SUVs and minivans on the list offer smart cruise control and automatic emergency braking, for instance. A smaller number offer teen-driver monitoring, wireless phone charging and lane keeping assist. Choosing the right car takes on greater importance when you have a family. A single person can make do with just about anything, but family cars need to perform well in a variety of areas. That doesn’t mean there is a shortage of choices, though, or that families need to settle for something boring.
A list of Best family car in 2018:
The Subaru Outback is one of the best all-around vehicles currently on sale. It’s an affordable car that can handle the grind of your daily commute, but with all-wheel drive and plenty of cargo space, it’s also perfect for weekend adventures. The Outback demonstrates how versatile station wagons can be, but it’s only survived in this SUV-hungry market by adopting rugged body cladding and a raised ride height.
The Outback has a lower center of gravity than the SUVs it competes with, improving handling. But it still offers a respectable 108.1 cubic feet of passenger volume and 35.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. With the rear seats folded, that increases to 73.3 cubic feet. The lower roof height also makes strapping cargo to the roof a bit easier, and Subaru even designed step-like doorsills to ensure a person has secure footing while tying cargo down.
All-wheel drive and a continuously variable transmission are standard, and buyers can choose between two boxer engines. The base 2.5-liter four-cylinder makes 175 horsepower, while the optional 3.6-liter six-cylinder is rated at 256 hp. The four-cylinder’s output is merely adequate, but at least it allows the Outback to return a respectable 28 mpg combined in EPA testing.
The Outback features standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Subaru’s EyeSight driver-aid suite is available on most trim levels. EyeSight includes adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, and lane departure warning. Other driver aids include lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, reverse autonomous braking, and steering-responsive headlights.
Skoda Octavia hatchback
Always a sensible choice, the Skoda Octavia is more enjoyable to drive than you might think. It’s also incredibly spacious – most noticeably in the back – while the huge boot dwarfs those found in cars from one or even two classes above. There’s not a bad engine in the range, either, with the entry-level 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol providing reasonable performance and returning over 60mpg; if you need greater efficiency, the diesel GreenLine returns 80mpg. Interior quality is strong, and knowing you’re essentially driving the same car as the Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf – yet saving thousands of pounds – should provide a welcome sense of satisfaction. Choose the Octavia Estate if you need an even more cavernous boot, the four-wheel-drive Octavia Scout for conquering light wilderness or the sporty Octavia vRS if performance is your thing.
SEAT Leon hatchback
Another car sharing Volkswagen Group mechanicals, the SEAT Leon pips the Golf and Audi A3 on this list thanks to its lower price, distinctive looks and sharp driving experience. SEAT offers a performance version of the Leon (called the Leon Cupra) while the Ecomotive model prioritises efficiency. If you’re after a good-value ‘hot’ hatchback then that Cupra model is one of the best available, it’s quick, great to drive and good value for money, too. As with the Octavia, there’s a Leon for everyone: buyers seeking practicality should investigate the Leon ST estate, the style-conscious may be drawn to the three-door Leon SC, while outdoorsy types will find the rugged Leon X-perience will get you to those hard-to-reach places thanks to its jacked-up ride height and four-wheel-drive system. The standard five-door Leon gets our nod as a family buy thanks to its excellent all-round capabilities, decent practicality and strong driving experience.
Volkswagen Golf hatchback
The Octavia is about £1,000 cheaper than the Leon, but the £500 or so gap between the SEAT and the five-door Volkswagen Golf is narrower. Spend the extra cash on the Golf over the Leon and you’ll get a plusher interior, a more comfortable (though slightly less involving) driving experience, as well as the all-important VW badge and image. As with the cars above, VW offers an economical BlueMotion model (capable of over 80mpg) a three-door Golf, a Golf Estate, a rugged four-wheel-drive model (called the Golf Alltrack) as well the choice of two sporty models, the Golf GTI and Golf R. Unlike Leon and Octavia customers, though, Golf buyers can also opt for the hybrid GTE, the all-electric e-Golf or the convertible Golf Cabriolet. Why is the Golf beaten by the Leon and the Octavia, aside from price? Well, the gap between these three cars is narrow, but the Leon is sharper to drive and the Octavia significantly more spacious; in fact, the standard Octavia hatchback’s boot is only 2.5% smaller than the Golf Estate’s.
2018 Chevrolet Equinox
When you’re competing in the market’s bloodthirstiest segment, you’d better have some strong weaponry on your side. The all-new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox offers plenty of pluses for families shopping for a compact SUV, both expected and surprising. Offering three engine choices, handsome interior and exterior styling, excellent road manners, and a grab bag of standard features to delight both you and the kids, the new Equinox has earned its place in a league historically owned by the Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, Honda CR-V and Ford Escape.
2018 Honda CR-V
Among 2-row, 5-passenger compact SUVs, you can’t go wrong with the 2018 Honda CR-V. That’s because Honda’s venerable crossover pretty much does everything right. From its roster of safety systems to its stellar fuel economy, eye-popping cargo space and seamless smartphone integration, the Honda CR-V simply outclasses every other compact SUV, proven once again by its recent segment win in Kelley Blue Book’s Best Buy Awards. For younger or smaller families, this small SUV comes up big.
Minivans have a bit of an image problem, but the Chrysler Pacificafights back against that with a stylish exterior, well-appointed interior, and refined road manners. The standard 287-hp 3.6-liter V6 also ensures this minivan is no slouch on the highway. But the real reason to buy a minivan is space, and the Pacifica has plenty of it, comfortably seating seven or eight, depending on the configuration.
Chrysler has been building minivans longer than anyone else, and that shows in the Pacifica’s design. The Stow N’ Go system makes it easy to fold down the second-row seats, and leaves useful storage bins when the seats are in place. The Pacifica also features a built-in vacuum cleaner, standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.
DODGE DURANGO SRT
Most people think family cars should be practical and sensible, but Dodge didn’t get that memo. The Detroit automaker decided to stuff a 475-hp 6.4-liter Hemi V8 in its Durango SUV, seemingly just because it could. The result is a three-row hauler that can seat six and tow up to 8,700 pounds, but also do 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, run the quarter-mile in 12.9 seconds, and do four-wheel burnouts.
Dodge sibling Jeep offers an SUV with even more power: The 707-hp Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk. Why didn’t we pick the Jeep? Two reasons: The Durango SRT offers the added flexibility of a third row, and it’s a bit less expensive than the Jeep.