I remember in the good old days when if you had a large family, your only choice of larger car was an estate, or, if you were a hippy type, you bought a camper van and didn’t care what the neighbours thought. These days however, for better or worse there is a bewildering array of motors that fill the bill of what could be classed as a family car. You have the big 4×4 sports utility vehicles (SUV’s) such as the Audi Q7, people carriers like the Renault Espace, compact cars akin to the Ford C-Max and now the mini multi purpose vehicles like the Nissan Note. You can still get estate cars but who would want one? Now you have a choice of compact cars that offer more space, in a smaller area, that will fit in the largest of families but are still a cinch to park in the city or town where you live. So check out the best of the MPV’s in our opinion or let us know which one you are driving at present by commenting in the box below:
With What Car? telling us that this car ‘should be on our shortlist’ and Mazda advertising this car as the ‘family SUV that drives like a sports car’, I’m inclined to put this at the top of our list (plus my mate has just bought one and she loves it!) Bags of legroom in the back and a huge boot, it is fuel efficient thanks to Mazda’s ‘Skyactiv’ engineering. It looks a little different from your average MPV with sharper lines and is available in a 2.0-litre petrol or 2.2-litre diesel engine. For families whose parents still want to drive a sporty and gutsy car. From £21,395.
The Nissan Note has quite a narrow body but makes up for this with a lot of height, careful and practical interior design and much more flexibility than other MPV’s. You get a rear bench that slides on runners, so you can adjust between extra passengers or luggage, there are also more places to pop drinks, maps, food etc, it is a real touring kind of family car. Good suspension means that it is a nice smooth drive, especially on motorways and only 4m in length. From £11,300.
Ford Grand C-Max
This is a very flexible car indeed for seating; the rear fold flat twin seats can be popped up and you get a spare middle seat, albeit small in the middle. Fold them back, slide the middle bench forward and there is your massive boot if it is just you and your partner and a couple of bikes. Great for legroom and head height, with rear sliding doors and a range of engine sizes to choose from, including a 6 speed automatic. From £19,800.
You will not get a more loyal car owner than the Honda Jazz owner. Owners attest to the reliability of the car, the spacious cabin size, and how adaptable it is. With nice light steering, making it easy to drive around town, the Honda Jazz is fuel economical with every model managing more than 50mpg, and if you want greener than this you can opt for the Hybrid version. A practical car with a multi-functional parcel shelf that can be positioned 4 different ways. From £12,600.
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer
This car was the UK’s best selling people carrier of 2011 and this year, Vauxhall has updated that version with this slightly larger one. With three rows of seats, getting into the third is sometimes tricky but not with this car. The middle row of seats can all be moved individually to give different legroom, and all seats fold away nicely for more boot space. A heighty cabin as you would expect, still a front runner. From £21,010.