Family car finance

There is no one-size-fits-all family car, just as there’s no one-size-fits all family. If you’re looking for a car to accommodate the kids, the shopping and plenty more besides, you are spoilt for choice. There’s a huge range of cars designed specifically with family life in mind – whatever that means for your tribe! Read on to find out what makes a great family car, and whether you should buy one on finance.

A car with a check icon

What to look for with family cars on finance

What to look for with family cars on finance

What to look for with family cars on finance

Family cars usually have their work cut out for them: relied on to cope with both the school run and long-distance family trips, there needs to be room for all the kids’ stuff/camping gear in the boot, plus plenty of comfortable space in which to keep the whole family entertained in the interior. To do this, some of the main features of a family car include:

Dependability

Practicality

Comfort

Safety

Affordability

Low running costs

Safety is usually top of the list of requirements for a family car. A quick and simple way to work out the safety rating of a car is to check out its Euro NCAP score. The star rating system provides a helpful overview of a car’s performance – parents of younger children will want to take particular notice of the child occupant protection scores for a clearer picture of a car’s performance in this area.

Types of family cars

Types of family cars

Types of family cars

Just as families do, family cars come in all shapes and sizes – but in general the term traditionally refers to regular-sized hatchbacks and estates. Nowadays, SUVs and crossovers often fall under the umbrella term ‘family car’, too.


However, as running costs and affordability are huge considerations for most families today, we’ve omitted SUVs from this article (head over to SUV finance for a more in-depth look at those vehicles) and focused instead on roomy hatchbacks and estates – the traditional realm of the family car.

Here we’ve hand-picked some of our favourites.

Skoda Octavia - Hatchback or estate, the Octavia is a firm family favourite and for good reason. Practical and spacious, boasting a 600-litre boot in the hatch (dwarfing anything else in its class), it’s competent and reliable, tailor-made for busy, growing families.

Dacia Jogger - Marketed as a family car, this roomy seven-seater looks like a chunky estate but it’s as spacious as an SUV and way more affordable. Its Euro NCAP rating lets it down though.

Ford Focus - Ever-popular, this traditional family hatchback is great value and enjoyable to drive. It comes with plentiful storage and the latest models are notably spacious in the rear as well as the front. The boot won’t win any awards for size but it’s bigger than a Golf’s and will comfortably manage a large pushchair.  

Ford Puma - Technically a small SUV, we’ve included it here because the Puma is basically a beefed-up version of the loveable Ford Fiesta. Good looking and surprisingly agile, it has an enormous boot for its size and works as a fantastic car for a small family.

Honda Civic - The latest model comes with sportier looks than its predecessors, but this car has long been a hit with families thanks to its versatility and dependability. A solid all-rounder that can handle both toddlers and teenagers.

Toyota Corolla - The world’s best-selling car is a comfortable ride, highly efficient and extremely reliable, ticking many of the boxes of a desirable family car. It only comes as a hybrid, with a choice of 1.8 or 2.0 litre petrol engine.

VW Golf - The Golf is a dependable fixture on the roads, offering rock-solid reliability. It’s not the largest in comparison with some others on this list but can more than handle the school run and then some. It’s tough, with universal appeal; the Golf Estate has a very spacious boot.

BMW 3 Series Touring - Both luxurious and practical, this premium estate is one of the best cars you can buy. The interior is comfortable and stylish with bucketloads of space; it comes with a generous boot, too. With zero compromise on performance or style, it’s fabulous to drive. It also boasts some excellent tech.  

Audi A3 Sportback - More compact than the BMW 3 Series Touring, it still has ample space for bulky child seats in the back and can comfortably accommodate a pushchair plus shopping in the boot. A delight to drive, it comes with one of the best infotainment systems on the market.

Hyundai Ioniq - This sturdy electric car can travel the best part of 200 miles on charge, making it a reliable and extremely popular all-electric family car. Bursting with storage, most used models come in plush Premium trim. If you’re thinking of going electric, a pre-loved Ioniq is an excellent, affordable place to start.

A family with a car
A family with a car
A family with a car

Is a family car right for me?

Is a family car right for me?

Is a family car right for me?

Do you have a family? Do you need a car? Then you need a family car! If you are looking for a vehicle that’s spacious, versatile, comfortable and reliable, then the family hatchback/estate market will more than cater for your needs. Prices will vary depending on the make and model you choose, but buying a used family car on finance could save you tens of thousands of pounds off the purchase price of a brand-new equivalent. Browse thousands of used family cars on the Oodle Marketplace.

A car with a check icon

Advantages of family cars

Advantages of family cars

Advantages of family cars

Family cars are likely to remain a staple on the roads for as long as there are families that need them. More affordable and economical than SUVs and a lot more practical than smaller vehicles, coupes or convertibles, there is a family car out there to suit every taste. Advantages include:

Low running costs – any self-respecting family car should offer excellent fuel economy: in many cases it will be the only household car and will quickly rack up the miles. All the petrol/diesel cars on our list comfortably return well over 50 mpg, and some are available as hybrids, which will help to keep running costs right down.

Safety features – as we mentioned earlier, modern family cars usually come with robust safety features. Most of the cars covered here have an overall Euro NCAP safety rating of four or five out of five.

Spacious and practical – because they must keep the whole family happy, a good family car is roomy and versatile, comfortable for both the smallest and largest occupants.

Considerations

As there is such a variety of family car on the market, what’s right for one family won’t necessarily meet the needs of another. Think about the things that matter most for your family – for example a large boot, a five-star safety rating and high fuel economy – and look for models and manufacturers that are dependable in these areas.

The trade-off for practicality is often speed and agility: many (but by no means all) family cars prioritise space and comfort over performance.

Spacious and practical – because they must keep the whole family happy, a good family car is roomy and versatile, comfortable for both the smallest and largest occupants.

Whatever family car you are looking for, we’re here to help you find it and finance it.

Check your eligibility with our car finance calculator

Related articles