A brilliant family car needs to be a fabulous all-round performer.
It needs to be practical, with space for all of the family, plus trips to the supermarket, the rubbish tip or luggage for weekends away.
Family cars should also be good to drive, comfortable and well equipped, with air-con.
Ownership costs need to be sensible, too, with a low CO2 output to minimise company car tax for business users, and high mpg for private buyers.
Skoda OctaviaBest buy £15,000-£18,000
The Octavia costs less to run than most of its rivals, and it's the biggest car in the category. There's nothing cheap about the interior, however, and equipment is generous.
Kia CeedBest buy less than £15,000
The Ceed has always been excellent value, with its solid build and market-leading warranty - but its trump cards are space and frugality.
Audi A3 SportbackBest buy more than £18,000
The A3 Sportback has a genuinely broad range of talents, with an impressive cabin, strong refinement and excellent resale values.