Britain's best family cars - Three young children

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Whether you’re a young family on a budget or have a home-made football team to taxi around, you’ll find the best buys here.

Have a look at the following families – and see which one matches your automotive requirements the best…

Young family of three
Small urban car required

Growing family
Space for clutter is vital

Activity central
Taxi for two teenagers

Big brood
Large six- or seven-seater

Three young children
...but no MPVs please



Three young children
The Stevensons
Names
Richard (41)
Jessie (35)
Molly (7)
Fred (6)
Alice (3)
Annual mileage 11,000

‘We need space for three child seats, but we can’t stand the look of MPVs’


Budget available: 17k


Nissan Qashqai +2 1.6 Visia
List price £16,695 Target price £15,953
Saftety Rating Not tested
The seven-seat Qashqai is ideal for families with three kids in child seats. This new entry-level 1.6 petrol model makes sound financial sense, too, with an economical engine and low carbon dioxide emissions. Chunky crossover styling avoids any hint of an MPV look – there’ll be no mistaking this family car for a bus with windows.


Budget available: £17-£20k


Peugeot 308 SW 1.6 HDi 110 Sport 7st
List price £20,555 Target price £19,681
Saftety Rating Child 81% Adult 82%
MPV practicality in the body of an estate. It’s not cheap, though, because only top-end Sport and SE models can be had with seven seats, a £510 option. The extra seats are wide enough for most child seats, but headroom for older kids is tight. Third-row legroom can be improved by sliding the middle row forward, and the boot is huge.


Budget available: £20k-£25k


Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi 1 2WD
List price £22,495 Target price £21,215
Saftety Rating Child 84% Adult 87%
Based on the Hyundai Santa Fe, the Sorento is just as practical but has a dash more style. There’s plenty of headroom in the rearmost seats, so even adults will be comfortable on short trips. This front-wheel-drive model won’t cost a fortune to run, either – it manages 43mpg. Like all Kias, the Sorento has a seven-year warranty.


Budget available: £25k-£30k


Volvo XC90 2.4 D5 Active
List price £30,995 Target price £28,009
Saftety Rating Child: not tested Adult 5 stars
If you’re spending this kind of cash and need space for three child seats, the XC90 is your best bet. It has been around a while, but it’s still classy and comfortable. Huge discounts are available, which makes it even more tempting. We’d stick with entry-level Active trim. Otherwise, the price creeps into Land Rover Discovery territory.


Budget available: £30k-£35k


Land Rover Discovery 3.0 TDV6 GS
List price £35,295 Target price £33,647
Saftety Rating Child 4 stars Adult 4 stars
One of the greatest all-rounders ever. Many Discovery buyers will spend extra on XS trim – which adds leather seats and sat-nav – but this GS model is just as practical and £6000 cheaper. The Disco will take three child seats with ease, but it’s just as adept at playing swanky executive transport when you’re not in family mode.


Used bargains

From £11,495
Chevrolet Captiva
2.0 VCDi LTX,
’07/57, 15,000 miles
This 4x4 has a roomy and comfortable cabin, and seven-seat models will take three child seats with ease. Used models are rare, but worth finding.

From £25,250
Audi Q7 3.0 TDI
quattro SE, ’07/07, 31,000 miles
This classy 4x4 is good to drive and well equipped. It comes with seven seats as standard, plus leather trim, climate control, electrically adjustable seats and air suspension.

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