Britain's best family cars - Young family of three

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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



Young family of three
The Roswells
Names
Damion (38)
Lavinia (35)
Joe (1)
Annual mileage 7000

‘We don't do many miles, but we need room from our toddler’


Budget available: £8k


Fiat Panda 1.2 Dynamic Eco
List price £8565 Target price £7758
Saftety Rating Child 2 stars Adult 3 stars
Ideal for young families on a shoestring. It’s dirt cheap to run and surprisingly practical, with five doors as standard. This Dynamic model has air-con and is just £30 a year to tax. To improve safety, we’d recommend adding side and window airbags (£260 and £210), and stability control (£430).



Budget available: £8k-£10k


Hyundai i20 1.2 Classic 5dr
List price £9800 Target price £9460
Saftety Rating Child 83% Adult 88%
It undercuts leading supermini rivals by more than £2000. This 1.2-litre version is all a low-mileage family needs, and entry-level Classic trim comes with decent kit, including air-con and stability control. A five-year warranty is standard. Not the most exciting supermini, but superb value.



Budget available: £10-£12k


Skoda Octavia 1.2 TSI S
List price £12,935 Target price £11,189
Saftety Rating Child 4 stars Adult 4 stars
A VW Golf with a bigger boot for less money? Strip away the Skoda’s frumpy styling and that’s essentially what you’ll find. Okay, it isn’t as refined or desirable as the VW, but it’s £3500 less. The 1.2 turbo petrol engine is gutsier than you’d think and will suit a small, low-mileage family’s needs.



Budget available: £12-15k


Mazda 6 1.8 S 5dr
List price £16,115 Target price £14,439
Saftety Rating Child 81% Adult 77%
Our 2010 Family Car of the Year is cracking value – this entry-level model is £1200 cheaper than an equivalent Ford Mondeo. The 1.8 petrol engine makes more sense than a diesel for low-mileage families, and S trim has air-con, alloy wheels, decent safety kit and an MP3 player connection.



Budget available: £15-£18k


Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI 122 SE 5dr
List price £17,965 Target price £16,842
Saftety Rating Child 84% Adult 97%
The Golf has been getting dearer recently but it’s still by far the best small family car. Classy, refined, practical and brilliant to drive, it’s everything a small family needs. Huge demand for this version means you might have to wait a few months for delivery. It’s worth it: the 1.4 TSI engine is a cracker.


Used bargains

From £4995
Vauxhall Corsa
1.2 Club 5dr, ’08/57, 16,000 miles

The popular Corsa is one of the biggest superminis, so there’s plenty of room in the back for a child seat, and the big boot is easy to load.

From £9481
Citroën C3 Picasso
1.4 VTi VTR+, ’10/10, 250 miles
This baby MPV is spacious and practical, so will be future-proof for a young family, while light controls make it easy to drive. Dealers are the best place to find nearly new models.

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