The growing family

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  • Cars for all budgets and families
Words ByWhat Car? Staff

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Whether youre a young family on a budget or have a home-made football team to taxi around, youll 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

Growing family
The Tullochs
Graeme (41)
Ami (37)
Lilla (6)
Daisy (5)
Annual mileage 12,000

With two children under seven, we need room for child seats and clutter

Budget available: 11k

Renault Grand Modus 1.2 TCE Expression
List price 12,232 Target price 10,656
Saftety Rating** Not tested
This versatile mini-MPV is based on the Clio, but for an extra 200 you get a much larger cabin and sliding rear seats, which give limo-like room in the rear. The Grand Modus might look a bit dumpy, but its comfortable and easy to drive. The punchy and economical 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine is a gem, too.

Budget available: 11k-14k

Skoda Yeti 1.2 TSI S
List price 14,570 Target price 13,528
Saftety Rating** Child 78% Adult 92%
Were huge fans of Skodas crossover. It doesnt have the pedigree of some similarly priced hatchbacks, but badge snobs will miss out on a practical car thats enormous inside, refined and good to drive. Although the go-anywhere looks can be backed up by four-wheel drive, wed stick with this cheaper 1.2 front-wheel-drive model.

Budget available: 14k-18k

Peugeot 3008 1.6 THP 150 Sport
List price 18,495 Target price 17,355
Saftety Rating** Child 81% Adult 86%
This is our 2010 Car of the Year and thats not an award we give away lightly. The 3008 combines SUV styling with family-friendly practicalities such as flat-folding rear seats and a height-adjustable boot floor. We strongly recommend going for a model with Dynamic Roll Control: without it, the ride and handling let the car down.

Budget available: 18k-23k

Ford Mondeo Estate 2.0 TDCi 140 Zetec
List price 20,995 Target price 19,331
Saftety Rating** Child 4 stars Adult 5 stars
Ford has just slashed the Mondeos price by 12%. Good thing because, at 24,000, our favourite version was far too dear. Its safe, comfortable and great to drive, and you could get lost in the boot. Zetec trim brings all the equipment most buyers will want, and the 138bhp diesel engine is easily powerful enough.

Budget available: 23k-30k

Volvo XC60 2.4D DRIVe SE
List price 27,995 Target price 26,292
Saftety Rating** Child 79% Adult 94%
The XC60 blends the desirability of an upmarket SUV with the practicality and running costs of an estate. This two-wheel-drive model is the one to go for its the cheapest XC60 both to buy and to run. SE trim features all of the kit you would expect, as well as a powered drivers seat and electric folding door mirrors.

Used bargains

From 8299
Skoda Roomster
1.4 TDI 2, 08/08, 17,100 miles
The Roomster offers loads of space for a bargain price. The airy cabin and supple ride make it a pleasant place to travel, while the flexible seating system will cope with a growing family.

From 11,995
Ford C-Max 1.6
TDCi (110) Zetec, 08/08, 18,815 miles
Not only is the C-Max good to drive, it has a solidly built cabin, with plenty of room for five. You can also extend the big boot by sliding the rear seats forward.