Best family SUVs 2021

Want practicality, class and an elevated driving position in a relatively small package? Then these are the top 10 cars you should be looking at – and the ones that are best avoided...


Author Avatar
by
What Car? team

Best family SUVs

Deciding which car is best for transporting you and your family is one of life’s more important decisions. So, here we've gathered together our favourite family SUVs.

All of them cater well for the growing number of people looking for practicality, comfort and sensible running costs, but also a raised driving position and off-roader looks. And to help you avoid making a big mistake, we've named the models that are best avoided, too.

Finally, if you want to know more about any of the cars listed below or to see what discounts are available through our free New Car Buying service, just click on the relevant links.

10

Audi Q3

Audi's second-generation Q3 offers a high-tech interior with plenty of space for both passengers and luggage. It's a good car to drive, too, with composed handling and accurate steering. However, the ride can be a little firm and some of the bigger-selling engines sound rough.

New car deals
Target Price from £30,565
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £27,850

Pros

  • Big boot
  • Impressive interior space
  • Relatively agile for a family SUV

Cons

  • Interior quality not up to usual Audi standards
  • Firmer ride than some rivals
  • Fiddly infotainment system
9

Peugeot 3008

The 3008 taps right into the current trend for aggressive exterior styling, while its interior looks like something you'd see in a motor show concept, with its mix of unusual materials and avant-garde design. You also get good ride comfort and a large boot, but have to put up with mediocre rear leg room and a sluggish infotainment system.

New car deals
Save up to £3,322
Target Price from £25,742
Save up to £3,322
or from £283pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £24,650
Leasing deals
From £283pm

Pros

  • Stylish, high-quality interior
  • Large and practical boot
  • Strong engines

Cons

  • Rear space isn't class-leading
  • Pricier than some rivals
  • So-so infotainment system
8

Hyundai Tucson

If interior space is high on your list of priorities you should definitely take a look at the Tucson, because a quartet of tall adults will have plenty of room and the boot is cavernous. Hybrid tech makes the Tucson an efficient choice, too, but it is a bit on the pricey side and there are better handling family SUVs.

New car deals
Save up to £2,587
Target Price from £26,852
Save up to £2,587
or from £242pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £22,363
Leasing deals
From £267pm

Pros

  • Frugal hybrid is a worthy alternative to diesel
  • Well-made interior
  • Spacious for passengers and luggage

Cons

  • So-so handling
  • Ride can get choppy at times
  • No NCAP safety rating as yet
7

Volkswagen Tiguan

This one-time Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage rival has been reinvented as a more expensive SUV, so now it’s up against formidable prestige-badged competition such as the BMW X1 and Volvo XC40. Fortunately, the latest Tiguan builds on the strengths of the original, offering more space and comfort, and improved efficiency. Unfortunately (for Volkswagen), it has two sister cars that are cheaper to buy and just as capable.

New car deals
Save up to £2,099
Target Price from £26,632
Save up to £2,099
or from £261pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £24,995
Leasing deals
From £264pm

Pros

  • Good to drive
  • Great seating flexibility
  • Roomier than many rivals

Cons

  • Higher trims get pricey
  • CO2 emissions could be lower
  • Fiddly air-con controls
6

BMW X1

Based on the same underpinnings as BMW's first MPV, the 2 Series Active Tourer, the X1 is a very roomy choice that's available in both front- and four-wheel-drive forms. Just make sure you can live with the considerable amount of road noise it generates.

New car deals
Save up to £2,802
Target Price from £27,990
Save up to £2,802
or from £324pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £30,999
Leasing deals
From £316pm

Pros

  • Fantastic infotainment system
  • High quality interior
  • Spacious and practical

Cons

  • Lots of road noise
  • Firm ride
  • So-so reliability
5

Seat Ateca

The Ateca broke new ground for Seat, because the Spanish brand had previously built as many SUVs as it had spaceships. However, it proved well worth the wait, combining a practical interior with best-in-class handling and much more attractive pricing than the closely related Volkswagen Tiguan.

New car deals
Save up to £3,766
Target Price from £21,277
Save up to £3,766
or from £237pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £24,000
Leasing deals
From £263pm

Pros

  • Spacious interior
  • Surprisingly fun to drive
  • Keen pricing and well equipped

Cons

  • Firm ride – especially with big alloys
  • Some rivals offer lower emissions
  • No clever rear seating tricks
4

Nissan Qashqai

Even at the end of its life, the old Qashqai was the best selling family SUV in the UK. However, this new version has made big strides forward in interior quality and rear seat space, while retaining a decent level of comfort. We reckon the middle of the range is where the best value lies.

New car deals
Save up to £4,474
Target Price from £20,591
Save up to £4,474
or from £240pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £20,975
Leasing deals
From £218pm

Pros

  • Lots of standard safety kit
  • Great driving position
  • Smart interior

Cons

  • So-so performance
  • Some rivals are more fun to drive
  • Lacks the seating flexibility of many rivals
3

Skoda Karoq

Like the Ateca, the Karoq offers many of the best bits of the Tiguan for thousands less. And while it's the least sporty of the three to drive, overall it's the best all-rounder, offering a polished ride and clever rear seats that can slide, recline or be removed entirely. It also comes with more standard equipment than the Ateca.

Nearly new deals
From £21,350
Leasing deals
From £123pm

Pros

  • Good to drive
  • Excellent space and seating flexibility
  • Smart-looking and sturdy-feeling interior

Cons

  • Seat Ateca is more fun to drive
  • Avoid big wheels for the best ride comfort
  • Top models are rather expensive
2

Range Rover Evoque

It might well be the Evoque’s looks that first pique your interest, but it’s a sensational car on more objective levels, too. Good to drive, really posh inside and surprisingly practical, it even makes financial sense thanks to incredibly strong resale values and attractive monthly PCP finance costs.

New car deals
Save up to £2,350
Target Price from £30,933
Save up to £2,350
or from £303pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £35,500
Leasing deals
From £326pm

Pros

  • Great driving position
  • Well-equipped
  • Slow depreciation

Cons

  • There are cheaper alternatives
  • So-so fuel economy and emissions
  • Land Rover’s reliability record
1

Volvo XC40

The XC40 may have similar front and rear lights to the company’s other models to ensure a family resemblance, but the rest of the detailing and the overall proportions of the car are quite different. More importantly, though, the XC40 mixes its distinctive style with space, comfort, cutting-edge safety and relative affordability so ably that it's a former What Car? Car of the Year. It's the best family SUV you can buy today.

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

New car deals
Save up to £2,281
Target Price from £25,855
Save up to £2,281
or from £296pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £29,500
Leasing deals
From £305pm

Pros

  • Stylish and high-quality interior
  • Comfortable ride on most versions
  • Comprehensive safety kit

Cons

  • Lacks the rear seat flexibility of some rivals
  • Fiddly infotainment system
  • Road noise on the motorway

And the family SUVs to avoid...

Mitsubishi ASX

Although it's well equipped and has a decent infotainment system, there are too many areas in which the ASX is poor. Despite soft springing, it isn’t very comfortable, while the engine needs working very hard and rear head room is tight. Read our review

MG GS

Unlike the ASX, the GS has a peppy engine and a very spacious interior. Unfortunately, the ride is poor and it feels very cheap inside. If you're on a tight budget, the Dacia Duster is a much better choice. Read our review