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Used Car of the Year Awards 2021: Family cars
With demand for used cars on the rise, you’ll want to know which are the best buys. That’s where our annual Used Car Awards come in. These are our favourite family cars...
WINNER: Used Family Car of the Year (plus best buy less than £15,000)
Skoda Octavia (2013-2019)
Many believe that an enormous SUV is what you need if you want a big boot. However, in all our testing, the 2021 used family car award-winning Skoda Octavia has only been beaten in the suitcase test by the gargantuan BMW X7, a vehicle that costs £75,000 new. By contrast, a year-old Octavia can be found for a mere £15,000 without much effort.
In fact, it represents better used value now than ever before, given that the introduction of a new version has caused values of this model to take a tumble.
As for why it deserves the overall class win over the Seat Leon and Vauxhall Astra, if being vastly more practical wasn’t enough of a reason, the Octavia’s engines are much more refined than the Astra’s and its steering is more precise. With its softer suspension, it’s more relaxing to travel in than the relatively firm Leon, too.
Finally, in our preferred SE trim, with the 1.5-litre petrol engine, the Octavia beats the equivalent Leon for reliability, thus comprehensively proving the Octavia to be the used family car of choice.
Seat Leon (2013-2019)
Best buy less than £12,000
The Leon is our pick here, particularly if you want a sporty drive; its engines are more powerful than the Volkswagen Golf’s at this price point. It also beats the Ford Focus by having more rear seat space and a bigger boot. Our favourite version, the FR, with the 1.4-litre TSI 150 engine, has plenty of kit, too.
Vauxhall Astra (2015-present)
Best buy less than £8000
The Astra has always been good value, and for this money you can have a far newer example than if you bought a Skoda Octavia or Seat Leon. A Kia Ceed will have more warranty left, but the Astra is far nicer to drive and has a more extensive range of punchy and economical petrol and diesel engines.