What Car? Personal Shopper: best car for a traffic jam

Want a new car but don't know where to start? Just send us your criteria and we'll give you our top new and used car choices, and even tell you how much we can save you...

Skoda Octavia

Buying new

  • Our recommended choice: Skoda Octavia 1.5 TSI SE L DSG
  • List price: £24,220
  • What Car? Target Price: £22,232
Skoda Octavia

The Skoda Octavia is our reigning Family Car of the Year, and that's because nothing else in the family car class is anywhere near as roomy. And it's good news for your traffic-jammed commute, too, because if you go for this recommended SE L version (which among other things gets you leather seats, LED headlights and automatic emergency braking), adaptive cruise control is only a £400 option.

Alternatively, you can go for the range-topping Laurin+Klement model, which is bursting with kit and includes adaptive cruise control as standard.

Where normal cruise control enables you to set a speed for the car to maintain, adaptive cruise control uses radar technology to maintain your distance from the car in front, so if it slows down for a queue of traffic, you will too.

No matter which trim level you go for, we'd recommend opting for the 1.5-litre petrol engine, because it doesn't sound like you're doing enough miles to justify the expense of a diesel. This engine is peppy and economical, so we think it's a good choice.

On the inside, the Octavia offers plenty of space for both passengers and luggage, so your family can stretch out.

This model would normally cost you £24,220, but What Car?'s New Car Buying service can reduce that to £22,232, giving you the extra cash to upgrade your driver assistance kit. 

To find out more about the Skoda Octavia, read our full 16-point review or view our deals.

  • Also consider: Audi A3 Sportback 35 TFSI Sport S tronic
  • List price: £27,045
  • What Car? Target Price: £25,277
Audi A3 Sportback 2019 cornering shot

The A3 Sportback is a former What Car? Car of the Year, and despite being fairly old these days is still thoroughly recommendable. Go for this Sport version and adaptive cruise control is a £475 option, but it includes a 'stop and go function', which means you can come to a complete stop, and then the car will resume following the car in front when you press the accelerator.

Read our full Audi A3 review or see our great deals.

  • Also consider: BMW 1 Series 118i SE 5dr [Nav] auto
  • List price: £24,410
  • What Car? Target Price: £22,592
BMW 1 Series

BMW's family hatchback is good to drive and has the best infotainment and sat-nav system in this class. On SE models, upgrading from standard to adaptive cruise control will cost you £790.