8 of the best small family cars

Looking for a child-friendly car that’s reliable, practical, and efficient but still fun to drive? Check out our pick of 8 of the best small family cars

Written by Verity Hogan
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Volkswagen Golf

If you’re looking for a solid small family car, you can’t go far wrong with a Volkswagen Golf. It’s a good all-rounder and easy to drive thanks to its controlled handling and comfortable ride. The Golf isn’t the cheapest hatchback on the market, but it still offers good value for money thanks to its fuel efficiency. There’s space for all the kids as well as the weekly shop, and newer models boast a range of tech features including touch panel controls. Hybrid and pure electric versions are also available if you’re looking to make a greener choice. 


Seat Leon

The Seat Leon is sometimes described as a more affordable version of the VW Golf but that would be selling it short. An enduring family favourite, the Leon is practical and comes equipped with safety equipment but is still fun to drive! The latest models feature driver perks like lane-keeping assist, cruise control, and tyre pressure monitoring as standard, while the SE trim includes heated door mirrors. The interior isn’t especially luxurious, but it is still good quality and offers plenty of rear legroom and sizeable boot.


Vauxhall Astra

The Vauxhall Astra offers everything you could want from a family car: reliability, practicality, and efficiency. It has a timeless design, a varied range of features, and offers a comfortable drive with responsive steering and solid brakes. The Astra can be speedy too with the most powerful models able to reach 0-62mph in just under 10 seconds. The interior is functional but built to last and higher spec trims come with touchscreen controls, parking sensors, heated seats, and dual-zone climate control.


Ford Focus

If you’re looking for a car that looks good and handles well on the road, the Ford Focus could be right for you. Available in petrol or diesel, it’s a vehicle that’s well-suited to the demands of family life with good fuel economy that’ll help your tank last through the school run, shopping trips, and work commute. The rear seats aren’t the most spacious but they’re child-friendly and the good-sized boot is a bonus. It’s safe too with a range of tech features including autonomous emergency braking.


BMW Series 1

A premium family car, the BMW Series 1 feels like a luxury vehicle thanks to its classic styling and high-tech kit. It has the strong build and secure handling that you’d expect from a manufacturer like BMW and is surprisingly fuel efficient despite the spacious cabin and generous boot. It’s a car that’s built for families but will also give you that sting of pride when commuting to work with a colleague or picking up your parents for Sunday lunch.


Honda Civic

The Honda Civic’s design can be divisive, but its distinctive looks shouldn’t distract from the fact that it’s a surprisingly practical five-door family hatchback. There is plenty of interior space and the big boot is complemented by a roll-out luggage cover and discreet in-cabin storage. The Civic is well-built and boasts an impressive range of features including safety measures that’ll provide added reassurance. The drive is pleasant too, which’ll help make those long family road trips a bit more manageable.


Audi A3

The Audi A3 is a premium family car with a refined sense of style that’ll appeal to almost every taste. It’s well-made and fun to drive with secure and stable handling and impressive performance despite its small size. If you’re hoping to make the switch to a more environmentally friendly set of wheels, then the A3 has mild-hybrid and plug-in models on offer too.


Hyundai i30

It might not be as well known as some of the other cars on our list but the Hyundai i30 is quietly making inroads on the family car landscape. It offers a comfortable drive, an elegant and spacious cabin, and is pleasantly quiet on the move (ideal if you’ve just got the baby to sleep!) It’s safe too with handy driver assist features like lane-keep assistance and headlights that dip automatically. The trim is generous too with a DAB radio, alloy wheels, and Bluetooth fitted as standard, while the boot – an impressive 395 litres – has enough space for all the family’s suitcases.

Verity Hogan

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