Statisticians suggest that women in England and Wales have fewer children, on average than in previous generations. Yet while the size of a typical family may be smaller than it used to be, car manufacturers have more models than ever, as they remain focused on this critical metric. If you want to find the best family car for your menage, what should you be looking for and what are the leading candidates?
While single jet setters may be interested in horsepower, speed and cornering ability, parents will inevitably take a more restrained view. They may value performance to an extent, but will undoubtedly want their vehicle to be as practical as possible.
Candidates for the best family car in 2020 will focus on safety, and you should refer to the five-star rating system used by the New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP). Here you will find comprehensive information about the safety of all new cars and should look for those that have a five-star rating.
You will want to ensure that you can get into and out of your vehicle as efficiently as possible and especially if you have small children or buggies to consider. You may need to add or remove safety seats and will want to do so without too much hassle.
Don't underestimate storage space as you search. Some manufacturers take this more seriously than others, and you may need a place to put toys, games and other distractions, as you get ready for that long journey.
In the not too distant past, some manufacturers put all of their family car stock into the MPV. These models tended to be boxy, and while they may have been similar in size to an SUV, they may not have had the handling or performance. Today, companies may focus more on the crossover and especially for larger family groups.
What is the Best Small Family Car?
The Golf is one of the top-selling hatchbacks of all time and with the latest Mk 8, is undoubtedly a candidate for the best small family car this year. It has an improved interior with extra space and excellent accessibility. The Golf is available in a variety of different models, including the fabled GTi.
If you're looking for a bit more space for your growing family, consider the Octavia from this Czech manufacturer. The company's offerings have always been robust, affordable and practical. While the Octavia may not be quite as surefooted as the Golf, you may be particularly impressed by its storage capability.
The Civic is a perennial award winner, and at the top of the "compact car" category since 2015. Honda is also well known for its resale value, and you will want to look at the latest version as you make your choice. You may love the snappy performance and low annual running cost, but you will surely like the practicality. There is plenty of room in the boot and within the cabin for all your travelling furniture.
What Is the Best Large Family Car?
If your family is bigger than average, you don't need to settle for large, unwieldy or thirsty vehicles in today's market.
Mazda is known for its reliability, and this model features a long wheelbase with a sturdy design. It comes well-equipped throughout at the entry-level, is easy to drive and easy on the eye as well. The 6 is packed with safety features like traction control and emergency brake assist, to help keep everyone safe on the road.
The 508 is a true crossover but is stylish and individualistic at the same time. Peugeot has an excellent sporting pedigree, and it comes across in the 508, which is certainly fun to drive. You can choose from a range of different engines, with good economy figures at the pump and you'll find a lot of high-tech equipment inside.
While this may once have been the baby of the corporate car driver, Mondeo is now one of the best all-rounders in its class. It's very spacious inside, and you can choose from saloon, hatch or estate, according to your family requirements. Given its origins as a workhorse, you can expect this family car to be comfortable and economical during that long trip to the grandparents, while there is plenty of room inside as well.
What Is the Best Affordable Family Car?
While there are many contenders for this title, you may need to go a long way to beat the Astra. The standard SU is well-equipped, and you can also upgrade to an SRi or opt for the "elite" trim level if you're looking for a little more.
Citroen is famous for its out-of-the-box thinking and unusual design, so if you're looking for something quirky on the road, here's your chance. The Cactus is a crossover so you'll get an elevated driving position which may translate into better handling. It is spacious inside as well, with lots of legroom, special mounting points for the child seats and a good safety rating.
What Is the Most Sophisticated Family Car?
German engineering and style may put the A-Class at the top of the pile in terms of sophistication. You will be impressed by the quality of the interior and low noise levels when you're on the road, but the A-Class handles particularly well and is certain to be reliable. The entertainment system is sure to keep the whole family engaged, with a voice control system and artificial intelligence to make your life increasingly easy as time goes by.
Choosing the Best Family Car in 2020
Every major manufacturer has at least one offering that the company has specifically designed for the family unit. Choose what is important to you in terms of performance, safety, storage, interior room and entertainment options, and you're sure to find something that fits your budget in each showroom.