While most of us dream of sports cars and hot hatches, there comes a time in our lives when we need something a little more practical. With this in mind, we’ve created a list of 20 family cars to suit every budget. Yep, we have everything from a Dacia to a Rolls-Royce, and much more in between.
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£5,000 – £10,000: Dacia Sandero
The Dacia Sandero is available for a headline price of £5,995, but unless you enjoy the feeling of sweaty armpits and the sound of your own singing voice, we’d avoid the Access model. Instead, upgrade to the mid-spec Ambiance for manual air conditioning and DAB digital radio.
Even with the Sandero Ambiance with the super-frugal diesel engine creeps below the £10,000 mark, but we’d save the best part of £1,500 and choose the turbocharged petrol engine for £7,995.
£5,000 – £10,000: Dacia Duster
We make no apology for featuring a second Dacia in our bargain basement category because the Duster offers exceptional value for money. Yes, the £9,495 Access is basic in the extreme, but there’s something appealing about a UN-spec SUV-lookalike for the price of a supermini.
The 1.6-litre SCe petrol engine offers as much as 44.1mpg on a combined cycle and CO2 emissions of 145g/km. This is the closest you can get to a Tonka toy for grown-ups. Just steer clear of the skirting boards.
£10,001 – £15,000: SsangYong Tivoli
The SsangYong Tivoli might be a leftfield choice, but it offers exceptional value for money. Both the petrol and diesel engine versions of the entry-level SE model are available for less than £15,000, while even the better equipped EX breaks the £15k mark by a mere £300.
At the time of writing, SsangYong is offering discounts of up to £2,155 across the Tivoli range, taking the top-spec ELX diesel with a manual gearbox down to £16,995. Prices start from just £11,995.
£10,001 – £15,000: Skoda Rapid Spaceback
Don’t be fooled by the name, because the Spaceback is smaller than the standard Skoda Rapid. As a result, boot space is down 135 litres, but the load space is a better shape, making it easier to make full use of the 415 litres on offer.
That’s a boot larger than the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus, despite the Spaceback sitting on the same platform as the Polo. The 1.0 TSI S is the only model to meet the £10-£15k criteria, although some haggling should secure an SE Tech within budget.
£15,001 – £20,000: Mazda CX-3
If you must drive a compact crossover, do the right thing and make sure it looks good and drives like a regular hatchback. You’re not exactly spoilt for choice, but fortunately, the Mazda CX-3 fits the bill.
The SE Nav version is available for £18,495 when powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine and £19,995 for the 1.6-litre diesel. The boot offers 350 litres of boot space, which extends to 1,260 litres with the rear seats folded down.
£15,001 – £20,000: Skoda Octavia
Assuming you’re not after a crossover, the Skoda Octavia might be the ultimate family car. It’s larger than the Volkswagen Golf upon which it is based, with 590 litres of boot space, extending to 1,580 litres with the rear seats folded down. And that’s just the hatchback version.
Prices start from £17,195 for the entry-level 1.0 TSI S, while the 1.5 TSI SE slips below the £20k mark. Right now, Skoda is offering £3,500 scrappage discount on the Octavia.
£20,001 – £25,000: Citroen Grand C4 Picasso
Seven-seat MPVs are hardly flavour of the month, but if you want a proper MPV, the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is a great option. Prices start from £23,155 for the Touch Edition, with the mid-spec Feel available for £24,530.
The Grand C4 Picasso looks good – a rare thing in this segment – and the cabin is light and airy. The middle-row seats slide individually and offer a huge amount of space, while the rearmost seats are perfectly adequate for children and occasional use by adults.
£20,001 – £25,000: Skoda Superb
The Superb range kicks off at £20,050, with even the most lavishly-equipped model costing a reasonable £35,000. Spend some time in a Skoda Superb and you’ll begin to question why anyone would fork out more on a so-called ‘premium’ car.
The boot is huge – 625 litres extending to 1,760 litres – while rear seat passengers will enjoy the limo-like legroom.
£25,001 – £30,000: Audi Q3
The Audi Q3 competes against the Mercedes-Benz GLA and BMW X1, but unlike its German rivals, it’s pleasing on the eye. The interior, while a little sombre, oozes quality, while the badge will provide some driveway appeal.
The Sport trim kicks off at £27,610, while the ultra-desirable S Line Edition creeps below the £30k mark by £150. Be warned: go mad with the options list and the Q3 becomes rather expensive.
£25,001 – £30,000: Skoda Kodiaq
Recently, Reuters reported that Volkswagen might take measures to “curb competition from lower-cost stablemate Skoda, move some of its production to Germany and make the Czech brand pay more for shared technology.” If VW bosses are concerned, the Kodiaq will give them sleepless nights.
Even a top-spec Kodiaq with seven seats costs a little over £30,000, with prices starting from £22,000. This SUV will sell like the hottest of hot cakes.
£30,001 – £40,000: Jaguar F-Pace
Speaking of hot cakes… The F-Pace is fuelling what looks likely to be a record-breaking year for Jaguar, with sales up 8% on the same point in 2016, at 401,565 vehicles sold. The Jaguar F-Pace is hot property.
Prices start from £34,730 for the Prestige model, with the range-topping S costing £52,665. Not only does the F-Pace seat five adults, but the boot is also able to carry 650 litres of luggage with the rear seats in place. More F-Space, then?
£30,001 – £40,000: Volvo V90
Thankfully, not everybody has bought into the crossover-SUV craze, which is why Volvo can produce masterpieces such as the V90. While we might miss the old five-cylinder engines, and the boot isn’t as cavernous as it was in the old days, the V90 is handsome in a way a crossover so often isn’t.
Prices start from £36,345, while the beautifully-appointed Inscription model slips beneath the £40k mark. The interior is a masterclass in fit, finish and simple sophistication.
£40,001 – £50,000: Porsche Macan
Of the 186,000 Porsche sales so far in 2017, 49,000 of them were Cayenne and 73,000 Macan. To say the SUV saved the company would be a huge understatement. Porsche can play with wild 911 creations thanks to the Macan and Cayenne.
The Macan range kicks off at £46,000 for the entry-level model, with the S and S Diesel both available for less than £50,000. That it isn’t quite as practical as some of its rivals won’t matter one jot when you reach your favourite corner of the local B-road. This is essentially a 911 in an SUV suit.
£40,001 – £50,000: Land Rover Discovery
One of the world’s greatest off-roaders just got better; it’s just a shame Land Rover forgot to finish the styling. Putting the controversial tailgate design to one side for a moment, the fifth generation Discovery offers a compelling blend of on- and off-road manners.
In seven-seat form, you’ll find 258 litres of space, although this increases to 1,137 litres with the rearmost seats folded down. Fold the second row and the Discovery could give a small van a run for its money, offering 2,406 litres of space. Prices start from £46,000.
£50,001 – £75,000: Volvo XC90
The reinvention of Volvo began with the XC90, with the smaller XC60 and XC40 soon following suit. For such a large SUV, the XC90 oozes charm and elegance, while the minimalist interior is arguably the best thing this side of a luxury car costing tens of thousands of pounds more.
Prices start from £49,905, while the T8 Twin Engine weighs in at £61,705. Three years on from its launch, the XC90 has lost none of its appeal.
£50,001 – £75,000: Audi Q7
The Audi Q7 might not be as elegant as the Volvo XC90, but it’s arguably its closest rival. If the original Q7 was a cumbersome and aggressive machine, the new version is positively featherlight, shedding 325kg between generations. As as a result, it’s more efficient and less of a threat to polar bears and penguins.
Not that it is any prettier, although owners will love the huge amount of interior space, which extends to 1,955 litres, some 100 litres more than the XC90.
£75,001 – £100,000: Range Rover
The Range Rover is the Swiss Army Knife of the automotive world, blending off-road capabilities, family car appeal and opulent levels of luxury in one iconic package.
Sure, it won’t be the cheapest thing to run, but that hardly seems to matter at this price point. Besides, few cars offer such impeccable on- and off-road manners. Go forth and climb every mountain and ford every stream.
£75,001 – £100,000: Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo
Dear Porsche, thank you for giving us an alternative to the SUV. For the first time in a Panamera, the Sport Turismo offers a central third seat, although this is available as a delete option.
There’s also more headroom in the back and more luggage space in the boot. But before you get too carried away, at 520 litres, it’s only 20 litres more than you’d find in the regular Panamera. Still, this is a very cool thing.
£101,000+: Bentley Bentayga
You probably don’t like the look of the Bentley Bentayga, and that’s your prerogative. But ask anyone who has spent quality time in Bentley’s first SUV and they’ll regale you with tales of brilliance and wonderment.
From our 2016 review: “We shuddered at the thought of a Bentley SUV a few years ago. But the Bentayga has confounded all our fears. A cosseting, rapid and satisfying to drive luxury SUV, it’s a true Bentley – the best car the firm makes. Without doubt, one of the best premium SUVs you can buy, full stop.”
£101,000+: Rolls-Royce Ghost
Into the realms of fantasy we go. Look, the Rolls-Royce Ghost has got four doors and four seats, so it must qualify as a family car. Not convinced? This thing has a 490-litre boot.
If you’ve spent a quarter of a million quid on a family car, we doubt you’ll be too fussed about the thirst, so we won’t mention the 20mpg figure. But good luck finding a space in the pre-school car park…