10 best used family cars as chosen by parents

If you’re a parent in the market for a car, you may feel overwhelmed with choice. Thanks to the CarGurus Family Car Study, your peers have some help for you. A survey of 2,000 parents, with children under 16, looked at the budget and criteria for their next family vehicle.

The study found that parents had around £15,500 to spend on average. They were looking for practicality, low running costs and fuel efficiency. When it comes to the type of car, they’re most likely wanting to drive a hatchback or SUV.

When it came to engine, only 10 per cent of parents chose diesel, compared with petrol (33 per cent) or hybrid (20 per cent). Audi was the most desirable brand, ahead of Fiat, BMW, Volkswagen, Honda, Toyota and Mercedes.

Here, we’ve highlighted the top five that made cut, followed by the complete list of the 10 best used family cars as chosen by parents. The great news? We’ve got zero-deposit deals on the cars that made the list!

2017 Audi A3 Sportback

Best used family cars - the Audi comes out on top

The 2017, petrol-powered Audi A3 was voted as the ideal car choice by parents. Costing around £15,000 as a 2017 model with approximately 30,000 to 40,000 miles on the clock, the five-door hatchback has a smooth and efficient 1.0-litre TFSI petrol engine.

It has a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, and can return more than 50mpg in real-world driving conditions. Spacious and packed with an array of great tech, the Audi A3 Sportback is a smooth drive with quality interiors for ultimate family comfort.

2018 Honda Civic 1.0 VTEC Turbo

Honda is a popular and reliable brand for family cars

It might look more ‘boy racer’ than ‘family car’ but the 2018 Honda Civic 1.0 VTEC Turbo’s sporty looks can be deceiving. There is ample storage with a 478-litre boot (with the rear seats up), and it’s fuel efficient at 42mpg, thanks to a small engine and relatively large chassis.

Though it sits a little low for a family hatchback, it pulls through with excellent adaptive cruise control and the ride is very firm, which has been accredited to the low profile tyres. Virtually all controls can be accessed from buttons on the steering wheel, which is really useful for parents.

With afive-star crash-test rating from Euro NCAP, the Honda Civic is very safe with standard dual-stage airbags, front and rear seatbelt-reminder buzzers, side and curtain airbags, plus electronic stability control and seatbelt pre-tensioners.

2017 Honda HR-V 1.5 VTEC

A five-door coupe-styled crossover that offers good value, safety, and loads of interior space. Honda has also kept it simple with just two efficient petrol and diesel engine choices and four trim levels. You’ll also find Honda’s versatile ‘Magic Seat’ system where you can fold the back seats up like cinema chairs, freeing up the rear-seat footwell for storage.

A maximum five stars in Euro NCAP crash safety tests and Honda’s reputed durability, it’s no wonder the HR-V made the top three on the list.

2015 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer 218i

Changing the game, the BMW active tourer is a great choice for best used family cars

Cars like this one are driving the change for the reputation of MPVs. It’s one of the few MPVs that champions style and driving dynamics with family versatility. The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is a reasonably spacious and affordable family five-seat MPV. It’s a classy and more unique front-wheel drive that ticks many boxes for parents.

For example, the luggage bay is big enough to use every day. Bulky items like baby buggies or a heavy round of grocery shopping will easily fit in – even side by side – in this practical and city-friendly car. From a safety rating perspective, the car achieved a respectable 85 per cent rating for child safety from Euro NCAP, making it one of the safest in its segment.

2018 Volkswagen Golf 1.0 TSI

The VW Golf is a favourite on the best used family cars list

Are we even surprised to this on the list? The Volkswagen’s Golf is still one of the best-selling cars in the UK and in Europe. The 1.0 TSI replaced the 1.2 TSI several years ago as the crackdown on dirty diesel engines set in. And it does the job well. Fuel economy is better, whilst power and performance is just as impressive and all that you need in a hatchback.

With the seats up and 1,270 litres with them down, and comes equipped underneath with a standard spacesaver. This compact family car has one of the highest Euro NCAP child safety ratings at 89 per cent. With a host of crash protection features, it’s a no-brainer that this car remains as popular as it is to date.

Top 10 used family cars based on the average UK parents’ buying requirements

YearMake and Model
2017Audi A3 Sportback 1.0 TFSI
2018Honda Civic 1.0 VTEC Turbo
2017Honda HR-V 1.5 VTEC
2015BMW 2 Series Active Tourer 218i
2018Volkswagen Golf 1.0 TSI
2019Fiat 500X 1.0 Turbo
2018Toyota C-HR 1.2 petrol
2015Mercedes B-Class B180
2015BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer 218i (for seven seats)
2018Kia Carens 1.6 GDI (for seven seats)

To help parents during the car-buying process, the CarGurus Best Family Car Buying Guide, which includes a host of information and practical advice for families of all ages.