Our best family cars

Family life can be hectic – queuing for the bathroom, ironing the last-minute shirt, stuffing PE kits into the car and zooming to school by 8.45, and that’s just the morning school run down! Choosing a family car shouldn’t be an additional worry to your list, so we’ve picked our top three favourite school run rides, that are also perfect for the hectic commute to and from work.

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer Design.

Whilst we are pretty sure you’ve heard of the Vauxhall Zafira already, its 2016 facelift has altered the styling and technology of the seven-seater people carrier.

Available with a 1.4 petrol engine as standard, the sturdy design creeps from 0-62 in 9.9 seconds with a fuel economy of 41-63 mpg combined.

This makes it the ideal candidate for practicality whilst tackling the school run in no time, though you may need to be more aggressive with the gas to make progress with this entry level contender.

Light steering makes the tourer design the perfect candidate for parking and driving around, with most road and engine noise blocked from the cabin for a stress-free ride. Once you are on the move, the tourer offers a highly refined drive handling corners with ease, suggesting it doesn’t struggle to move its large frame.

Upgrading the spec however, will additionally bring with it, an array of engines to choose from, including both 1.6 and 2.0 CDTI diesel, which offer further additional features with both.

The Zafira Tourer is slightly bigger than any of the previous Zafira models and benefits from a more practical set up for its Flex-7 seating. This feature offers the ability of manoeuvring the chairs with ease, along with a larger seventh ‘platform’ seat, though still smaller than a standard seat, mainly suitable for children. The ‘lounge’ seating options transforms the middle row centre chair into an armrest for amplified comfort and a further ‘FlexRail’ storage upgrade boosts room for more luggage space, should you require it.

With seven seats in place, there’s only 152 litre capacity of boot space, however drop the two third-row chairs down and you can increase this to 710 litres.

The overall interior is refreshed and smart, boasting a slim profile with comfortable surroundings. Recent changes to the dashboard make the central infotainment system well placed and easy to use on the move, featuring the inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, meaning you won’t need to pay extra cash for a Sat-Nav, providing you have a compatible smartphone. As standard the tourer design does come with a six-speaker stereo, as well as MP3 capability, USB connector and DAB radio, with room to upgrade further.

Our verdict? This entry level tourer design comes with a well-equipped list of essentials including air-con, 7 Inch infotainment system, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, fog lights and more. This may be the perfect pick for the speedy school run and work commute, but we reckon its competitors might just beat the tourer in its running costs.

Nissan Juke Visia

A smaller crossover SUV option is the entry level Nissan Juke Visia. Available in 1.6 petrol, or the slightly more efficient 1.5 diesel engine, both nipping from 0-62 mph in 12 seconds and 11.2 seconds respectively. A fuel economy of 47 mpg for the petrol and 71 diesel, edges the 1.5 diesel engine as a more beneficial pick for those longer journeys.

The Juke’s steering is extremely responsive, although the suspension does remain jerky in places, moving harshly over any bumps and sharp edges. Should you pick an upgraded spec, these come with large alloy wheels that reduce this problem and the added body roll when negotiating corners at speed.

The low roofline and high driving position in the Juke do make for a snug fit in the driver’s seat, but the additional storage throughout the cabin make up for this, with plenty of extra cup holders, shelves and deep pockets, meaning you’ll never be short of room to store your accessories. The Juke Visia does comes complete with a split folding rear bench as standard, allowing you to reposition the back seating to allow for extra space.

Though the boot space isn’t massive, every Juke comes with an adjustable boot floor and at its lowest setting, you could just about fit a buggy or a couple of large bags behind the rear bench. With the seats up you have around 354 litre capacity or fold these flat to allow 1,189 litres of room.

The overall interior on the entry model is fairly basic, but still does the trick. Kitted out with a lot of chunky plastics, the smaller windows, rear view and chunky central pillars do make it harder to see what’s behind you. A 360-degree Around View monitor is standard, giving you a bird’s eye view of the car when trying to navigate into a tighter parking spot. However the infotainment within the entry level Visia is basic at best, lacking Bluetooth and USB connection, though upgraded versions are better equipped, featuring sat-nav touch screen, DAB radio and upgraded stereo system – so it might be worth checking out the upgrades available before making your final decision!

What do we reckon? Whilst the entry level Visia seems substantial value, with 16-inch alloy wheels, all round electric windows and manual air-con, it does lack the extras that you might benefit from during your daily commute. Researching the various upgrades might be an idea to ensure your set up features everything you might need day to day.

Audi Q5

Incorporating all of the Q7’s strengths into a more affordable and compact package, the Q5 costs considerably less to run and is one of the most popular premium SUV’s on the market. Available with 2.0 litre petrol engine or 2.0 litre diesel as standard, the Q5 range does offer room to manoeuvre in terms of engine size, with a 3.0 litre V6 diesel available within the SQ5 upgrade. The entry level Q5 bursts from 0-62 in just 6.3 seconds and offers 40-56 mpg overall.

Taking the entry level 2.0 diesel for a drive, it’s nippy, with more than enough energy to carry you down the motorway at ease. The seven-speed automatic gearbox can be slightly sluggish when pulling away from junctions. The standard comfort suspension ensures a gentle ride over any road conditions, taking all corners and turns easily with a strong grip and plenty of traction when accelerating hard, even in slippery conditions.

You certainly won’t be short of space in the Q5, with a high roofline and adjustable seating, offering bags of leg and head room.

Additional storage can be found within the sizeable door bins and cubbies underneath the central armrests too. Seating throughout the Q5 include a range of adjustable levers as standard, however the upgrades do include sliding and reclining rear seats, adding extra boot space or leg room should you need this, a viable option if you spend lengthy family journeys in this car.

With 550 litre capacity in the boot, you shouldn’t find space a problem, though if you do add the optional rear bench seat plus pack, the sliding and reclining rear seats will ensure boot space is increased to 610 litres, the largest boot size in its class.

Part of the Audi family, the interior is right on trend with premium leather as standard. The MMI infotainment system offers a rotary controller complete with shortcut buttons, making it effortless to use, even on the move.

Whilst sat-nav is not available with all grades, the entry level Q5 does include smartphone mirroring for Apple and Android phones, which lets you use a number of phone apps (including navigation) through the central infotainment screen.

We have to give it to Audi, our money is on the Q5. Though this model maybe slightly more expensive than other SUV’s out there, it is competitively priced against its premium rivals. Equipment available as standard in the Q5 is generous to say the least, with high quality interior feel.

Euro NCAP awarded Q5 a full five-star safety rating, making this one of the safest vehicles on the road. Every Q5 is complete with six airbags, ABS, a full Thatcham approved remote operated alarm and immobiliser as standard, with room to heighten your security settings further with additional upgrades should you wish too.

We’re sure you will find the ideal lease car at Zero Deposit Leasing, so if you’re on the lookout then be sure to give us a call on 01282 506 000 or visit us online at www.zerodepositcarleasing.co.uk