Large family cars come in all shapes and sizes, but they must all have one thing in common - the space for kids, all the paraphernalia that goes with them, and often a dog. The family wagon has to be versatile too so that it can cope with everything, from the school run to an IKEA shopping trip, a staycation to ferrying children to a birthday party. Whether it's a hatchback, saloon, SUV, people carrier or estate, here's some inspiration for your next large family car...
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Best large family hatchbacks
Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport
The Vauxhall Insignia has blossomed over the years from a go-to company car into a substantial and stylish hatchback offering space, safety, comfort and low running costs. A relaxed cruiser, it's generously equipped and priced from £23,795.
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Arguably the best-looking large family hatchback on the market, the 508 is just as cool inside thanks to superb design and Peugeot’s excellent i-Cockpit digital dashboard.
Available with an efficient range of petrol and diesel engines, there’s now also a plug-in hybrid version with up to 39 miles of pure electric range. Refined, comfortable and offering a dynamic drive, it has a premium feel and is priced from £27,355.
Other options: Volkswagen Arteon, Kia Stinger, Ford Mondeo, Skoda Superb, Polestar 2, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Camry.
Best family SUVs
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
More than 10 million RAV4s have found homes globally since Toyota's ground-breaking Sport Utility Vehicle was launched 26 years ago. The world's best-selling SUV of 2019 is now better than ever, and the latest version is sharply styled, economical, practical and safe.
Once you add Toyota's solid reputation for reliability and five-year warranty, it becomes a winning package. Priced from £31,090, the RAV4 is a smart choice.
Stylish with a gorgeous, technology-rich interior, the mighty Touareg is safe, boasts serious kerb appeal and is a comfortable cruiser. If you don't need so much space, then its little brother, the Tiguan, is worth considering. Priced from £46,505, the Touareg is a premium quality family car.
If you're ready to go 100% electric, then Jaguar's 4x4 should definitely be on your SUV shortlist. Good looking, spacious, fast and rewarding to drive, the I-Pace is one of the best electric vehicles (EVs) on the market. Priced from £65,195, it has a range of up to 292 miles.
Other options: BMW X5, BMW X7, Tesla Model X, Volvo XC60, Volvo XC90, Audi Q5, Audi Q7, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Mercedes-Benz GLC.
Best family 4x4s
Land Rover Defender
The most capable and connected Land Rover ever turns heads for all the right reasons. A joy to drive on the road, it's also the ultimate go-anywhere vehicle should you stray off the beaten track.
Priced from £42,920 and also available as a plug-in hybrid (offering up to 27 electric only-miles), the new Defender is a worthy successor to its iconic ancestor and looks great in the town or country.
With a pedigree stretching back to World War 2, Jeep knows a thing or two about 4x4s. The latest version of the Wrangler is the best yet, boasting remarkable off-road agility along with much-improved road manners. Available as a two-door or spacious four-door, it's priced from £41,525 and comes with a five-year warranty.
Other options: Range Rover Evoque, Range Rover Velar, Skoda Kodiaq, BMW X5, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Porsche Cayenne, Volvo XC90.
Best 7-seater family cars
It's no mystery why the Galaxy people carrier is a big hit with private hire firms. Not only is well built, durable and surprisingly easy to drive, it's able to carry seven people in comfort. Flip all the rear passenger seats and the load space rises from 300 litres to a van-like 2,339 litres. Priced from £33,550, it's a sensible option for big families.
If you prefer an SUV body style, then the mighty Kodiaq could be right up your street. Boasting bags of space inside, it hides its size well on the road and is packed with all the latest safety tech. Benefiting from Skoda's superb reputation for value for money and dependability, it's priced from £26,810.
Other options: Tesla Model X, Land Rover Discovery, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, Volkswagen Touran, Peugeot 5008, Volvo XC90, Audi Q7, Citroen Grand C4 Spacetourer, Peugeot Traveller.
Best large family saloons
Buyers looking for petrol and diesel-powered large family saloons are spoilt for choice with half a dozen closely matched contenders. In the end, the sleek Audi A6's combination of refinement, luxury, space, safety and cutting-edge tech wins our vote. If it's too big, then the more compact A4 is a great option too. Priced from £41,305, the A6 is a premium purchase.
Tesla Model S
The game-changing pure electric Tesla Model S has been on sale since 2012, but the opposition is only just catching up and it's still a class act. With a range of up to 379 miles, it's supercar fast, refined, handsome, well equipped and practical - and at its best effortlessly cruising along in near-silence.
Starting at £74,980, it's not cheap, in which case the more compact and affordable Model 3 (from £40,490) is worth considering.
Other options: Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 Series, Alfa Romeo Guilia, Volkswagen Passat, Mazda6, Jaguar XF.
Best large family estates
If ever a car lived up to its name, the Superb is it. Remarkably spacious, comfortable and well equipped, it's available with a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines, plus a plug-in hybrid which has an electric-only range of up to 34 miles. Priced from £26,135, the Skoda Superb estate is great value for money.
The Volvo V60 is, quite simply, one of the most handsome estate cars ever - perfectly proportioned inside and out. It's not just eye candy though, because it's a proper driver's car, as well as being safe and superbly finished. If you need more space, then go for its big brother, the epic V90. The V60 is priced from £34,410 and also available as a plug-in hybrid (offering up to 36 electric only-miles).
Other options: BMW 5 Series Touring, Audi A4 Avant, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Volkswagen Passat, Mazda6 Sports Tourer, Jaguar XF Sportbrake, Peugeot 508.
All prices quoted in this article are correct as of October 2020