Top 10 best large family cars 2022
If you need space, pace and low running costs, check out our top picks for the best large family cars.
The term ‘family car’ has a wide meaning these days; the definition stretches from ordinary hatchbacks such as the Volkswagen Golf, to colossal 7-seater SUVs like the Skoda Kodiaq. Yet, while these cars are very different, they all share qualities placing them under the ‘family car’ umbrella. To help you decide, we’ve compiled a list of the best large family cars capable of taking the entire family (and their luggage) along for the ride. But first, what makes a good large family car?
Most importantly, a large family car must offer plenty of interior space. Most cars of this type typically come with five or seven seats. They also need to have a large boot capable of taking lots of luggage, and the interior must be well-built to withstand the toils of family life.
Secondly, a good family car must feel secure and be easy to drive. Most are typically used as workhorses day-in-day-out, so they must be comfortable for both the driver and passengers as well. Many of the cars on this list are available with an automatic gearbox, and most can be specced with driver assistance tech such as adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist, helping to make long journeys less gruelling.
Finally, and most crucially, a large family car has to be affordable to buy and run. Models such as the BMW 5 Series fill much of the criteria required for a family car, but their high purchase cost puts them out of reach of a number of buyers. Models like the Skoda Superb are priced similarly to regular hatchbacks, but have more space, and an assortment of luxury features normally associated with more expensive premium cars.
Every car on this list meets the above criteria, but all come in different shapes and sizes: from SUVs to saloons to estate cars. If you’re looking to join in on the current SUV craze, we have also put together a list of the best family SUVs you can buy in 2022.
Here, we run through the best large family cars available to buy in 2022. Read on to see our top picks…
The Skoda Superb fully deserves its model name because it’s such an excellent all-rounder. While it costs roughly the same as an upmarket hatchback, the Superb is actually similar in size to most estate cars, and there’s also an actual estate version available.
Just because it undercuts some competitors on price, doesn’t mean the Superb is lacking in quality: it’s a thoroughly grown-up and serious car, with a reassuringly solid driving experience, a well-made and designed interior and (perhaps most importantly) acres and acres of space. Rear-seat passengers could be forgiven for thinking they’re in a limousine, such is the legroom on offer back there. Add engines that offer excellent fuel economy (around 55mpg from the 2.0-litre diesel) and you’re left with a great family car that caters for all tastes.
The Hyundai Tucson ticks every box a good family SUV should: it’s stylish, spacious, good to drive and affordable to run. Entry-level cars start from under £30,000 but are generously equipped, with rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, a digital instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The rear seats are spacious, even in models specified with the panoramic sunroof, and the most practical models feature a 620-litre boot that should easily swallow suitcases and pushchairs alike. Fold down the rear seats, and the load space increases to 1,799 litres.
If you plan to cover a lot of miles, we’d recommend opting for the 227bhp 1.6-litre hybrid model. This engine had plenty of punch on the motorway and is great to drive around town. It won’t cost the earth to run either, with fuel economy of close to 50mpg, while mild-hybrid models can return over 40mpg.
The latest Kia Sorento is a sign of how far the brand has progressed in the past two decades. The model was named as our Car of The Year for 2021, also winning the Best Large SUV title in 2022. It packs an upmarket cabin, seven seats, and a range of efficient engines along with bold styling. Perhaps most impressive is the Sorento’s boot which offers just under 190 litres of space with the third row of seats in place - that’s close to what you’ll find in a MINI hatchback. However, fold the third row down and you’ll get over 600 litres and a cavernous 2,011 litres on diesel models with both rear rows folded.
We’d suggest avoiding top-spec models of the Kia Sorento as their high price comes very close to more premium rivals like the Land Rover Discovery. Go for a mid-spec ‘3’ model as these get plenty of kit such as LED lights, 19-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery and a dual-screen infotainment and digital instrument cluster setup.
After nearly 50 years on sale, Volkswagen is slowly cancelling the Passat as buyers shift towards SUVs. Thankfully, the Passat Estate remains on sale and provides many of the same benefits of SUVs including a large 650-litre boot; this is 64 litres more than the now-discontinued Passat saloon. Elsewhere, the model offers lots of tech and Volkswagen’s signature premium build quality.
Unlike most modern estate and saloon cars, the Passat focuses more on comfort than sportiness. It’s still good to drive, with a secure and grippy feel on the road and accurate handling. All of the petrol and diesel engines are capable of decent performance, while being fairly frugal to run. The range-topping GTE plug-in hybrid is the most efficient on paper with triple-digit fuel economy and a 37-mile range on electric power, but it is the most expensive to buy.
The Skoda Karoq is a no-nonsense family SUV that sits below the full-sized Kodiaq in the brand’s range. It offers great practicality thanks to the sliding rear bench, which can be adjusted to increase boot space or rear passenger legroom. The Karoq was facelifted in 2021 with minor redesign and upgraded technology. Every model is well-equipped with equipment such as 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control and an eight-inch infotainment screen. Skoda has also packed in a handful of useful features including an LED torch in the boot and an umbrella in the driver’s door - just like in a Rolls Royce.
The entry-level 1.0-litre 111bhp petrol engine may feel a bit underpowered on longer journeys, but it’s punchy enough around town, and it manages fuel economy of just over 45mpg. For those looking for more power, the 1.5-litre 148bhp petrol engine offers improved performance, and is capable of similar fuel economy.
The Mazda 6 is one of the best driving cars on this list. While it’s enjoyable winding down a twisty B-road, this doesn’t come at the expense of comfort. Mazda’s engineers have perfectly balanced the 6’s suspension, so it offers a great deal of driver involvement with little body lean, yet still manages to insulate you from potholes and poor road surfaces well.
The Mazda6 is also comfortable, well equipped and – while looks are subjective – a distinctively handsome car. The only things preventing it from featuring higher on our list are a relatively high price tag and an interior design that can’t quite match the exterior styling. We recommend the 2.0-litre petrol, which returns around 42mpg but still has enough power to reach 62mph from rest in under ten seconds.
The boldest-looking large car we’ve seen from Peugeot for years, the 508 steps into a hard-fought arena with a swagger and the character to back it up. Its styling is purposeful, with a sporty fastback profile and plenty of eye-catching details such as the LED ‘fangs’ on the front bumper, muscular rear wheelarches and a full-width rear light panel. Inside, it’s just as interesting, with a slick, contemporary feel to the dash design that’s refreshing for the sector. It shares a small steering wheel with the 5008 MPV, over which Peugeot’s i-Cockpit display helps lend the car a hi-tech feel.
There’s a broad range of PureTech petrol and BlueHDi diesel engines or a plug-in hybrid version. Importantly, the new model is great to drive, too, with ride and handling that’s easily a match for the competition’s. The big rear hatch makes the 508 a practical choice, although the boot isn’t huge and rear headroom is in short supply for taller occupants. There’s an estate model if space is an issue
There are plenty of similarities between the Arteon and the Volkswagen Passat, although you need to pay a bit more for the svelte styling of the Arteon. It’s not a cheap car by any means, but you get lots of kit and a hatchback tailgate, rather than the Passat’s saloon boot. We prefer hatchback openings as they’re much more versatile, allowing you to carry bulky items more easily.
It’s fair to say that the interior doesn’t have quite the same pizzazz as the exterior but all models get a swish digital instrument cluster and sat-nav. Engines are familiar, too, with a 2.0-litre diesel capable of more than 50mpg and a few smooth petrols. The 2020 facelift added a Shooting Brake estate variant, plus a fast R version, so the Arteon has more options than ever before.
The MG ZS EV offers unrivalled value for money as it starts from less than £30,000 after the PiCG grant deduction, and it offers more space and practicality than smaller EVs of a similar price. The MG’s interior quality may look a bit behind rivals, but the facelifted model packs plenty of tech and nicer materials. It’s also very practical, with a spacious interior and a 470-litre boot; which is more than you get in the similarly sized Volkswagen ID.3.
MG launched an updated version of the ZS EV in late 2021, which greatly broadened its appeal. Updated entry-level models get a larger 51kWh battery which can manage just under 200 miles of range. If you plan to travel long distances often, the new Long Range model can manage just over 270 miles on a single charge. Both cars are available with 76kW fast charging which will top the car up from 0-80% in just over half an hour when connected to a public fast charger.
Based on the Mercedes A-Class, the new CLA gains a sublime interior but adds extra practicality. The boot measures 460 litres - 40 litres more than the boxier A-Class saloon and 90 litres more than the A-Class hatchback. Mercedes has made this car much bigger inside than the previous CLA and, while the swoopy shape does cut into headroom a little, it’s now a lot more spacious. However, if that just won’t cut it - the CLA is also available as a more-practical Shooting Brake estate. This grants greater headroom and an even larger 505-litre boot.
The engine range currently includes five petrol engines (including a high-performance 421bhp AMG CLA 45) and a diesel and hybrid option. Both the CLA 180 and CLA 200 models achieve nearly 50mpg. The diesel, meanwhile, manages over 55mpg and gets from 0-62mph in just 7.1 seconds. As all models come with LED lights, heated leather seats and Mercedes’ MBUX infotainment system, the entry-level AMG Line car will satisfy most buyers.
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