Best cars

Top 10 best large family cars 2023

If you need space, pace and low running costs, check out our top picks for the best large family cars

best large family cars

Nowadays family cars come in all shapes and sizes, with plenty of bodystyles that can do a good job of ferrying around your family and all your luggage. If you have a large family, you’ll likely also need a larger family car. Thanks to their immense popularity, driven by great practicality, you’d be forgiven for thinking your only option is a large SUV

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SUVs admittedly do a good job of ticking all the boxes you’d expect of a large family car, but there are also plenty of estate cars, large hatchbacks, and even family-sized electric cars which now fit the brief, bringing their own benefits.

For a large family car to excel it needs to offer plenty of interior space, with room for five or seven seats and a large boot. It should also be versatile enough to cater for the whole family day-to-day during the school-run, and useful for longer trips away with space to bring everything you need. 

These days many of the largest family cars are offered with plug-in hybrid tech, making them even more versatile. Alongside fully-electric large family cars, these models also offer lower running costs for company-car drivers thanks to their low emissions putting them in favourable BiK tax brackets.

A good family car should also be comfortable and easy-to-drive, given how often you’ll be likely to be sitting in it and what will be expected of it daily. It should also be well-built, in order to withstand the demands of family life, well-priced and affordable to run.

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 or you can check out our cheapest 7-seater family cars if you need more seats on a budget.

Here, we run through the best large family cars available to buy in 2024. Read on to see our top picks…

Skoda Superb hatchback review

Skoda Superb
Carbuyer rating

4.3 out of 5

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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 (up to 57.8mpg from the 2.0-litre diesel) and you’re left with a great family car that caters for all tastes.

Kia Sorento SUV review

Kia Sorento
Carbuyer rating

4.3 out of 5

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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.

In recent months, the Kia Sorento has lost some of its value appeal owing to supply constraints; the Sorento range now only consists of one high-specification model which starts from around £50,000. While this comes with plenty of luxurious features such as Nappa leather upholstery, a panoramic roof and a 360-degree camera system, it may alienate some buyers looking to secure themselves a bargain.

BMW 5 Series Touring estate review

BMW 5 Series Touring
Carbuyer rating

4.8 out of 5

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Few cars can offer such a strong combination of luxury, space and performance as the BMW 5 Series Touring. The estate version of BMW’s long-running executive car, the Touring increases the size of the 5 Series’ already large 530-litre boot to a cavernous 570 litres; this is increased to 1,700 litres when the rear seats are folded down. All versions of the 5 Series Touring get swathes of leather upholstery and BMW’s slick iDrive infotainment system, which is one of the best in the business.

BMW offers a 5 Series Touring model to suit almost every lifestyle, with several petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid powertrains to choose from. For higher-mileage drivers, the 520d diesel would be our pick of the range as it offers a welcome blend of power and efficiency. The plug-in hybrid variant will appeal to company-car drivers with its low Benefit-in-Kind tax ratings and 30+ mile electric range. Of course, there’s also the high-performance M-badged models which prove family cars don’t have to be boring.

Mercedes E-Class Estate review

Facelifted Mercedes E-Class estate driving
Carbuyer rating

4.6 out of 5

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The Mercedes E-Class has long been an impressive executive car staple in the UK market, and the estate version offers an extra dose of practicality to the saloon car’s recipe. In fact, the E-Class Estate offers more boot space than the Volvo V90 – traditionally an accolade the Swedish brand was known for. You get a gigantic 640 litres of boot space, which increases to 1,820 litres with the rear seats folded flat.

Another one of the Mercedes E-Class’ selling points is its attractively designed and comfortable interior – that’s true not only up front, but also for back seat passengers, with plenty of space, headroom and storage for the kids to put away their knick-knacks. It’s available with just one petrol engine option: a two-litre mild-hybrid with 194bhp, badged the E 200. There are three mild-hybrid diesel options, too, including a two-litre unit in the E 220 d and E 300 d 4MATIC, producing 197bhp or 265bhp respectively, and the three-litre E 400 d 4MATIC with 330bhp (the latter two versions come with four-wheel drive). 

The best option for company-car drivers, though, is the diesel plug-in hybrid which uses the two-litre engine paired with an electric motor to produce 306bhp, as it has the lowest emissions and therefore sits in the lowest BiK tax bracket. You’ll also get up to 32 miles of electric range – perfect for shorter trips around town.

Skoda Enyaq iV SUV review

Skoda Enyaq iV SUV - front 3/4 dynamic
Carbuyer rating

4.5 out of 5

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Another Skoda on this list shows how the brand prioritises value and practicality – two things that are of importance to family car buyers. The Enyaq iV is based on the Volkswagen ID.4, however, it manages to surpass it in several aspects despite costing less. On the inside, the Enyaq feels high-quality, with a large 13-inch infotainment display on the dashboard. Thanks to the batteries being mounted underneath the car, the floor in the rear is flat, improving interior space and passenger comfort.

Top-of-the-range examples of the Enyaq iV can travel around 330 miles on a single charge; all models get access to 120kW ultra-rapid charging, which allows you to charge from 10-80% in around half an hour, provided you are connected to a compatible public charger. The rock-bottom running costs of an EV makes the Enyaq iV ideal for high-mileage family car drivers; if you want to save some money and don’t plan on travelling long distances frequently, the entry-level car can still do around 250 miles for a chunk less than the range-topper.

Volkswagen Passat Estate review

Volkswagen Passat Estate driving
Carbuyer rating

4.5 out of 5

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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 as 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. 

Tesla Model Y SUV review

Best Company Car: Tesla Model Y
Carbuyer rating

4.2 out of 5

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As easy as it is to dismiss Teslas as status symbols, the Tesla Model Y and its saloon sibling, the Model 3, were instrumental in bringing electric cars to the masses in recent years. Like it or loathe it, the Model Y’s minimalist interior is certainly striking, and the huge 14-inch central screen is bursting with functionality. However the Tesla isn’t just simply an EV tech fest – it’s practical too; with an 854-litre boot (to the roof) and a further 117 litres of cargo space under the bonnet, the Model Y should have more than ample space for most families.

Tesla offers the Model Y in two different configurations: Long Range and Performance. We recommend opting for the less-expensive Long Range model as this can travel an impressive 330 miles on a single charge and still offers blistering acceleration. Access to Tesla’s expansive Supercharger network means you should never run out of charge and the brand’s class-leading driver assistance systems mean you won’t be fatigued once you reach your destination.

Peugeot 5008 SUV review

Peugeot 5008 SUV front 3/4 static
Carbuyer rating

4.1 out of 5

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The Peugeot 5008 is a key example of how our car buying tastes have changed over the years; the seven-seater family car once took the form of an MPV, whereas now it has morphed into a stylish crossover. Like the rest of the Peugeot range, the 5008 has a funky exterior and a just-as-striking interior; the small steering wheel and Peugeot i-Cockpit infotainment setup feels more like a concept car than something that’s gone into production.

Peugeot has designed the 5008 to be refined and comfortable on longer journeys; while it handles well, a Skoda Kodiaq may be a better option if you prefer a livelier driving experience. Regardless, we’d avoid the entry-level petrol model as it feels a bit insufficient for a car that is meant to transport seven people. The base 129bhp diesel model is the choice pick of the range as it gets up to motorway speeds without much fuss and will return a frugal 60mpg.

Mercedes GLB SUV review

Mercedes GLB SUV
Carbuyer rating

4 out of 5

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The Mercedes GLB may only be one of the German brand’s smallest SUVs, but clever packaging means that it’s surprisingly one of the most spacious. The GLB’s boxy shape means there’s plenty of headroom and while the third row is only really suitable for children, it can be used for adults in a pinch. Like you’d expect from a Mercedes-Benz, the GLB has a stylish interior and the brand’s MBUX infotainment system is as great to use as it is to look at.

When specifying their new GLB, buyers have several options when it comes to trims and powertrains; we’d opt for one of the diesel models in AMG Line Premium spec as this features the aforementioned dual-10.25-inch infotainment setup as well as LED headlights, keyless entry and heated seats. For those looking to make the switch to an EV, Mercedes also offers the all-electric EQB; however, this model is quite expensive.

Dacia Jogger review - the best-value seven-seater

Best Family Car: Dacia Jogger
Carbuyer rating

3.7 out of 5

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If it’s good value you’re after, the Dacia Jogger is hard to beat – in fact, we think it’s the best value car on sale today. For less than the price of a new Hyundai i20, the Jogger offers seven-seater flexibility and even a handful of true big-car features. We’d avoid the entry-level Essential model and step up to the Expression trim which gets an eight-inch touchscreen, automatic air-conditioning and front and rear parking sensors. The top-level Extreme boasts heated seats and 16-inch alloy wheels but feels like less of a bargain.

Dacia offers the Jogger with one 1.0-litre petrol engine with 108bhp and a six-speed manual gearbox. While this won’t be winning any drag races, the Jogger still feels nippy around town and returns up to 48.7mpg. Overall, the ride is very comfortable when cruising along at low speeds, just make sure to slow down on twisty roads as the Jogger’s tall frame means it leans quite a lot in the bends. There’s even a hybrid version with 138bhp that boosts fuel economy up to 56.5mpg, but this is much more expensive than the standard petrol engine.

Need space for seven people? Check out our list of the top 10 best seven-seaters

Top 10 best large family cars 2024

  1. Skoda Superb
  2. Kia Sorento
  3. BMW 5 Series Touring
  4. Mercedes E-Class Estate
  5. Skoda Enyaq iV
  6. Volkswagen Passat Estate
  7. Tesla Model Y
  8. Peugeot 5008
  9. Mercedes GLB
  10. Dacia Jogger

Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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