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Top 10 best large family cars 2024

Large families require a large family car – here is our pick of the best models currently on sale

best large family cars

For some families, a typical hatchback or small SUV just isn’t going to cut it. Worry not, as there are plenty of large family cars on the market to cater to buyers with kids, cargo or larger-than-average dogs. Picking the right large family car to suit your needs can be tricky, but we’ve rounded up our 10 favourites, with an option to suit every buyer.

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Space is the key priority for large family car buyers. There needs to be enough room for at least five passengers to travel in comfort, while the boot should also be large enough to accommodate everyone’s luggage. Other typical family car duties should be accounted for as well – fuel efficiency, safety, ride comfort and practicality to name a few.

We’ve tested every car on this list, and all meet the above criteria, but come in different shapes and sizes, from SUVs to estate cars, so there’s likely to be a model to suit every buyer's needs, tastes and budget. 

If you’d like a more general look at family cars of all sizes, you can read our list of the top 10 best family cars on sale, and we’ve covered the top 10 best seven-seater cars, as well.

The best large family cars on sale

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

Skoda Kodiaq review – more practical and higher quality than before

Skoda Kodiaq SUV
Carbuyer rating

4.3 out of 5

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The Skoda Kodiaq is, unsurprisingly, the Carbuyer recommendation for buyers looking for a large family car, given that it’s won our annual award for the category for the last two years in a row. It impressed our experts with its spaciousness, ergonomic interior and impressive value-for-money.

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There are few cars that can match the Kodiaq for practicality. All models bar the most basic trim level come with seven seats, the boot is huge and the interior is dotted with lots of clever features to make it that little bit more useful. Headroom is tight for adults in the rearmost pair of seats, but legroom isn’t an issue and they’re easy to get in and out of. Some may view its cabin as looking slightly dated compared to newer rivals, but the physical buttons and knobs for controlling important features make a refreshing change from the fiddly touchscreens that adorn many modern interiors. 

Rounding off the Kodiaq’s wide breadth of abilities is an excellent driving experience. It controls its size well through the corners, never feeling aloof, and every engine is punchy enough. Forgo four-wheel drive, and the Kodiaq will even return around 40mpg.

Kia EV9 review – a great seven-seater electric SUV

Kia EV9 front quarter dynamic
Carbuyer rating

4.5 out of 5

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The Kia EV9 is one of very few electric SUVs with seven seats, and it’s our favourite of the lot by some margin. It’s big and it’s expensive, but for families who want cutting-edge EV tech and acres of interior space, the EV9 is the large electric family car to beat.

Being an electric SUV, the EV9 has an eerily quiet and smooth ride that’s hard to find this side of a Bentley. All models come with seven seats as standard, while you can opt for a six-seater layout with swivelling captain’s chairs in the second row. Whichever layout you choose, you’ll find yourself in Kia’s most premium cabin yet, with excellent materials used throughout and an impressive level of standard equipment. Like other EVs, the floor is completely flat, adding to the interior space, while the boot grows to a class-leading 828 litres with the third row of seats folded.

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Even in entry-level Air specification, the EV9’s electric motor gets it up to speed without much trouble. Rear-wheel drive models can achieve up to 336 miles of range which will be enough to suit most families. Plug in at a rapid-charger, and it will complete a 10-80% charge in just 24 minutes.

Tesla Model Y SUV review

Best Company Car: Tesla Model Y
Carbuyer rating

4.2 out of 5

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If the Kia EV9 is a bit too large for you, or you just don’t need seven seats, the Tesla Model Y makes an excellent large electric family car. As easy as it is to dismiss Elon’s EVs as status symbols, the Model Y and its saloon sibling, the Model 3, were instrumental in bringing electric cars to the masses, providing families with emissions-free motoring at a relatively affordable price.

Like it or loathe it, the Model Y’s minimalist interior is certainly striking, and the huge 15-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 three different configurations: the standard Model Y, Long Range and Performance. The standard model will suit most buyers, although if you regularly travel longer distances, you’ll want to investigate the Long Range model. This can travel an impressive 330 miles on a single charge and still offers blistering acceleration. Access to Tesla’s expansive Supercharger network means recharging should never be an issue and the brand’s class-leading driver assistance systems mean you won’t be fatigued once you reach your destination.

Hyundai Santa Fe review – the best seven-seater?

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe
Carbuyer rating

4.5 out of 5

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The latest Hyundai Santa Fe is certainly a visual departure from its predecessor, but despite the new chunky look, it still delivers in all the key areas that matter to family buyers. It's spacious, immensely practical and has a high-quality interior to give more premium brands something to worry about.

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Buyers can choose between five, six and seven-seater layouts, with all seats able to accommodate adult passengers in comfort. There are loads of storage compartments around the cabin, plus handy USB ports for charging all the kids’ devices. The real party happens up front, though – the driver gets a pair of large digital displays and premium-feeling physical controls for important functions, such as climate control and media volume.

On the move, the Santa Fe is clearly set up for comfort over sportiness – a sensible decision in our book. The ride is smooth and the plug-in hybrid system allows for pure-electric driving at low speeds, further boosting refinement around town. The lack of a diesel engine option will put off buyers who need a car for towing, but for most families, the Santa Fe will tick all the boxes.

Skoda Enyaq review – a spacious, fool-proof electric SUV

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 Skoda Enyaq 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.

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Top-of-the-range examples of the Enyaq can travel around 340 miles on a single charge, while rapid-charging speeds of 120kW to 135kW allow you to complete a 10-80% recharge 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 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 - conservative, but hugely practical

Volkswagen Passat Estate
Carbuyer rating

4.1 out of 5

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For the latest generation of Volkswagen Passat, the German brand has decided to cancel the saloon model as buyers shift towards SUVs. Thankfully, the Passat Estate lives on and is better than ever, providing many of the same benefits as SUVs, including a large 690-litre boot. Elsewhere, the model offers lots of tech and Volkswagen’s signature premium build quality.

Unlike many 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. The great visibility, standard-fit DSG automatic gearbox and light steering all help make the Passat easy to drive both in town and on the motorway

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There’s no longer a diesel engine option in the UK, but even the entry-level 1.5-litre mild-hybrid petrol engine is powerful enough for every daily driving scenario. The two plug-in hybrid engine options are nippier and return better fuel economy, but cost slightly more.

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.

Peugeot 5008 review - a capable and frugal 7-seater

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 SUV. 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.

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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 E-Class review – a smooth and refined executive saloon

Mercedes E-Class UK drive dynamic
Carbuyer rating

4.4 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 Mercedes EQE SUV and Audi Q5, proving that estate cars are often roomier than they look from the outside. You get a gigantic 615 litres of boot space, but be warned that this drops to 460 litres if you opt for the plug-in hybrid engine due to the location of the battery.

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 201bhp, badged the E 200. There are two mild-hybrid diesel options, too, including a two-litre unit in the E 220 d producing 194bhp, and the three-litre E 450 d 4MATIC with 362bhp (the latter comes with four-wheel drive). 

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The best option for company-car drivers, though, is the petrol plug-in hybrid which uses the two-litre engine paired with an electric motor to produce 308bhp, as it has the lowest emissions and therefore sits in the lowest BiK tax bracket. You’ll also get around 70 miles of electric range – more than all of its competitors.

Land Rover Defender review - iconic 4x4 reinvented

Defender 130
Carbuyer rating

4.4 out of 5

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You may not have expected to find a Land Rover Defender on this list, but the latest-generation model excels in all the important areas for a large family car – something you certainly couldn’t say about the original car. Available in three lengths – 90, 110 and the frankly massive 130 – the Defender can accommodate up to eight passengers in comfort, with a premium and robust interior.

The Defender’s focus has long shifted away from rugged utility; today’s model is a luxury car first and foremost, backed up by impressive off-road capabilities. We doubt many family buyers will be taking the Defender up their local mountain, so it’s reassuring that it feels just as at home on the school run or popping to the shops. It's comfy, none of the engines feel overworked and it even handles fairly deftly.

Why tenth place then for the Defender? Well, it doesn’t come cheap – entry-level models start at nearly £60,000, while you’ll need £74,000 for the extra-long Defender 130. Stomach the cash, and you’ll be behind the wheel of one of the most capable family SUVs on the market.

What to look for when buying a large family car

Nowadays family cars come in all shapes and sizes, with plenty of bodystyles that 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 and there are plenty of options that will fit the bill. 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.

Buyers should be aware that there are far more five-seater cars on the market than seven-seaters, meaning bodystyle and engine options can be more restricted for the latter. For example, there are a huge variety of electric cars on sale today, but only a handful have seven seats. Seven seaters generally cost more, too, so it's worth considering how often you’ll be using the rearmost pair of seats, and whether they’re worth the extra cost.

Larger family cars tend to be heavy, meaning that fuel economy and performance can take a hit compared to a smaller hatchback or SUV. Fortunately, these days many of the largest family cars are offered with plug-in hybrid tech that can offset the downsides of a heavier car. For a plug-in hybrid to be most effective, it will need to be plugged in occasionally to keep the battery topped up, so make sure you have somewhere to recharge your car before making a purchase. 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.

If your heart is set on an SUV, we have also put together a list of the 10 best large SUVs. Alternatively, check out our cheapest 7-seater family cars if you need space for seven…

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