When you’re on the road with your family, nothing is more important than the safety of your vehicle. Picking out a car that offers family-friendly amenities, comfort for everyone and all the latest safety features can be a challenging task, especially if you’re trying to stay within a budget. To make things easier for our readers’ busy schedules, we’ve identified this year’s eight best family cars. We used the 2015 European New Car Assessment Programme to identify the safest vehicles and further refined the list based on the comfort and amenities offered by each vehicle. We’ve broken our list up by vehicle category so that you can find the best vehicle for your family’s needs.
With their small size, supermini cars may not be good for all families, but these types of cars are perfect for smaller families looking for their first car.
- Euro NCAP Rating: 5.0 Star (80.5 % Overall)
- Dimensions: 3,995mm long, 1694 mm wide, 1,550mm tall
- Fuel Economy: 56-61 mpg, depending on transmission
- Starting Price: £13,645
The Honda Jazz offers MPV-like styling, and its smart interior arrangement and “Magic” rear seats give this supermini an unusually spacious cabin. Most trim levels come standard with Honda’s Driver Assistance Safety Pack, giving Jazz drivers forward collision warning, lane departure warning, traffic signal recognition and more. The Jazz performed quite well in crash tests, scoring a 93 % in the Adult Occupant category and an 85 % for the Child Occupant category. Its interior dimensions are quite roomy; Honda added an extra 115mm to the rear leg room for this year’s model, giving the Jazz as much leg room as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The Jazz is perfect for the small urban family that needs a dependable vehicle for everyday driving.
Midsize cars and hatchbacks offer a bit more room than superminis while retaining many of the attractive features of those smaller cars. They’re optimal for small families of four or five who don’t need to haul a lot of luggage on a daily basis.
- Euro NCAP Rating: 5 Star (84.25 % overall)
- Dimensions: 4,672mm long, 2,075mm wide, 1,460mm tall
- Fuel Economy:
- Starting Price: £26,990
Autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and fantastic front-impact crash ratings are just some of the reasons that the Jaguar XE is one of the safest family saloons available. The XE pairs its great safety ratings with responsive handling and good performance, making it a safe car that’s also fun to drive. Its front seats are spacious, but the rear can be a little cramped for adults; children, however, are likely to be perfectly comfortable. The boot is underwhelming when compared to some of the other vehicles on our list. Unlike most other vehicles, many of the safety technologies in the XE, such as the aforementioned emergency braking system, are standard features. The Jaguar XE is perfect for safety-conscious family drivers who want to enjoy their driving experience.
- Euro NCAP Rating: 5 Star (84 % overall)
- Dimensions: 4,540mm long, 1,760mm wide, 1,470mm tall
- Fuel Economy: 94.1 mpg
- Starting Price: £23,600
The Toyota Prius, the world’s most famous hybrid car, offers great safety ratings to go along with its practicality, technology and fuel economy. The Prius scores well in both front and side impact crash tests, revealing a car put together with safety in mind. The Prius also includes Toyota’s well-reviewed Safety Sense package, which includes a number of driver-assist safety technologies. Inside, the Prius is comfortably equipped, with a futuristic design that feels more like a spaceship than a car. If you can get behind the futuristic styling, the Prius is a dependable and efficient everyday car that shines in city driving.
- Euro NCAP Rating: 5.0 Star (85.5 % overall)
- Dimensions: 4,425mm long, 2,083mm wide, 1,495mm tall
- Fuel Economy: Depending on engine, 47-67 mpg
- Starting Price: £20,550
With its high NCAP rating and its bevy of driver assistance features, including adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring, the Infiniti Q30 is an excellent option for any safety-minded family driver. Although this hatchback won’t win many awards for sportiness, it shines in long-term comfort and practicality. The Q30 scored excellent ratings in almost every category of the NCAP crash tests, but it scored particularly well for front impact safety. The Q30 offers adjustable seats and a decently spacious cabin, but the rear space can be a little cramped if the driver’s seat is adjusted for a taller driver. With its comfortable interior and excellent safety ratings, the Infiniti Q30 is ideal for the small family that takes frequent long-distance trips.
Smaller cars can work for small families that are just starting out, but it doesn’t take long before you simply need more room and cargo space. SUVs may not be as efficient as smaller vehicles, but they offer greater utility for growing families.
- Euro NCAP Rating: 5 star (84.25 % overall)
- Dimensions: 4,656mm long, 1,890mm wide, 1,639mm tall
- Fuel Economy: 56.5 mpg
- Starting Price: £36,030
With its well-appointed interior, comfortable road performance and excellent safety ratings, the Mercedes GLC is focused on ferrying you and your family to your destination in comfort and safety. The GLC scores exceptionally well in crash test ratings for both adults and children, keeping you and your family safe in the event of an accident. The car also comes standard with a number of driver assistance technologies, including a number of speed control systems such as adaptive cruise control and autonomous braking. The car offers plentiful space for both drivers and passengers, and the boot can accommodate a respectable amount of cargo. The GLC is perfect for families who crave the space and safety of an SUV without compromising on comfort.
- Euro NCAP Rating: 5 Stars (89 % overall)
- Dimensions: 4,950mm long, 2008mm wide, 1776mm tall
- Fuel Economy: 36.7mpg-134mpg, depending on engine choice
- Starting Price: £47,350
For safety-minded families, it’s hard to beat the Volvo XC90; its superb crash test ratings and abundant safety technologies made it the safest car tested by Euro NCAP in 2015. It earned a perfect score in the Safety Assist category on the strength of its robust and innovative feature set; amongst other feats, the XC90 will prevent you from making a dangerous turn and can sense when your vehicle has left the road. The XC90 has plenty of space in both the cabin and the boot, and there’s no shortage of creature comforts either; each seat has its own cupholder and tray, and independent climate control allows passengers with different preferred temperatures to be happy. However, some of the rear seats are a little short on leg room. The XC90 is great for safety-conscious families who frequently need to move people and gear about town, but it’s not as great for longer drives.
For some families, even an SUV doesn’t fit the bill. Large families that need to move large volumes of both people and cargo may need to step up to the roomy interior of a multi-purpose vehicle.
- Euro NCAP Rating: 5 Stars (81 % overall)
- Dimensions: 4,527mm long, 2,087mm wide, 1,659mm tall
- Fuel Economy: 49.6-60.1 mpg, depending on engine
- Starting Price: £22,530
Solid crash test results and all the latest accident-prevention technologies make the VW Touran one of the safest MPVs on the road. Plentiful airbags and active crash-mitigation technologies helped give the Touran great ratings with NCAP, including an 89 % rating in the Child Occupant category. The Touran also offers all of the utility you would expect in an MPV, including plentiful space in both the cabin and the boot. The Touran offers a trailer assist system to make towing safer, and all five rear seats include Isofix child seat mounts. The rearmost seats can be a bit cramped, but overall the Touran offers more than enough space to keep everyone happy. With its comfy interior and great safety features, the Touran is great for short trips about town or longer trips into the countryside.
The Ford Galaxy
- Euro NCAP Rating: 5 Stars (81 % overall)
- Dimensions: 4,848mm long, 1,916mm wide, 1,747mm tall
- Fuel Economy: 51-57mpg, depending on engine choice
Comfort, space and safety are the key features of the Ford Galaxy. The car includes a range of safety technologies, including a speed limiter that can read local speed limit signs and keep you within the law. The second row of seats already includes Isofix child seat mounts for improved safety and convenience. Children aren’t the only ones who’ll appreciate the Galaxy’s roomy interior; seven adults can fit within this vehicle comfortably. Each of the seven seats can adjust to give everyone a comfortable ride, and the rear seats can be folded down with the push of a button if more cargo space is needed. The Galaxy is a good fit for large families who need a versatile vehicle that can accommodate everyday driving and longer trips.
No matter the size of your family, you don’t have to compromise on safety to find a vehicle that can fit your needs. Today’s family cars offer a full range of features to keep you and your family comfortable and safe while you go about your daily lives.
About the author:
Matthew Young is an automotive reporter from Boston. As a freelance journalist with a passion for vehicles Matthew writes about everything on 4 wheels, be it racecars, SUVs, vintage cars, you name it. When he is not at his desk writing, he can be usually found helping his dad in the garage. You can reach Matthew @mattbeardyoung.
- https://www.flickr.com/photos/nrmadriversseat/14900621591 (CC BY 2.0)
- https://www.flickr.com/photos/nrmadriversseat/29770528406 (CC BY 2.0)
- https://www.flickr.com/photos/harry_nl/22310907529 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
- https://www.flickr.com/photos/harry_nl/18491925320 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)