Upgrade your family car in 2023

If you’re searching for cars for sale in the UK for your next family car, then we’ve got three large family car models for you to check out, plus a little general advice.

The best large family cars: Citroen C5 X

While Citroen may historically have a bit of a flaky reputation and might not spring immediately to mind as an obvious choice for a large family car, in recent years the firm has produced a series of successful – and rather clever – family MPVs. And now that people carriers are no longer in vogue, it’s applying some of that family-centric thinking to this car, the Citroen C5 X.

Part SUV and part estate car, the C5 X straddles two popular family-friendly market segments – and it does so with a particular emphasis on comfort. Making it a refreshing alternative to a majority of rivals that place far too great a priority on attempting to be “sporty” – resulting in a firm ride and less than relaxing driving experience.

Relaxing is the name of the game here, thanks to the soft suspension and well-padded seats. Refinement is excellent, too. So although it will never be exciting to drive, with its large boot and efficient range of engines, it’s easier to understand why the Citroen C5 X is a large family car award winner.

The best large family cars: Lexus NX

The NX is not the largest SUV that Lexus sells here – that honor goes to the RX – but if you’re looking for a well-rounded machine that will never be overly problematic to park, then this mid-size model is a drop-drawer choice.

It has all the usual Lexus plus points. The cabin is beautifully crafted and extremely well put together. Reliability and dealer service should prove second to none. And the NX benefits from the years and years of experience Lexus has with hybrid powertrains, delivering plenty of performance in combination with impressive real-world fuel economy.

You can choose from a conventional self-charging hybrid or a more expensive plug-in hybrid – the latter having a longer continuous electric-only driving range, which is great for running costs and keeping down local emissions around town. Very quiet and composed at all speeds, the Lexus NX is a great choice if you need a family-friendly SUV all-rounder.

The best large family cars: BMW X5


If you want an SUV that offers more space than the Lexus NX, we’d point you in the direction of the BMW X5.

Established in the premium market over several generations now, the X5 offers a truly remarkable blend of traditional BMW driver enjoyment and high-class family-friendly accommodation. You need to properly check the tires of your SUVs. Your SUV vehicle shouldn’t have feathered tires. If they are feathered, replace them as soon as possible.

No large SUV is more fun to drive than this (unless you’re prepared to pay for one with a Porsche badge on it). Yet if you stick to the smaller wheel options it’s also comfortable, while the interior is a cut above the obvious German rivals from Audi and Mercedes.

There are gadgets galore, of course, and a wide range of engine choices, including conventional petrol and diesel models as well a deeply impressive plug-in hybrid.

Yes, the BMW X5 is far from cheap. But it still represents excellent value for money, especially if you think of it as one car to rule them all. You can genuinely find delight behind the wheel here while also safely and comfortably transporting your precious loved ones in spacious luxury.

What about other sizes of family cars?

Need something a little smaller but still suitable for family transport? Then we can heartily recommend the Ford Puma compact SUV and the more conventional Honda Civic hatchback.

Those looking for maximum passenger space for lots of people aren’t short of options, either, as there are plenty of van-style people carriers around even if the traditional MPV segment has effectively died a death.

The top choice among these is the Volkswagen Multivan, which despite the name isn’t based on an actual van, so is nice to drive with lots of modern kits, while still coming in a choice of two lengths and with full-size seating for up to seven.

What to Look for in a family car

Whatever size of family car you’re thinking of, do make sure it can carry everything you need it to.

If you’ve got a young family, for example, make sure the baby’s buggy or travel system will actually fit in the boot (and that you don’t have to lift it too high to get it in there). Check that child seats are easily accommodated, too.

If you’ve got older children, make sure they’ve got enough leg and headroom in the back. And that any vital sports equipment has plenty of space as well. Many buyers may also need to consider the needs of furrier family members – perhaps bring pet carriers with you on the test drive.

Most modern cars have tolerable running costs, but this does vary and will be directly impacted by your choice of engine type and performance (as well as your driving style). So don’t get carried away with the fastest models if your fuel budget isn’t going to stretch very far or if the servicing costs of a premium badge are going to be difficult to manage longer-term.

Finally, consider reliability. The last thing you want is to buy a car that will constantly let you down. Owners’ forums and Facebook groups are goldmines of real-world reliability information. Check them out ahead of time.