Buying a brand-new car for your family has its appeal. But for many UK drivers, a state-of-the-art vehicle just isn’t affordable – particularly considering the immediate depreciation you’ll face once you drive off the forecourt!

What’s more, there are plenty of ‘new to you’ cars that offer superior safety, comfort and space for families without breaking the bank.

We’ve put together our list of the best used cars for families to make things easier.

The 12 best used cars for families

Skoda Octavia

Comfortable, reliable, enjoyable to drive, plenty of boot space and a wide range of engines for you to choose from – the Skoda Octavia is a solid choice for a used family car.

It’s more affordable than either the VW Golf or Audi A3, and is more spacious than the Seat Leon (all of which also feature on this list). The interior is spacious and practical, with great equipment coming as standard. Plus, it’s cheap to buy and run, and is excellent for long-distance journeys.

It may not be the most stylish vehicle around, but it’s got enough going for it that you’ll forget about that.

Dacia Duster

For one of the best used cars for families on a budget, the Dacia Duster is indisputable. You’ll get good passenger space and a sensible boot, plus extremely economical engines.

A boxy body, raised ground clearance and wide doors are ideal for kids piling in and out. Admittedly some of the base versions don’t offer much equipment, and the petrol engines can be thirsty, but the Duster is still one of the least expensive small family cars you can buy.

Ford Focus

Family friendly but still fun to drive, the Focus has something for everyone.

The cabin offers enough space to make up for the smaller-than-average boot, but the real appeal lies in its driving experience. Sharp, agile and with great handling and responsive engines, the Focus offers fun whilst retaining its fuel economy. Choose the 1-litre EcoBoost petrol engine for a drive that’s powerful enough for both the city and motorway without costing the world.

Seat Leon

There’s no arguing with this all-rounder.

Compared to most other small hatchbacks, the Leon has a bit more style without sacrificing affordability. The interiors aren’t quite as refined as some other contenders on the list, but it’s just as fun to drive as a Golf and is likely cheaper.

Engines are fuel-efficient, keeping running costs low, and there’s plenty of excellent safety equipment for families.

Vauxhall Astra or Insignia

The Astra is one of the more affordable options on our list, but it’s still spacious and well equipped enough to compete with the others. The ride is comfortable enough (with some variability at low speeds), with good handling, making it a solid choice.

Alternatively, the Vauxhall Insignia is another fantastic family option. Like the Astra, it’s not the most stylish car, but it’s difficult to argue with its value and efficiency. Plus, if you go for the Insignia Grand Sport, you’ll benefit from plenty of passenger space and a very respectable boot, as well as agile handling and sharper styling.

Audi A3

Classy, great to drive and with an excellent selection of engines, the Audi A3 is not the most affordable option, but it’s a desirable used family car.

It goes without saying the A3 is great to drive, but it’s also comfortable and practical. Newer versions have seriously high-tech features, but lower trims are a bit sparser. Choose from petrol and diesel engines – the petrol typically offers better fuel economy without compromising on power.

Volkswagen Golf or Polo

There’s not much between the VW Golf or Polo, so we’ve gone for a two-in-one listing of both.

Classy and comfortable, reliable and enjoyable to drive – VW delivers with both cars. The popularity of both Polos and Golfs speaks to their versatility and well-roundedness. They’re undoubtedly two of the better small family hatchbacks you can buy, and are surprisingly roomy, despite their small car status.

They’re not the cheapest on our list, but you’ll find plenty of both models on the used car market – diesel engines will be cheapest. Plus, provided you avoid the more basic engines, running both models is surprisingly affordable.

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

It’s not one of BMW’s better-looking cars, we’ll admit, but it’s an excellent family tourer (as the name suggests).

In this BMW people carrier, you’ll comfortably seat five (the Gran Tourer seats seven), with a great interior and exemplary driving experience. Handling and responsiveness are excellent, and you get a great view of the road with a high driving position. A big boot and folding seats offer maximum versatility. Plus, it’s more affordable than other BMW models.

Peugeot 3008

With quiet engines, a comfortable ride and a panoramic roof that floods the interior with light (in some versions), the 3008 is not to be dismissed. A spacious boot and comfortable interior expands its appeal, too, as does the great driving experience.

You should find diesel, petrol and plug-in hybrid engines available – the latter is particularly good for short, stop-start journeys. If you need more space, size up with the 5008 model.

Skoda Karoq

Having won several awards over the years, the Karoq offers space, flexibility, great kit and VW-level engineering.

It’s not the flashiest car on this list, nor does it have the most exciting driving experience. But it’ll comfortably seat four tall adults if required, has a big boot and is nippy whilst offering good fuel economy.

Choose a model with the ‘varioflex seating’ design for maximum flexibility if you’re looking to pile in the kids, the dog, deckchairs, sporting equipment and more.

Find used car finance and an approved used vehicle with My Car Credit

The best used cars for families can give you everything you need with a little less cost. But you might still need help financing your vehicle rather than paying up-front. My Car Credit can help, finding you the right deal from a network of reliable lenders.

Try our free online calculator to get behind the wheel of a family-friendly nearly new car.

Rates from 9.9% APR. Representative APR 12.4%

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