From spacious hatchbacks to high-riding SUVs to seven-seat estate cars, there is a wide array of options capable of ferrying around the family on the market right now, and if you have the money for a new car, there is something for every budget.
We’ve analysed all the family cars available at key price points in the new car market, and consulted our industry-leading Expert Rating Index to see which models have the highest review scores from across the UK motoring media.
With comprehensive review data backing our recommendations – based on nearly 12,000 new car reviews from 30 of the UK’s top motoring websites – you can be confident that this is the definitive guide to the best new family cars for every budget that are on sale right now.
Best new family car under £20,000: Skoda Fabia Estate
Skoda is offering some great value-for-money options across its range at the moment, including the award-winning estate version of its Fabia hatchback.
This spacious five-seat estate car is based on the old-generation Fabia hatch that has recently ended production, but it is still a great example of the Czech brand’s ‘Simply Clever’ ethos, with a whole host of practical features, a comfortable interior, polite road manners and a boot that What Car? says is “truly tardis-like”, all in an affordable package.
Reviewers have consistently noted a couple of trade-offs for the estate car’s value-for-money – it is not all that exciting to drive, and fairly bland in the looks department too. The third-generation Skoda Fabia holds an Expert Rating of 70%, and if you would like a test drive in this estate variant, you will have to act quickly – Skoda is in the process of selling the last of its stock.
If you are looking for a bigger cabin, the seven-seat Dacia Jogger would appear to offer great value for money, but cannot be recommended due to its abysmal one-star Euro NCAP safety rating. If you would prefer more ride height, check out the Nissan Juke, which is one of the most affordable options in the small SUV class.
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Best new family car under £25,000: Skoda Octavia
The new family car market starts to get very competitive passing the £20k mark, but if your budget maxes out at around £25k, the opting for a Skoda is still your best bet.
The Skoda range has plenty of great all-round performers at affordable prices – one of the main reasons that The Car Expert named the Czech Republic as the best car-producing country this year, all thanks to the Skoda brand.
This Skoda Octavia, which currently holds an Expert Rating of 76%, has been well-received by the British media since its arrival in 2020, highlighted for its spacious cabin, low running costs and leisurely driving experience. On the other hand, reviewers have labelled the Octavia’s infotainment “confusing”, and its performance is nothing to write home about.
If you would prefer an alternative with more driver appeal, the compact Ford Puma SUV comes with the mild-hybrid technology of much more expensive family cars – praised for its surprisingly impressive practicality and its grin-inducing driving dynamics and performance.
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Best new family car under £30,000: Skoda Superb
Yes, it’s another Skoda… Despite being one of the oldest models still on sale in this price bracket, the Skoda Superb really is the perfect economical family car, which rivals upmarket executive saloons at a more mainstream price. Available as either a liftback or estate, the fact that this car is called ‘Superb’ is no exaggeration. It has won more than 50 UK awards since its launch in 2015.
In addition, the 2021 What Car? reliability survey marked the Superb as the top-ranked executive car – improving from second place in its class the previous year.
Praised for its practicality, design and value for money, the Skoda Superb has an Expert Rating of 83%. Its infotainment system is a bit harder to use on the move however, and other large saloons offer more driver appeal.
The Skoda Karoq is another comfortable and economical option at this price point, just in SUV form, and if you would rather opt for a more premium brand with great resale value, the BMW 1 Series hatchback is highlighted for its class-leading interior quality and infotainment, as well as its practicality and ride comfort.
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Best new family car under £40,000: Hyundai Ioniq 5
The first electric entrant on this list, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 became a favourite among motoring journalists in 2021, thanks to its unique retro-futuristic exterior styling, as well as its competitive battery range and charging ability.
It may look like it’s the size of your average hatchback, but looks can be deceiving – the distance between the front and rear wheels is actually a huge three metres, meaning that there is plenty of cabin space for five passengers.
The cabin floor is completely flat, meaning that there is a nice amount of legroom for passengers in the rear middle seat, and there is decent storage space in the boot and under the bonnet. Add to this equation the Ioniq 5’s intuitive infotainment and punchy performance and you get one of the most impressive family cars on the market – if not one of the most intriguing.
If you are not ready to make the switch to all-electric motoring, the BMW 3 Series saloon and Touring estate is highlighted for its driving dynamics and upmarket interior.
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Best new family car under £50,000: BMW 5 Series Touring
Known for its impressive build quality, great performance and lavish looks inside and out, the BMW 5 Series is the current benchmark for cars in the premium saloon class, and the BMW 5 Series Touring is particularly talented at ferrying around the family with poise.
The 5 Series has an Expert Rating of 87%, and has won over 25 different industry awards since 2017. With entry-level models costing just over £40k, UK buyers with a £50k budget have plenty of room to opt for higher trim levels and optional extras – though these can get expensive rather quickly.
The 5 Series Touring adds a fair chunk of extra boot space over the standard saloon, and both the saloon and Touring estate have mild-hybrid technology as standard – offering fuel economy that is likely to save you a few pounds at the pumps.
For a little more money than it costs to get behind the wheel of an entry-level 5 Series Touring, you can pick up a new Tesla Model 3, which has been the best-selling electric car in the UK in recent months thanks to its tech-laden interior and the brand’s exclusive Supercharger network.
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Best new family car over £50,000: Jaguar I-Pace
First arriving on UK roads back in 2018, I-Pace was Jaguar’s first attempt at an all-electric luxury SUV, and if British reviewers can agree on anything, it is that it certainly hit the nail on the head the first time around.
With attractive upmarket exterior styling, a great battery range, excellent safety features, sports car performance and a polished and practical cabin with plenty of space for the family, the Jaguar I-Pace was named World Car of the Year in 2019, and currently holds an Expert Rating of 85%.
It is fair to say that the I-Pace is one of the most desirable large family cars on the market right now, though its pricing is likely to deter many – entry-level models cost just over £65k with the I-Pace price list reaching as high as £77k without optional extras.
Reviewers also comment that the I-Pace’s infotainment lags behind rivals like the Tesla Model Y. This electric SUV launched in early 2022 and is already proving to be a sales hit in the UK, praised for its innovative on-board tech, impressive performance and family-friendly interior – all for £10k less than the I-Pace.
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For the definitive rankings of the best new family cars for every budget, we’ve used The Car Expert’s industry-leading Expert Rating index. The index analyses new car reviews from 30 of the top UK motoring websites, using an advanced algorithm that we have developed specifically to compare review scores.
It constantly recalculates and updates the Expert Rating score for every single car in real time to make sure you’re getting the most accurate and reliable ratings for every new car.