Family Cars: Your Guide to SUVs, Estates & Hatchbacks

When it comes to finding the perfect family car, you're faced with (what can feel like) an overwhelming amount of options, each catering to an array of different needs and preferences. 

Amongst the most popular choices are SUVs, estates, and hatchbacks. In this guide, we'll delve into the world of family cars, featuring a range of the most popular models available, to help make your journey towards choosing the right car that little bit smoother.

What’s the difference between an SUV, Estate and Hatchback?

Wondering what the difference is between the three most popular family car types? Here’s what you need to know about SUVs, Estates and Hatchbacks

SUVs: Combining Space and Versatility

Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) have taken the automotive market by storm due to their versatility, robust design, and commanding presence. They are characterised by their high ground clearance, often resembling off-road vehicles. SUVs provide ample interior space, making them a popular choice for families and those who require more cargo room.

SUVs are available in various sizes, ranging from compact crossovers to full-size models. Their larger size often translates to a roomy cabin that accommodates both passengers and luggage comfortably. Many SUVs offer flexible seating arrangements, allowing you to fold down rear seats to create additional boot space when needed. 

Another key feature of many SUVs is their ability to handle different terrains and weather conditions, thanks to features like all-wheel drive and advanced traction control systems.

Estates: The Elegance of Space

Estate cars combine the elegance of a saloon with the practicality of extended boot space. Estates are characterised by their elongated body style, often featuring a sloping rear roofline that extends further back compared to traditional saloons. This design allows estates to provide a significant boost in boot capacity without compromising on the overall aesthetics.

Estate cars excel at maximising interior space, making them a preferred choice for families with a lot of luggage or equipment to transport. The elongated rear section can be used to store groceries, sports gear, or even larger items like furniture. Some estate models even offer a flat-folding rear seat configuration, further enhancing their boot space. Despite their extended dimensions, estates maintain the handling and driving dynamics of a regular car, making them a practical yet sophisticated choice for family transportation.

Hatchbacks: Compact and Convenient

Hatchbacks are known for their compact size and efficient use of space. Available in various sizes, from mini to compact, they are designed to offer a balance between city-friendly dimensions and practicality.

Hatchbacks are particularly well-suited for urban environments where tight parking spaces and manoeuvrability are essential. Despite their smaller exterior dimensions, modern hatchbacks are designed with a focus on maximising interior space. The rear seats can often be folded down to create a larger cargo area, allowing you to transport bulkier items. Hatchbacks are known for their fuel efficiency and nimble handling, making them ideal for families who frequently navigate city streets.

Each of these vehicle types offers a unique blend of features tailored to different lifestyles and preferences. When choosing the right family car, considering the size of your family, your typical usage, and the specific features that matter most to you will help you make an informed decision.

What are the top SUVs for families?

Set on getting an SUV for your family, but not sure which option to go with? Here are our favourite family SUVs available:

Subaru Forester

One standout option in the SUV category is the Subaru Forester. Known for its rugged design and all-wheel-drive prowess, the Forester is perfect for families who enjoy outdoor adventures. Its spacious interior provides ample legroom and boot space, making long journeys comfortable. Equipped with Subaru's symmetrical all-wheel drive, the Forester ensures stability and traction on various road conditions. Advanced safety features such as adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking adds an extra layer of security.

Suzuki Vitara​

The Suzuki Vitara is another compelling choice in the SUV segment. With its compact size and stylish design, the Vitara is well-suited for urban and suburban families. The car comes with efficient engines and offers a comfortable ride. Despite its compact dimensions, the Vitara's well-designed interior maximises space, and the infotainment system keeps everyone entertained during trips.

Ford Kuga 

The Ford Kuga is a well-established name in the SUV market. Known for its dynamic handling and range of engine options, the Kuga offers a spacious interior and ample boot capacity. With Ford's advanced driver assistance technologies, including lane-keeping assist and traffic sign recognition, the Kuga ensures a safe and stress-free drive for families.

Toyota RAV4​

The Toyota RAV4 is a popular compact SUV known for its reliability and practicality. With a spacious interior, comfortable seating, and a reputation for longevity, the RAV4 is a family-friendly option that offers a blend of comfort and utility.

Nissan Qashqai

The Nissan Qashqai is a best-selling crossover SUV that strikes a balance between compact dimensions and versatility. With its distinctive design, comfortable ride, and a range of advanced safety features, the Qashqai is a practical choice for both urban and suburban families.


The BMW X3 is a luxury compact SUV that offers a premium driving experience and a well-crafted interior. With powerful engine options and refined handling, the X3 caters to families seeking both performance and comfort in their SUV.

Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage is a compact SUV that stands out with its stylish design and feature-rich interior. With a user-friendly infotainment system, available all-wheel drive, and a competitive price point, the Sportage appeals to families looking for modern amenities without breaking the bank.

Volkswagen Tiguan​

The Volkswagen Tiguan is a versatile compact SUV known for its refined interior and comfortable ride. With available third-row seating and a range of engine options, the Tiguan accommodates families of various sizes while maintaining Volkswagen's signature build quality.

Volvo XC90

The Volvo XC90 is a luxury SUV that offers a spacious and opulent interior along with a host of advanced safety features. With its elegant design, high-quality materials, and optional hybrid powertrain, the XC90 is a premium choice for families seeking both luxury and safety.

What are the best estate cars for families? 

If it’s an estate car you’d prefer, here are our top estate choices for families​

Subaru Outback

​The Subaru Outback is an excellent choice for families seeking a balance between ruggedness and refinement. The Outback boasts a spacious cabin with luxurious touches, making every journey a comfortable experience. It's all-wheel-drive capability ensures confidence on various terrains. And, with a range of driver assistance features like lane-keeping assist and blind-spot monitoring, the Outback keeps your family safe on the road.

Volkswagen Golf Estate

The Volkswagen Golf Estate is a prominent name in estate cars. Known for its quality build and comfortable ride, the Golf Estate offers decent boot space while retaining the signature Golf driving dynamics. With a range of efficient engines, the Golf Estate is a practical choice for families who prioritise space without compromising on performance.

Volvo V60

The Volvo V60 is a premium estate car that combines Scandinavian design with practicality. Known for its safety features and luxurious interior, the V60 offers a comfortable and spacious cabin for families. Its distinctive styling and advanced technology make it a standout option in the estate segment.

What are the best hatchbacks for families?

Here’s a selection of our favourite family hatchbacks, to help narrow down your choice

Suzuki Swift

The Suzuki Swift is a notable hatchback that perfectly embodies compact efficiency. Ideal for small families or those who prioritise manoeuvrability, the Swift offers nimble handling and fuel efficiency. Its well-designed interior provides a surprising amount of space given its size, and the user-friendly infotainment system keeps everyone connected.

Ford Focus​

The Ford Focus is a popular hatchback known for its well-rounded performance and practicality. With a range of engine options and a comfortable interior, the Focus is a versatile choice for families. The advanced SYNC infotainment system keeps everyone entertained and connected, making long journeys enjoyable.

Honda Civic

The Honda Civic Hatchback is known for its sporty styling and engaging driving dynamics. With a well-designed interior and a reputation for reliability, the Civic Hatchback offers a comfortable ride for families while maintaining a youthful and energetic appearance.

Peugeot 308

The Peugeot 308 is a compact hatchback that focuses on efficiency and style. With its sleek exterior design and innovative interior features, the 308 offers a comfortable and modern driving experience. Its compact size makes it suitable for urban driving, while its versatile interior accommodates various needs.

Hyundai i30

The Hyundai i30 is a practical and affordable hatchback that excels in providing value for families. With a spacious interior, user-friendly technology, and a range of safety features, the i30 offers a reliable and comfortable ride for daily commutes and family outings.

What to consider when choosing a family car

Before you go ahead with the all-important purchase, remember there are several important factors to keep in mind when choosing your family car:

Fuel Efficiency: With rising fuel costs, it's essential to choose a car with good fuel efficiency. Many modern models offer hybrid or electric options that can help save money at the pump.
Safety Features: Safety is paramount, especially when transporting your loved ones. Look for cars equipped with advanced safety features such as automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning.
Emissions and Congestion Charges: With some UK cities implementing emission and congestion charges, opting for a low-emission vehicle, such as a hybrid or electric car, can save you some serious money if you live in these areas.
Interior Space: Consider the size of your family and your typical boot space needs. Think about how you will need to use your boot, for example any kids sports or holidays, and make sure the car offers enough space to accommodate everyone comfortably.
Resale Value: Some cars retain their value better than others. Research the resale value of the models you're interested in to make a wise long-term investment.

    Select the perfect family car for you

    Choosing the right family car involves careful consideration of your family's needs, preferences and budget. SUVs, estates, and hatchbacks each offer unique advantages, catering to different lifestyles.

    As a family owned and run business, we know that safety and reliability is a key factor when choosing a car to keep your loved ones safe and we're proud to work with some of the best manufacturers in the World. When it comes to reliability and having the very best of safety features as standard, you can rely on the Subaru and Suzuki line-up.

    But don't just take our word for it, explore and experience our choice of family cars by speaking to one of our experienced team. They'll be happy to guide you through finding the car that's best stuied for your needs and arrange a test drive so you can find our for yourself.