Best SUVs for families

Looking for the best SUV to take you and your family from S to V? Here are the best new and used options

James Wilson
Sep 13, 2019

An SUV can mean many things to many people - while some see SUVs as tough off-roaders others see them as a faddy fashion craze. Whatever your stance, however, these high-riding four-wheeled wonders are well suited to serving the needs of families. As you may have noticed, UK drivers have gone a little SUV crazy. So much so that the market is now flooded with new, nearly new and used SUVs.

Better still for motorists with kids, there are SUVs tailored to almost every single type of family. SUVs for a family of four, five, six or even seven are all available from the likes of desirable brands like Volvo, BMW, Hyundai, Kia and Mercedes. Similarly, if you want your family SUV to be luxurious, compact or even battery-powered, the market has tonnes to offer (quite literally).

To save you hunting through all the good and bad SUVs, we’ve highlighted the best of the best.

The first category covers small models, which are suited to those who want the SUV feel without having to drive something that takes up a whole postcode and has running costs to match.

Next up are the medium-sized options. These are bigger, but by no means huge. They tend to be a little bit more upmarket in terms of interior feel but still offer good value for family motorists.

Last but not least, we have large family SUVs. Some of the most expensive cars on sale are large SUVs, but the ones we have here do away with obscene price tags and deliver practicality few other cars can rival, for less than you might think.

Best SUVs for families


The best small SUVs for families

1. Citroen C3 Aircross

Latest Citroen C3 Aircross deals from £9,295
Monthly finance from £138

The Citroen C3 Aircross is an excellent option for the fun-loving family. Its funky styling, bright colours and quirky yet comfy cabin really help it stand out from the crowd. A five-star Euro NCAP crash test safety rating cements its position as a go-to family car.

Go for a Feel model, as they have alloy wheels, air-conditioning and cruise control. One word of warning, though, the clunky entertainment system isn’t to everyone's liking.
Citroen C3 Aircross buyers' guide

2. Dacia Duster

Latest Dacia Duster deals from £13,325
Monthly finance from £198

Thanks to a price tag starting at less than £10,000, you might as well buy a brand new Duster and make full use of Dacia’s 3 year/60,000 mile warranty if you have the cash. The interior isn't the most luxurious, but it looks surprisingly good and is simple and effective to use.

Regardless of age, entry-level Access models are best avoided, though, as they barely come with any equipment - a radio and electric windows are absent, for instnace. Middle-of-the-range Comfort models, which start at around £13,000 come with alloy wheels, cruise control, air-conditioning plus Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and represent a sweet spot in the range in terms of price and equipment. Both petrol and diesel models are available with two or four-wheel drive.

Dacia Duster buyers' guide

3. Seat Arona

Latest Seat Arona deals from £13,690
Monthly finance from £195

Seat is part of the same parent company as Volkswagen and Audi. This means that when you buy a Seat you are buying many of the same parts used on more expensive VWs and Audis, such as the engines, gearboxes and media systems - which is good news - as Seats are typically a good chunk cheaper than Volkswagens and Audis, despite many of those shared parts.

We’d pick the punchy yet frugal 1.0-litre TSI 115hp petrol engine for the Arona. This makes it feel relatively nippy, but should still be capable of close to 50mpg when driven gently, meaning fuel bills should be low.

Seat Arona buyers' guide

The best medium SUVs for families

1. Mazda CX-5

Latest Mazda CX-5 deals from £10,399
Monthly finance from £169

The Mazda CX-5 isn’t too flashy or in your face. Plus it’s well-equipped, well built, and offers a level of driving engagement that's well above its rivals.

We’d recommend the latest version, which has been on sale since 2017. If buying new, SE-L Nav+ models are a great option (despite being the entry-level version, they still come with tonnes of standard kit) with new prices starting around the £26,000 mark.

Mazda CX-5 buyers' guide


2. Volvo XC60

Latest Volvo XC60 deals from £12,599
Monthly finance from £198

There is a type of family out there that we all envy. They tan when they go on holiday. Their dog sits when it's told. They are about to redo the kitchen, despite their house already being stunning. To top it all off they have a car which is cool, stylish, reliable, refined, comfy, safe and packed full of technology sat on the drive. While we can’t help with the tan, dog or kitchen, we can tell you that the car on the drive is most likely a Volvo XC60.

The XC60 is Volvo’s medium-sized SUV, and while it is at the pricier end of the market, the kudos is worth the cash. The used market is healthy thanks to the current XC60 going on sale in 2017, and so too is the choice of trim level. New or used, Momentum models come with great levels of kit.

Volvo XC60 buyers' guide

3. Skoda Yeti

Latest Skoda Yeti deals from £8,290
Monthly finance from £141

The Skoda Yeti may be a car designed to offer great practicality in a small package, but it's the car's quirky styling and fun feel that has made it a family favourite. It combined all the things people liked about hatchbacks, but added a dash more practicality, lifted ride height (so it was easy to get in and out of) and the impression it was built to last. Where it differed from most other SUVs that came before, is its characterful styling that makes it more interesting to look at than most of the small crossovers that predate it.

The Yeti is no longer on sale (production stopped in 2017), but good 2015 models can be picked up for less than £10,000. Irrespective of whether you want a Yeti which is petrol, diesel, automatic, manual, two or four-wheel drive, there is a model for you. SE trim is a good one to go for, striking a good balance between price and equipment.

Skoda Yeti buyers' guide

The best large SUVs for families

1. Hyundai Santa Fe

Latest Hyundai Santa Fe deals from £14,299
Monthly finance from £223

The latest generation Santa Fe is a notable step up in quality compared with the previous versions. Yes, it isn’t as affordable as previous models but with the range starting at just over £33,000, the Santa Fe is still good value for a car of this size. All models come with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, autonomous emergency braking and a digital radio, while further up the range you can opt for heated seats in the front and outer middle seats.

Practicality is key for the Santa Fe. It offers 625 litres of luggage space when the rearmost seats are folded down. A word of caution if you regularly tackle long journeys with a full car, however; the first two rows of seats have ample room for adults, but the third row is best reserved for children.

Hyundai Santa Fe buyers' guide

2. Lexus RXL

Latest Lexus RXL deals from £41,991
Monthly finance from £552

The RXL is well built and even though its looks may divide, they create a striking vehicle in a sector crying out for creativity. It’s only available as a hybrid, much like most of Lexus’ range, and offers seating for seven.

Buying new you can expect to pay at least £52,000 while you can knock £10,000 off that for the more affordable second-hand variants. Trim levels have been kept to a minimum, which, combined with the fact all Lexus models come very well equipped means you should have no problem finding a car with goodies such as air-conditioning, cruise control and heated seats.

Lexus RX buyers' guide

3. BMW X7

BMW recently joined the luxurious large SUV battlefield - so recently in fact, you may well struggle to find a used one. Prices start around £72,000 new but for that you get one of the most upmarket and modern interiors on this list (rivalled only by the I-Pace below).

The X7 is similar in size to the Volvo XC90 and Land Rover Discovery. It offers similar levels of technology too – so you’ll be treated to front and rear heated seats, soft-close doors and BMW’s excellent sat-nav system as standard.

BMW X7 buyers' guide

4. Jaguar I-Pace

Latest Jaguar i-Pace deals from £55,440
Monthly finance from £755

The Jaguar I-Pace is a fully electric SUV. Prices start just north of £64,000 for new cars, while top of the line HSE models come in at £75,000. At least the government provides a low-emission vehicle grant to the tune of £3,500, lowering the price slightly. Even though the I-Pace was only launched in 2018, there are a surprising number on the used car market.

Electric range is claimed to be 298 miles, but in a similar fashion to petrol and diesel fuel economy claims, the distance you will get in the real world is likely to be less. Even so, this is an electric car that is more than capable of long journeys. For those worried about the life of the battery, Jaguar provides an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty.

Jaguar I-Pace buyers' guide


Read more about:

Latest advice

  1. 2020 Nissan Juke: new vs used

  2. 2019 Peugeot 208: new vs used

  3. 2019 Vauxhall Astra: new vs used

What our customers say