Often parents have to react variably to their children. A car that meets the requirements of parents who are happy as a child should also be just as variable. Because in addition to a good amount of space, safety, costs, and suitability for everyday use play a major role. Here, less emphasis is placed on appearance and more on use. It makes little sense to buy a BMW Z4 for a family with three children.
What should large families look out for when buying a car?
For families with three or more children, at least a 7-seater is a good choice, because space is of course in the foreground. In addition, the family car should also meet the following requirements:
- The possibility of 3 child seats next to each other
- The cheapest possible price and low maintenance costs
- A large trunk
- Consumption as low as possible
- Helpful security assistants
Child seats, in particular, are often a problem, because many vehicles only allow Isofix child seats to be attached to the two outer rear seats. For a family with three small children, this means that one child has to be accommodated in the front passenger seat, which is anything but ideal because of the exposed position. If you are interested in an article exclusively about cars with three Isofix child seat attachments, we can warmly recommend this one to you.
Sliding doors are not a must and certainly not to everyone’s taste – but they make everyday life easier and can avoid a few dents if the children hop out of the car too cocky.
Purely for reasons of logic, it should be clear at this point that station wagons, SUVs, vans, and high-roof station wagons will primarily appear in this guide. Despite their predominance, they must be admitted that they are usually equipped with numerous security features by their respective manufacturer. Big cars not only require a lot of sheet metal but also corresponding safety measures – they can then intervene more courageously when the raging screamer in the second row causes unrest in the car and distracts the driver from the road.
Sliding doors are not a must and certainly not to everyone’s taste either – but they make everyday life easier and can avoid a few parking dents if the children hop out of the car too cockily.
Of the Citroen Berlingo is a personable French who offers plenty of space for the whole family. His friendly appearance almost belies the fact that he has it all behind his ears: He can take on an entire extended family with flying colors. Those who can manage with less space and prefer to pay less choose the length variant M, those interested in buying: indoors, who already know that a few more suitcases and children have to be transported here and there, prefer the length variant XL. 5 or 7 seats are available for both lengths. When choosing an engine, bargain hunters have to deal with the question of whether they prefer to burn gasoline or diesel – diesel naturally consumes less, but also costs more tax money.
If you have small children, you can attach child seats to all three foldable individual seats in the second row of seats using the Isofix bracket. But beware! Here it is important to “keep your eyes open when choosing the equipment” because the three Isofix brackets are only included from the Shine equipment upwards. It should almost be taken for granted that the trunk is just small with the seven seats installed, but if you need a lot of loading space, you can look forward to 1,050 liters of space.
Opel Combo Life
If the Citroen Berlingo appears in a comparison test, the Opel Combo Life and the Peugeot Rifter have to be mentioned. The Opel Combo Life is just like the Rifter the sister model of the Berlingo. If the choice falls on the Combo Life, families can look forward to a very robust practitioner. The functional family van can be ordered in two versions, Life and Life XL.
With a maximum trunk volume of 2,693 liters, Opel says it is almost double what can be stowed in the Berlingo – not bad, Mr. Specht. Of course, three child seats can also be attached with Isofix and if you want, you can even order sliding doors as an option.
The last one in the PSA group is the Peugeot Rifter. Of course, it can also be assigned to the “high roof combination” category and is therefore a convincing cargo space miracle across the board. Two lengths, L1 and L2, are available and in terms of trunk volume, safety, and suitability for everyday use, the Rifter hardly differs from the Opel. Here, too, there are three individual seats in the second row with Isofix preparation for the installation of child seats and you don’t have to worry when it comes to safety because in the Euro NCAP test it – just like its two company companions – did well.
The VW Caddy is a real loadmaster because you get an enormous 4,130 liters in it when you load it up to the ceiling. This makes it a good all-rounder for everyday use, albeit not as cheap as a Rifter or a Berlingo. But at least the usual assistance and infotainment extras are available at VW, some other manufacturers have left out a few things in favor of relaxed pricing.
You have to decide between the Caddy, the Caddy Maxi, and the Caddy Maxi Station wagon. The latter is probably best suited for large families, but overall the Caddy still has a bit of a commercial vehicle character. You have to be able to overlook that. Also about the fact that an Isofix device is not attached to every space. A total of four child seats could be accommodated, but only three with Isofix attachment. If all the optional seven seats are in the Caddy, it swallows a passable 191 liters in its trunk.
When it comes to large family cars, the Multivan shouldn’t be missing. However, if you add a few extras, the Multivan quickly becomes expensive. That’s why it’s not an option for families who just need a large car that drives from A to B – because there are significantly cheaper ones in our selection. If you choose the Multivan, you want it to be a little more stylish and comfortable. Besides, he’s a real icon, so to speak.
You don’t have to worry about safety in the Multivan, because it’s a Family car owned by VW, there are sufficient assistance systems included. A fully digital cockpit has also found its way. The place is unbeatable, actually huge. If two and three people sit in rows, who are about 1.85 meters tall, the trunk volume is still 655 liters. If you expand these two rows of seats because you have a lot to transport, you have to think carefully about what to do with 4,745 liters. A swivel seat, which is an integrated child seat, can be ordered for an additional charge – this is a practical and extremely clever idea. For large families in the city, however, finding a parking space may sometimes be difficult with the Multivan.
If you only care about driving the cheapest possible car, the Dacia Lodgy is an excellent choice. It doesn’t get any cheaper! At least in the family van category. Despite the narrow wallet, the Lodgy can be equipped with seven seats and also has an enormous trunk volume and plenty of space for all occupants: inside.
The accommodation of three child seats is not a challenge for the Lodgy. But it is better not to expect the finest materials in the Lodgy, just as there are no other assistance systems in other cars. The bill for the Lodgy still works: It is inexpensive and simple, which is exactly why it is so popular with customers.
BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer
Die-hard BMW fans will probably not get warm with the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer. A family van in the otherwise sporty repertoire of Bavaria, and then also front-wheel drive? Surely some had to swallow. But viewed objectively, the 2 Series Gran Tourer is an excellent family carriage. If desired, up to seven people can be seated in the interior, and at the very back you can be a bit taller. And that is exactly what makes the difference on the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer: Comfort is a top priority for the Munich manufacturer and in this case, unfortunately, this is at the expense of the trunk.
In terms of price, the BMW of course quickly plays in a different league, because if you opt for a few extras, it quickly becomes expensive. But you can go traveling with children in the BMW, because two Isofix brackets are installed as standard on the outer rear seats, and a third can be ordered as an option for the front passenger seat.
Of the Renault Espace is along with the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer the most expensive family van in our selection. The high price justifies the very good safety equipment, the large amount of space, and the good suitability for everyday use. The Espace is extremely variable, offers good driving comfort and a lot of assistance systems. A parking aid, the lane departure warning system, or the reversing camera are available but must be ordered for a certain fee.
7 seats are compulsory in the Espace, but when all of them are in use, the trunk shrinks to 247 liters. Enough luggage for a large family vacation will probably no longer fit in, but it is enough for a weekend trip. Child safety is ensured with the Isofix brackets on the two outer seats in the second row of seats. If necessary, a third child seat can be attached in the middle using a belt system.
As a family with two, three, four or even five small children, it will be difficult with a suitable car. Is there even a car that can fit five child seats? Yes, the one SEAT Alhambra. Of course, it depends on the respective child seat, but in the second and optionally available third row of seats, a total of five seats are provided with Isofix preparation. This is a real unique selling point and probably the Spaniard’s greatest advantage.
The Ford Galaxy is probably one of those prototypical family cars because it is a Van and has a large trunk. According to the datasheet, the consumption is slightly higher than that of the competition and if you fully charge the Galaxy, it can turn out to be two or three liters more. But it is so tempting to load it up because its generous amount of space invites you to do so!
A total of three child seats can be connected to an Isofix bracket. Up to five child seats would theoretically be possible, but two must then be attached with a belt system. Overall, the Galaxy is a 7-seater with a lot of space, a very good chassis, and really good brakes. Sliding doors are unfortunately not available here, but the equipment is overall upscale, which unfortunately does not make it cheap. But it’s definitely worth the price.
Citroen Grand C4 Space Tourer
Without a doubt, the Citroen Grand C4 Space Tourer is efficient, a little spacey, and therefore good for the wallet. The entry-level price is also impressive, as there is a lot on offer here: lots of space, optional seven seats, three Isofix brackets for the seats in the second row of seats, and a length of 4.60 meters. The downside is the trunk because the competition has a lot more to offer. Nevertheless, the French are a good choice for everyone who wants a slightly different design.
Toyota Land Cruiser
In this country, you may not see it too often in the wild, but elsewhere it is a real box-office hit: the Toyota Land Cruiser can be described as the safari model par excellence. But it’s a bit of a shame that he doesn’t get so much recognition here. Well, it consumes a lot and weighs just under 2.5 tons. But the Land Cruiser is a real space saver.
It can also be equipped with 7 seats, which should please heads of families. So if you are not so into the van look and would rather have something robust, off-road capable in your possession, the Land Cruiser should be very good for you. By the way, it is not cheap either, but with increasing investment, the quality of the safety assistants in the Toyota SUV also increases. It has not yet been tested by NCAP; whether the seven standard airbags and the enormous crumple zone, however, a rating at 5-star level can be assumed.
Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid
Another SUV at the end! Not one that impresses due to its low purchase price, but with sensational consumption values. Well, in the basic configuration Mitsubishi only charges a mere 24,000 euros for its Outlander, but if you don’t want to do without the plus in comfort, you can quickly get going for over 50,000 euros.
The low fuel consumption doesn’t come from anywhere, no – with the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid, an additional electric motor ensures a greener thumb. Who would have thought a few years ago that an SUV weighing more than two tons could only use 1.9 liters of gasoline per 100 kilometers? The space available in the Outlander is also simply outstanding. Although the seven seats have to be dispensed with, three child seats can easily be accommodated in the plug-in hybrids from Mitsubishi.
If 7-seaters are not enough for you, you can also take a look at our guide to 9-seat minibusses. In addition, the models listed above may also be available as inexpensive annual vehicles or daily registrations. Take a look at the offers and save money.