Best cars for new parents

Practical hatches, roomy people carriers and sporty SUVs; if you're a new parent these cars could make you happier than a full night's sleep

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
May 16, 2022

The children have arrived, all of a sudden you need space in your car for a pushchair, rear doors that open wide so you can sort out car seats, and a low boot loading lip to help with packing all the essentials. You might think your only option is to say goodbye to those dreams of driving the coolest car on the block and succumbing to a life as the owner of a people carrier. That simply isn't the case.

Space, practicality and comfort might seem like boring considerations when picking a car, but if you're a new parent, chances are that they've suddenly shot to the top of your priority list. But that's ok, because you can tick all of those grown-up-adult boxes without sacrificing the enjoyment of driving. It shouldn't break the bank, either.

If you can’t bear the thought of spending your evenings trawling through endless articles about headroom and luggage capacity, help is at hand. We’ve created a list of cars that are ideal for new parents - whether you want something small and affordable but with a big enough boot for a buggy, a high-riding upmarket SUV or unexpectedly had triplets and need the absolute maximum space you can get.

We’ve included everything from a practical hatchback to a sporty SUV that will make you the envy of your neighbours. We’ve done the legwork, so you can concentrate on that nappy that needs changing. Keep reading to find the car for you or click on the link below to get a finance quote.

Best cars for new parents

1. Skoda Fabia

Our pick Skoda Fabia 1.0 TSI 110 SE L DSG
Used deals from £6,259

If there’s one thing you can guarantee about lists focused on practicality and value for money, it’s that there will be at least one Skoda included. Spoiler alert: there are two Skoda models on this list.

And that's for good reason. Nobody has cornered the sense and sensibility market quite like Skoda. You get excellent build quality - Skoda is owned by Volkswagen, after all - for a slightly lower price than other cars with the same parts, with the backing of a network of excellent dealers. What’s not to like?

You’ve read the script. The Skoda Fabia is the value-added version of the Volkswagen Polo, with slightly less style but more kit for your money. The back doors open wide, which is helpful when you’re loading children into a car seat, while there are a range of ‘Simply Clever’ features, depending on the trim level.


2. Citroen C4 Picasso

Our pick Citroen C4 Picasso/C4 SpaceTourer 1.2 PureTech Flair EAT6/EAT8
Used deals from £13,750

The Citroen C4 Picasso is proof that owning a family car needn’t mean leaving your style badge at the door. In fact, the C4 Picasso is such a convincing family car, you’ll wonder why so many parents are choosing less practical SUVs.

If you like the wacky exterior styling, you’ll adore the interior. Even today, many years on from its launch, the cabin in the C4 Picasso looks cool and contemporary. You also get a good amount of standard equipment, regardless of the trim level. Some models even get an impressive 12-inch media screen atop the dashboard.

Although it’s only a five-seater – you need the Grand C4 Picasso for the magnificent seven – the C4 Picasso is hugely flexible in terms of the seating and storage available. The three individual rear seats fold and recline individually. Opt for one of the top trims and they also slide backwards and forwards, so you can decide between a cavernous boot and a really cavernous boot - depending upon how much space you need for rear passengers, the rear seats fold flat.

The C4 Picasso became the C4 SpaceTourer in 2018, however despite the name change not too much was changed.


3. Toyota C-HR

Our pick Toyota C-HR 1.8 VVT-h Excel
Used deals from £13,495

Confession time: the Toyota C-HR isn’t the most practical car in its class. If you’re after space and convenience, we’d recommend the Seat Ateca or the Peugeot 3008. So why are we including it on a list of cars for new parents?

Because we see it as a kind of halfway house between the stylish and impractical car you left behind, and the spacious and practical car you’re going to need when your toddler learns to ask: ‘are we nearly there yet?’

Granted, the styling is a little ‘Marmite’, but not everyone likes that hat you wear on the Tube, and you haven’t stopped wearing that. It’s also reasonably spacious in the back, although it does lose marks for the shape of the rear window, which makes it feel a little claustrophobic - especially for shorter rear passengers who may not get the best view out of the window. It’s fun to drive and cheap to run if you opt for the self-charging hybrid version.


4. Skoda Scala

Our pick Skoda Scala 1.0 TSI 110 SE L DSG
Used deals from £13,777

Hey, look – another Skoda. Coming soon: the first BuyaCar list to include every model in the Skoda range. In the meantime, take a look at the Scala hatchback. Shock horror – it’s not an SUV. But it is one of the most spacious cars you can buy for less than £20,000.

Many cars of this size give you a choice. Lots of room in the front, bags of space in the back, or a large boot for your luggage. If you’re lucky, you might get two out of three. The Skoda Scala delivers a triple-whammy of spaciousness. It’s like a mini estate car in a hatchback body.

We’d avoid the basic S trim, because it’s about as exciting as a lettuce sandwich, but SE trim adds a dollop of spicy sauce to the proceedings. An eight-inch touchscreen media system, 16-inch alloy wheels, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, cruise control and rear parking sensors are just some of the highlights.


5. Vauxhall Grandland X

Vauxhall Grandland X front three quarters view

Our pick Vauxhall Grandland X 1.2 Turbo SE
Used deals from £11,450

Remember how one kid always got picked last for the team during every PE lesson? No matter what the sport, they’d be the one who’d have to endure the awkward walk to the team that didn’t want them. The Vauxhall Grandland X is that kid - despite having a lot going for it.

That's a bit unfair, because the Grandland X shares much in common with the popular Peugeot 3008, which just happens to be one of the best family SUVs you can buy. The Vauxhall doesn't look quite as striking or high-tech inside, but it is classy and handsome with its more conventional looks and shares its engines and much more in-car kit with the 3008.

Grab a Tech Line Nav version for the best balance of price and equipment. Highlights include 18-inch alloy wheels, sat-nav, front and rear parking sensors, and a raft of useful safety kit. We’d also recommend the 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine for its punch and economy.


6. Nissan Pulsar

Our pick Nissan Pulsar 1.2 DIG-T N-Connecta
Used deals from £7,998

When Nissan launched the Qashqai and Juke crossovers, it kind of turned its back on making family hatchbacks. Hatchbacks: bad, SUV-style crossovers: good, was the conclusion. But that doesn't mean that hatchback is dead.

Then it launched the Nissan Pulsar, hoping to steal sales from the likes of the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra. The Pulsar isn't a radical or attention-grabbing car, but it is very good value used and offers tonnes of space for the money. That alone makes it a great cut-price family car for new parents.

We’re not saying the Nissan Pulsar is the best family hatchback you can buy, because it isn’t. But thanks to super-low used prices, efficient engines and limo-like levels of rear space, it’s an ideal car for new parents. If you want your car to cost very little and do everything without fuss, the Pulsar could be for you.


7. Ford Tourneo Connect

Our pick Ford Tourneo Connect 1.5 EcoBlue Titanium Powershift
Used deals from £14,970

The Ford Tourneo Connect is based on a van, but don’t let that put you off. After all, vans are the real deal when it comes to space and practicality. Kids need space and vans offer serious space. The Tourneo Connect also has a trick up its sleeve, but more on that in a moment.

This thing is massive. You can fold the rear seats forward to create a huge load space. What’s more, you can remove them altogether, which is perfect if you fancy turning your Tourneo Connect into a kind of mobile ballpit.

The trick? That’ll be the sliding rear doors, which are a serious bonus for young families. Your kids will love them because they can jump in and out of the car. You'll love them because they make loading a child into a car seat a doddle. And you don't have to worry about the kids banging the doors into the next car over. Or lamp posts. Or trees... Be warned: once you’ve owned a car with sliding doors, you’ll wonder how you lived without them.

8. Jaguar F-Pace

Our pick Jaguar F-Pace 2.0d R-Sport AWD
Used deals from £22,780

We like to include a wildcard - just in case you want something a bit left-field - but this one is slightly different. This one isn’t so much a wildcard as a whisper in your ear that the Jaguar F-Pace might be cheaper than you thought. Used prices are beginning to drop below the £20,000 mark, and low monthly payments on PCP finance make it even more affordable in the short term.

It offers one of the largest boots in its class. In fact, a 650-litre boot is big enough to compete with SUVs from the level above. The rear seats split 40:20:40 for maximum versatility, while the children will enjoy plenty of growing room in the back.

Because it’s a Jaguar, it drives like a sports car. OK, a sports car on stilts, but this remains one of the most sporty SUVs you can buy. Not so much a wildcard, then, more a chance for you to bring out your wild side. When the children aren’t with you, obviously.


*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.



Read more about:

Latest best cars & vans

  1. Most customisable cars

  2. Cars with suicide doors

  3. Best American cars