Best cars for children

From a compact city car that’s perfect for your only child, to a massive eight-seater, here are eight cars that are great for children

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
May 16, 2022

Ask a bunch of children what they want from a car and you’re likely to receive some amusing responses. The youngest will likely want a car that goes reeeeeeeeally fast, while the teenagers a bound to be more interested in something that looks sick on the school run, with somewhere to charge their smartphone. Perhaps the more imaginative among them might dare to dream of rocket boosters or a built-in trampoline.

But we're willing to guess that you, as a responsible and sensible adult, are likely to have a very different idea of what's required. The main watchwords are likely to include safety, practicality, reliability, flexibility and efficiency. All the things you never thought of as a child, or even before your kids started arriving, but things are different now and you need space for a pushchair, all the children, and all their stuff.

Whether you’ve got one, two, three, four or even more children, we’ve pulled together a list of cars that are perfect for your little ones. In all cases, the cars won’t add to the stresses of family life. Especially as used models are available for less per month than you might think on PCP finance.

At BuyaCar, getting hold of a new car is child’s play. We have thousands of used cars to pick from, so sit back and click on the button above to browse through the models available now and click below to find out how much you can afford to spend.

Best cars for children

1. Vauxhall Meriva

Best for one child: option one

Our pick Vauxhall Meriva 1.4T Exclusiv
Used deals from £6,480

With one child, you don’t need to buy a massive car. Something smaller will be cheaper to purchase, cost less to run and be easy to manoeuvre in the city. Buy wisely, and you don’t even need to scrimp on space. This is where the Vauxhall Meriva comes in.

It might be small on the outside, but clever packaging means it’s perfect for young families. Key to this are the rear doors, which are hinged on the opposite side to the front doors and open much wider than on a standard small car. This makes it easier to get children in and out, with less twisting of your back.

All versions come with a so-called FlexSpace seating arrangement, which means you can move the rear seats backwards, forwards and even sideways. You can even recline the outer rear seats. The Meriva is so versatile, it’s hard to believe it’s smaller than a Vauxhall Astra.


2. Suzuki Ignis

Best for one child: option two

Our pick Suzuki Ignis 1.2 Dualjet SZ-T
Used deals from £8,728

The Suzuki Ignis is so adorable, you just want to grab its cheeks and say ‘who’s a little cutey?’ in your best baby voice. Oh, just us, then? OK, well moving swiftly on.

This diminutive SUV offers the low running costs and small dimensions of a city car, with the space and practicality of something much larger. Take the rear seats, where you’ll find loads of legroom and an amazing amount of headroom. The entry-level Ignis comes with five seats, but we’d recommend the four-seat versions, as the two independent rear seats slide backwards and forwards. This means you have the choice of maximum boot space or maximum rear legroom.

All versions are well-equipped, but the mid-range SZ-T comes with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, 16-inch alloy wheels and chunky SUV styling. You can even get an Ignis 4x4, so you can terrorise larger SUVs on the school run.


3. Skoda Kamiq

Best for two children: option one

Our pick Skoda Kamiq 1.0 TSI SE Drive DSG
Used deals from £16,590

The Kamiq might be Skoda’s smallest SUV, but it’s one of the most practical and spacious cars in its class. Although your children are unlikely to get excited about rear head-, knee- and leg-room, you’ll be pleased to know that the Kamiq scores well on all fronts.

Thanks to 400 litres of luggage capacity, the boot is larger than you’ll find in the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. Opt for the variable boot floor and you can raise the floor to the level of the sill for easier loading.

We’d recommend a model with the optional front centre armrest, not just for your left elbow, but for the fact that it comes with two rear USB-C ports. No more squabbling over who gets to charge their smartphone. You can also get handy folding tables for the back of the front seats.


4. Nissan X-Trail

Best for two children: option two

Our pick Nissan X-Trail 2.0 dCi Tekna Xtronic 4WD
Used deals from £11,500

Fancy a Nissan Qashqai? You’re not alone, because it’s Britain’s most popular crossover. However, to paraphrase Chris Tarrant, we don’t want to give you that, because the Nissan X-Trail actually makes more sense. Trust us, there’s no need to phone a friend.

Although it’s closely related to the Qashqai, the Nissan X-Trail is significantly larger, which makes it ideal for growing families. Take the boot, which offers 565 litres of luggage capacity. That’s 135 litres more than you’ll find in the Qashqai - the equivalent of half the size of the boot in the Suzuki Swift.

There’s more, because the X-Trail also boasts more legroom, while the theatre-style seating means that children have a better view of what’s going on outside, which will help kids who get car sick. You can even get a seven-seat version of the Nissan X-Trail. The boot might be smaller, but it still beats the Qashqai. Final answer.


5. Citroen C5 Aircross

Best for three children: option one

Our pick Citroen C5 Aircross 1.2 PureTech Flair
Used deals from £16,000

The Citroen C5 Aircross is one of the best family cars you can buy for three children without opting for a seven-seater. That’s because it features three individual rear seats of the same width, so there will be no arguments over who has to put up with a middle seat that’s about as spacious as a letterbox.

Each seat offers five different reclining positions and the ability to slide 150mm, so they’re great if you need to cram more holiday gear into the boot (and your children don’t mind sacrificing some of the ample legroom.

All versions of the C5 Aircross come with an eight-inch touchscreen media system, a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and two USB sockets. You also get a set of lounge-like seats and a clever cushion-like suspension system, which combine to make this the most comfortable thing this side of taking a branch of DFS along the M6.


6. Seat Alhambra

Best for three children: option two

Our pick Seat Alhambra 2.0 TDI Xcellence DSG
Used deals from £21,950

If you’re after a proper seven-seater, you might be tempted to squeeze your children into an SUV. That’s fine, we understand the appeal of the modern breed of tall-riding vehicles with chunky SUV styling. However, you really ought to consider a seven-seat people carrier.

Although the Seat Alhambra went out of production in 2020, it remains one of the best seven-seat MPVs you can buy. It’s based on a car platform, so it doesn’t feel like a van to drive, while the level of quality would shame some rivals with a much higher price tag.

You also get seven independent seats that are suitable for adults - there are no cheap seats in the Seat Alhambra. All except the entry-level model get a pair of electric sliding doors, which are convenient for you and fun for the children. Once you’ve had sliding doors in a family car, you’ll wonder how you coped without them.


7. Peugeot Traveller

Best for four or more children: option one

Our pick Peugeot Traveller 2.0 BlueHDi Allure
Used deals Limited stock

Once you get beyond three or four children, things start to get a little trickier. And we’re not talking about the queue for the bathroom in the morning. Fortunately, the BuyaCar search tool allows you to select cars by the number of seats, so you can find your ‘mum or dad taxi’ with ease.

There are countless seven-seater options on the market, but what if you require something bigger? Try the Peugeot Traveller for size. It seats up to eight people (including the driver), with two rows of three seats in the back.

Although it’s based on a van, the Traveller boasts a car-like interior, with the Allure trim featuring the likes of leather seats, additional soundproofing, footwell illumination, a head-up display, electric sliding rear doors, tray tables, window blinds in row two and reading spotlights. It will feel like you’re piloting your own domestic flight. Boarding passes at the ready.

8. Hyundai i800

Best for four or more children: option two

Our pick Hyundai i800 2.5 CRDi SE Nav
Used deals from £17,692

The Hyundai i800 isn’t as lavish as the Peugeot Traveller, but it does come with an unlimited mileage, five-year warranty, so this should provide some reassurance when you’re buying a used example via the BuyaCar website.

Again, there are eight seats on board, which are accessed via a pair of electric sliding doors. Good luck resisting the temptation to hang out the side of the ‘van’ with a cigar in your mouth, muttering something about loving it when a plan comes together.

There are two versions of the 2.5-litre diesel engine available, but we’d recommend the 170hp version, as this offers more pulling power - useful when all eight seats are occupied. It also comes with an automatic gearbox, which provides a more relaxing driving experience.

*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.


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