The open road, stunning scenery, blue skies and beautiful beaches. This is all waiting for you and your family. The best part is having total freedom when you go on holiday in your family car. There's no hassle with travelling through airports, delayed flights or issues with renting vehicles. You've got complete control!
Do you want to stay in the UK or travel around Europe?
All you've got to do is decide where you want to go. Breaks in the UK have become increasing popular in the past few years and known as staycations. The 2015 Travelodge Holiday Index found 70% of Britons were planning on remaining in the UK for their summer holidays. It's also easy to understand why others would want to travel further afield to places such as the South of France, especially with the number of quality family cars on the market.
We've selected our top five family cars available to you through Vanarama Cars. It's a demanding sector. They need to be spacious, comfortable, practical, economical, safe and enjoyable to drive. Pretty much good at everything!
1. Nissan Qashqai - "The perfect car"
One car which has all the required attributes is the award winning Nissan Qashqai. It claimed the prestigious WhatCar? Car of the Year in 2014 and their Best Small SUV in 2015. Editor of the magazine, Jim Holder, described it as their favourite small SUV thanks to its stunning all-round ability. He applauded it as being great to drive, classy inside and good value.
That's high praise! The Nissan Qashqai is the car of choice for Vanarama employee, Andrew Causer: "It's the perfect car - I love it. As a family we needed something roomy and durable, plus it looks great. Driving it is a pleasure, as I do around 20,000 miles a year. I'm really impressed with the 360 degree cameras. They're a brilliant safety feature and one of the ways which you feel even more protected in the Qashqai."
Space is vital for your family car
When asked for his advice on selecting a family car, Andrew said: "Space is really important. Don't forget you'll need to take lots of suitcases with you when you go away, maybe sporting equipment like golf clubs. They're really big and bulky."
The fuel consumption of the Qashqai is exceptional and capable of achieving over 70mpg. That's a substantial figure and ideal when you're driving to your holiday destination. Just think of all the extra ice creams you'll be able to buy with the money you've saved with cheaper fuel costs!
2. Renault Kadjar - Spacious and economical
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the Renault Kadjar owes a lot to the Nissan Qashqai. It's no surprise with the Renault-Nissan Alliance, that 60% of the parts used feature in both vehicles. The Renault Kadjar does have a new, bolder exterior and a higher quality interior in comparison.
The boot size is superior at 472 litres. It's 42 litres bigger than the Qashqai. There's plenty of room in the back and the seats are comfortable. With the panoramic roof on the top-spec models, you'll notice it eats slightly into head room space for taller passengers.
Choose the trim with the right features for you
You might want to avoid the entry-level trim as it misses out on some key equipment. Selecting the Dynamique Nav means you'll have parking sensors, climate control, alloy wheels, a smarter interior finish, automatic lights and wipers. Sat-nav is included too.
There's four different engine sizes with the Kadjar. The 1.5 dCi diesel returns an impressive 74mpg and the 1.2 litre petrol engine achieves in the region of 50mpg.
3. Ford Kuga - Speaking the language wherever you are
The Ford Kuga covers the crossover and SUV market and comes with plenty of features as standard. The entry level Zetec has 17-inch alloy wheels, sports seats, daytime running lights, parking sensors, keyless entry, air conditioning, USB ports, Bluetooth connection and cruise control. That's a long list of features and guaranteed to make all your long journeys smoother and more enjoyable.
Now for the really clever bit - the Ford SYNC system. This is a voice controlled, device integration and in-car connectivity system. There's Emergency Assistance, which upon detecting airbag deployment or activation of the emergency fuel shut-off within the car, uses the on board GPS locator and Bluetooth-paired device to set up an emergency call. This is sent in the local language to the emergency services. It's a useful feature when you're travelling abroad and unable to speak the native language. The Ford SYNC system takes away the issue of communicating in a foreign tongue when you're going through a stressful situation.
Previous Kuga models were criticised for having a limited boot space, but this is now increased to 442 litres and challenging the larger family cars. Overall the Kuga is a fantastic car and the only struggles in comparison to the Qashqai in fuel efficiency. You should expect to get roughly 55mpg on extended trips.
4. Land Rover Discovery Sport - Luxury, comfort and style
The Land Rover Discovery Sport is a luxurious SUV and bigger than its predecessor. There's a seven-seat layout, yet the rear two seats are only suitable for children. If all seven places are occupied, you'll be heavily reduced for luggage space. With the rear two seats stowed, the boot boasts a massive 981 litre capacity. This is the best of the five family cars featured here.
Your passengers in the second row of seats haven't been forgotten. There's USB power sockets for them, plus the option to slide and recline for extra legroom. A nice touch! A high level of equipment comes as standard. There's heated seats, part-leather upholstery, climate control, alloy wheels, Bluetooth connection and a DAB radio.
Making your journeys simpler with easy to use sat-nav
Land Rover's infotainment system has an eight-inch high-resolution screen and a user-friendly interface. There's clear labeling and a responsive touchscreen, while 3D mapping and simple address entry mean the standard sat-nav is straightforward to use. The dual-view technology allows the front seat passenger to watch a movie at the same the driver is using the navigation.
The 188bhp 2.2-litre diesel engine should achieve in the region of 45mpg. This is the lowest fuel economy of the family cars rated here.
5. Mercedes A Class - Sporty and class leading fuel consumption
The Mercedes A-Class is positioned at the premium end of the family hatchback market. It sits 160mm lower than the previous model giving it a sporty appearance and feel. Space inside is limited compared to before, however there's sufficient leg and headroom in the back. At 341 litres, the boot is the smallest of all the cars featured in our top five family vehicles.
Upgrades and smartphone compatible technology
All models come with a reversing camera as standard. The upgraded infotainment system has a larger screen and is eight inches. It's compatible with Apple Carplay and the Android pairing system, Mirrorlink. Both allow integration with a wide range of the latest smartphones, so a series of apps can be displayed on the screen.
The fuel consumption of the A Class is a class leader and capable of 80mpg with the 180bhp diesel engine.
Important choices for you to make with your family car
Before deciding to lease your family car, there's a few things which you'll need to consider. Diesel or petrol? If you're doing lots of long trips and family holidays away, diesel should be your preferred choice. With small petrol engines on offer and giving a large power output - it'll help you to improve your fuel efficiency on shorter journeys.
How to keep your kids amused and ensure stress free journeys
You might want to look at getting portable DVD screens fitted to the back of the headrests to keep your kids entertained. Choosing a dark colour interior over a light one is a wise decision as it won't show the stains from dropped food or spilt drinks as easily. This could save you from a holiday nightmare!
All the cars featured have been awarded the highest rating of five stars for Euro NCAP safety. This confirms them as having a good performance in accident protection, plus being well equipped with robust crash avoidance technology.
Are you planning a family excursion or are you already driving one of the cars mentioned? Please let us know below. Alternatively, if you need any more information about family cars or any other vehicles, you can call us on 01442 835 769.