Top 10: Best Automatic Family Cars

02nd Mar 2022

By Edward Cook

Making family life easier

From the busy rush before the school run to pre-staycation luggage checks, family life can be hectic at times, to say the least. Once the little ones are safely secured and comfortable, you'll probably want to relax while out on the road, and this is where automatic cars come into their own.

Cars with an automatic transmission require less effort to drive, particularly on hills or in heavy traffic and often make for excellent family cars. With such a wide variety of automatic cars on offer, we take a look at some of the best automatic family cars to help in your search for your next car.

Ford Focus

Blue Ford Focus Exterior Front Driving

It comes as no surprise to see the popular Ford Focus on this list thanks to its excellent all-round capabilities and budget-friendly approach. In recent years, Ford have improved the Focus significantly, giving it sharp styling and a variety of advanced equipment to ensure it continues to compete with more expensive rivals.

Available in both hatchback and estate bodystyles, the Focus provides plenty of room for your family and their kit. There's also a more robust 'Active' model available that comes with chunkier tyres, increased ground clearance and protective body mouldings; perfect for the more adventurous families.

A 7-speed PowerShift automatic transmission is paired with the brilliant EcoBoost mild hybrid powertrain to provide an efficient yet engaging driving experience. If you rack up a lot of miles, there's also an 8-speed EcoBlue diesel automatic available that's just as impressive.

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Nissan Qashqai

Grey Nissan Qashqai Exterior Front Driving

As one of Nissan's (and the UK's) best-selling cars, the Nissan Qashqai has proven popular amongst families thanks to its impressive levels of practicality and range of advanced features. The third-generation Qashqai was introduced in 2021, coming with an all-new, sharp design to give a greater road presence.

You'll have a number of powertrains to choose from if opting for the Xtronic automatic gearbox. Firstly, there are the 1.3-litre mild hybrids with either 136 or 154bhp, or an e-POWER self-charging hybrid that can drive limited distances using solely electric power.

Details such as the rear doors, which open to a useful 85-degree angle, make family life easier and allow you to ensure your children are buckled up in a hassle-free manner. 504 litres of boot space and plenty of head and legroom are also welcome features.

A wide range of used second-generation Qashqai models are also available if you're working with a smaller budget.

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Renault Captur

Orange Renault Captur Exterior Front Driving

The Renault Captur is an SUV that's happy taking on a wide variety of challenges. Renault have ensured it's comfortable both around town and on the motorway, making it ideal for family life.

Whilst smaller in size than other SUVs on this list, the Captur offers a well-sized 536-litre boot space which will prove handy when on a road trip. The adjustable rear bench can also slide back and forth, allowing you to provide the kids with more legroom as they grow up.

A smooth automatic transmission unlocks impressive fuel economy of around 48mpg when paired with the 138bhp petrol powertrain. Those hunting for the most efficient model will want to look towards the Captur E-TECH plug-in hybrid though as it offers fuel economy figures of up to 64mpg and an all-electric driving range of up to 30 miles when the batteries are fully charged.

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Ford Kuga

Red Ford Kuga Exterior Front Static

As a brilliant all-rounder, the Ford Kuga makes for a top family car. With a variety of efficient powertrains to choose from, as well as a long list of gadgets, Ford have brought yet another gem to market.

The third-generation Kuga SUV, which was introduced in 2019, is available with a CVT automatic gearbox in full (HEV) and plug-in (PHEV) hybrid configurations. These powertrains combine an internal combustion engine with hybrid technology to reduce emissions and increase economy. The PHEV variant can also travel up to 35 miles on electric power alone.

The Kuga's fashionable looks and comfortable ride increase appeal further, especially when combined with standard equipment such as parking sensors, sliding second row seats, cruise control and lane keeping aid. The Kuga is also available with a built-in FordPass Connect modem, which generates 4G LTE Wi-Fi for up to 10 devices.

Automatic petrol and diesel models can also be found on used second-generation Kuga variants.

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Dacia Sandero Stepway

Orange Dacia Sandero Stepway Exterior Front Static

Dacia is a brand that has established itself as a producer of top-quality, low-cost cars, none more so than the Sandero Stepway. Thanks to its rugged nature and practical setup, the Sandero Stepway is a small SUV that's ready for big family adventures.

A CVT automatic gearbox is available with a perky 89bhp petrol engine to offer fuel economy figures of 45.6mpg WLTP combined.

Whilst inexpensive to buy, the Sandero Stepway comes with a range of great benefits that allow it to punch above its weight; standard equipment includes cruise control, LED daytime running lights and Media Control.

However, the Sandero Stepway's versatility is arguably its most impressive trait. Features such as an adjustable boot floor and modular roof bars allow you to pack your family's kit with ease.

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Citroën C3 Aircross

Blue Citroen C3 Aircross Exterior Front Driving

Chic looks, a comfortable ride and good value for money are often the foundations that every Citroën is built upon and the C3 Aircross is no different. A compact yet spacious crossover SUV, it features class-leading interior space as well as handy features such as roof bars, wheel-arch protection panels and a 410-litre boot space to ensure it's ready for everything family life has to throw at it.

An automatic gearbox is only available with the 129bhp petrol engine, taking away the complications of picking a powertrain. This unit performs well and is capable of achieving around 45mpg with ease.

It comes loaded with plenty of equipment as standard too. Entry-level models get the likes of traffic sign recognition, cruise control, rear parking sensors and a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Opt for a higher specification and you can enjoy further features such as a versatile sliding rear bench, a reversing camera and satellite navigation.

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Volkswagen Golf

Yellow Volkswagen Golf Exterior Front Driving

Direct rival to the aforementioned Ford Focus, the Volkswagen Golf is a car that's proven popular with families for many years. Introduced in 2019, the eighth-generation Golf comes with a range of features such as sleek exterior styling and a build quality to match.

Available on both petrol and diesel variants of the Golf 8, the 7-speed DSG automatic transmission provides smooth gear changes as well as improved efficiency over its manual counterpart. Volkswagen have also given the sporty Golf R and GTI/GTD automatic gearboxes for families that love a bit of excitement from their car.

Standard features on the Volkswagen Golf include the likes of alloy wheels, ambient lighting, satellite navigation and a 10.25-inch infotainment system. The seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf is also a popular option that's great value for money.

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Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport

White Vauxhall Insignia Exterior Front Driving

Vauxhall is one of the most popular automotive brands in the UK thanks to their inexpensive yet well-equipped range of vehicles. The most popular Vauxhall models include the likes of the Corsa and Astra, but we're going to focus on the Insignia executive car.

The latest generation Insignia is an award-winning vehicle that offers occupants with a comfortable ride and plenty of space, without compromising carrying capabilities. A pushchair, a couple of suitcases or the family's weekly food shop will easily fit into the large, 490-litre boot space allowing you to enjoy the Insignia's smooth ride both in and out of town.

Petrol Insignia variants come paired with a 9-speed automatic gearbox, while the diesel variants come with an 8-speed. Both have proved to be popular amongst British motorists and are efficient in their own right, but the diesel comfortably achieves over 50mpg WLTP combined.

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Skoda Kodiaq

Red Skoda Kodiaq Exterior Front Driving

Need something a little larger? Then the Skoda Kodiaq may be just the one for you.

With seating for up to seven people, the Kodiaq is one of the most practical cars on this list. Versatility is enhanced even further thanks to features such as roof bars, a sliding second row of seats and a colossal 835-litre boot space with five seats in place.

There are a variety of powertrains to choose from too, allowing you to find one that suits your lifestyle. All will do the job, but those who regularly pack the car full or tow heavy loads will want to opt for the more powerful variants as they're better suited to those tasks. Four-wheel drive is also available allowing the Kodiaq to tackle the muddy stuff.

Skoda have ensured the Kodiaq is very well-rounded, with equipment such as satellite navigation, parking sensors and heated seats all being available within the range.

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Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Red Mercedes-Benz A-Class Exterior Front Driving

The A-Class hatchback is Mercedes-Benz' entry-level model, offering the brand's trademark quality along with a host of equipment. The latest generation was introduced in 2018, bringing stylish aesthetics and a variety of powertrains with it.

The majority of A-Class models come with either a 7-speed or 8-speed DCT automatic gearbox. The petrol engines are fairly pokey and offer decent fuel economy figures of up to 47mpg, but the A180d/A200d diesel and A250e hybrid powertrains are economy kings, offering up to 58mpg and 282mpg* respectively (*with the batteries fully charged). The super-sporty Mercedes-AMG A35/A45 also come with automatic gearboxes and huge power outputs.

Whilst not as practical as some others on this list, the A-Class still manages to offer a respectable 355 litres of boot space. However, very few can match it when it comes to refinement and overall quality.

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Find your family's next car with Evans Halshaw

From smaller cars such as the Dacia Sandero Stepway, to large 7-seater cars such as the Skoda Kodiaq, you're truly spoilt for choice if you're on the lookout for an automatic family car.

At Evans Halshaw, we offer a wide variety of excellent new and used cars that may be suitable for your family's needs. Our friendly associates at your nearest Evans Halshaw dealership will be more than happy to help in your search for your next car or to arrange a test drive in a model that catches your eye.