Best for… General family use
The Ford Fiesta did not become Britain's best-selling car in history without millions of families across the UK using it for weekly shops, school runs and taking the kids to sports matches on the weekend. Its dependability, ease of drive and surprising practicality have ensured enduring popularity for generations.
With economical engines and low servicing costs the Fiesta is very inexpensive to run, and insurance premiums are cheap too! You'll find plenty of MkV, MkVI and MkII versions in our used car pages. Choose from standard studio trim for the MkVI and MkII versions, or upgrade to Edge, Zetec, Titanium or Titanium X (MkVII only). From the MkVI onwards, every Fiesta came with a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating for parent's peace of mind.
Vauxhall's most popular model and the Fiesta's British rival has been 2nd in UK sales charts for a number of years now, though in Scotland the Corsa has often placed first. Like the Fiesta, the Corsa is perfectly capable of transporting your children to school or football practice.
The 2006-2014 model has a remarkably spacious boot that has a maximum load capacity 285 litres - much higher than you'd expect for a car of this size and in this class. With the arrival of the new Corsa in 2015, the Corsa D models are now a better value used buy than ever before and they come with a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating too.
Another car with a 5-star Euro NCAP rating is the ever-popular Renault Clio. It's been around in various forms since 1990, and UK buyers have always appreciated the style, practicality and low running costs that the Clio offers.
The Clio III (2005-2012) models were much larger than its predecessor, and meant you got a lot more car for your money as well as significantly increased levels of practicality. It was also the first Clio to feature Renautl's innovative keycard immobiliser system.
We've had the first and second best-selling cars in Britain, and now it's time for the third. The Ford Focus has become something of an institution in the UK, and it has played a vital role in transporting families comfortably and efficiently around the country ever since its critically-acclaimed introduction in 1998.
It's safe too, and since 2005 every iteration of the Focus has been rated 5 stars for safety by the crash test experts at Euro NCAP.
Our fifth and final best family car for general use is the stylish, spacious and extremely practical Peugeot 207, of which there are hundreds in stock at Evans Halshaw dealerships across the UK, ranging from around £2,500 to £7,500 depending on age, mileage and specification.
The 207 was a successor to the very popular Peugeot 206, and like the rest of the cars in this section acheived the maximum 5-star safety rating from Euro NCAP, helped by the inclusion of ISOFIX child seat anchorage points in the rear.
Best cars for… Style Conscious Mums
Perhaps not the obvious choice for a list of the best family cars, but the Cascada has many virtues that make it an excellent car for families. With plenty of room inside, it can seat two adults and two children in complete comfort. Roof up or down, the boot is a very reasonable size.
With it retracted and the wind in your hair, there's 280 litres (almost the same as a Corsa), but if you put the roof back up another 100 litres of storage space is revealed for a 380L capacity, which is more than enough room for the weekly shop or a bank holiday trip. It's supremely stylish too.
For their many virtues, French cars and in particular their hatchbacks have always maintained style as one of their strong suits. This applies especially to Renault, who really hit the style nail on the head with the Megane.
It's safe too, and in 2002 the 2nd generation Megane (that's the one with the rather large derriere) became one of the first cars to be awarded 5-stars for safety by Euro NCAP. This trend was continued by the 3rd generation car, though 2014 models have been downgraded to 4 stars on a technicality. Look out for super-stylish special edition Meganes such as the I-Music and Monaco.
The DS4 is not only stylish on the outside, it's luxurious on the inside too, with plenty of soft-touch materials and a premium centre console that is both nice to look at and easy to use.
All models are packed with features, with even the standard-specification DStyle models coming with cruise control, climate control, auto lights/wipers, USB, electric mirrors, electric windows and rear parking sensors. They're available from as little as £9,000 in the Evans Halshaw classifieds which makes them one of the best value premium used cars you can buy.
BMW 3 Series
BMW 3 Series have always been known for their supreme style, effortless class and brilliant driving characteristics. Used examples make for a great value premium saloon, and you'll find a smattering of E46 examples in our used car pages.
Most available will be E90 cars with very efficent diesel engines in either 316d, 318d or 320d states of tune, and high milers are priced from around £5,000 and rise up to around £20,000 based on age, mileage and specification.
Vauxhall Astra/Astra GTC
Vauxhall produces some very good looking cars these days, and this new found style is none more apparent than in the current generation Astra and its sporty brother the Astra GTC. If 5-door practicality is imperative, then you'll need the standard Astra, but that's no bad thing.
In higher trim levels especially, the Astra is a very good looking car. Look out for VX-Line models which proudly wear a sporty body kit that includes revised front and rear bumpers, side skirts and large alloy wheels. The Astra GTC is the most stylish car in the range, but the 3 door only layout may not suit some expanding families.
Best Cars for… Cool Dads
The Volkswagen Golf is effortlessly cool simply because it wears the prestigious VW badge. It doesn't need to shout about what it is or what it does, people see the Golf and whoever is behind the wheel is given instant respect for their choice of vehicle.
It's comfortable, durable and dependable - everything you need from your family runaround. It's safe too, and all VW Golf variants have been awarded the important 5-star Euro NCAP crash test rating since 2004. Look out for Bluemotion versions, which manage extraordinary amounts of fuel economy.Search Used Volkswagen Golf
Perhaps a slight level above the Golf in terms of its premium appeal, a dad who drives a C-Class will get respect from his children's friends and parents alike when dropping off the kids at school.
Not many cars ooze class like a Mercedes, and with used W204 (2007-2014) C-Class models available from as little as £8,000 at Evans Halshaw, you can now enjoy a premium car experience for a relatively small amount of cash, especially when you consider that most C-Class mercedes models had a list price of over £30,000 when new.
It caused quite a storm when it was released onto the UK market in 2006. A combination of style, practicality, low running costs and SUV looks woo'd British buyers and they sold in their droves.
It's those SUV looks that make the Qashqai cool, and every kid wants to be picked up in a big car that feels safe when you're a passenger. It is safe too, and every version of the Qashqai since launch has been rated at 5 stars for safety by Euro NCAP. Dads will also enjoy the vast boot capacity too.
How can a Honda Civic make a dad cool? Simply by choosing one of the more sporty specs such as Type S, Si or Ti. They all look great, with the Ti model featuring contrasting black wheels and detailing with striking white paint.
Dads will be able to enjoy the high specification levels, massive boot, good fuel efficiency and excellent reliability record, while kids will enjoy the space in the rear seats and being picked up in something that looks as though it came from the future.
The Volvo C30 is cool - fact. It looks like nothing else in its class thanks to its striking front end and full glass rear tailgate. The interior is nice too, with the trademark floating centre console housing an array of buttons that control all of the vehicle's features. It's not the obvious choice either, which also adds to its cool factor.
Dads will definitely like the fact that even low mileage 1.6 petrol cars can be picked up from Evans Halshaw from around £5,000, with diesels commanding a slight premium because of their increased efficiency.
Best cars for… 7 Seats
Citroën Grand C4 Picasso
Quite possibly the king of all 7-seat vehicles, the Citroën Grand C4 Picasso has won all kinds of awards in both its first and second generations, having been around since 2006. It's the larger version of the popular C4 Picasso, which came about because of the Citroën Xsara Picasso that was such a sales success even Citroen themselves were taken by surprise.
The space and practicality is fantastic, but one of the main priorities for Citroën when designing the C4 Picasso was safety, and so every version of the car ever built has come with a 5 star safety rating from Euro NCAP.
Vauxhall really struck a chord with the UK public when they first introduced the original Zafira back in 1999, and there's still a few of these Mk1 vehicles in our classifieds today for between £1500-£3000. More popular as a used purchase however is the Mk2 vehicles which arrived in 2005 and are actually still available today.
They're characterised by their flexible seating arrangement that can easily fold into the floor providing a totally flat load bay when the rear seats aren't required. The second generation Zafira also carries that much-heralded safety net, a 5 star Euro NCAP crash test rating.
Ford really pulled out all the stops with the S-MAX, their first 'Sports Activity Vehicle' or SAV for short. The space inside belies its almost coupe-like exterior (the looks are so good it could even be in the Cool Dads section) and the seven seats in the back are genuinely usable, particularly for children.
With the seats down there's a decent size boot, and the driving experience is not like driving a people mover at all - it's like driving a sporty hatchback. Like the other MPVs we've mentioned, the S-MAX has been awarded 5 stars for crash test safety by Euro NCAP.
Renault Grand Scenic
The Grand Scenic builds on the success of the original Megane Scenic that first appeared back in 1996, when MPV sales were first taking off in Britain. #
The Scenic is a refined, practical and comfortable vehicle in which you can transport your family with ease. It's economical too, especially when you choose the dCi diesel engine option.
Audi's first foray into the 7 seat sector, the Q7 was critically acclaimed when it was launched in 2006 as a large, durable and luxurious SUV that is perfect for families with a slightly higher than average budget.
Happily however, there's plenty of examples for under £20,000 now in our used Audi car pages, with most of them featuring the popular 3.0 TDI diesel engine that produced 242 bhp, pulling the vehicle along at a very nice rate. This is another 7-seat vehicle that could also be in the 'Cool Dads' section, such is the massive (these things really are big) road presence that the Q7 has, and the instant respect and almost fear that comes with it.