There’s no doubt about it, having a baby is a huge lifestyle change. One of the many things new parents have to think about is getting a suitable and, most importantly, safe car.
If you are about to become a new parent, it’s time to trade in your beloved sports car for a baby-proof, practical family car. Buying a child-friendly car involves less worrying about cool gadgets, engine size and top speed and more worrying about safety, practicality, space and child seats.
That doesn’t mean you have to go for something that’s predictable or uninspiring, however. Some top baby-friendly cars are very appealing to parents, while still being practical.
There are plenty of baby-friendly cars on the market that you will actually want to drive. Whether you prefer estates, hatchbacks, crossovers or SUVs, there will be an ideal car for you and your family.
Some of the things you should look out for are wide-opening doors so you can easily install a child seat, a high safety rating, good storage and child-friendly added extras.
Here are our top six baby-friendly cars.
Skoda Superb – Estate
The Skoda consistently ranks highly as a top family car. Its most appealing features for parents are that it is very spacious and comfortable. The Superb is buggy-friendly, has a large boot and lots of legroom for adults.
The Superb produces an exceptionally comfortable ride that matches some of its more pricey rivals. This makes it ideal for long journeys.
The Skoda Superb is also likely to be very reliable. Skoda usually finishes top of the JD Power customer satisfaction survey. It has decent fuel economy, with some models managing 70mpg. The Superb is very affordable compared to some other cars in its class and it also has good resale value.
Most importantly, it’s safe: it achieved a five star Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) safety rating. It has an electronic stability control system, seven airbags and a post-collision braking system.
Volkswagen Passat – Saloon
The Volkswagen Passat is also a popular choice for parents with babies and young children. It has low running costs, a generous amount of space and a luxurious interior that will appeal to parents.
The Passat has an interior that seems much more upmarket than some of its rivals. It comes with a variety of different safety features, including a post-collision braking system and curtain airbags. The newest model is expected to score five stars on the Euro NCAP safety test.
The seats are very comfortable and the legroom and headroom are generous. The Passat has a 586 litre boot, which means you should be able to easily fit your buggy inside. The rear seats can also be tumbled if you need even more space. The Passat is a good all-round family car that’s practical, efficient and refined.
Mazda 6 – Saloon
The Mazda 6 won the best family car of the year award in the Auto Express New Car Awards 2014. Auto Express describes it as a ‘car that appeals to both the head and the heart.’ It not only looks very stylish but it has everything you need in a family car. It has some of the lowest CO2 emissions in its class, it’s powerful but also efficient and it comes with a generous amount of kit.
The boot is conveniently shaped and has 483 litres of space – if you fold down the rear seats it manages 1,632 litres. This is particularly handy if you have lots of baby stuff to jam into the back of your car. Any parent will know that you need a lot of luggage for a baby when you go away. Parents will enjoy the Mazda’s sporty driving experience and high-tech kit. Three people can fit in the back of the car and it is spacious for its size.
The Mazda 6 scored five stars on the Euro NCAP safety tests and has six airbags, a smart city braking system and tyre pressure monitors. Mazda have also made the door openings wider so you can easily load a buggy or lift a toddler inside.
Nissan Qashqai – SUV
The Nissan Qashqai is one of Britain’s most popular cars, for good reason. It makes an excellent family car thanks to its low running costs, spacious interior, 4×4 layout and top-notch safety rating.
The rear seats can fit two adults and potentially three children. Both of the outer seats in the back have ISOFIX attachments. Resale values on the Qashqai are encouraging and it’s excellent value for money.
The Qashqai also has great noise suppression, so your baby won’t be disturbed if they are sleeping in the back. The cabin has lots of space and the boot is pretty big too, with a 430 litre luggage area. If you fold the rear bench back, it extends to 1,585 litres. The interior also has lots of useful storage compartments.
BMW X5 – SUV
Those looking for a luxury family car will appreciate what the BMW X5 has to offer. It’s big enough to fit all your baby stuff inside and will even fit a double buggy. The X5 benefits from 650 litres of boot space. Lifting a baby into the car and strapping them in is a breeze.
The X5 is a fun and easy car to drive, with helpful features, such as front and rear parking sensors. It’s not the most economical of cars, but its other features certainly make it worthwhile.
As it’s a BMW, you would expect it to be a very well built car, with some high-tech, luxury features. The interior of this car is very high quality. It has dual zone climate control, memory seats and cruise control. It scored five stars on the Euro NCAP safety test and comes with a wide range of safety features.
SEAT Leon – Hatchback
If you really don’t want an enormous, bulky car to drive around in then the SEAT Leon is a fantastic option. A family car doesn’t always have to be a large model, unless you have more than two children. The Leon is actually very spacious, considering it’s only a modest hatchback. There’s plenty of room in the back, it has ISOFIX capability and the boot is surprisingly big at 380 litres.
The Leon is also very economical (up to 74.3mpg) and reasonably priced. It shares a lot of its parts with the Volkswagen Golf, which means it’s a high quality, well-built car. It’s a popular family hatchback due to it being fun to drive, as well as being very practical for parents. The SEAT Leon scored five stars on the Euro NCAP safety test and has seven airbags, stability control with emergency brake assist and tyre-pressure monitors.