Having your first child is a hugely exciting time, and one that comes with a lot of decisions to make. One of these is whether your current car is fit for purpose.
With any child, you want your car to be as safe, comfortable and practical as possible. That doesn’t mean you suddenly need a large seven-seat MPV or SUV, though.
There are plenty of smaller cars that are safe and useful that will fit the bill for your young family. Here are 5 used options worth considering, and to save us repeating ourselves, all come with Isofix points for car seats.
Superminis have grown in size and spaciousness in recent years. Take the latest Volkswagen Polo for example, which has been around since 2017 – it’s nearly the same size as an early 2000s Volkswagen Golf from the class above.
With a large 351-litre boot, it’s much larger than the majority of cars in this class – easily providing enough room for a pram. Rear space is also generous, with a decent amount of leg room – handy when trying to prevent a small child from kicking the seat in front. The latest Polo is also a five-door only – aiding practicality. A 5-star safety rating from Euro NCAP (2017), and an 85% score child occupant protection makes it a great small family car.
The Honda Jazz might not do your street cred any favours, but if you’re looking for a seriously roomy and affordable small family car, this Japanese hatchback is a great option.
It’s more of a small MPV than it is a supermini, and this works to its advantage – it has a large 354-litre boot and offers a serious amount of room in the rear seats. Even with 2 young children you won’t struggle for room – plus, the space makes it easy to reach across when helping a child into their car seat.. The third-generation Jazz (the most practical of the lot) also has a 5-star safety rating, including an 85% ranking for child occupant protection.
Small electric cars often aren’t very roomy, and therefore aren’t well-suited to family duties – but the Renault Zoe is an exception. This was one of the earliest electric cars, and it’s now seriously good value for money, with used versions available from as little as £6,500. Like most electric cars, they’ll be cheap to run, too.
With a 338-litre boot, the Zoe is roomier than you might think, while a high roofline allows easy access to the rear seats to fit child seats and get children in and out of the back. While the new 2020 Renault Zoe offers a long electric range of 245 miles, these earlier used examples feature a much smaller battery, with a likely range of around 100 miles – meaning they’re best-suited to city and town drivers.
And don’t go thinking electric cars aren’t as safe as petrol and diesel models, as the Zoe has a 5-star Euro NCAP rating – scoring 80% in the child occupant protection when it was tested in 2013.
Citroen C3 Aircross
Crossovers are becoming popular with the family car market – the additional ride height is a bonus when it comes to fitting child seats and getting kids out of them. While many of these vehicles look more practical than they actually are, the Citroen C3 Aircross isn’t one of them.
This model has a 410-litre boot as standard, and comes with sliding rear seats that can increase the space on offer to 520 litres – significantly more than the 300 litres you get with the regular C3. The C3 Aircross also gets funky styling, and the all-important 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating – it was awarded a child occupant protection score of 82%, too.
Skoda Octavia vRS
Having a young family doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on fun. Hot hatches are a great option if you need something more sensible, but still want a car that’s quick and great to drive. And one of the most practical options is the Skoda Octavia vRS.
Any of the 3 generations would be a great choice, but we’d go for the third-generation version, which was sold between 2014 and 2020. Its 590-litre boot is absolutely huge, with more than enough space for prams and items needed for a small family. Both petrol and diesel versions are available, with lower running costs coming with the latter. It’s yet another car to receive the top rating from Euro NCAP, with an especially high 86% score for child protection.