While it’s great to embrace other, more active ways of getting the children to school – walking, cycling or taking public transport – it can be hard to avoid the car. Whether you have a long journey, your child has lots of kit to take with them, or school is on your way to work, sometimes the car is the best option.
So, if it’s your turn to do the school run, here are 9 of the best cars to make it as easy as possible.
For those of you who want a vehicle that’s more eco-friendly than most cars, why not consider a Renault Zoe? This electric car has a battery range of around 160 miles, which should be more than enough to cover the week’s school run on a single charge. As one of the cheapest options (plenty of used Renault Zoe cars can be found for £7-8,000), it also has decent boot space of up to 338 litres, so there’s plenty of room for bags.
If you know you’re going to need lots of space and would also prefer a 4×4, then a used Kia Sportage is an affordable option. Alongside the large interior, there’s a 500-litre boot, so you won’t be short on room for the kids and their gear. There are also lots of great features like touchscreen sat nav, parking sensors and cruise control, which gives you a lot for your money. Additionally, the Sportage comes with a 7-year or 100,000-mile warranty which is transferable – as long as your chosen model has a full service record.
Safety is very important whether you’re driving on the school run or not, and if this is a key consideration for you, then a Volvo XC60 could be the perfect fit. With 5 stars and a commendation, this mid-size SUV is one of the safest cars ever tested by EuroNCAP. On top of this, you and your school-bound passengers will have plenty of room, and newer models come packed with useful tech. You can even find an eco-friendly T8 plug-in hybrid version alongside the petrol and diesel models.
The all-electric Nissan Leaf is not only clean and green, it’s also comfortable and safe for children and parents alike. There’s a 435-litre boot that can easily accommodate any school bags. And the car’s impressive equipment can help make the drive to school much easier. This includes a 360-degree parking camera and ‘Pro Pilot’ intelligent cruise control which keeps pace with the traffic and maintains a safe distance from the car in front. Some models even feature a self-parking function, which can help relieve parking anxiety at the school gates.
If you’d prefer a more compact car for the school run, then a Hyundai i30 is a top choice. Despite being a hatchback it’s still very spacious with a 390-litre boot and a large, practical interior that has lots of additional storage areas. This is also another vehicle that scores highly with its safety ratings, and newer models have additional features like autonomous emergency braking and blind spot detection. The current range includes a choice of diesel and petrol engines, but Hyundai are planning to release a plug-in hybrid version in the near future.
Citroën C4 Grand Picasso
Another strong MPV that’s undergone a style revolution is the Citroën C4 Grand Picasso. Not only is it an attractive and comfortable vehicle, it also offers you the option to switch between 5 and 7-seats, which is great for larger families and school run lift shares. If you’ve got young children that you need to take along as you drop off their older siblings, the back seats can be quickly folded down to make room for pushchairs. Decent fuel economy is another positive, ranging from around 56 mpg with 1.2-litre petrol models to 76 mpg with 1.6-litre diesel versions.
Skoda has reinvented itself to produce a range of reliable, affordable and popular family cars. The Skoda Kodiaq is a practical, 7-seater SUV which comes packed with quality features and plenty of room for the kids. You can also choose between petrol or diesel, manual or automatic, and front or 4-wheel drive models. There’s up to 630 litres of boot space with 5 seats in place, but even with all 7 in use you still get up to 270 litres. For a well-equipped SUV it’s relatively cheap to buy new, but you can also find used options for around £25,000.
An old Peugeot 3008 can be a cheap MPV for the school run, but the newest model is a revelation. This crossover SUV looks incredible with a detailed front-end. It’s also practical, with up to 520 litres of boot space with the seats up. All new models include rear parking sensors, that make getting into that last space easier, along with a raised view. DAB radio and Apple CarPlay are also included, so with the latter you can stream your kids’ favourite songs to keep them entertained during the school run.
Another great option for an electric car is the BMW i3. Pre-2017 models have a range of 90 miles while newer versions can cover around 124 miles in one charge. Its batteries are kept underneath the floor rather than in the front, providing more interior and storage space. The rear doors open the opposite way to the front ones, which makes getting in and out more convenient.
So, whether you want something electric, spacious, easy to park or convenient for your school run, one of these picks could be ideal.
Image courtesy of iStock.