Best family cars

Here are the best family cars to make a parent's life easier and their young ones safer

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Looking for a great car for you and your family? Likely, you're looking for something safe and practical that has stress-reducing features and heaps of room. Here's a comparison of Australia's best family cars.

Best Family Car Comparison

ModelFinder scoreBoot sizeSafety rating (ANCAP)ANCAP Child Occupant ProtectionFive-year running costs*Click price for repayments or find a deal
Toyota RAV482.75%580 litres5 star89%$4,575.36From $36,486

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on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

Skoda Superb Wagon86.67%660 litres5 star86%-From $64,990

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on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

Ford Ranger ute85%1,230kg5 starN/a$5,917.08From $33,779

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on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

Isuzu D-Max dual-cab-1,075kg5 star89%$5,329.68From $29,990

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on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

Kia Carnival people mover-627 litres5 starN/a$6,028.32From $50,390

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on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

Mazda CX-9-230 litres5 starN/a$5,869.20From $45,990

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on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

Hyundai Santa Fe-571 litres5 star86%$4,995.72From $52,820

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on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

Toyota Land Cruiser 20081.50%1,431 litres5 starN/a$7,439.76From $87,971

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on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

Subaru XV80.75%310 litres5 starN/a$5,019.48From $34,009

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on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

Toyota CH-R-318 litres5 star77%$4,917.72From $34,655

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on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

Prices are for NSW postcode 2000.

*Running costs from RACV, include rego, insurance, membership, fuel, servicing and tyres for 15,000km annually over five years

Top 10 cars for people with kids

Here are 10 cars that are well-suited to family life. Note, the useful features list is for the standard base model.

Toyota RAV4 (five-door)

Internal space (cabin width/boot depth)1,515mm/N/A
Boot size (seats up/folded down)580 litres/1,690 litres
Useful interior features
  • Carpet floors mats for easier cleaning
  • Front and rear power windows
  • Rear passenger air vents
  • Remote entry and smart start for less stress
  • Plenty of cup holders
  • Convenient boot side pocket
  • Sat-nav as standard
  • Eight-inch touchscreen
  • Three USB ports in the front and two in the back
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto phone connectivity
  • Six-speaker sound system as standard make the RAV4 ideal for the modern family
Safety rating5 Star ANCAP
ANCAP Child Occupant Protection89%
Safety assists
  • Airbags: Driver and passenger, front-side chest, front side/second-row head protection and driver's knee
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Autonomous emergency braking – city, interurban, vulnerable road user
  • Auto headlights and high beam
  • Blind spot monitor
  • Daytime running lights
  • Electronic brakeforce distribution
  • Anti-lock braking system
  • Electronic stability control
  • Brake assist
  • Lane departure alert
  • Lane trace assist
  • Road sign assist
  • Trailer sway control
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Reversing camera
  • Vehicle stability control
  • Hill-start assist control
ISOFIX child seat anchorsTwo
Who's it for?Families of up to five
Monthly running costs (Fuel, rego, insurance, membership, tyres & servicing) - 15,000km annually$4,575.36
SummaryThe RAV 4 is an all-rounder family car. There's a hybrid option for those that want better fuel economy and to leave less of an impact on the environment. The running costs are affordable, it's highly praised by car reviewers and has won many awards. Plus, it's practical and well suited to the rigours of family life.
Click price for repayments or find a deal for a Toyota RAV4 (five-door)

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on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

OnlineAuto helps customers save, on average, $4,616 on the price of a new vehicle.

Skoda Superb Wagon (five-door)

Internal space (cabin width/boot depth)1,519mm/1,131mm
Boot size (seats up/folded down)660 litres/1,950 litres
Useful features
  • Floor mats
  • Digital driver's cockpit
  • Adjustable lighting could be soothing for little ones
  • Steering wheel controls (for quickly turning off the radio or answering a call while your kids are sleeping)
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay
  • Wired Android Auto
  • Wireless charging
  • Twin USB-C ports
  • Umbrella box in driver's door (very handy)
  • Boot netting for organisation
  • Seat side pockets
  • Bottle holders
  • Jumbo-storage bin
  • Cooled glove box
  • Rear 230V plug
  • Two USB slots
  • Three-zone climate control and controls for rear
  • All-door keyless opening (useful if your arms are full)
  • Multiple ways to open up boot
  • Smart headlights
  • Adaptive chassis delivers a sporty feel and 4x4
Safety rating5 Star ANCAP
ANCAP Child Occupant Protection86%
Safety assists
  • Airbags: Front and passenger, front-seat side chest protection, side head protection for front and second row, driver's knee
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • ABS
  • Autonomous emergency braking – city and interurban
  • Attention assist
  • Fatigue reminder
  • Automatic headlights
  • Electronic brakeforce distribution
  • Emergency stop signal
  • Daylight running lights
  • Reverse collision avoidance
  • Manual speed limiting
  • Trailer stability control
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system
ISOFIX child seat anchorsTwo
Who's it for?Families of up to five adults
Monthly running costs (Fuel, rego, insurance, membership, tyres & servicing) - 15,000km annuallyN/A
SummaryA 4x4 wagon, that's got excellent safety credentials. The Scout crossover variant is an interesting model for those who want something capable of tackling more rugged roads. Plus the car has a gigantic boot! If that wasn't enough, it has heaps of family-friendly features like a waste bin, umbrella in the doors, a removable LED torch, a tablet holder and heaps of storage.
Click price for repayments or find a deal for a Skoda Superb (five-door)

Find a Deal

on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

OnlineAuto helps customers save, on average, $4,616 on the price of a new vehicle.

Thanks to their "bulk buying power", OnlineAuto.com.au is able to help you buy the car you want and potentially save you money too. In fact, the average saving through OnlineAuto.com.au is $4,104.
Promoted Find a Deal on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

Ford Ranger dual-cab (five-door)

Internal space (cabin width/boot depth)1,400-1,430mm/1,549mm
Boot size (payload)1,230kg
Useful features
  • Two 12V cabin power outlets
  • Vinyl floor coverings
  • Dual-zone climate on XLT and up models
  • Power windows
  • Embedded FordPass Connect modem
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Two USB ports
  • Windscreen mounted USB port
  • Electronic locking rear diff
Safety rating5 Star ANCAP
ANCAP Child Occupant ProtectionN/A
Safety assists
  • Auto on/off headlamps
  • Airbags: Front and side driver/passenger, full-length curtain
  • Auto high beam
  • Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection
  • Cruise control with adjustable speed limiter
  • Driver impairment monitor
  • Dynamic stability control (DSC)
  • ABS
  • Load adaptive control
  • Rollover mitigation
  • Traction control
  • Trailer sway control
  • Emergency assistance
  • Hill descent control
  • Hill launch assist
  • Lane keep aid
  • Rear parking sensor
  • Rear-view camera (on double cabs)
  • Traffic sign recognition
ISOFIX child seat anchorsTwo
Who's it for?Adventure lovers who want to take bikes and camping equipment into the outback, dual-use as a family vehicle and work ute
Monthly running costs (Fuel, rego, insurance, membership, tyres & servicing) - 15,000km annually$5,917.08
SummaryA tough as nails family ute that can double up as a work vehicle. If you have a dog, the Ranger makes a lot of sense, especially after muddy walks. Higher-spec Rangers are comparable to passenger cars in terms of equipment and tech.
Click price for repayments or find a deal for a Ford Ranger(five-door)

Find a Deal

on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

OnlineAuto helps customers save, on average, $4,616 on the price of a new vehicle.

Isuzu D-Max dual cab (five-door)

Internal space (cabin width/boot depth)1,460mm/1,570mm
Boot size (payload)1,075kg (and up)
Useful features
  • Big console
  • Upper and lower glove box
  • Power outlet in lower instrument panel
  • Flip-down sunglasses case
  • Overhead console
  • Tool storage behind front seats
  • Manual A/C
  • Power windows
  • Keyless entry
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Smart multi-information display (MID)
  • Automatic windshield wipers
  • Day/night interior rear-view mirror and easy-clean vinyl flooring
Safety rating5 Star ANCAP
ANCAP Child Occupant Protection89%
Safety assists
  • Four-channel, four-sensor anti-lock brake system (ABS) with electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD)
  • Electronic stability control
  • Traction control system (TCS)
  • Emergency brake assist (EBA)
  • Hill start assist (HSA)
  • Hill descent control (HDC)
  • Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
  • Turn assist with AEB
  • Post-collision braking
  • Forward collision warning (FCW)
  • Misacceleration mitigation (auto only)
  • Adaptive cruise control (ACC) with stop & go (auto only)
  • Traffic sign recognition (TSR)
  • Intelligent speed limiter
  • Manual speed limiter
  • Lane departure warning (LDW)
  • Lane departure prevention (LDP)
  • Lane keep assist (LKA) (auto only)
  • Emergency lane keeping (ELK)
  • Driver attention assist
  • Blind spot monitoring (BSM)
  • Rear cross-traffic alert (RCTA)
  • Reversing camera
  • Airbags: dual-front, curtain, side, driver's knee and far side airbags
  • All seat intelligent seatbelt reminder
ISOFIX child seat anchorsTwo
Who's it for?Tradies or those who need a ute for work but want it to double up as a family vehicle. Very tough and practical, with heaps of safety tech!
Monthly running costs (Fuel, rego, insurance, membership, tyres & servicing) - 15,000km annually$5,329.68
SummaryReasonable running costs, an excellent safety complement (likely the most-equipped ute on sale) and a powerful 3.0-litre diesel for towing up to a 3.5-tonne trailer or caravan. This is a ute that can really do it all!
Click price for repayments or find a deal for an Isuzu D-Max (five-door)

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on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

OnlineAuto helps customers save, on average, $4,616 on the price of a new vehicle.

Kia Carnival (five-door)

Internal space (cabin width/boot depth)1,995mm (overall width)/N/A
Boot size (seats up/folded down)627 litres/2,785 litres (Third row folded)
Useful features
  • Keyless entry
  • Eight seats
  • Reversible second-row centre seat
  • A fold-down table in the second-row centre seat
  • Outboard second-row armrests
  • Power windows for the first and second-row
  • Three front-row USB ports
  • Two USB ports
  • Higher-end models have two USB ports for the third row
  • 12V power outlet
  • Nine cup holders
  • Four bottle holders
  • Four phone holders
  • Central console storage box
  • Six-speaker sound system
  • Eight-inch colour touchscreen
  • Wired Android Auto (Apple CarPlay on higher levels)
  • Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • USB input front and rear
  • Manual A/C (higher-end models have three-stage A/C)
  • Second and third row vents
Safety rating5 Star ANCAP
ANCAP Child Occupant ProtectionN/A
Safety assists
  • ABS
  • Electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist
  • Electronic stability control
  • Traction control system
  • Hill-start assist control
  • Multi-collision braking
  • Seatbelt warning front, second row and third row
  • Rear parking sensors with dash display
  • Rear-view camera
  • Night and day rear-view mirror
  • Dusk-sensing auto headlights
  • High beam assist
  • Speed limit information function
  • Intelligent speed assist
  • Blind spot collision-avoidance assist
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Lane keeping assist with lane change assist
  • Lane following assist
  • Lane departure warning system
  • Advanced smart cruise control
  • Manual speed limit assist
  • Autonomous emergency braking (car, pedestrian, cyclist and junction)
  • Driver attention alert with lead vehicle departure
  • Safe exit warning
  • Speed-sensing auto-door lock
  • Door open warning
ISOFIX child seat anchorsFive
Who's it for?Big families, with lots of little ones. The Carnival can easily carry eight (including the driver). If you'd just had triplets, quadruplets or even quintuplets, this might be your ideal car!
Monthly running costs (Fuel, rego, insurance, membership, tyres & servicing) - 15,000km annually$6,028.32
SummaryPeople movers like the Carnival are the ultimate family vehicle. You get a ginormous boot, room for up to eight people and solid safety gadgets. Plus, higher-grade Kia Carnivals have stress-reducing features like a power tailgate and hands-free door opening. Plus, some models have dual sunroofs and five ISOFIX anchors!
Click price for repayments or find a deal for a Kia Carnival (five-door)

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on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

OnlineAuto helps customers save, on average, $4,616 on the price of a new vehicle.

Mazda CX-9 (five-door)

Internal space (cabin width/boot depth)1,476mm/1,282.7mm
Boot size (seats up/folded down)230 litres/810 litres
Useful features
  • Three-zone climate control with rear controls and vents for the second row
  • Two auxiliary 12V power outlets
  • Front and rear power windows
  • Front USB charging port
  • Centre armrest console
  • Carpet floor covering
  • Glove box
  • Overhead sunglasses storage box
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Six-speaker audio system
  • 3.5mm auxiliary input
  • Seven-inch touchscreen
  • Internet radio integration
  • DAB radio, sat-nav
  • Two USB ports and
  • Advanced keyless push-button start
Safety rating5 Star ANCAP
ANCAP Child Occupant ProtectionN/A
Safety assists
  • Airbags: Front (driver and passenger), side (front), curtain (front and rear)
  • ABS
  • Auto door lock (ADL)
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Driver attention alert (DAA)
  • Dynamic stability control (DSC)
  • Electronic brake-force distribution (EBD)
  • Emergency brake assist (EBA)
  • Emergency stop signal (ESS)
  • Forward obstruction warning (FOW)
  • High beam control (high beam control)
  • Hill launch assist (HLA)
  • Lane departure warning (LDW)
  • Lane-keep assist system (LKAS)
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Rear cross-traffic alert (RCTA)
  • Remote central locking
  • Reverse camera
  • Roll stability control (RSC)
  • Seatbelt warning
  • Smart brake support (SBS)
  • Smart city brake support (SCBS)
  • Traction control system (TCS)
  • Traffic sign recognition (TSR)
  • Trailer stability assist (TSA)
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS)
ISOFIX child seat anchorsTwo
Who's it for?A great one for growing families or those who need to occasionally carry up to six.
Monthly running costs (Fuel, rego, insurance, membership, tyres & servicing) - 15,000km annually$5,869.20
Family thoughtsMichael, Finder AU, Father of three

Things I like about the Mazda CX-9:

  • It's easy to fit three child seats side by side in the second row
  • It's one of the few cars where you can fit child seats in the rear foldable row
  • The boot is huge when the third-row seats are folded down
  • It handles really well for a big car
  • It's responsive to drive, especially the acceleration

Why did you buy a Mazda CX-9?

  • The Mazda seemed to have the most legroom for the rear row, compared to cars like the Mitsubishi Outlander, VW Allspace and the Kia Sorento

What don't you like?

  • I don't think there are any third-row air-con vents, but we don't use them all the time so it's not so much of an issue for us
SummaryThe safety list is extensive with both active and passive equipment. Seating for seven makes it practical. The styling of the CX-9 is sophisticated and modern. It's a highly-regarded car by reviewers, with great built quality. The CX-9 also offers reasonable value for money and there's an AWD version for those who want it.
Click price for repayments or find a deal for a Mazda CX-9(five-door)

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on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

OnlineAuto helps customers save, on average, $4,616 on the price of a new vehicle.

Hyundai Santa Fe (five-door)

Internal space (cabin width/boot depth)1,480mm/N/A
Boot size (seats up/folded down)571 litres/782 litres
Useful features
  • Electronic parking brake (EPB)
  • One-touch turn signal
  • 4WD lock
  • Drive mod
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Bluetooth phone connectivity
  • Eight-inch touchscreen
  • Six speakers
  • USB multimedia input
  • Bluetooth audio streaming
  • Quiet mode speaker volume limitation for a quieter cabin
  • Centre console storage bin
  • One 12V outlet
  • One USB charger
  • Wireless QI charging
  • Rear centre console power outlets
  • Power windows
  • One 12V in the luggage area
  • Heated and power-adjustable exterior mirrors
  • Manual A/C
  • Cooling/heating vents for the second- and third-row floor
  • Third row A/C manual fan speed control
  • Glove box
  • Ticket holders
  • Cup holders
  • Armrest and underfloor storage recess
Safety rating5 Star ANCAP
ANCAP Child Occupant Protection86%
Safety assists
  • ABS
  • Brake assist system (BAS)
  • Electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD)
  • Downhill brake control (DBC)
  • Hill-start assist control 9HAC)
  • Multi-collision braking (MCB)
  • Traction control system (TCS)
  • Vehicle stability management (VSM)
  • Hyundai SmartSense:
    • Blind-spot collision-avoidance assist – rear (BCA-R)
    • Driver attention warning (DAW)
    • Forward collision-avoidance assist (FCA-JT) – city/urban/interurban/pedestrian/cyclist/junction turning(camera and radar)
    • High beam assist (HBA)
    • Lane following assist (LFA)
    • Lane keeping assist – line/road edge (LKA-L/R)
    • Rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist (RCCA)
    • Rear occupant alert (ROA)
    • Smart cruise control (SCC) with stop & go
  • Emergency stop signal
  • Parking distance warning-reverse (PDW-R)
  • Rear-view camera with dynamic guidelines
  • Speed limiter
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS)
  • Airbags:
    • Driver and front passenger
    • Side (thorax) driver and front passenger
    • Side curtain airbags (first and second-row)
  • Roll-over sensor
  • Impact sensing auto door lock
  • Keyless entry remote
ISOFIX child seat anchorsTwo
Who's it for?Growing families, occasional seven-seat use
Monthly running costs (Fuel, rego, insurance, membership, tyres & servicing) - 15,000km annually$4,995.72
SummaryThe Santa Fe is another great choice for large families. Higher-end models have family-friendly features like Passenger Talk, which uses a microphone to let the driver speak with third-row passengers. The Santa Fe also presents good value, is reasonably economical to run and is stylish. According to Hyundai, the Santa Fe with the third row up can accept five shopping bags and a folded pram. With the third-row seats folded down, it'll hold 17 shopping bags and 3 folded prams.
Click price for repayments or find a deal for a Hyundai Santa Fe (five-door)

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on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

OnlineAuto helps customers save, on average, $4,616 on the price of a new vehicle.

Toyota Land Cruiser 200 (five-door)

Internal space (cabin width/boot depth)N/A/N/A
Boot size (seats up/folded down)1,431 litres to roof
Useful features
  • Vinyl floor covering
  • Power-lumbar support
  • Manual A/C
  • Power windows (all)
  • Front 12V outlet
  • Rear 220V plug (on higher spec)
  • Cruise control
  • 6.1-inch touchscreen
  • CD player
  • USB input
  • Bluetooth
  • Four speakers
  • Sat-nav and crawl control with off-road turn assist
Safety rating5 Star ANCAP
ANCAP Child Occupant ProtectionN/A
Safety assists
  • Vehicle stability control (VSC)
  • Active traction control (A-TRC)
  • Hill-start assist control (HAC)
  • Multi-terrain anti-lock braking systems (ABS)
  • Airbags:
    • Driver and front passenger airbags
    • Knee airbags
    • Front-row side and front and second-row curtain airbags (Curtain airbags on higher grades for the second and third row)
ISOFIX child seat anchorsTwo
Who's it for?Up to eight who want to go off-road for adventure and camping
Monthly running costs (Fuel, rego, insurance, membership, tyres & servicing) - 15,000km annually$7,439.76
SummaryIt's big, it's got a massive engine and it'll happily trundle along pretty much wherever you point it. Lower-end models come with a snorkel, while the higher-spec models are closer to a luxury SUV. The low grades are quite basic, but they get progressively more cushy as you move through the range. Running costs are high, but there's little else to rival it.
Click price for repayments or find a deal for a Toyota Land Cruiser 200 (five-door)

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on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

OnlineAuto helps customers save, on average, $4,616 on the price of a new vehicle.

Subaru XV (five-door)

Internal space (cabin width/boot depth)N/A/821mm
Boot size (seats up/folded down)310 litres/765 litres (up to 345 litres/919 litres on the hybrid)
Useful features
  • Auto stop/start
  • Fruise control
  • Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-Drive)
  • Power-folding mirrors
  • Privacy glass on rear window
  • Climate control
  • 6.2-inch LCD screen for infotainment
  • 4.2-inch LCD driver display
  • Centre console box
  • Retractable cargo blind
  • 12V power jacks
  • Auto-door lock
  • Boot unlocking on central locking key
  • Smart key
  • Two USB charging ports in centre console
  • Bluetooth
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto
  • Voice command recognition
Safety rating5 Star ANCAP
ANCAP Child Occupant ProtectionN/A
Safety assists
  • Auto vehicle hold (AVH)
  • Rear-view camera system
  • Vehicle dynamics control system (VDC)
  • Active torque vectoring systems
  • ABS
  • Brake assist
  • Electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD)
  • Electronic stability control (ESC)
  • Traction control system (TCS)
  • Airbags: Dual front, dual front-side, dual curtain and driver's knee airbag
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS)
  • AWD
ISOFIX child seat anchorsTwo
Who's it for?Great for a small family who likes to venture on trails or has a rough driveway
Monthly running costs (Fuel, rego, insurance, membership, tyres & servicing) - 15,000km annually$5,019.48
SummaryHybrid option is nice to have. It's a practical all-rounder, which combines decent value, Subaru build quality, sensible running costs and AWD as standard!
Click price for repayments or find a deal for a Subaru XV (five-door)

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on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

OnlineAuto helps customers save, on average, $4,616 on the price of a new vehicle.

Toyota CH-R (five-door)

Internal space (cabin width/boot depth)N/A/820mm
Boot size (seats up/folded down)318 litres/N/A
Useful features
  • Heated and electronically retractable side mirrors
  • One-touch power windows
  • Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
  • 4.2-inch multi-information display
  • Smart entry and start system
  • Dual-zone A/C
  • Glove box
  • Front cup holders
  • Front and rear bottle holders
  • Centre console box, eight-inch touchscreen
  • MyToyota app
  • Six audio speakers
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Bluetooth
  • USB input,
  • Voice recognition and sat-nav.
Safety rating5 Star ANCAP
ANCAP Child Occupant Protection77%
Safety assists
  • Toyota Safety Sense, including lane trace assist, automatic high beam, all-speed active cruise control and pre-collision safety system with pedestrian detection. forward collision warning, brake assist and autonomous emergency braking
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Blind spot monitor and road sign assist
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Reversing camera
  • Vehicle stability control, with hill-start assist control and traction control
  • Brake hold function
  • Trailer sway control
  • Seven airbags
ISOFIX child seat anchors2
Who's it for?Small family, up to two kids
Monthly running costs (Fuel, rego, insurance, membership, tyres & servicing) - 15,000km annually$4,917.72
SummaryThe hybrid is tempting for those who want to cut running costs and environmental impact. The CH-R has reasonable running costs anyway with an excellent array of safety assists and funky styling. Higher-spec CH-Rs have three-stage, dual-zone climate control, in addition to things like privacy glass, a panoramic view monitor and leather seats.
Click price for repayments or find a deal for a Toyota CH-R (five-door)

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on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

OnlineAuto helps customers save, on average, $4,616 on the price of a new vehicle.

How to choose a car suited to parents

If you go on any car review website, you'll likely find 150 different brands, each producing between 1 and 15 different models, meaning there are potentially over 1,000 unique passenger vehicles available to buy today. How on earth do you narrow down this mind-boggling number of cars and pick one that'll make your parenting life less challenging?

Here are some beneficial attributes to look for in a car – factors that will help you create a shortlist of vehicles that you and your kids will be thrilled to ride around in:

Safety is the number one priority

First off, safety is paramount and is our key consideration. Everything else on the list will result in a more practical car, but a safe car could mean the difference between walking away from a smash with minor scratches or ending up in A&E. Fortunately, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) thoroughly crash tests new cars before giving them a star rating. The maximum possible rating is five stars and as car technology advances, the test becomes more stringent. That means newer models generally are considered to offer more protection in an accident than older ones.

Each ANCAP score is broken down into sub-categories of Adult Occupant Protection, Vulnerable Road User Protection (pedestrians and cyclists), safety systems and most importantly, Child Occupant Protection. Ideally, a new car would have an 85% or higher child safety score. Active safety assists are like having an auxiliary back-up driver to keep you safe by providing an additional level of support in case you become distracted because your kids are screaming while reversing in a car park (blind spot assist and rear traffic alert) or during a lane change on the motorway (lane change assist). Some cars will even monitor the driver's concentration levels and alert them if they need a break. Adaptive cruise can reduce driver fatigue by automatically maintaining a set speed and distance to the vehicle in front. For pre-owned cars, you can use the howsafeisyourcar.com.au website to check the safety score.

Cabin space

Journeys with kids of all ages mean you have a heap of stuff to carry. Newborns and infants need feeding supplies, strollers, spare nappies, car seats and the list goes on. If you have two kids, then the number of bags increases exponentially. Older kids require booster seats, toys, food, drinks and a stroller. Likewise, pre-teens and teenagers will no doubt be bringing along half of their possessions and that's before you pack your own luggage. If you're going on holiday, you could be packed to the roof. So internal space is a crucial thing to look for in a new car.

Take your family along with you if you're testing cars down at a dealership. Make sure the car has sufficient child restraint anchors (known as ISOFIX points), preferably on the middle row. Does the car have seven or eight seats? That may prove useful as more young ones arrive over the years, extending the useful lifespan of your chosen vehicle.

Ease of use and driving assists

In the old days, cars were very rudimentary. They had a steering wheel (sometimes power assisted), seatbelts, a radio/cassette player and wing mirrors. Nowadays, even the most budget-friendly cars will have lots of accessories and fancy gadgets. Some of them might sound like a gimmick, but others are really useful and will definitely make driving a stress-free task.

Look out for models that have parking sensors and reversing cameras; they'll make tight multi-storey car parks that little bit easier and in the US alone, it is estimated rear cameras could save as many as 95 lives per year and potentially 7,000 injuries.

Keyless entry is legendary. If you've got your arms full carrying your sleeping child and shopping bags, you can simply open the door rather than having the hassle of remembering which pocket you put the fob in. A few cars even have gesture-controlled boot tailgate opening, again a boon for parents weighed down with bags.

One father, Joe W from Finder confirmed that power-opening doors are a must for parents.

A hands-free phone system helps you legally update your employer or kid's school if you get stuck in traffic. A car that's easy to drive and operate should fit neatly into your life, rather than proving a nuisance.

General practicality

Don't forget practicality when shopping for cars. If you find any of the controls hard to operate while driving, look for one that is more intuitive. Cars with triple-zone climate control will keep the whole cabin cool rather than just the front two passengers. Some manufacturers offer rear entertainment screens with built-in wireless headphones and DVD players, entertaining your children for hours on long trips.

Automotive designers have become masters at utilising the maximum available cabin space, integrating neat cubbies and storage bins that put essentials like wet wipes and snacks within arm's reach. A few car makers even install refrigerated consoles for storing drinks.

If you have young kids, leather seats are easy to wipe clean and can repel juice spills rather than absorb them. Removable mats will also limit the time you spend cleaning your car. Built-in sun shades quickly shield your young ones from the heat and bright lights as will rear privacy glass. Having roadside assistance and breakdown cover (included for several years with the purchase of a new car from some brands) will take the edge off an unexpected problem and prevent you from being stranded by the kerb for hours on end.

Boot space

Look for a car with a large boot space. Occasionally, cars that appear big externally may actually have pretty poor cargo capacity, due to the body shape or style. Boot volume is measured in cubic litres according to a German standard, VDA. The larger the number, with the middle row seats in use, the more room you have to carry stuff. Remember to check that the wheel wells and interior trim pieces don't physically restrict the useable space. You might enjoy cars with false floors, increasing storage and making loading a little easier as the floor is flush with the boot sill.

Price

Price is always going to be a major deciding factor. While a $70,000 SUV might be the perfect solution for a family of four, if you don't have the means to buy one, there's no point considering it. Check out running costs and servicing charges before committing to a purchase to see if you can truly afford a car. Decide on your budget first and make sure to use our car finance calculators to save hundreds of dollars over a car loan term.

Compare car loan options

Having kids can be overwhelming sometimes, leaving you with little time and patience for much else. Following this guide and using the below finance calculator will hopefully help you choose a great family car that you and your kids love, at a price that you can readily afford.

If you have found the vehicle you want, it might be worth comparing car loans below to see what the repayments would be on a number of different loan options. Comparing finance could potentially save you hundreds of dollars.

$
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Min Loan Amount Loan Term Application Fee Monthly Service Fee Monthly Repayment
Wisr Secured Car Loan
From 4.74% (fixed)
5.01%
$5,000
3 to 7 years
$195 for refinance and dealer sale ($245 for private sale)
$0
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 4.74% p.a. to 16.01% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible car loan from $5,000 - $63,000 with personalised rates and rewards for strong credit customers.

⭐Special Offer: Wisr's standard establishment fee $605 will be reduced to $195 for applications submitted through Finder. T&Cs apply.
IMB New Car Loan
4.88% (fixed)
5.23%
$2,000
1 to 7 years
$275.12 ($250 Application fee + $25.12 PPSR fee)
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.88% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one that's up to two years old.
Plenti Car Loan
From 4.89% (fixed)
5.44%
$10,001
3 to 7 years
from $249 to $799
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.89% p.a.
Borrow up to $100,000 with a Plenti Car Loan and benefit from no early repayment or exit fees.
Credit Concierge Car Loan
From 2.99% (fixed)
4.07%
$10,000
1 to 7 years
$350
$8.50
You'll receive a fixed rate of 2.99% p.a. with a comparison rate of 4.07% p.a.
Get access to over 20 providers to fund a new or used car.
Alex Bank Car Loan
From 4.99% (fixed)
4.99%
$2,100
6 months to 5 years
Waived $295 establishment fee
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 4.99% p.a. and 19.99% p.a.
Borrow up to $30,000 for terms between 6 months and 5 years to finance a car. The one-off $295 establishment fee will be waived for loan applications submitted by 3 November 2021. T&Cs apply.
loans.com.au - New and Dealer Used Car Loan
3.99% (fixed)
4.53%
$5,000
3 to 5 years
$400
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate of 3.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees and an optional balloon payment. Settle the loan before 30 November 2021 and enter the draw to win a $1,000 fuel gift voucher. T&Cs apply.
Stratton Finance New Car Loan
From 3.85% (fixed)
4.05%
$10,000
3 to 7 years
$700
$8.25
You'll receive a fixed rate from 3.85% p.a. depending on the lender you are approved with
Apply for up to $250,000 and use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit. Optional balloon payment available.
NRMA New Car Loan
From 4.99% (fixed)
5.69%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$499
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
Purchase a new or used car up to 3 years old and benefit from a fixed rate and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
Great Southern Bank Fixed Rate Car Loan
6.79% (fixed)
7.16%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$265 ($175 Establishment Fee + $90 Security Administration Fee)
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate of 6.79% p.a.
A secured loan with a high maximum borrowing amount up to $100,000. Redraw facility and no monthly fees.
NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Fixed
From 6.99% (fixed)
7.91%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$150
$10
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 18.99% p.a. ( 7.91% p.a. to 19.83% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
Borrow from $5,000 to $55,000, with 1 to 7 year loan terms available. This loan comes with no fees for extra repayments and no early exit fees.
Symple Loans Personal Loan
From 5.75% (variable)
6.47%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
from 0% to 5% of the loan amount
$10
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 5.75% p.a. to 25.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow up to $50,000 to pay for what you need.
SocietyOne Car Loan
From 5.95% (fixed)
5.95%
$5,000
2 to 5 years
from $0 to $595
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 5.95% p.a. and 17.49% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.
OurMoneyMarket Car Loan
From 5.35% (fixed)
5.65%
$2,001
1 to 7 years
$250
$0
You'll receive a fixed interest rate from 5.35% p.a. to 14.99% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Borrow between $2,001 and $75,000 to finance a new or used car up to 7 years.
NRMA Used Car Loan
From 6.24% (fixed)
6.94%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$499
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate from 6.24% p.a.
Finance a used car with NRMA and benefit from a fixed rate term and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
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Compare car insurance providers

While buying a family car, you'll also need to consider how much it will cost you to insure it. Our car insurance guide gives you all the information that you might need to choose a car insurance provider that suits your needs. You'll learn about what car insurance is, the types of car insurance as well as its costs. The comparison table below will let you compare the car insurance providers side-by-side and get quotes.

Name Product Roadside Assistance Accidental Damage Storm Choice of Repairer Agreed or Market Value
Budget Direct Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Awarded the 2021 Finder Award for Car Insurance - Value in QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA and Car Insurance - Features in NSW, VIC, WA, this policy offers solid coverage at a low cost. Budget Direct's claims service has received a 4.2/5 based on nearly 5,000 customer reviews.

⭐ Current offer: Get 15% discount on first year's premium when you take out a policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy without breaking the bank.
Australia Post Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Australia Post car insurance offers comprehensive cover for things like theft, fire, new for old replacement and emergency accommodation and transport. Cover also extends to anyone who uses your car, not just you.

⭐ Current offer: Get $75 off your first year’s premium when you buy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: If multiple people use the one car and you don’t want to worry about listing all drivers.
Bingle Comprehensive
Market
Finder's summary:Bingle consistently comes up as one of the cheaper insurers out there. It only covers the basics. You don't get to choose your own repairer, you're not covered for personal items in the car and unless you add it as an option, you won't get a hire car if your car is stolen. But this keeps its premiums low.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a low-cost option that covers them for the basics.
Coles Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: With Coles comprehensive car insurance, you could earn double flybuys points at Coles supermarkets and you can get $10 off your Coles grocery bill every time you redeem 2,000 Flybuys points. If your car is damaged, you could benefit from a one-week turnaround on repairs.

⭐ Current offer: Get 10% off your first year's premium when you take out a policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Coles customers and Flybuys collectors.
Virgin Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Finalists for the 2021 Finder Awards for Best Car Insurance - Value in VIC, QLD, SA, WA and TAS, Virgin Comprehensive provides a good level of cover for a decent price.

⭐ Current offer: Get 15% off on your first year’s premium when you purchase a new eligible comprehensive car insurance online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: People who'd like to manage their policy online 24/7.
Huddle Black Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Huddle's black comprehensive is its cover with highest limits and exclusive benefits. It includes roadside assistance. You can also get up to $2,000 for emergency travel and accommodation and up to $30 million legal liability cover.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a 24/7 claims processing.
Youi Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Youi Comprehensive Car Insurance is one of the few providers to include roadside assistance in its policy. You'll also get access to YouiRewards which gives you discounts on furniture, parking and more. Youi also has a live chat feature on its site to talk through any questions.

Who it might be good for: People over 25 who want comprehensive cover with a focus on customer service.
QBE Comprehensive
Green Company
QBE Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: QBE is a sustainable insurance company and also Finder's Green Insurer of the Year 2021 award winner. This policy offers the highest level of protection available from QBE including three-year new car replacement.

⭐ Current offer: Save $75 when you purchase a new comprehensive policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Those that are looking for a more environmentally friendly insurance choice.
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be with optional extras like choice of repairer and the option of agreed or market value.

⭐ Current offer: Earn Qantas Points for joining and paying your premium. Sign up today and earn up to 20,000 Qantas Points (points awarded will be based on your premium). T&Cs and eligibility apply.

Who it might be good for: People who'd like to earn Qantas Points.
Huddle Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Huddle's comprehensive policy will cover you if your vehicle is damaged or lost as a result of a collision, a natural event, a malicious act, theft or fire. It also includes up to $500 for essential repairs.

Who it might be good for: Someone who drives less than 15,000 km a year can opt for Pay As You Drive cover.
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Picture: Supplied

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