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Best family cars

The best cars in Australia giving your family what they need: safety, reliability and space (within your budget).

Life changes as your family grows, and that includes what you need from your car. In this guide, we list some of the best car options for families in Australia in 2023.

Best Family Car Comparison

ModelFinder scoreBoot sizeSafety rating (ANCAP)ANCAP Child Occupant ProtectionAnnual running costs*Click price for repayments or find a deal
Toyota RAV482.75%580 litres5 star89%$14,258.11From $36,550

on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

Skoda Superb Wagon86.67%660 litres5 star86%-From $55,790

on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

Ford Ranger ute85%1,230kg5 starN/a$16,340.20From $40,680

on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

Isuzu D-Max dual-cab-1,075kg5 star89%$16,933.40From $40,700

on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

Kia Carnival people mover-627 litres5 star88%$18,809.14From $51,690

on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

Mazda CX-9-230 litres5 starN/a$18,625.46From $45,990

on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

Hyundai Santa Fe-571 litres5 star86%$17,567.61From $49,550

on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

Toyota Land Cruiser 30081.50%1,431 litres5 starN/a$29,308.11From $88,990

on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

Subaru Crosstrek80.75%310 litres5 starN/a$13,771.73From $34,990

on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

Toyota CH-R-318 litres5 star77%N/AFrom $30,915

on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

Prices are for NSW postcode 2000.
*Running costs calculated by RACV for private use and correct as at December 2022. Costs include rego, insurance, membership, fuel, servicing, loan repayments and tyres for 15,000km annually over 5 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 (5-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
  • 3 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 anchors2
Made forFamilies of up to 5
Yearly running costs (fuel, rego, insurance, membership, tyres, servicing, loan repayments) - 15,000km annually$14,258.11
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)

on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

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

Skoda Superb Wagon (5-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
Made forFamilies of up to 5 adults
Yearly running costs (Fuel, rego, loan repayments 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 (5-door)

on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

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

Ford Ranger dual-cab (5-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
Mde forAdventure lovers who want to take bikes and camping equipment into the outback, dual-use as a family vehicle and work ute
Yearly running costs (Fuel, rego, loan repayments, insurance, membership, tyres, servicing) - 15,000km annually$16,340.20
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)

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 (5-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
Made forTradies 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!
Yearly running costs (Fuel, rego, loan repayments, insurance, membership, tyre, servicing) - 15,000km annually$16,933.40
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)

on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

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

Kia Carnival (5-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
Made forBig 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!
Yearly running costs (Fuel, rego, loan repayments, insurance, membership, tyres, servicing) - 15,000km annually$18,809.14
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)

on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

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

Mazda CX-9 (5-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
Made forA great one for growing families or those who need to occasionally carry up to six.
Yearly running costs (Fuel, rego, loan repayments, insurance, membership, tyres, servicing) - 15,000km annually$18,625.46
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(5-door)

on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

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

Hyundai Santa Fe (5-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
Made forGrowing families, occasional seven-seat use
Yearly running costs (Fuel, rego, loan repayments, insurance, membership, tyres, servicing) - 15,000km annually$17,567.61
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 (5-door)

on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

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

Toyota Land Cruiser 300 (5-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
  • Dusk-sensing auto headlamps
  • USB input and bluetooth
  • Steering wheel controls
  • Reversing camera
  • 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
Made forUp to 8 passengers who want to go off-road for adventure and camping
Yearly running costs (Fuel, rego, loan repayments, insurance, membership, tyres, servicing) - 15,000km annually$29,308.11
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 300 (5-door)

on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

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

Subaru Crosstrek (5-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
Made forGreat for a small family who likes to venture on trails or has a rough driveway
Yearly running costs (Fuel, rego, loan repayments, insurance, membership, tyres, servicing) - 15,000km annually$13,771.73
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 (5-door)

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
Made forSmall family, up to two kids
Yearly running costs (Fuel, rego, loan repayments, insurance, membership, tyres, servicing) - 15,000km annuallyN/A
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 (5-door)

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 with 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 a few features to look for in a car to help you create a shortlist of vehicles that you and your kids will be thrilled to ride around in

Safety: The number one priority

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 emergency. 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 if you become distracted. We never think it will happen, but we've all been there, the kids scream while we're trying to reverse park or something similar. This is where features like blind spot assist, rear traffic alert) and lane change assist can save lives. 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 more. If you have two kids, then that number doubles. 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.

part from space, 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 or 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. In the US alone, it's estimated rear cameras save as many as 95 lives per year and potentially 7,000 injuries.

Keyless entry is also one to watch out for. 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.

While shopping around dealerships, ask about family-friendly features because there may be some handy ones available. For examples, some cars come with a phone system that can update a nominated number, such as your employer or kid's school, if you get stuck in traffic.

Remember that acar 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 a car 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 from the outside may actually have pretty poor cargo capacity because of 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 in the car you end up with. While a $70,000 SUV might be the perfect solution for a family of four, if you don't have the budget for it, 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 loan calculators to save hundreds of dollars over a car loan term.

Family car finance options

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.

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1 - 7 of 76
Name Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp. Rate (p.a.) Application Fee Monthly Fee Monthly Repayment
loans.com.au - New - Variable Rate Special
Variable3 - 7 Years $5,000 - $150,000
Interest Rate (p.a.)
6.24%
to 7.74%
Comp. Rate (p.a.)
7.36%
to 8.85%
Application Fee
$400
Monthly Fee
$8
Monthly Repayment
$630.83
Go to siteMore Info
OurMoneyMarket New Car Loan
Fixed1 - 7 Years $2,001 - $75,000
Interest Rate (p.a.)
6.57%
to 18.99%
Comp. Rate (p.a.)
7.19%
to 21.78%
Application Fee
$250
min.
Monthly Fee
$0
Monthly Repayment
$622.82
Go to siteMore Info
Stratton Finance New Car Loan
Fixed1 - 7 Years $10,000 - $300,000
Interest Rate (p.a.)
6.52%
to 18%
Comp. Rate (p.a.)
6.95%
to 23%
Application Fee
$395
Monthly Fee
$0
Monthly Repayment
$625.27
Go to siteMore Info
You'll receive a fixed rate from 6.52% p.a. depending on the lender you are approved with.
Apply for up to $300,000 and use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit. Optional balloon payment available.
Verified Lending Used Car Loan
Fixed1 - 7 Years $10,000 - $200,000
Interest Rate (p.a.)
7.1%
to 18.99%
Comp. Rate (p.a.)
8.06%
to 22.99%
Application Fee
$395
Monthly Fee
$0
Monthly Repayment
$630.67
Go to siteMore Info
OurMoneyMarket Used Car Loan - No Vehicle Age Limit
Fixed1 - 7 Years $2,001 - $75,000
Interest Rate (p.a.)
6.57%
to 18.99%
Comp. Rate (p.a.)
7.19%
to 21.78%
Application Fee
$250
min.
Monthly Fee
$0
Monthly Repayment
$622.82
Go to siteMore Info
Stratton Finance Used Car Loan
Fixed1 - 7 Years $10,000 - $300,000
Interest Rate (p.a.)
6.52%
to 18%
Comp. Rate (p.a.)
6.95%
to 23%
Application Fee
$395
Monthly Fee
$0
Monthly Repayment
$625.27
Go to siteMore Info
You'll receive a fixed rate loan from 6.52% p.a. with a comparison rate of 6.95% p.a.
A used car loan of up to $300,000 with quick approval times and balloon payment options.
loans.com.au - Variable Rate Used Car < 5 years
Variable3 - 7 Years $5,000 - $150,000
Interest Rate (p.a.)
7.74%
to 7.74%
Comp. Rate (p.a.)
8.85%
to 8.99%
Application Fee
$400
Monthly Fee
$8
Monthly Repayment
$644.82
Go to siteMore Info
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