Is an Audi Q7 the ideal family car?

There comes a point in a growing family’s life when a bigger car starts to seem less like a luxury and more like a necessity. That’s usually around the arrival of child number three.

With two kids, a regular hatchback might be a tight squeeze but at least it still works – with parents riding up front and the two child seats on the rear seat. But if you all of a sudden need to accommodate three of these bulky safety devices, your options become rather more limited as there simply isn’t enough width available. So, you need a car with three rows of seats.

Changing up to a more capacious car isn’t a cheap move or one to be done without thinking – of course, most people will want to carefully research the available options. A great first move is to find out how much your current car is worth in a private sale or a trade-in by using something like a Parkers car valuation.

We’ve rounded up a few of the best options for carrying a family below to help you form your shortlist.

Audi Q7

Price new: From £61,415

The Q7 may not have the biggest interior of them all but it has a so-far unbeatable six Isofix points for safely mounting child seats – that’s one in all five rear seats as well as the front passenger seat. That gives you loads of flexibility about where your kids sit, and plenty of room for supplemental adults to sit around them.  

The Audi’s also great to drive with powerful engines and a comfortable ride. The only criticism? You might need a roof box to carry all those buggies and pushchairs – the boot of the Q7 when all three rows of seats are in place is only big enough for a couple of nappy bags.

Volkswagen Multivan

Price new: From £43,720

The Multivan is as practical as cars get – after all, what’s more spacious than a massive box? But this box hides some clever thinking, including under the skin where in addition to normal petrol and diesel engines you can get a powerful and efficient plug-in hybrid. It’s comfortable to ride in, and much nicer to drive than the equivalent size of van-based MPV.

The seven seats slide, fold and come out in myriad ways, and the rear five all have Isofix points. Opt for the longer of the two models on offer and there’s enough space behind the third row to accommodate the trappings of family life too.

Dacia Jogger

Price new: From £16,645

Dacia has a real hit on its hands with the Jogger. Here’s a car that costs less than a Ford Fiesta to buy but has seven comfortable seats. Or, run it as a five-seater with a massive boot – and a 1.0-litre engine, simple construction and not too many fancy gadgets should ensure dependability.

The Jogger does only have two Isofix points – in the middle row, so it’s best if at least one child is old enough to ride out of the car seat. And don’t go expecting powerful acceleration, a plush interior or much street cred – this is a pragmatic car for people who want to save money.

Land Rover Defender 130

Price new: From £73,895

The Defender is brilliant if you have lots of adult passengers – all eight seats are big enough to accommodate a grown-up. But with five Isofix points on offer, it’s also brilliant if you have lots of little ones, and even those in the very back get a great view out.

The Defender’s superbly comfortable but its most impressive trait is how good it is to drive – especially off-road, where there’s very little even the boggiest B-road can throw up that the sophisticated four-wheel drive system and other off-road gadgets can’t deal with.