As our family grows, we want a car that can grow with them. Plenty of seating, large storage capacity, room for pets and safe child seat fittings are all priorities. Many larger cars have deceptively little room when it comes to storage. Saloon vehicles my look bigger from the outside, but as a general rule have little boot space, especially when compared to a hatchback, which has plenty of space to take dogs or other pets with you on journeys. Car dealers will often extol the virtues of a particular make or model without taking into consideration your personal needs as a family, so make sure you know exactly what you require before you enter the showroom, and stick with it.
The Volkswagen Passat estate car is one of the roomiest around, with large, comfortable seating and all sorts of hidden storage areas. The suspension means it is comfortable even on long journeys, so if you’re thinking of driving the family to France for this year’s holiday, this is the car for you.
Fitting child seats properly is imperative for safety, which is why most newer cars now come with ISOFIX fittings. These allow car seats to be attached to points fitted into the car itself, rather than relying on adult seatbelts to secure them. These are fast becoming a necessity in the family car market, so whilst used car prices can be tempting, shopping from the more recent end of the market is advisable. That’s not to say a used car won’t have these fittings, but it is always best to check before purchasing.
The Toyota Avensis has been producing models with this ISOFIX feature since at least 2007, and has a spacious five door hatchback version for large families. It has a phenomenal amount of storage space, with a 543 litre boot capacity even when the rear seats are all up, and under-floor cubbies in some versions. The Verso model can seat seven, which is perfect for an ever-increasing family.