The front exterior of a black Peugeot 3008

Top 8 used small family cars

Fancy a car that’s fit for family life yet easy to park and affordable to own? Then have a look at our guide to the best small family cars around.

We all know that family life can be challenging but the best family cars can make it easier.

Whether it's enough legroom to stop your little darlings kicking the seats, a boot big enough to cope with your next staycation or something that simply makes the school run a bit more stress-free, there are plenty of great options out there. And they don’t need to be big or expensive either.

Here’s our guide to the best used small family cars, each of which packs family-friendly practicality into something that’s easy to park and cost-effective to own.

1. BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

Thanks to the fact we’re listing our cars alphabetically, we kick things off with a little touch of class. BMW is better known for its sporty saloons and big SUVs but it also makes MPVs. It might not be labelled as such, but that’s effectively what the 2 Series Active Tourer is, and what makes it such a great family car. Its high seating position and large windows are perfect for keeping everyone comfortable, and means that the kids get a good view that might keep them a bit quieter on long journeys. 

A large boot and variety of ways to fold the rear seats give you the kind of versatility you’d expect of an MPV, while you also get the high-quality interior and driving fun you’d expect of a BMW. And if you need even more space you could opt for the slightly longer Gran Tourer model, which has seven seats rather than five.

Read our BMW 2 Series Active Tourer review

2. Dacia Duster

Value for money is at the heart of the Dacia Duster’s appeal. Quite simply, it’s one of the least expensive small family cars you can buy. It’s also an SUV, so you get raised ground clearance and a boxy body that makes access easy. There’s lots of headroom and legroom inside, while the boot is huge. That means you don’t have to pack light for family holidays, unless you want to.

Like most Dacias, the Duster doesn’t have such up-to-the-minute tech as some rivals but it’s solidly built and has everything you really need. It’s comfortable to drive and easy to see out of, while the engines all return excellent mpg.

Read our Dacia Duster review

3. Ford Focus Estate

The Ford Focus is deservedly one of the UK’s best-selling cars. It’s great to drive, full of high-tech features and inexpensive to own. While the hatchback version is a superb family car there’s a lot of sense in going for the estate model, particularly if you’re looking to double-down on practicality. 

The Focus estate looks just as sharp as the hatchback, it doesn’t cost a whole lot more and the boot space you get is much larger. It’s so big, in fact, that you rarely have to worry about packing things in intricately or deciding what to bring and what to leave behind. More often than not you can just bring everything!

The estate is every bit as much fun to drive as the hatchback, with a comfortable, family-friendly ride, great handling and a range of strong, smooth engines.

Read our Ford Focus review

4. Peugeot 3008

It’s no secret that SUVs make great family cars and the Peugeot 3008 is one of the best. It’s about the same size as a Nissan Qashqai, so it’s easy to slot into parking spaces. The square-edged shape helps too, because you can clearly see where each end of the car is. 

Compact family cars don’t come much more stylish than the Peugeot 3008 either. It has a sharp, modem look on the outside and its futuristic interior design combines with excellent quality and some clever tech to make it feel posh and up-to-date. 

Some versions have a panoramic roof that floods the interior with light and allows those in the back to star-gaze at night. It’s a lovely feature, although it does reduce headroom in the back a little. Even so, there’s space for even the tallest passengers to get comfortable and the boot is huge. To top it all off, the 3008 is as good to drive as it is to look at, with a smooth ride and strong engines.

Read our Peugeot 3008 review

5. Renault Captur

The Renault Captur has clearly been created with young families in mind. This compact SUV takes up only a tiny bit more space on the road than the Clio supermini that it’s based on yet it offers as much interior space as some much larger, more expensive cars. It’s a very clever piece of design.

It has pretty much all its rivals beaten for interior space, and it has a larger boot than most of them, too. The fact that it’s so comfortable and quiet on the road makes it even more suitable for families, while some very efficient engines help to keep running costs low.

It looks the business too, and there are a huge variety of colour options including contrasting roof, door mirror and trim colours that make it one of the most individual-looking SUVs around.

Read our Renault Captur review

6. Seat Leon

When judged against cars of a similar type, the Seat Leon is a superb all-rounder. It’s fun to drive and is available with a range of responsive yet very economical engines. It comes with a high standard of luxury and safety equipment and it has all the tech features you could want. That’s a whole lot to like. 

While it doesn’t give you the raised seating position of an SUV, the Leon has lots of what makes car trips with the family easier: space. The back seats provide more legroom than most other small hatchbacks and the boot is similarly large. Inside and out the Leon has a dash of design flair that sets it apart from most other small hatchbacks, while it’s also one of the most cost-effective small family cars we can think of.

Read our Seat Leon review

7. Skoda Karoq

Skoda’s cars are well known for giving you more than you expect for your money and the Karoq SUV certainly does that. It’s a compact SUV that costs less than some family hatchbacks and which comes with all mod-cons. The interior is roomy and well built and you get a bigger boot than you do with many other compact SUVs. 

It’s not just the Karoq’s outright space that’s impressive. It’s also full of ingenious design touches that make it versatile and family-friendly. Most versions come with something called Varioflex seating, which allows you to do all kinds of clever things. The three back seats can slide, recline and fold independently, for example, and for maximum load-carrying capacity they can be removed altogether. So whether it’s getting the kids, the dogs, hobby equipment or a mix of all of the above inside, the Karoq is perfect for the job.

Read our Skoda Karoq review

8. Vauxhall Crossland X

What if you could combine the roominess and versatility of a small MPV with the rugged style of an SUV? That’s what Vauxhall has done with the Crossland X. Thanks to its upright shape, it packs a lot of practicality into a car that’s not much longer than a Vauxhall Corsa. The high seating position not only guarantees a great view out for you and the kids, it also makes it easy for everyone to get in and out and means there’s not as far to reach when you’re strapping your little ones into their child seats.

The Crossland X is also very competitively priced and the petrol and diesel engines available are all very fuel-efficient.

Read our Vauxhall Crossland X review

These are our favourite small family cars – whether you’re interested in one of these or something a bit bigger (or smaller) you can find it at Cazoo. Each of our cars is thoroughly inspected and reconditioned to the highest standards and you can have it delivered to your door, or choose to collect it from your nearest Cazoo Customer Centre.

We're constantly updating and adding to our stock so if you can't find one within your budget today, check back soon to see what's available.

Looking for something a little bigger? Why not read our guide to the best used family cars. Thinking of getting an MPV or SUV but don't know where to start? Why not read our guide to the best used MPVs on the market or our list of the top SUVs available?