Best car to buy when you have small children

When looking at your options for the best car to buy when you have small children, new research from What Car? has found Multi Purpose Vehicles (MPVs) are the superior choice, thanks to their capacity to accommodate a greater number of child seats.

Although many MPVs and Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) feature seven seats, not all of them can fit more than two child seats into the rear rows of the car (and as I found with my Vauxhall Mokka, you cant recline many rear-facing seats because the front seats are too close!). To find out which is the best for larger families, the UK’s leading consumer champion and new car buying platform, What Car?, lined up 16 leading MPV and SUV models and tested their ability to accommodate three child seats.

What Car? tested each vehicle with three different child seats, an infant carrier, a seat suitable for a toddler, and one for an older child. Child seats were only fitted in the rear seats, with the front passenger seat omitted from the test. The two larger seats could be secured only via ISOFIX points, while the Group O+ infant seat can be secured either via a seatbelt or ISOFIX. The results are based on this scenario.

Of the seven conventional-engined large SUVs tested, What Car? was able to fit all three child seats into just two models; the Peugeot 5008 and Kia Sorento. The use of a child seat in the second or third row was prohibited in four of the large SUVs tested, and the one that could take a third seat in the second row wasn’t wide enough to do this. Luxury SUVs outperformed their budget counterparts – with three of the four models tested able to accommodate three child seats.

In contrast, of the four MPVs What Car? tested, all were able to accommodate three child seats with ISOFIX points. The latest Seat Alhambra and VW Touran models both feature ISOFIX points in all five of their rear passenger seats – a record matched by only one of the luxury SUVs; the Audi Q7.

The Tesla Model X is currently the only electric vehicle capable of accommodating the rear seats with more than two child seats. This information was not available when I was upgrading from my Mokka, but I opted to stay with Vauxhall when we were having another child, as we liked the Grandland X and one year on, I continue to be very happy with it. I can get two car seats in the back as well as sit-in between the boys, so it is ideal for my family. What may be best car to buy when you have small children for you, maybe different to somebody else, so I hope that these options help in the search.