As one of the car industry's most competitive sectors, choosing a family vehicle can be confusing. There's a number of factors to consider; insurance, tax, fuel, space, number of seats and the overall price of a vehicle come into play.
As a result, we've streamlined the market and noted five family favourites for the road. Without further ado, here's our round up of some of the best family cars on the market at the moment.
There is a reason why the Ford Focus is one of Britain's best-selling family hatchbacks. With a level of comfort that far surpasses many other family vehicles on the market, the Ford Focus is a sweet drive. Adjustable lumbar support in the front seats and an ability to absorb bumps and cracks in the road ensures the Focus has a premium feel for a bargain price.
With such comfort on offer, it helps if the Focus is a nice drive. Fortunately, drivers are in luck - The Telegraph suggests Fords are fun vehicles to drive and the Focus is no exception. The Focus is well-weighted, lending itself to precise steering and overall "sets the standard" for driver enjoyment.
With a big boot and split folding seats, the Vauxhall Astra provides the space and practicality drivers need from a family vehicle.
As a the roofline plunges towards the back, you may be fooled into thinking the Astra has a lack of passenger space. Not true! Generous head and legroom is provided in both the front and the back, allowing your family to pile in the vehicle without making it a tight squeeze.
The Astra looks great inside and out, delivering a high quality finish aesthetically. All versions come with air-con, electric front windows and remote locking as standard while the top-end Elite trim comes with climate control and heated leather seats. Luxury!
BMW 3 Series
As the top performer in Euro NCAP's large family class in 2012, the BMW 3 Series has more than enough clout - safety features on newer models can include six airbags, electronic stability control and tyre pressure monitoring - to protect you and your family. The 3 Series can also feature the amazing BMW Assist which automatically contacts the emergency services if the car is involved in a serious accident.
The vehicle's numerous safety features don't compromise the car's stylish, sleek appearance; this is, after all, a BMW. On first glance, the 3 Series looks prime for high-ranking company executives but as a family vehicle, it features a deceptive amount of space - an impressive 480 litre boot and a significant amount of rear legroom - and with a fuel economy of 70mpg on some models, the 3 Series is a superb all-rounder.
When buying a family car, safety needs to be a top priority. Consequently, the VW Golf needs to be near the top of your list due to its remarkable safety record.
According to crash tests by Euro NCAP, the VW Gold scored an impressive 97 per cent for adult safety and 84 per cent for child protection when crash tested resulting in a five-star safety rating, beating a number of the vehicle's rivals in the family car category. Even the basic S model includes airbags as standard, a post-collision breaking system and a tyre pressure warning buzzer.
There's a lot to like about the VW Golf with its wealth of safety features and practicality. In addition, it feels satisfying to drive especially the GTI and GTD models. The VW Golf certainly demands a place on your buying list for 2014.
For performance, the Audi A3 has few rivals. Managing to accelerate 0-62mph in just 4.8 seconds thanks to its strong, flexible engines (the 121bhp 1.4 is quick enough while the 178bph 1.8 is lightning), the Audi scores extremely well when it comes to performance, ride and refinement.
The five-door model offers a lot more room compared to the three-door while the boot capacity on the former is a full 30 litres more, clocking in at 380 litres. By folding down the rear seats, this expands to an impressive 1,220 litres - that's without taking into account the false boot floor for hiding valuables.
Combining room and performance with aplomb, the Audi A3 registers as one of the top family vehicles. Audi's strong second-hand values mean if you do need to shift the car in the future, it carries a lot of financial weight in the market regardless of use.
So there you have it, the best family car list for 2014.
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