Safety first. It's an old adage but a valuable one, and never is it more relevant than when we're talking about the best cars for families. When you're shopping for a car for you and your family, we understand that while clever features, good looks and the latest technology are important, your chief concern is much more likely to be how safe a car is.
In the UK, car safety is judged by ratings provided by Euro NCAP - the European New Car Assessment Programme, who give each car tested a star rating to indicate the level of safety protection it provides. In recent years, ratings have proven more important to consumers than ever - in fact, nine out of ten cars sold in Europe have a star rating. Today's manufacturers clamour to get a five-star rating, which thankfully means you're less likely to have to sacrifice style for safety.
How is car safety tested?
Essentially, Euro NCAP test cars by crashing them and seeing what happens! The cars are crashed head-on, side-on and in a slightly offset to one side position, containing crash test dummies sized to replicate an adult and a child in and out of a car seat. The dummies are covered in sensors that show the parts of the body which would feel the force the most in the event of a crash. Euro NCAP also test pedestrian safety, the effectiveness of seatbelts and airbags and car rigidity in the event of an accident.
Ranking positions change each year but here's a roundup of some of the safest used cars for families around right now. As you'll see, choosing a car with a five-star rating doesn't have to mean driving something that resembles a tank or missing out on top-class driving experience.
A beautiful example of a supremely safe car that delivers for families on prestige and driveability, both the Audi A4 and the Audi A5 scored a full five stars in 2015. With a roomy interior and large backseat, it's spacious enough for most families, and some trim levels boast added safety features such an Exit Warning system, which alerts you to traffic coming your way before you open the door.
Classed as a small family car, the Renault Megane is a stylish five door hatchback that achieved top marks for safety in 2015. Its lightweight and economical, and from 2015, some trim options come with plenty of standard safety features for your money, including lane departure warning and active emergency braking.
The hugely popular Vauxhall Astra is a reliable choice, but one that doesn't compromise on looks thanks to the sleek lines of its models from the last few years. The 2015 Astra was awarded five stars for safety, due to its light yet super-strong body and electronic stability control. Some trim options also include a traffic sign recognition that links to dashboard display and a forward-facing camera.
Comfortable and well-appointed, the large Volkswagen Passat can make swift work of long motorway journeys with the family with a minimum of fuss. Another high achiever in the safety stakes, the Passat earned full marks in 2014. Some models from 2014 onwards have a Pre-Crash system that works to diminish the effects of a collision by sensing obstacles and automatically slowing the car if the driver fails to brake, automatic post-collision braking and an alert for the driver that prevents them falling asleep while driving.
A hugely spacious mid-sized SUV, the Nissan Qashqai was one of the first crossover cars and could be described as an elevated version of a family hatchback. Not only an affordable and great looking car, the Qashqai also got a five-star rating from Euro NCAP in 2014. These cars have a load of safety equipment included with some trim levels, including speed assistance systems, lane departure warnings and forward emergency braking.
The excellent value for money represented by the Ford Mondeo has long made it a staple option for families. Its safety standards also set it apart - it's another car that scored the full five stars for safety in 2014. On certain models, the Mondeo features a rock-solid frame, two automatic emergency braking systems, blind spot monitoring and a pedestrian detection system.
Selected for their excellent safety ratings and family-friendly credentials, these are just a few of great used cars we have in stock here at Carbase. All our cars are RAC approved under the RAC BuySure scheme, so you can rest assured that the car you are buying has undergone a thorough audit inspection before we placed in on sale. What's more, you'll get a three-month warranty and 12 months complimentary breakdown cover.
Search for your new used Carbase Car today or visit one of our locations.