Best family SUVs 2021

Nick Francis

18 Oct 2021

SUVs are great for families because their raised ride height just makes day-to-day life easier. Here are what we think are the top 10 best on sale.

Family SUVs have never been so popular in the UK, and their popularity is only increasing by the day. It’s not hard to see why – they can offer great practicality for those who need more room from a car. 

If you’ve seen your family grow recently then not only does an SUV offer extra space, but its raised ride height makes getting things like baby buggies in and out easier, plus you have a more elevated view of the road which arguably makes an SUV easier to drive safely. 

These days plenty of SUVs offer the option of seven seats, which means they are ideal for those with multiple children, but at the same time they don’t look boxy and bland like an MPV. 

Here’s our pick of the best family SUVs on sale today. 

1. Volkswagen Tiguan

The Volkswagen Tiguan might look a bit boring in its lesser trims, but pick the sporty-looking R-Line model like the one above and things start to get more exciting. The Tiguan is an excellent family SUV, with great space, sliding rear seats and a cavernous boot. It feels plush inside, too, has great infotainment options and is easy and comfy to drive.

PROS: Roomy interior, solid build quality

CONS: Some lethargic engines, boring looks

Used Volkswagen Tiguan deals on YesAuto: £3,000 to £36,000

Volkswagen Tiguan leasing deals on YesAuto: from £241 per month

Read our full review of the Volkswagen Tiguan

2. Skoda Kodiaq

The Skoda Kodiaq is essentially a VW Tiguan with a Skoda badge. If you aren't worried about the Kodiaq's badge, it offers even more space for less money. It doesn't feel much less premium inside, either, plus comes with the option of seven seats, unlike the VW. Its infotainment is similarly great, it has nice engine options and is also comfy and quiet on the move.

PROS: Supremely practical, great infotainment

CONS: Less badge prestige than VW Tiguan

Used Skoda Kodiaq deals on YesAuto: £18,000 to £49,999

Skoda Kodiaq leasing deals on YesAuto: from £238 per month

Read our full review of the Skoda Kodiaq

3. Peugeot 5008

The Peugeot 5008 is a striking car to look at, both inside and out. Peugeot is making some fantastic interiors of late and the 5008's is both stylish and practical. There's seating for up to seven people and sliding and folding seats galore, plus all the latest infotainment and safety tech you want and need. It isn't quite as fun or quiet to drive as the VW or Skoda, but it's not far off.

PROS: Great interior, efficient engines

CONS: Third row of seats is tight

Used Peugeot 5008 deals on YesAuto: £21,250 to £42,250

Peugeot 5008 leasing deals on YesAuto: from £309 per month

Read our full review of the Peugeot 5008

4. BMW X3

You'll need a heftier budget to buy and run a BMW X3, but if you have it, you won't be disappointed. The X3 has a wonderful cabin, one of the best infotainment systems on sale and plenty of space for a family of five and their luggage. There are also great engines to choose from and a genuinely fun drive for an SUV. It isn't cheap, but nothing about an X3 feels so.

PROS: Fun to drive, premium cabin

CONS: Pricy

Used BMW X3 deals on YesAuto: £1,950 to £59,500

BMW X3 leasing deals on YesAuto: from £553 per month

Read our full review of the BMW X3

5. Mazda CX-5

The Mazda CX-5 has been around for a while now, but it's still one of the best family SUVs on sale. Mazda's design team has done a superb job with the CX-5's exterior and interior look, plus the quality inside is up there with the very best. Its infotainment is feeling long in the tooth in places, but it has all the latest tech plus you'll enjoy Mazda's brilliant engines and driving experience.

PROS: Fun to drive, excellent safety rating

CONS: Ageing infotainment

Used Mazda CX-5 deals on YesAuto: £6,995 to £33,980

Mazda CX-5 leasing deals on YesAuto: from £239 per month

Read our full review of the Mazda CX-5

6. Land Rover Discovery Sport

If you need to head off-road, no family SUV will do it better than a Land Rover Discovery Sport. That's not its only party piece, mind you. It's also great to drive on road, has a lovely cabin and some tasty infotainment touches like a digital rearview mirror. It'll seat seven, although its rearmost seats are pretty tight, so are best for occasional use.

PROS: Great tech, drives nicely

CONS: Third row of seats is tight

Used Land Rover Discovery Sport deals on YesAuto: £17,000 to £47,989

Land Rover Discovery Sport leasing deals on YesAuto: from £395 per month

Read our full review of the Land Rover Discovery Sport

7. Volvo XC60

The Volvo XC60 is a cracking family SUV. You get Swedish style inside and out, plus a genuinely spacious and practical interior for a family of five. The boot is a good size and shape, too, while the isn't a bad engine in the range. Its infotainment system is starting to look and feel old these days, but otherwise, the XC60 should be on your list of family SUV options.

PROS: Loads of interior space, great safety rating

CONS: Plug-in hybrid model can be thirsty once electric range is used

Used Volvo XC60 deals on YesAuto: £4,490 to £62,995

Volvo XC60 leasing deals on YesAuto: from £372 per month

Read our complete review of the Volvo XC60

8. Audi Q5

Audi does interior quality extremely well and the Audi Q5 is no exception. Everything looks and feels plush, as well as rock-solid in terms of built quality. There's also the latest infotainment and safety tech available inside, plus loads of space for a family of five and practical touches such as sliding rear seats. There are only two engine options, but at least both a good.

PROS: Impressive cabin, great build quality

CONS: Limited range of engines

Used Audi Q5 deals on YesAuto: £5,475 to £54,999

Audi Q5 leasing deals on YesAuto: from £431 per month

Read our complete review of the Audi Q5 

9. Skoda Enyaq

The Skoda Enyaq is the electric family SUV to beat right now. It's based on the same underpinnings as EV SUVs like the VW ID.4 and Audi Q4 e-tron, but manages to be more practical for less money. It seats five, has a generous boot and there are two battery sizes to choose between. The only slight annoyance is that you have to pay extra to add the fastest charging rates as an option.

PROS: Spacious cabin, decent range

CONS: Top spec models miss out on government plug-in car grant

Used Skoda Enyaq deals on YesAuto: £35,990 to £48,450

Skoda Enyaq leasing deals on YesAuto: from £307 per month

Read our full review of the Skoda Enyaq

10. Genesis GV70

There are sharper family SUVs to drive, but to be honest, comfort comes first with cars like this and here the GV70 does very well. It also has a very high-quality cabin, keen pricing and a long equipment list for your money. You might not recognise the badge, but the Genesis GV70 is well worth a test drive.

PROS: Comfortable to drive, high-end interior

CONS: Petrol model not very economical

Read our complete review of the Genesis GV70

What to consider when buying a family SUV

1. Space and size

Just because it is classed as an SUV doesn’t mean it will definitely suit your needs. Some smaller SUVs, or crossovers, can be as small inside as a hatchback or supermini. Be sure there is enough legroom and headroom for all of your family to be comfortable and pay special attention to the size of the boot. It needs to be able to swallow all the clutter you carry around, which any parent will tell you is a lot. 

2. Durability of the cabin

Kids make mess, that’s just a fact, and they’re also prone to breaking things. That means you’ll want upholstery that can be wiped clean and a cabin that is solidly built and robust. Stay away from swede or soft cloth upholstery and fancy but flimsy switchgear.

3. Isofix

Every parent will know what the word Isofix means, but you might forget to check if the seats fitted with child seat mounts are big enough for your choice of child seat, or if the child seat prevents the front seats from moving forwards and backward sufficiently. Try if possible to take your child seat to a test drive. For those with bigger families, don’t forget that not all SUVs have three Isofix mounts on the rear bench. 

4. In-car tech

Just about every SUV on the market offers an infotainment system that can play your kid’s favourite music or audiobook via Bluetooth these days, but some models go the extra mile to keep little ones entertained. The Land Rover Discovery Sport, for example, comes with USB charging sockets in the back of the front seats so iPads and gaming devices won’t run out of juice on a long journey. 

5. Safety

You want peace of when driving with your kids, so you might want to consider forking out for optional extra safety systems, such as pre-collision assist or a rear cross-traffic warning system. They could save you from a nasty incident one day, and you can’t put a price on that. 

6. Running costs 

It’s no good buying the ideal SUV for you and your family’s needs only to find it costs a fortune to run, insure and tax. Do your homework before your buy: check the MPG figures, get insurance quotes. Having a family is expensive, don’t make it harder for yourself financially.   

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Nick Francis

18 Oct 2021