In the past, buying a family car meant trading in power and performance for safety and steadiness. Thankfully, times have changed, and now it’s possible to buy a car that can carry the full family, plus a boot load of groceries, whilst retaining that much needed fun factor.

 

Don’t believe us? Here are ten cars that prove ferrying the family doesn’t need to be boring.

VW Golf GTI

volkswagen Golf GTI family car

A hatchback may seem an unlikely candidate to head up this list of family cars, but hear us out. Not only is the VW Golf GTI one of the most exciting hot hatches money can buy, it boasts a spacious and sturdy cabin that’s more than capable of withstanding the everyday demands of family life. Sure, you don’t need 217bhp to drop the kids off at school, but on the next family road-trip you’ll be thrilled at what the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine can achieve on a winding British A-road. For parents still serious about their driving, the Golf GTI offers no compromises.

Volvo V90

Volvo V90 family car

If refinement, comfort and space are at the top of your family car wish list, look no further than the all-new Volvo V90. Setting the benchmark in luxury, the V90 has a premium feel and sense of build quality that puts the likes of BMW and Mercedes to shame. And, while it’s big and spacious, the V90 is by no means slow. Opt for the D5 diesel engine, and you’ll get a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 232bhp — plenty of oomph to keep you and the kids entertained on long journeys. As for safety, Volvo has a matchless reputation, so it should be easy to convince your other half this is the right car for the job.

SEAT Leon Cupra 280

SEAT Leon Cupra 280 family car

That’s right, we’re back to the hatchbacks. But like the GTI, Seat’s Leon Cupra 280 is no ordinary mid-range family car — its 276bhp engine allowing it to speed from 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds, and reach a top speed of 155mph. And it isn’t just straight-line speed that makes the Leon Cupra so impressive; the electronically controlled limited-slip diff gives it the poise of a much more expensive car, and its also great to look at, with sporty design cues that make it a cut above the GTI in the style stakes. Add surprisingly high levels of comfort and safety, and you have a car that’s as good on the school run as it is at the Nürburgring.

Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake

Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake family car

If you really don’t want your car to look like a family car, opt for the Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake. With its shouty aerodynamic body kit, the XFR-S Sportbrake is a reminder that large family cars needn’t be boring. Indeed, even without the Evo-esque spoiler and splitter, the Sportbrake is bound to be an exciting proposition for speed-starved parents. Beneath the bonnet is a 542bhp supercharged V8 capable of 0-60 in 4.4 seconds and limited to 186mph, and yet, despite this ferocious speed, the XFR-S Sportbrake is easy to drive in town, making it a sensible (albeit, rather expensive) addition to our family car shortlist.

Ford Focus ST

Ford Focus ST family car

Thanks to its reliable all-round performance and peerless safety record, the Ford Focus has been a go-to family car for years now. If the idea of owning a Focus doesn’t get you excited, you could always persuade your better half to let you buy the ST version of this family favourite. The Focus ST is regularly voted as Britain’s best hot hatchback, and with fun handling and blistering speed, it’s easy to see why. Couple this with the practical perks of the standard car, as well as complete affordability, and we think the Focus ST could well be the perfect family package.

Audi RS4 Avant

Audi RS4 Avant family car

Audi make a shedload of fast, family-friendly saloons and estates, so it can be tricky to cherry-pick the best from the bunch. Our favourite is the Audi RS4 Avant, a 4.2 litre V8 estate with 444bhp under the bonnet. Audi’s crack-team of engineers teamed up with Porsche to create the RS4 Avant, and the result is quite simply brilliant. The Avant’s enormous power outlay is sent to the wheels via Audi’s legendary Quattro four-wheel drive system, which not only makes the car extraordinarily quick, but very safe on most road surfaces too. Just be careful when driving home with a load of groceries; the RS4’s 4.7 second 0-60 means it’s easy to turn a boot of shopping into a jumble sale.

Mercedes E63 AMG

Mercedes E63 AMG family car

Apart from estates and 4X4s, there’s no better family car than a saloon. And who makes the best saloons? It has to be Mercedes. Their latest E63 AMG is perhaps the most potent saloon car ever made, sporting a 5.5-litre, twin-turbo V8 that effortlessly produces 549bhp. Capable of seating five in absolute comfort and luxury, but with muscle car levels of performance lingering beneath the bonnet, the E63 blurs the line between family runabout and fully-fledged supercar.

Porsche Macan Turbo

Porsche Macan Turbo family car

Compact SUVs have become all the rage on the school run, and the Porsche Macan Turbo is the king of this new breed of Chelsea tractor. Combining the practicality of a five-door SUV with the performance of a regular Porsche sports car, the Macan Turbo really does have to be driven to be believed. The car boasts a twin-turbo V6 engine and is limited to 165mph, so if you’re running late to pick the kids up from school, the Macan will get you to the school gates very quickly indeed.

BMW M3

BMW M3 family car

Next on our family cars shortlist is BMW’s now legendary M3, whose iconic status carries a weight of expectation matched by no other. Since the first M3 rolled off the production line in 1986, each new variant of BMW’s so-called ‘ultimate driving machine’ has surpassed its predecessor — both in terms of power and performance, and safety, practicality and comfort. Because for all its performance benchmarks, the M3 is still an incredibly practical family saloon that’s as at home cruising the motorway as it is delving down tight city streets.

Skoda Octavia vRS

Skoda Octavia vRS family car

Skoda used to be the car brand snubbed by badge snobs, but after years of releasing great cars, it has at last shrugged aside its image as the world’s least desirable car manufacturer. In fact its latest hot saloon, the Octavia vRS, is among the most exciting family cars you can get your hands on for under £25k. The vRS benefits from a 2.0 turbo-diesel engine developing 181bhp, meaning this big old saloon can charge from 0-62 in 8 seconds, and all while carrying the kids, the dog and a boot-full of baggage — bravo Skoda.

 

Whether it has fifty horsepower or five hundred, cars become a big part of the family — so show your reliable runabout some TLC with Simoniz. Our products offer lasting protection and shine for your car, helping you to retain its just-bought look for longer. To find out more, visit the Simoniz website.

Image credits: Flickr Creative Commons: Miles Continental, Bekir Topuz, Yahya S., Ben, Rocking Cars, David Villarreal, smoothgrooverDein Nordrhein-Westfalen, Frank Derks