Family cars used to mean one specific size of vehicle – like your dad’s old Ford Sierra – but nowadays the term can be appended to a wide variety of machines, with an array of different propulsion methods. Here are our ten favourites for 2021, setting ourselves a nominal budget ceiling of no more than €40,000, as well as the vehicle having an interior with no more than five seats:
Citroen C3 Aircross
Starting price: €23,265 Drivetrain choices: Petrol, diesel
About to be facelifted but this is a striking little family crossover, with great styling on the outside and an appealingly quirky cabin. Majors on ride comfort over handling prowess, and the C3 Aircross is all the better for it.
Starting price: €22,067 Drivetrain choices: Petrol, diesel
Not yet a plug-in hybrid like its big brother, the Kuga, Ford’s revived Puma is a cracking family crossover. Has clever touches like the washable MegaBox in the boot, while its sweet chassis and striking looks make it a strong choice in this segment.
Starting price: €33,595 Drivetrain choices: Petrol, hybrid petrol, diesel
Once Ireland’s best-selling car in Mk3 guise, the all-new fourth-generation Hyundai Tucson is impossible to ignore – mainly thanks to its dramatic bodywork and mesh-like front grille. Has a wide array of drivetrain choices, too, once a plug-in hybrid model joins the range later this year.
Starting price: €30,965 Drivetrain choices: Electric
For the younger family who like a sense of style and to be a bit different, the Mazda MX-30 is worth a look. It only has a range of 200-265km, but that should be enough for most people’s daily needs, while its cool rear-hinged back doors and cork-lined interior are real talking points.
Starting price: should be sub-€40k Drivetrain choices: Petrol, hybrid petrol
Hard to overlook the family machine to rule all family machines, as the all-new, third-gen Nissan Qashqai showroom juggernaut arrives this year. Prices are not yet confirmed but it shouldn’t rise too far from the current €32k kick-off, all while bringing with it hybrid powertrains and sharp new styling.
Starting price: €32,075 Drivetrain choices: Petrol, plug-in hybrid petrol, diesel
One of the most attractive family crossovers of all has just been given its midlife refresh and the 3008 is looking more splendid than ever as a result. It has a classy cabin and good driving manners, plus there’s the option of two plug-in hybrid derivatives at the top of the tree.
Renault Megane Sport Tourer
Starting price: €26,190 Drivetrain choices: Petrol, plug-in hybrid petrol, diesel
We know Ireland is not a country that’s a fan of the estate, but a well-sorted, attractive C-segment wagon like the Megane Sport Tourer does everything you could need of a family car, at a cheaper price than a crossover-SUV. It has also just received an excellent plug-in hybrid drivetrain, under the E-Tech badge.
Starting price: €24,110 Drivetrain choices: Petrol, plug-in hybrid petrol, diesel
We’ve always loved the Skoda Octavia, and the new Mk4 pulls the same trick it has always done: it’s priced liked a Volkswagen Golf, but sized like a Volkswagen Passat. Range of excellent petrol, hybrid and diesel drivetrains, and even several high-performance RS versions for the family in a hurry, mean there’s a choice for everyone. Need more practicality? Try the absolutely vast Combi estate.
Starting price: €39,120 Drivetrain choices: Full-hybrid petrol, plug-in hybrid petrol
Just squeaks in under our budgetary limit, but Toyota’s latest RAV4 has edgy styling, a quality interior, loads of space and much-improved hybrid drivetrains that are both frugal and powerful. The plug-in model is pretty expensive, but you don’t need that; the 218hp front-wheel-drive variant is more than enough for most needs.
Starting price: €34,436 Drivetrain choices: Electric
Looks like a bit of a cheat on our part, this one, as the only models available right now are the 1st Edition versions, from €42,423 including the SEAI grant and VRT rebate. But Volkswagen Ireland has confirmed cheaper models are on the way. That includes an ID.4 City, with a 148hp motor, 52kWh battery pack and 343km of all-electric range – all from €34,436. Future family motoring, available today.