The best cars for big families in 2016

Large family cars need to be spacious, cheap to run and have enough power to carry around the weight added by a family with heavy luggage. Most family buyers also need their cars to be affordable and tough enough to withstand the day-to-day wear they’re likely to incur. Once upon a time, cars from Ford and Vauxhall ruled the family car turf, but new makes from brands like Skoda, Hyundai and Mazda have produced some excellent family cars in recent years, and the class is now one of the most competitive around. Here are a few to look out for in 2016;

Skoda Superb

As its name suggests, the Skoda Superb is among the finest cars ever made. The combination of ride quality, refinement and vast size means even the loftiest of families will have plenty of room to get comfortable. Over bumps, the Skoda is incredibly absorbent – it’s not floaty, just very well controlled and luxuriously cosseting. Your wallet will approve, too. The most efficient Superb – the Greenline – can return 76.4mpg on average and emits less than 100g/km of CO2 making it free to tax. Even the predicted bestselling 2.0-litre diesel with 148hp returns 68.9mpg and emits 109g/km of CO2 while being able to get to 62mph from rest in nine seconds.

Volkswagen Passat

It might be a conservative choice, but there’s no disputing the Volkswagen Passat’s quality. Not only does the Volkswagen offer extraordinary levels of interior space and quality, but it’s also packed with the latest in-car tech. The Active Info Display seen on some Audis makes an appearance along with numerous driver aids. Like any car from the Volkswagen stable, a choice of powerful and efficient engines is offered with the 2.0-litre diesel expected to be the most popular choice. In this application, it returns 68.9mpg and emits 109g/km of CO2 and helps the car hit 62mph in 8.7 seconds.

Ford Mondeo

Don’t be fooled by the stylish front grille, this is the Ford Mondeo, not an Aston Martin. Some question marks remain over the styling of the interior but, overall, this is an attractive, comfortable and spacious family vehicle. It’s offered with Ford’s usual range of engines so, like others on this list, the 2.0-litre diesel should be the biggest seller. It returns 68.9mpg and emits 107g/km of CO2 but its 9.3 second 0-62mph time can’t match the Volkswagen Passat’s. It’s also offered with Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost turbo petrol but reviewers say this is better suited to town use.

Mazda 6

This is one for the more enthusiastic driver. The Mazda 6 and Mazda 6 Estate might fall slightly short of rivals in terms of interior material quality but it has a wealth of other talents. First among which is a near-peerless driving experience – the 6 turns into corners with the eagerness of a sports car yet absorbs bumps with the compliance of a luxury saloon. While subjective, we reckon it’s one of the most attractive cars in its class with long flowing lines and a bold, shield-shaped grille at the front. Mazda’s petrol and diesel engines are also among some of the most advanced you can currently buy – the diesel can return 67.3mpg while emitting 108g/km of CO2.

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