If you’re looking for a used car that’s a little bigger than your average hatch, to suit a growing family, and if you look towards the less glamorous end of the used car market, you can find some real bargains as people downsize. Here’s our guide to five practical, bigger used car purchases.
Alfa Romeo 156
The Alfa Romeo 156 is one very stylish used car choice. It’s a four-door car that, thanks to its hidden rear door handles and curvy styling, actually looks a lot like a two-door coupe, so you can fit the family in without compromising on style. You can still be a cool dad, as it were.
The 156 is a mid-size motor that can carry up to five passengers and while it’s not the very biggest in its class, carrying three kids, two adults, and their associated luggage won’t be an issue.
Mixed up with the Alfa’s Italian styling – it won international awards when it was first launched – is a pretty decent range of engines, with the 1.9-litre diesel probably being the best bet for families that travel lots of miles. Payment-spreading car finance can be a great way of financing your shiny new Alfa 156.
BMW 3 Series
The BMW 3 Series is a popular choice with various types of motorist for a very good reason – it’s a very good car. For as long as most of us can remember, the BMW 3 Series has been at the top of the new and used car sales charts, and for a growing family they make a lot of sense.
Sure, these aren’t the cheapest used, mid-size cars on the market, and they hold their prices because of their desirability. But, search around and you’ll find the right BMW 3 Series out there for you and your family.
Safe, well-built and frugal, the 3 Series has enough space for the average family, and when the kids aren’t in tow, dad can still look cool in one of the most understatedly stylish cars around.
Citroen Xsara Picasso
If you look up ‘good value family car’ the in dictionary, chances are there will be a picture of the Citroen Xsara Picasso alongside that description. Keep an eye out and you’ll spot Xsara Picassos all around on your next drive.
Citroen invented the purely practical family car with the Xsara Picasso, and thanks to good value, plenty of space and rugged reliability, the Picasso sold in the thousands in the UK. This means that you’ll find plenty on the used car market.
Plenty of room for five, economical engines and lots of boot space make the Xsara Picasso extremely attractive to growing families. Not the coolest car on the block, mind.
The Ford Mondeo is a good used car choice, whichever model year you can afford. The newer the model, the better the fuel economy and interior space will be, but even the early Mondeos did well for space and frugality.
Proven to be a reliable car and with absolutely thousands to choose from on the used car market, spares and servicing for the Ford Mondeo should be one of the cheapest in its market segment.
Again, like the Picasso, perhaps not the most stylish car in town, but for those looking for space and safety for a growing family, the Mondeo is definitely worth a look.
The Nissan Qashqai is the family car that every family wants right now, so that does mean it’s not the cheapest of our five star family cars. But, it’s the newest, makes great use of its interior space, and features some of the most frugal engines.
The Qashqai kicked off the currently popular UK new and used car buying trend a few years ago – the MPV, or multi-purpose vehicle. It’s basically a taller, car-style bodyshell on a mid-size car chassis, but thanks to that taller roof line you get more interior space and a higher and therefore better view of the road ahead.
Nissan spotted a gap in the market and filled it very well with the Qashqai, so if you’re looking for a good-size used family car that you could keep running – with low servicing and running costs – for several years, the Qashqai should be on your test drive list.