The Family Car Compromise

The Mazda 3
The Mazda 3

It is the topic of numerous bad rom-coms – a baby arrives, and the couples life is turned upside down overnight. The bloke has to swap his sporty two-seater for a thoroughly unexciting, bulky, and practical ‘family’ car. In most cases these cars look (and, indeed, are) solid and sturdy, and big enough to transport baby, buggy, and all sorts of other things one might need. But they are most definitely not sexy or exciting.

Why can’t we have both – a car that’s both practical and something we love to look & drive? Believe it or not there are a few alternatives to boring.

Mazda 3 Anyone?

The Mazda 3
The Mazda 3

For the smaller budget, consider the Mazda 3. Prices start at an acceptable £11,240, and with a 2.2 diesel engine this hatchback manages 182bhp. The Mazda 3 accelerates to 62mph in just over eight seconds. Emissions from the diesel are around 149g of CO2 per km. The 1.6 diesel engine provides slightly less speed, but emissions of only 115g of CO2 per km, and excellent fuel efficiency: 65.7mpg. With economy like that you could afford a private number plate from a company like Carreg. Sounds pretty engaging so far. The interiors are basic, however not uncomfortable. The rear passenger seats provide enough space for offspring, the boot plenty of room for bags and buggies. With a five star EuroNCAP rating, safety concerns are also provided for. Dynamic Stability and Traction Control Systems, as well as an Emergency Stop Signalling System are fitted as standard. There are airbags for both driver and front passenger, as well as side and curtain airbags – a total of six. Collapsible break and steering columns protect the driver from injuries in case of collision. Overall this car offers great value – safe practical and punchy.

Mercedes A and B Class

If luxury and style are a big consideration, a Mercedes small family car is an option to consider. The A-Class and the B-Class are particularly good options for a family. Starting at £15,285, the A-Class avoids the usual boxy family car design – the new A class looks particularly impressive and the 1.8litre diesel engine of the A200 CDI delivers 136bhp.

The B-Class, available from £18,865, is roomier than the A, although both could comfortably accommodate growing families. The B180 BlueEfficiency manages 121bhp, 200Nm, and accelerates to 62mph in 10.4 seconds. In addition to being comfortable, the BlueEfficiency also offers a top speed of 118mph. Combined fuel consumption is 47.9mpg. A not-so-boring family car.

The collision Prevention Assistant is a standard safety feature in the A-Class, in addition to an extensive collection of air bags. The B-Class additionally incorporates a standard Attention Assistant, which is supposed to detect driver fatigue.

Nissan Qashqai For Room

If it has to be all about size, the Nissan Qashqai is a good option. Starting at £16,595 it is an affordable SUV look-alike, which combines driveability and practicality. The +2 provides two extra seats, to accommodate larger families, and the extremely roomy boot allows for extensive holiday luggage. A two-litre petrol engine is available, which manages 138bhp, fuel economy is not bad for a car of this size either at 52.3mpg. Safety features include ABS with Break Assist and EBD, ESP, and Engine Immobiliser.

So parenthood does not have to mean you can’t love your car and enjoy driving it.