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Our favourite small family cars of 2016

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For many small families choosing a new car that ticks all of the boxes is the second most important buying decision they’ll make after a house. They’re probably looking for something stylish, economical, reliable, and most importantly, safe. Fortunately, the market is full of such vehicles, so this week we’re going to offer our thoughts on the best small family cars around right now.

Hyundai i30 Hatchback

Being one of the best value family hatchbacks on the road doesn’t mean that Hyundai has cut corners with the i30 – far from it, in fact. This well-designed hatchback comes with a clever user-friendly information system, a spacious and well thought out cabin, and decent boot space. Talking of space, the i30 is also great for taller drivers and passengers, having loads of head height and leg room.

Vauxhall Astra Hatchback

The Astra has always been competent without being spectacular, but the new version is a class leader, and fully deserving of its European Car of the Year award. It’s been trimmed down externally, yet manages to be roomier inside – a little like Dr. Who’s TARDIS! Seriously though, Vauxhall have managed to make the new Astra affordable, decent to drive, and one of the most stylish cars in this class.

Honda Civic

The Civic has been turning heads since its 2006 makeover, and this ninth version of that design is no different. Combining Honda’s famed reliability and innovation with real drivability and an internal cabin that’s spacious and well-built makes the new Civic a winning package. The Civic is also a winner for boot space, with 401 litres making it comparable with some large family cars.

Audi A3

When you buy an Audi you know that you’re investing in a car that’s been engineered to the highest standards, and the A3 is a fine example of that quality workmanship. The latest facelift brings the A3 bang up to date with more aggressive lines and better refinement in the engines. It may be the most expensive car in this list, but with the highest resale value here it’s worth the investment.

Mazda 3  

Another fine offering from Mazda, the updated 3 may be the most fun to drive of all of the cars we’ve picked here. Of course, that’s only an advantage if it’s well built and reliable, and the Mazda 3 ticks those boxes too. One criticism regularly levelled at Mazda is that they’ve occasionally lagged behind the class leaders for in-cabin refinement, but there’s no sign of that here; the 3 is a well-built car that will happily survive the rigours of a small family.

We know that choosing a new car is a challenge, but we hope this shortlist proves helpful along the way. Well chosen small family cars will see you through the demands of mum and dad taxi services, day trips out and school and shopping runs – plus they have the added bonus of being a breeze to park!