Best family cars for Motability 2024

With five seats and decent boot space, a family car is still an attractive proposition for Motability users

​Although superminis have grown to offer more space, there are times when a proper five-seat family hatchback is still what you need. The rise of the SUV and crossover has drawn some buyers away from the class, but you can still get a spacious and practical family car in a compact five-door body and Motability customers will find plenty of choice available under the scheme.

A lower ride height and less weight usually mean running costs are better than you'll get in a similar crossover or SUV, while comfort and handling will be better than the family hatchback's high-riding counterparts, too. These cars are great for longer distance driving - some even feature adaptive cruise control to ease some of the strain, and there is plenty of useful tech on board to help with urban driving, too, such as parking sensors and advanced tech including autonomous city braking.

​Best family cars for Motability 2024

These are our picks for the best family cars on Motability, all of which offer plenty of space and low running costs.

Kia Ceed

If you prefer a car that isn’t too hung up on flamboyance, the Kia Ceed is one of the most sensible choices on the family hatchback market. While there’s plenty of variation in the Ceed range – including the XCeed and Proceed – the slightly more humble base model still provides all the modern essentials wrapped up in an attractive-styled package. There’s room for five on board, along with a 395-litre boot, and standard tech includes a touchscreen infotainment system, air-conditioning, a reversing camera and DAB radio. There’s even some luxuries such as heated door mirrors and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.

It may be sensible but the Ceed is also rather good to drive. It’s not about to blow away any hot hatchbacks but it handles respectably well. The sole 1.5-litre T-GDi ISG petrol engine allows the Kia to accelerate from 0-62mph in under 9 seconds. When we placed the Ceed face-to-face against the hybrid-powered Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, the pure-petrol Kia returned a reasonable 43.5mpg, so it shouldn’t prove too costly at the pumps.

Things get even better if you choose a Ceed via Motability, too, as you can bag yourself a mid-range GT-Line spec model with zero advance payment. This gives the Ceed a sportier appearance with some tweaks to the styling, and throws in some added extras such as a larger touchscreen, LED headlights and rear parking sensors.

Vauxhall Astra

With Vauxhall now part of the broad Stellantis empire of brands, the latest Astra sits on the same EMP2 underpinnings as the Peugeot 308. That has allowed the introduction of a plug-in hybrid and all-electric variant for the first time, although these can be expensive choices for Motability customers.

We’d recommend sticking with the 1.2-litre petrol. The initial rental isn’t huge if you choose a manual gearbox, and the petrol engine is well-suited for short trips across town. It’s comfortable on the motorway, too, and this engine boasts a claimed fuel economy of around 50mpg. This figure should also be reflected in the real world, as we managed a 49.3mpg average in our long-term test car. This is the sort of economy you’d expect from a fairly recent diesel engine. Incidentally, there is a diesel engine also available if you plan to make the most of Motability’s 20,000-mile annual cap.

In the boot space race, the Astra is more capacious than its arch-rivals, the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus. The Sports Tourer estate is a strong choice if you need extra practicality, with its near-600 litre loadbay, be careful, though, as this model incurs some much higher advance payments.

Toyota Corolla

The Corolla is a return to form for Toyota in the family car segment, holding up well against its nearest rivals in every area that’s important. The British-built hatch offers great refinement, a pliant ride, fantastic build quality and handling that’s precise and controlled if not the last word in entertainment.

There’s very little to dislike – its hybrid powertrains offer a good combination of performance and economy, even if its CVT gearbox can feel a little ponderous.

Toyota has given the latest Corolla a distinctive, sharp look that takes cues from the larger Toyota Camry saloon and C-HR SUV. Inside, the Corolla boasts a simple but modern design that’s clearly laid out and generally very well made. Every version has five-seats and varying levels of boot space, but the hatchback and Touring Sports estate models are both practical cars.

Traditionally, one of the best reasons to buy a Toyota has been reliability, and the latest Corolla is no exception. Excellent finishes for both car and manufacturer in our latest Driver Power satisfaction survey highlights the tremendous build quality, levels of safety and overall refinement of this first-class family hatchback.

Need new wheels for your loved ones? These are the best family cars...

Recommended

Ford Focus vs Vauxhall Astra: family hatchbacks do battle
Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra - front tracking
Car group tests

Ford Focus vs Vauxhall Astra: family hatchbacks do battle

Compact hatches have been a staple of both brands’ line-ups for decades
27 Dec 2023
Toyota Corolla review
Toyota Corolla - front tracking
In-depth reviews

Toyota Corolla review

The Toyota Corolla offers impressive efficiency, peerless reliability and an enjoyable drive, but admittedly isn’t the most practical hatchback
22 Dec 2023
Toyota Corolla GR Sport long-term test: a high-quality but slightly cramped hybrid
Auto Express features editor Chris Rosamond and his family standing behind the Toyota Corolla
Long-term tests

Toyota Corolla GR Sport long-term test: a high-quality but slightly cramped hybrid

Final report: a trip to the West Country underlines our hatchback’s strong points
17 Nov 2023
Kia Ceed review
Kia Ceed - front tracking
In-depth reviews

Kia Ceed review

The Kia Ceed is one of the firm’s best-selling cars, and the latest model is a hatchback front-runner
8 Nov 2023

Most Popular

Government in major U-turn on pick-up truck tax changes
Ford Ranger - side
News

Government in major U-turn on pick-up truck tax changes

HMRC scraps its plan to axe the benefit-in-kind ‘loophole’ for pick-ups, a week after announcing it
19 Feb 2024
Car Deal of the Day: Land Rover Defender looks the business at £324 per month
Defender Hard Top - downhill off road
News

Car Deal of the Day: Land Rover Defender looks the business at £324 per month

The current Defender is a fantastic SUV van for businesses and is our Car Deal of the Day for 20 February
20 Feb 2024
“The £16k Dacia Spring is an electric car game-changer”
Opinion - Dacia Spring
Opinion

“The £16k Dacia Spring is an electric car game-changer”

With many people claiming electric cars are just too expensive, editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks the Dacia Spring’s arrival in the UK is exactly wh…
21 Feb 2024