Best big new cars for blossoming families

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Need to fit more than two child car seats into a motor? What Car? revealed which car type you should be in the market for...


Not all big SUVs are suitable for blossoming families: Measurements reveal which new large cars can fit more than two child seats in at once

  • What Car? tested 16 large cars and found only MPVs are able to carry more than 3 small children at once 
  • Only 4 of 12 popular SUVs had capacity for 3 child car seats using Isofix points
  • The motoring magazine warned parents of large families to shop carefully

Sport Utility Vehicles are dominating car sales, especially among those in need of a bigger motor for a growing family.

However, not all SUVs are up to the task if you need to fit more than two child car seats into a vehicle at once, automotive magazine What Car? has revealed.

It measured the interior space of 16 massive models you can buy in showrooms today.

The research found that only four of 12 SUVs had the capacity for three or more child car seats using Isofix points at once. However, all four MPVs tested could take at least a trio of child seats.  

Need to fit more than two child car seats into a motor? What Car? revealed which car type you should be in the market for…

Of the 16 models tested, 13 were seven seaters, suggesting plenty of room for big groups.

The other cars featured were the Tesla Model X – which sits up to six – and two large five-seater SUVs. 

While all the cars tested were aimed at blossoming families, not all of them are fit for purpose if you have more than two children under the age of 12 or are shorter than 135 centimetres – and therefore are required to use a child seat.

And SUVs were found to be less accommodating than MPV. 

Of seven mainstream large SUVs the magazine tested, only two models – the Peugeot 5008 and Kia Sorento – were capable of accommodating three child seats at one time using Isofix points.

And the issues with space in SUVs didn’t end there. 

The use of a child seat in the second or third row was prohibited in four of the large SUVs What Car? tested.

Large 7-seat SUVs are not always best if you need to fit 3 or more child car seats. For instance, the Peugeot 5008 can fit 3 across the second row of seats

However, the Hyundai Sante Fe is only capable of installing two child car seats using Isofix

Large 7-seat SUVs are not always best if you need to fit 3 or more child car seats. For instance, the Peugeot 5008 (left) can fit 3 across the second row of seats. However, the Hyundai Sante Fe 9right) is only capable of installing two child car seats using Isofix

The 6-seat Tesla Model X is more than suitable if you have a small army of children to transport

The 6-seat Tesla Model X is more than suitable if you have a small army of children to transport

All 4 seats in the back are suitable to install child car seats using Isofix mounting points

All 4 seats in the back are suitable to install child car seats using Isofix mounting points

One of these models also claimed to be able to take three child seats across the second row using Isofix points, though researchers found there wasn’t enough room to do this. 

The Tesla Model X – with a six-seat arrangement –  is currently the only electric vehicle that allows for the installation of more than two child seats. In fact, all four rear seats are suitable for small children.   

HOW MANY CHILD CAR SEATS CAN YOU FIT IN THESE 16 LARGE CARS? 
Model Number of seats Number of child seats that can be installed using Isofix Number of child seats that can be installed using Isofix and seat belts
LARGE SUVS 
Citroen C5 Aircross 5 2 2
Honda CR-V 7 2 2
Hyundai Santa Fe 7 2 2
Kia Sorento 7 2 4
Mazda CX-5 5 2 2
Peugeot 5008 7 3 5
Skoda Kodiaq 7 2 3
ELECTRIC SUVS 
Tesla Model X 6 4 4
LUXURY SUVS 
Audi Q7 7 5 5
BMW X5 7 2 5
Land Rover Discovery 7 4 5
Volvo XC90 7 2 5
MPVS 
Ford Galaxy 7 3 5
Seat Alhambra 7 5 5
Vauxhall Combo Life XL 7 3 3
Volkswagen Touran 7 5 5
Source: What Car?       

Luxury SUVs – including the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Land Rover Discovery and Volvo XC90 – outperformed their budget counterparts with two of the four models tested able to accommodate three or more child seats in one go.

In contrast, of the four MPVs What Car? tested, all were able to accommodate three child seats using Isofix points. 

What Car? conducted the tests of 16 different models on the market. All are aimed at big families

What Car? conducted the tests of 16 different models on the market. All are aimed at big families

Big MPVs like the Seat Alhambra are best suited for those who need to transport three or more kids in child seats

Big MPVs like the Seat Alhambra are best suited for those who need to transport three or more kids in child seats

The Audi Q7 - which costs from just over £50,000 - might be expensive but is suitable for large families

The Audi Q7 – which costs from just over £50,000 – might be expensive but is suitable for large families

The latest Seat Alhambra and VW Touran models both feature ISOFIX points in all five of their rear passenger seats – a record matched by only one of the luxury SUVs; the Audi Q7.

Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car?, said: ‘This just goes to show how important it is for new parents, especially those with multiple kids, to do their homework when buying a new car. 

‘A vehicle may feature seven seats, but if only two can accommodate a child seat, it may not be the ideal choice.’ 

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