Contrary to popular belief, family-friendly vehicles aren’t just big, they’re filled with smart technology that keeps our family safe, clever interior designs that offer space and practicality, and they’re packed with entertainment options to keep your family occupied on long holiday road trips.
While SUVs are no doubt the go-to option for a number of car buyers here in Australia, there are also some attractive options within the sedan and wagon marketplace that offer the same family-friendly features and, in some cases, more practicality than a comparable SUV.
In order to make the most informed decision, it’s essential that you’re aware of all the potential options out there on the market, so with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best family cars in Australia in 2022.
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If you’re looking for one of the leading family-friendly SUVs in Australia, look no further than Mazda’s lineup, which offers everything from compact SUVs through to mid-size and large SUVs that are perfectly suited to the needs of a growing family.
While most families would be well-served by something like the midsize Mazda CX-5, if you have a large or growing family, Mazda’s range-topping CX-9 is one of the best family cars currently available in Australia.
Priced from $45,990 in entry-level form, the CX-9 offers a large, comfortable platform with seating for seven people, combined with a powerful turbo four-cylinder engine and a slick six-speed automatic transmission.
Mazda’s interior designs and clever packaging are some of the best in the business, adding to the sense of refinement and luxury inside without a hefty price tag, or the worries about what your kids might do to the luxury materials in premium family-movers.
If you don’t require seven seats in your next family car, the Toyota RAV4 is one of the leading options on the market, and more specifically, the RAV4 Hybrid is a particular highlight of the range. The RAV4 has cemented itself a sturdy reputation around the globe, and Australians have very much led the charge.
Now in its fifth generation, the RAV4 lineup offers some of the most attractive value for money propositions within the family-friendly SUV segment, and 2022 also sees the introduction of a new and refreshed model, packed with more equipment in spite of price drops across the range.
The platform is perfectly suited to growing families, offering a huge number of practical elements and interior space for children, a large boot and some of the best fuel economy for the segment in hybrid variants.
The base RAV4 GX is priced from $34,300, while the entry-level hybrid GX all-wheel drive is priced at $39,800, making for one of the most affordable hybrid SUVs currently on the market. Better still, Toyota has updated its infotainment technology, and bundled more creature comforts as standard, even in lower-spec models.
Kia has expanded its SUV lineup extensively over the past few years, and 2022 looks to be no different, with the expansion of the Sorento lineup to a total of nine variants for the year.
While there might not be any major feature upgrades for the MY22 year, Kia has announced plans to introduce a new hybrid variant of the Sorento, which will join the lineup that is renowned for its family-friendly abilities, smart safety tech, creature comforts and huge amounts of space and practicality inside.
The entry-level Sorento S front-wheel drive is priced at $46,290, which receives a generous amount of technology and a full suite of active safety features as standard, which are complemented by the Sorento’s strong five star ANCAP safety rating.
Better still, the Sorento can be optioned in both five and seven-seat configurations, with a massive 616L of boot space available in the five-seat variant, making it perfect for holiday road trips packed to the brim with bags and sports equipment.
For those looking to get into the great outdoors with the family without opting for a large, and at times cumbersome SUV body shape, the Subaru Outback is a particularly family-friendly wagon that is more than capable of comfortably and safely transporting your family.
The Outback is a car designed to be put to use, and isn’t afraid to get dirty, which makes it a perfect companion for adventurous families looking to escape the city. With prices starting at $40,690 for the entry-level variant, the Outback strikes a relatively budget-friendly note, too.
All Outback variants come packaged with Subaru’s active safety technology suite, which includes autonomous emergency braking and steering, while being backed by a five star ANCAP safety rating.
Better still, the Outback offers those seated in the front and rear of the cabin a huge amount of space to stretch out and get comfortable on long journeys, combined with a huge, family-friendly boot space rated at 522L. If you’re looking for a family car without opting for a large SUV, the Outback is well-deserving of a spot on your shortlist.
While Skoda might not be the go-to option for a large portion of the Australian car buying public, the Czech company is producing some absolutely outstanding cars, especially in the family-friendly segment.
The Kodiaq is an all-new, seven-seat SUV that has only just arrived to the Australian market, where it is set to go up against some of the biggest names in the business. Luckily, Skoda has more than a few tricks up its sleeve to win over buyers, including extremely generous equipment lists, reasonable starting prices and a host of added safety equipment to its Kodiaq lineup.
Prices start at $52,990 for the entry-level Kodiaq Style 4x4, and stretch out to $74,990 for the performance-based Kodiaq RS. You’ll be glad to know, though, that the entry-level Kodiaq receives 19-inch alloys, LED headlights, two digital displays, adaptive cruise control, an automatic boot lift and a set of tablet holders for rear passengers.
With three rows of seating, boot space stands at 270L, which expands to a massive 630L of boot space in a five-seat configuration, making it extremely family-friendly.
The Toyota Kluger has fast become one of Australia’s favourites in the family car segment, particularly for families in need of more space than on offer in the midsize RAV4. The Kluger offers a large, adaptable and safe platform for growing families, with hybrid options now available across all three variants.
Prices kick off from $47,650 for the entry-level Kluger GX front-wheel drive, while the entry-level hybrid variant is priced at $54,150 and receives an all-wheel drive platform. Fuel economy is rated at just 5.6L/100km on a combined cycle for the hybrid variants, which makes them one of the most fuel efficient options within the large family SUV market.
Entry-level variants receive alloy wheels, LED headlights, keyless entry and an 8.0-inch infotainment system, while higher spec variants add a panoramic sunroof, ventilated seats and leather upholstery finishes.
Whichever variant you opt for, you’ll be thrilled with the amount of space available in the rear of the Kluger’s cabin, which has made it a hit with large families and cemented itself a reputation as one of the best family cars in Australia.
The Hyundai Santa Fe is another car that has quickly climbed to the top of the ranks in terms of family-friendly motoring. What you might not know, however, that underneath the skin, the Santa Fe is actually the same car as another entrant to our list, the Kia Sorento. This is a good thing in more than just one way, because the joint development has seen the release of two of Australia’s best family cars.
The platform is perfectly suited to large families, with clever interior packaging that maximises interior space and comfort, combined with a huge boot that can swallow up to 782L of gear. Better still, Hyundai is extremely generous with its comfort, entertainment and safety features lists, which means you don’t have to break the bank to get all the features you want in your family-friendly SUV.
The Santa Fe is priced from $44,700 in entry-level form, with prices stretching out to $65,200 across three model variants, with the option of a diesel and petrol powertrain, paired with automatic gearboxes.
Our list concludes with a car that you might not have expected, but one that remains entirely competent in the face of a large family. The Volkswagen Passat is a large, spacious, comfortable and safe sedan, which makes it suitable for families with a pair of kids that aren’t necessarily interested in a large SUV.
While the sedan is perfectly suitable for families, the Passat wagon variants are a particular highlight of the lineup for growing families, combining smart interior packaging with a huge SUV-rivaling amount of boot space, while benefiting from VW’s high-level of build quality and engineering throughout.
On the road, the Passat is extremely refined and comfortable, and often behaves like a car far more expensive than the Passat. The Volkswagen Passat range kicks off from $46,590 for the 140TSI Business and stretches out to $63,790 for the rapid Passat 206TSI R-Line wagon.
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