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Best used family cars of 2021: the mid-budget Audi A3 tops the list


Parents gave their verdict on the best used family cars to buy, with the Audi A3 hatchback being the top pick ahead of models from Honda, Fiat, BMW and Volkswagen.

It topped the list of recommendations compiled from a survey of 2,000 drivers with children under 16, considering parents’ average budget and general needs for a practical drive.

But drivers have warned that buying now means they may be paying through the nose, as values ​​of the top 10 second-hand models have risen between 13 and 35 percent in the past 12 months.

Best used car to transport children? The Audi A3 Sportback has been voted by the experts as the best used family engine for parents looking to spend as little as £15,500 on an engine

The recent rise in values, caused by increased demand on the back of a short supply of new models, means a better Audi A3 Sportback would have cost an average of £11,500 a year ago.

But today – with 10,000 more miles on the clock – it sells for an average of £14,750.

The Parents’ Committee provided specific criteria for used cars that they would recommend to other motorists with children.

A third said they wanted a petrol engine, with hybrids the next choice for the most popular type of fuel (20 percent) with only one in ten saying they would go diesel.

Hatchbacks or SUVs were the styles most wanted by parents, while the average budget was set at £15,500 and parents wanted cars no more than six years old that covered an average of 10,000 miles a year.

For that amount, they also wanted a car with practical bags, low running costs, and good fuel economy – the three main criteria required.

Audi was the most preferred brand for parents, ahead of Fiat, BMW, Volkswagen, Honda, Toyota and Mercedes, according to the CarGurus Family Car Study.

With this specific list of requirements, the 2017 Audi A3 1.0L TFSI engine was the better option.

CarGurus’ Top 10 Used Family Cars – And How Much They’ve Raised In A Year
Rank the cars Average Value November 2020 Average Value November 2021 Average value increase (£) Average value increase (%)
1 Audi A3 Sportback 1.0 TFSI (2012-2019) £11500 £14,750 3250 GBP 28.3%
2 Honda Civic 1.0 VTEC Turbo (2016-) 12250 GBP £15,450 3200 GBP 26.1%
3 Honda HR-V 1.5 VTEC (2015-2019) £11200 £13,900 2700 GBP 24.1%
4 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer 218i (2014-) 10.450 GBP £13,300 £2850 27.3%
5 Volkswagen Golf 1.0 TSI (2013-2021) 10550 GBP £13150 2600 GBP 24.6%
6 Fiat 500X 1.0 Turbo (2014-2019) £8,675 £11,250 £2575 29.7%
7 Toyota C-HR 1.2 Petrol (2016-2020) £11700 £14950 3250 GBP 27.8%
8 Mercedes B-Class B180 (2012-2019) £12,450 £15,700 3250 GBP 26.1%
9 BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer 218i 7-Seater (2015-2021) £11,950 16100 GBP 4150 GBP 34.7%
10 Kia Carens 1.6 GDI 7-Seater (2013-2019) 10200 GBP £11,550 £1350 13.2%
Source: Top 10 rankings determined by CarGurus. Value data is provided by cap hpi for each model based on 3-year-old vehicles with 30,000 miles around the clock today

Fits so many standards, Car Gurus said its smooth, efficient 1.0-liter TFSI petrol engine, five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, and real-world fuel economy of 50 mpg make it the top choice.

However, the A3 is a highly sought-after model in the used market and one of the cars whose price has gone up in the last year.

Valuation experts at cap hpi said the value of the three-year-old A3 has risen 28.3 per cent in the past year, with second-hand prices increasing by £3,250.

And the annual rise in values ​​isn’t exclusive to the A3, with Auto Trader reporting a week ago that average used prices have risen for the 80th week in a row and that a used car is now 27 percent more expensive than it was in November 2020.

The Honda Civic 1.0-liter petrol is ranked second on the list, although average values ​​for this vehicle have increased by 26% in the past 12 months.

The Honda Civic 1.0-liter petrol is ranked second on the list, although average values ​​for this vehicle have increased by 26% in the past 12 months.

The Honda HR-V compact all-wheel drive with a 1.5-liter gasoline engine was the third most used family engine.  Average second-hand prices have grown by £2,700 in the past 12 months

The Honda HR-V compact all-wheel drive with a 1.5-liter gasoline engine was the third most used family engine. Average second-hand prices have grown by £2,700 in the past 12 months

The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer MPV was highly recommended by CarGurus, although price comparison cap data warns that average prices have risen from £10,450 a year ago to £13,300 today.

The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer MPV was highly recommended by CarGurus, although price comparison cap data warns that average prices have risen from £10,450 a year ago to £13,300 today.

Other cars on a parent’s wish list are Honda Civic 1.0 VTEC Turbo, HR-V 1.5 VTEC, BMW 2 Series Active Tourer 218i, Volkswagen Golf 1.0 TSI, Fiat 500X 1.0 Turbo, Toyota C-HR 1.2 and Mercedes B-Class B 180.

Meanwhile, for families with three or more children, the study identified the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer 218i and Kia Carens 1.6 GDI as the seven-seat models that best meet their requirements.

The study revealed that two-thirds of parents view the family car as just a tool to get them from A to B rather than an emotional attachment to them.

When it came to the birth of their first child, only 34 percent said their car was a perfect fit before their arrival.

It's no surprise to see the Volkswagen Golf - the country's most-purchased family hatchback - in the top ten list.

It’s no surprise to see the Volkswagen Golf – the country’s most-purchased family hatchback – in the top ten list.

While the inclusion of the Golf came as no surprise, the recommendation for the Fiat 500 X was.  While it may not be the best to drive or the most reliable, it should be cheap to run and offer practicality.

While the inclusion of the Golf came as no surprise, the recommendation for the Fiat 500 X was. While it may not be the best to drive or the most reliable, it should be cheap to run and offer practicality.

The demand for used Toyota C-HR SUVs is very high, which is why the 1.2-liter gasoline version has increased in value in use an average of 28% in the past 12 months

The demand for used Toyota C-HR SUVs is very high, which is why the 1.2-liter gasoline version has increased in value in use an average of 28% in the past 12 months

Just over a fifth bought a new car before delivery in preparation for delivery, while 16 percent spent it shortly after the newborn arrived.

It also emerged that two-thirds of them find fit a child seat to be a difficult task, and when families are on the move, 48 percent of parents claim their children distract them regularly when they are in the car.

Overall, more than a third of parents surveyed said they do not currently own a vehicle that is quite suitable as a family car.

“Using this research, we created a buying guide that puts parenting requirements as a priority,” said Chris Knappman, Editor at CarGurus.

When analyzing the survey results, our team of expert reviewers – who are also parents – sought to balance the need for practicality, safety and low operating costs with the expressed preferences of certain brands.

“And in the previous generation Audi A3 Sportback, which fits the standards of an ordinary family, parents get an excellent all-round car that does everything very well.”

The Mercedes-Benz B-Class is touted as the ideal engine for a used family, as the average used price for a three-year-old B180 petrol exceeds the budget of £15,700.

The Mercedes-Benz B-Class is touted as the ideal engine for a used family, as the average used price for a three-year-old B180 petrol exceeds the budget of £15,700.

The BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer 218i is CarGurus' top recommendation for families needing a 7-seater.  Average used values ​​have grown by more than a third in the past year

The BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer 218i is CarGurus’ top recommendation for families needing a 7-seater. Average used values ​​have grown by more than a third in the past year

The last car in the CarGurus Top 10 used family car list is the Kia Carens MPV

The last car in the CarGurus Top 10 used family car list is the Kia Carens MPV

Top 10 tips from IAM RoadSmart for parents when traveling with their children in the car

1. Dress your child in comfortable clothes to keep him happy. If they don’t like to wear shoes, take them off. If it’s late at night and they prefer to wear pajamas, let them wear them.

2. Take off the large winter coats before your child sits in the car seat as they will prevent the belts from tightening properly.

3. Get the right car temperature for your child, not just you. Having an angry and uncomfortable child in the car will cause you all kinds of stress and distraction at the wheel.

4. Bring food and drink with you – but stay away from food that the child might choke on or anything with a lot of sugar.

5. Consider the effect loose items such as beverage containers can have if they fly around the vehicle in the event of an accident.

6. Think carefully about the toys to take – they should be something that children can reach and play with but not something that can harm them.

7. For younger kids, plan activities – there are always games to play and ways to pass the time on longer trips that don’t rely on physical games.

8. To manage your children’s expectations about the length of the trip, have them participate in the progress. Tell them how long the trip will take, as well as the places you will go on the way.

9. If you have older children traveling in the car with kids, they can help keep them entertained. It’s not always popular, but it can be a great way to earn some pocket money.

10. Plan longer trips and leave prepared. Always have the likes of nappies, wipes, wipes and hand sanitizer at the ready. IAM RoadSmart recommends that families drive no more than two hours or 100 miles between breaks.

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