The Audi A3 hatchback was voted the most popular second-hand family car, beating models by Fiat, Honda and VW.

It was the most recommended motor, based upon a survey of 2000 drivers who had children younger than 16 years old. This included taking into consideration their budgets and general needs. 

Drivers are advised to be cautious as they may end up paying a lot more for their cars if they buy now. The values of top 10 models have risen by anywhere from 13 percent to 35 percent in the past 12 months. 

The best used car to transport the children? Audi’s A3 Sportback has been named by experts as the best second-hand family motor for parents looking to spend no more than £15,500 on a motor

The recent spike in values, caused by increased demand on the back of short supply of new models, means the top-choice Audi A3 Sportback would have cost £11,500 on average one year ago.

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

A panel of parents gave specific recommendations for used cars that they recommend to motorists who have children.  

One third of respondents said that they would prefer a petrol engine. Hybrids were next (20%) and one in ten stated they would choose a diesel. 

A hatchback or SUV were the body styles most in demand for parents, while the average budget was set at £15,500 and parents wanted cars no older than six years that have covered an average of 10,000 miles per year.

The three most important criteria were: practicality, fuel economy and low running costs. 

The CarGurus study of family cars found that Audi was more popular than Fiat, BMW and Volkswagen. 

A 2017 Audi A3 TFSI 1.0-litre was chosen because it met all of these requirements.

CarGurus’ top 10 family cars and the price rises they have experienced in the last year. 
Ranking Car Avg value Nov 2020 Avg value Nov 2021 Avg value increase (£) Avg Value Increase (%)
1 Audi A3 Sportback 1.0 TFSI (2012-2019) £11,500 £14,750 £3,250 28.3%
2 Honda Civic VTEC Turbo 1.0 (2016-). £12,250 £15,450 £3,200 26.1%
3 Honda HR-V 1.5 VTEC (2015-2019) £11,200 £13,900 £2,700 24.1%
4 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer 218i (2014-) £10,450 £13,300 £2,850 27.3%
5 Volkswagen Golf 1.0 TSI (2013-2021) £10,550 £13,150 £2,600 24.6%
6 Fiat 500X 1.0 Turbo (2014-2019) £8,675 £11,250 £2,575 29.7%
7 Toyota CHR 1.2 petrol 2016-2020 £11,700 £14,950 £3,250 27.8%
8 Mercedes B-Class B180 Mercedes B-Class (2012-2019). £12,450 £15,700 £3,250 26.1%
9 BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer 218i 7-seats (2015-2021) £11,950 £16,100 £4,150 34.7%
10 Kia Carens 1.6 GDI 7-seat (2013-2019) £10,200 £11,550 £1,350 13.2%
Source: CarGurus Top 10 Ranking. Cap hpi provides value data for each model, based on vehicles that have 3 years of age and 30,000 miles.

Car Gurus praised the smooth, efficient, 1.0-litre petrol TFSI engine and five-star Euro NCAP safety rating for making it their top pick. It also achieved a real world fuel economy of 50 mpg, which is a good fit.

The A3 model is in high demand and has seen a rise in its price over the past year.

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

And the year-on-year rise in values isn’t exclusive for the A3, with Auto Trader reporting a week ago that average used prices had risen for an 80th consecutive week and a second hand car is now 27 per cent more expensive than it was in November 2020.

The 1.0-litre Honda Civic petrol was second in the list, though average values for this car have risen by 26% in the last 12 months

The 1.0-litre Honda Civic petrol was second in the list, though average values for this car have risen by 26% in the last 12 months

The Honda HR-V compact SUV with a 1.5-litre petrol engine was the third most recommended used family motor. Average second-hand prices have grown by £2,700 in the last 12 months

A 1.5-litre petrol engine Honda HRV was the most highly recommended family motor. Average second-hand prices have grown by £2,700 in the last 12 months

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

Others cars that parents are interested in include the Honda Civic 1.0 VTEC turbo and the HR-V1.5 VTEC, BMW 2 Series Active Tourer 218i and Volkswagen Golf 1.0 TSI. Fiat 500X 1.0 Turbo. Toyota C-HR 1.2. Mercedes B-Class B180.

For families that have three or more children, however, the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer 218i, Kia Carens 1.6 GDI were identified as the best seven-seater models. 

According to the study, two-thirds of parents see their car as an instrument to transport them to and from work rather than as an attachment.

Only 34% of parents said that their car was suitable for their child’s birth before they arrived.

It's no surprise to see the VW Golf - the nation's most-bought family hatchback - in the top 10 list

The VW Golf, America’s most-bought hatchback family car, makes it no surprise to be in the top 10.

While the Golf's inclusion was little surprise, the recommendation for the Fiat 500 X is. While it might not be the best to drive or most reliable, it should be cheap to run and offers practicality

Although the inclusion of the Golf is not surprising, it was a surprise that the Fiat 500 X was recommended. Although it may not be the easiest to drive or be reliable, it can be affordable and offer practicality.

Demand for second-hand Toyota C-HR SUVs is very high, which is why the 1.2-litre petrol version has increased in used value by an average of 28% in the last 12 months

The demand for used Toyota C-HR SUVs from second-hand Toyota C-HR is high. This is why the petrol version of the Toyota C-HR has seen an average 28% increase in its value over the past 12 months.

An average of 16% bought a car in preparation to give birth and just over one fifth purchased a vehicle shortly afterwards. 

The results also showed that two-thirds of people find fitting a car seat difficult. Furthermore, parents who are constantly on the go claim that their kids distract them in cars.

More than three quarters of the parents who were surveyed stated that they don’t currently have a car which can be used as a family vehicle.

Chris Knapman is editor of CarGurus. He said, “Using this research we have created an buying guide that places parents’ needs as the priority. 

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

“The previous generation Audi A3 Sportback is the best choice for families. It’s an all-around car that can do everything well. 

The Mercedes-Benz B-Class is recommended as an ideal second-hand family motor, with the average used price for a three-year-old B180 petrol being just over budget at £15,700

The Mercedes-Benz B-Class is recommended as an ideal second-hand family motor, with the average used price for a three-year-old B180 petrol being just over budget at £15,700

The BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer 218i is CarGurus top recommendation for those families needing 7 seats. Average used values have grown by more than a third in the last year

CarGurus recommends the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer 218i for 7 seat families. In the last 12 months, average used values increased more than three-quarters.

The final car to make it into CarGurus' top 10 used family cars is this Kia Carens MPV

This Kia Carens MPV is the final vehicle to be included in CarGurus’ Top 10 Used Family Cars

IAM RoadSmart has 10 best tips for parents to travel with their children when they are in the car. 

1.Comfortable clothing is important to make sure your child feels happy. You can take off their shoes if you don’t want them to. Wear pyjamas if it is late at night.

2.Before you put your child into the car seat, take off any winter jackets. These will keep the straps in place.

3.You must adjust the temperature in the car for the safety of your child and not for yourself. Unhappy, grumpy children in your car will cause stress that can lead to distractions and unnecessary anxiety.

4. Bring along food and drink – but steer clear of food that a child could choke on or anything with too much sugar.

5.Think about the impact that loose objects, such as drinks containers, can have on your car if you crash.

6. Think carefully about which toys to take – they need to be something children can reach and play with but not something that can injure them.

7. For younger kids, plan activities – there are always games you can play and ways of passing the time on longer journeys that don’t rely on physical toys.

8.You can manage the expectations of your children about how long the journey will take by keeping them informed and involved. Talk to your children about the duration of the trip and where you are going.

9.Children who are older than their parents can travel in the same car as them, and they will be able to provide entertainment. While it may not be popular for everyone, they can make some money.

10.You should plan for longer journeys so you are prepared. You should always have a few things on hand, such as nappies, towels, tissue, and hand sanitizer. IAM RoadSmart advises families to not travel more than 100 miles or two hours between breaks.

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