Looking for a new set of wheels to move your brood? With hundreds of car models out there, choosing really is a first world problem. Luckily every year the good folk at Drive make the task a little easier for us, with their Best Car of the Year series.
But before we jump in a see which cars were in the running and who took top spot for 2015, it’s worth running through what you need to look for in a family car. Needless to say, you will be looking at Fords not Ferraris and Mazdas rather than Maseratis.
What to look for in a family car
Make no mistake it is a tough call choosing a brood mover – you are really looking for a Swiss Army knife. It needs to be:
- Safe – think side-curtain airbags, ABS brakes and electronic stability control, at the very least.
- Spacious and practical – need I say more. Family = stuff, and lots of it. How many seats? Seven are increasingly common in SUVs. And having sensible features like storage, cupholders and configurable seats do make a real difference.
- Affordable to run – besides periodic maintenance, fuel economy needs to be reasonable.
- Be fun to drive – last but not least, modern family cars have come a long way from the tractors of yore with snappy handling and not-so-bad performance. Not that you need to break any world speed records, just have fun.
But enough of that, onto the Drive Car of the Year awards…
Family Car of the Year 2015: Ford Mondeo Trend
The winner of the ‘traditional’ family car segment had plenty of power, space and technology aboard, including, ‘autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping assistance, active cruise control, forward collision warning and pedestrian detection systems – as well as clever airbags mounted within the rear seatbelts.’ Drive also commended it for, ‘a maturity to its ride.’
The Ford Mondeo Trend is priced at $37,290 plus on-road costs.
Family SUV of the Year 2015: Kia Sorento
The editors of Drive found the Kia Sorento a worthy victor in the ultra-competitive family SUV category, ticking all the right boxes for space, comfort and practicality – as well as being fun to drive. Fuel efficiency, for a vehicle of this size, is also impressive at 7.3L per 100km.
The Kia Sorento is yours for $49,490 plus on-road costs.
The family SUV runners-up
Drive also looked at these SUVs, which couldn’t quite match the Kia in all departments.
Pros: well specified interior, all-wheel drive
Cons: only a five seater, underpowered engine
The Subaru Outback is yours for $43,490 plus on-road costs.
Pros: spacious and practical cabin, responsive handling
Cons: dated interior, engine needs upgrading
The Ford Territory is priced at $45,490 plus on-road costs.
The family car runners-up
Drive also looked at these family cars, which didn’t quite match the Ford in all departments.
Volkswagen Passat Comfortline
Pros: impressive interior finish and infotainment system
Cons: expensive to maintain, uses premium fuel
The Volkswagen Passat Comfortline is priced at $39,990 plus on-road costs.
Subaru Liberty 2.5i Premium
Pros: good resale value, impressive standard equipment
Cons: engine is a little lacklustre, ordinary styling
The Subaru Liberty is yours for $35,490 plus on-road costs.
Skoda Octavia Ambition Plus
Pros: compact, reposnsive engine
Cons: poor resale value, lack of features compared to rivals
The Skoda Octavia Ambition Plus is priced at $27,890 plus on-road costs.
Toyota Camry Hybrid
Pros: space, efficiency and low running costs
Cons: uninspiring interior, body roll and lack of brake feel
The Toyota Camry Hybrid is yours for $32,490 plus on-road costs.