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The best cars for summer road trips with your family

Your summer road trip with the family can run even smoother if you're in the right car - here's a rundown of our top picks for 2022.

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Getting on the road with your family can sometimes feel a bit of a hassle – there's a lot to pack and a lot of people to please. If you’re prepared then a summer road trip with your whole family can be a lot of fun, and part of that comes from having the right car.

Whether you’ve got a small football team to squeeze in the backseat, favour electric power, or feel like treating your family to something properly luxurious – they'll be an ideal family car to accompany you on your summer road trips. 

The best summer road trip car for large families – Volvo XC90 

Your seven-seater family car doesn't have to resemble a school bus to be the perfect match for a summer road trip – the Volvo XC90 is a glamorous option that’s just as functional. The interior is massively spacious, and the roofline doesn’t slope back in a way that’ll have your backseat passengers cramped up. The XC90 has three seats with isofix car seat points fitted, and the seats themselves move forwards to allow easy access for the little ones. Plus, the legroom you get is way more than a small child would ever need so you know there’s space for your family to grow into.  

All of these extra seats mean that you do lose a bit of boot space when compared to five-seater models, but you’ll still get between 316 to 356 litres – more than enough to pack up for a family road trip. Plus, the rear seats can be folded down to make for a lot of extra space if you ever need it. There’s also a choice of efficient engines that includes petrol, diesel and hybrid power – perfect for cost-effective cruising.  

The best summer road trip car for small families – Volkswagen Golf 

Ah, the brilliant VW Golf. It’s a perky little car that’s been a mainstay on our roads for as long as it’s been around, and it’s easy to see why. If you don’t need all the space that comes with a chunky SUV or similar model, the VW Golf is still a comfortable and roomy family hatchback that will feel great on long journeys. There are a wide range of Golf models to pick from, but each get that classic VW styling that’s quirky and ultra-modern, and a comfortable interior that’s been made to last. You’ll get a choice of three or five door options, with five seats and a boot that ranges in size from 272 to 611 litres depending on the Golf you choose, with the latter being the really roomy estate model. 

You’ll also love the touches of tech that’ll really have your back on your next road trip - including a built-in navigation system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto infotainment, and options for a sunroof.  

The best luxury car for family road trips this summer – BMW X5

Sometimes you need a bit of extra luxury in your life, and a flashy family car can be just the thing to upgrade your summer road trip. We’re not talking over-the-top flare or anything excessive, but something like the BMW X5 will feel flashy but functional – perfect for the family that values style. A BMW X5 model will get you a choice of five or seven seats, and a boot that will fit 500 to 650 litres depending on the model you choose. Models also come with roof rails fitted in classic SUV fashion, meaning you’ve got the foundations there if you want to take something extra on your adventure.  

The outer styling of the BMW X5 definitely screams luxury, but the interior is where you’ll really start to feel it. Everything is sleek and feels incredibly well made, but it’s not too fancy that you’ll want to bubble wrap it when the kids are in the back. Touches like parking sensors and cameras, built-in navigation systems, and – our personal favourite – built-in headlight washers, will definitely be appreciated on your travels. It’s those extra touches that will have you feeling really posh.  

The best electric family cars for summer road trips – Volkswagen ID.4

If you fancy going fully electric on your summer road trip and taking a more environmentally approach to driving, the Volkswagen ID.4 is a top-class option. VW claims the ID.4 has a mile range of up to 320 miles on one full charge, so you can confidently set out on a road trip and know you’ll go the distance. On the way, you’ll be able to stop and recharge (yourself and the car – service station snacks please) if you need it at one of the growing number of charging points, and get back on your way with minimal effort. On main roads, you’ll usually find rapid charging units that will take you no time at all to get a boost, but VW claims the ID4 will typical take around 7.5 hours to fully charge from flat at home, depending on the charger you use.  

It helps that the VW ID.4 is a really stylish car to look at, but you’ll also get 543 litres of boot space and a spacious interior with five seats. Going electric doesn’t mean you’ll have to sacrifice on tech and features either, as the ID.4 gets extras like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto infotainment set-ups, parking sensors, and a handy navigation unit that’ll have your back on your travels.  

The best hybrid family cars for summer road trips – Toyota RAV4  

Not all of us are ready to dive straight into the world of electric cars, so a hybrid model is a great way to dip your toes in. The Toyota RAV4 is a brilliant electric hybrid car that will feel great on your summer road trips, thanks to the spacious and comfortable cabin, and the really efficient engine. It’s available as a front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive model, the latter of which is perfect if your road trip is heading into the wilderness. In fact, the RAV4 is built with durable and hard-wearing materials that will have your back and take some roughing up from daily family use, but also still feel stylish and not too sensible.  

The Toyota RAV4 gets a 580-litre boot and five seats, so it’s well suited to families who need space. It also comes with a claimed electric-only mile range of 46 miles, so it’ll be perfect for preserving some fuel if you end up stuck in slow moving traffic (fingers crossed you don’t!).