We've reviewed three different family-friendly cars to find out which one is the best to drive around in, what with all the school rounds, tuition drop-offs, sports events and more – because we know finding the perfect family car can be tough.
Who should drive it Yummy mummies.
Looks Whoever says they don’t like the look of an Audi is lying. Cars seem to take on the character of where they come from, so while Alfa Romeos, for example, are great to look at, their temperamental nature can be annoying. German cars on the other hand look solid, dependable and able to take a big hit. The refreshed Q3 is a compact crossover in the premium SUV category – that’s ‘expensive but worth every cent’ in layman’s terms. The refreshed Q3 has a sculpted Singleframe grille, coupe-like lines and the unique wraparound tailgate – it all looks very nice.
Safety This car scores highly on the Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme), has six airbags, and there are ISOFIX (International Standard for Attachment Points for kid’s safety seats) attachments.
Interior The dashboard is what some kids would refer to as ‘just like NASA’ with the touchscreen, all the electronics, and what seems like an arsenal of buttons and dials. For those who want something simple and to just turn on the radio, it can be a bit much. The leather seats are super comfortable and easy to clean, which is a huge plus.
How fast does it go For those who care, this car can go from zero to a 100km/h in 8.9 seconds, which makes it an ideal getaway car especially when escaping a party of screaming kids.
Verdict A beautiful piece of engineering but just a little too fancy to be doing the school run in. Although, the antidazzle exterior mirrors were surprisingly useful!
Who should drive it Mums who are very involved with their kids’ activities and are constantly driving them around.
Looks Admittedly this car isn’t very pretty to look at, but it more than makes up in space and surprising speed considering this is a seven-seater MPV. From afar it looks like a large oval, but you aren’t buying this to look cool; you’re getting this to fit in kids, school bags, sports equipment and the entire living room department of IKEA.
Safety This is no doubt a safe car with its camera, ultrasonic devices, adaptive LED headlamps with glare-free high beams and Driver Alert (reminds the driver to take a break). It also comes with curve and roll stability control systems – if that doesn’t make sense, it just means the driver can maintain control of the car in adverse conditions. The car has seven airbags, ISOFIX attachments across all the middle-row seats, and a 5-star Euro NCAP rating.
Interior The S-Max has a sporty dashboard with responsive touchscreen and voice activated connectivity. Seven-seater cars are notorious for having uncomfortable last row seats and the S-Max hasn’t quite got it right either. But who cares about last-row comfort when you have and pillars, and diverts impact away from the car occupants in case of a collision. There are seven air bags and it’s gained a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
Interior The S-Max has a sporty dashboard with responsive touchscreen and voice activated connectivity. Seven-seater cars are notorious for having uncomfortable last row seats and the S-Max hasn't quite got it right either. But who cares about last-row comfort when you have Active Motion massage features in the driver and passenger seats?
How fast does it go It must be noted that for such a hefty vehicle, I was able to reverse park into a very tight space easily. This is a quick car courtesy of its 2.0l EcoBoost engine and does 0-100km in 8.5 seconds, although I didn’t test the theory with three kids in the back.
Verdict It’s quite an expensive car but you do get what you pay for – oodles of space, superb safety features and those seats. Besides, Fords are generally reliable cars.
Who should drive it Practical mums who like being a boss on the road.
Looks The Forester is like a plain Jane next to the glamorous Audi, but one whose looks will grow on you. When you think of Japanese brands, Subaru isn’t the first name that comes to mind and people who drive this make are in it for the quality, functionality and longevity.
Safety The unique safety feature here is the ring-shaped reinforcement frame which strengthens the roof, doors, floor and pillars, and diverts impact away from the car occupants in case of a collision. There are seven air bags and it’s gained a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
Interior Of the three cars, this has the simplest interior. The updated version has the mandatory touchscreen and steering wheel mounted controls, but really that’s nothing much to shout about because the focus is on the Boxer engine and symmetrical AWD.
How fast does it go Obviously the turbo version has got some kick and apparently does 0-100km in 7.9 seconds, which is unnecessary for a mum carting her kids around but it does make a nice noise when you're revving the engine!
Verdict I’ve driven one of these for years so am a bit biased, but the Forester has brought me through scrapes, survived projectile vomiting as well as spilled food and drink. It’s a car that can be driven fast and still feel comfortable. The compact SUV marketplace now is very competitive but for the price of the Forester, you get a lot of car. ■