Medium Family Car - Suggestions

Looking for suggestions for a mid size family car that I may not have considered.

I'm downsizing from a larger car so want to get something with a smaller foot print, but still have a young child.

I'll probably keep this car for 3-4 years max, so my child will be the ages of 4-7 during that time.

Budget less is better, but < 50K optimal.

My wife and I are both over 6ft, and with a kid seat in the back we need to be mindful of legroom. Kid being young, car can't be too high to get in/out.

Currently on the list:

VW Golf Alltrack
Volvo XC40
VW Tiguan

Off the list:

Mazda CX5 - cramped leg room
Toyota RAV4 - wife didn't like them
Subaru Forester - interior space n the tight side. already had a few subaru's so wouldn't mind something different anyway.
Mazda 6 wagon - head room lacking
Nissan - family have some xtrails , nothing but issues. not fond on the fit and finish


  • Skoda Octavia RS or Superb - wagon or sedan.

    • Thoroughly agree although Superb seemed too big for us. We have a 2019 Octavia (not RS). It's our 2nd one, the first was a 2014 model we had for 5 years. Wife actually wanted an SUV in 2015 due to bad knees, but as soon as she drove the Octavia said "this one".

      I'm 6ft and can sit behind a 6ft driver no problem. Huge boot too.

      Very economical. Since we've had this one (only 5 months from new) it's mostly been suburban driving with occasional city and rare 50-100k each way day trips. It's averaging 6.5l/100.

      FYI has the same engine and gearbox as VW Golf and Audi A3.

      • FYI has the same engine and gearbox as VW Golf and Audi A3.

        And many other VW group vehicles.

        They are like mechano sets.

        On my Octy I have fitted:
        Golf GTI rear sway bar
        Golf GTI front brakes
        Audi S3 alloy control arms
        Golf GTI koni dampers
        Eibach Octavia springs for a diesel wagon (I have a petrol sedan)
        Golf R Intercooler
        Passat soft close dampers on the grab handles
        2 sets of Audi A4 wheels
        1 set of Audi S3 wheels
        Other things I can't remember

  • Subaru Outback? New ones are coming out end of the year/early 2021 (2.4t would be my pick).
    Given you're saying that interior space was tight in the CX5 and Foz, and given you're primarily listed SUV's/ Soft-Roaders but have thought to include regular wagon/sedan, it seems like a perfect fit given its ample space and practicality and its a much lower centre of gravity than the Soft Roaders and feel like a regular car to drive.
    Understandable if you've looked over it given the fact that you don't want another Subie.
    Current gen has dual isofix, so car seats will be easy to move about and can comfortably fit another seat if another comes in the meantime.

    This is a biased opinion (I own one).

    • Yep, I also actually currently own one. It was one of 3 cars that was going to work for us for boot space and having a rearward seat.

      Great car, probably wouldn't buy another, just a bit big for parking around the cramped streets.

  • I reckon you should go with this new Tiguan in stock. It is quite specced out with the 2.0 litre engine upgrade. And it will come with a new 5 year warranty since its a 2020 model
    It also has the 4motion AWD
    Also I can confirm that the Tiguan has some really good legroom

  • Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross - back seat can slide back and forth.

    • Tiguan does too. Wouldn't buy a car based on the back seat sliding back and fourth
      ive driven the 2.0 Tiguan and it feels very peppy

      • just saying, as he strike out CX5 for being cramped. and one thing he is looking for is legroom. : )

    • thanks for the suggestion, haven't come across it

  • Toyota RAV4 - wife didn't like them

    She must kayak. At least she did her research.

  • Personally I'd go with a wagon over mid size SUV.
    As said above, Skoda Octavia RS 245, Subuaru Levorg or a used Golf R for a bit of fun…may be cosy in the back for the kid with the front seats back a fair way though?

    The Superb or Passat if you want it a bit bigger (these would be my pick). New will be slightly over the 50k DA though. The Superb Scout would be nice but also over budget.

    • I agree wagons are usually a bit more space efficient. Currently have a subaru outback. It's a great car and has a heap of space but I no longer need to cart pram's around so I'd like something a little smaller.

      Imprezza/Levorg a bit too small, need to have the seats all the way back which leaves no room for the kid. I've had a Golf R before so already had my fun with that. I think the golf alltrack gives a bit more useful boot space.

      Passat isn't much smaller than the outback and I've already owned that before too (in the vr6 variant, that was a pretty fun car)

      • Sounds like you've done a lot of research, just can't quite find the right vehicle to fit the brief.

        I'd definitely give the Superb a look but if you're familiar with the Passat it might not tick the box. They are very well equipped though.

        Could get a used Stinger if you want a fun sedan.

  • It's not in your budget but the just launched 2021 Genesis G70 looks great.

  • Honda CRV?

    We've one for a family of 2 + 2. It's a 7 seater version. Kids are 5 + 7yo so suits our current lifestyle.

  • i just bought a base Skoda Octavia wagon (can't afford RS) and it is absolutely perfect for me.

    I have two kids and there's plenty of room plus the boot is massive, bigger than most SUV's. Drives well and decent on fuel.

    • Do they still have that strange hump in the middle of the roof? I went to look at one a few years ago and all away along the centre of the roof there was a lower part that we both hit our heads on.

  • No Suggestion for Camry?

    • Bit bigger than I was hoping for.

      Tried the corolla but we don't fit in the front.

      • Camry is pretty similar to Mazda 6 in size..

        And I'm surprised you don't "fit" in a Corolla??
        I'm 6' bang on and I'm not quite at the back of the rails in my wife's Elantra.
        How much over 6' are you?

        Nissan Pulsar has a lot of leg room in the back seat (not that I'd typically recommend a Nissan these days)

      • Really? I'm 6'2" and was previously a car mechanic, there weren't many cars J couldn't easily fit in. It's not an uncommon height. If you were 7 foot I could see an issue.

  • Mitsubishi Outlander? I'm well over 6 feet tall and there is heaps of leg and head room in the one I drive for work. Rear seats also slide back and forth to give more leg room or more cargo space. Daughter is 8 and has no issue getting in and out of the car on her own. Should get plenty of change from $50k. More reliable and cheaper to maintain than the "Euro" examples.

    Maybe a Kia Sorento or Hyundai Tucson/Santa Fe?

    They're not real good on the badge snobbery part though. Don't know what your kids playgroup/school minimum requirements are…

    • Fully loaded santa fe is well into euro money! They certainly not what I remember they were like back in the late 90's/ early 00's

  • Your 4-7 year old must be a giant if a CX-5 has cramped leg room.

    • Need to have the front seats slid fully back to comfortably sit in one unfortunately.

      Mazda is just one of the brands that doesn't work for us.

      • I would say forget about the 'perfect' car if you're only going to keep it for 3-4 years. Buy the one with the best resell value or easiest to do so.

        These aren't cars of desire or are anything special, just utility to get you through a phase in life. Save up for something decent afterwards.

        • agreed, not really looking for "perfect" just one with the right balance of compromises for the current lifestyle. which is why I try and stay away from the cars that are usually done on fleet lease deals. The resale suffers when I do a changeover.

          Car is just a utility to me, but I do appreciate a nicer one, so I am willing to spend a little bit more on it. 50K is what i've come to be comfortable spending on a vehicle.

  • Have you tried a Ford Mondeo, either sedan or wagon. I work with a 6'2" guy who owns one as a family vehicle (wagon). He's very impressed with it.

    My wife owns a CX5 and I'm 6'1" tall. Only time leg-room is a problem is with the baby seat in the back in rearward facing position. Even then I can sit comfortably for a while, but then I can't extend my legs fully.

    • Not a recent model, looked at them about 5 years ago, but probably worth a look.

      Yeah my wife is a bit taller than that, and then I am a bit taller again.

  • R.I.P hatchbacks and Sedans

    Welcome to the new world of boring boxy SUVs.

    • haha yeah. I've owned my fair share of hatchbacks and sedans. I just find the space in the suv, especially in the boot more useful day to day for what I use a car for.

      When the kid is a bit older and doesn't need a booster etc, I'd probably go back to a sedan.

      • Loading and unloading kids from a sedan/wagon when you're tall is not ideal. We had a Camry for years and when we changed to a Sorento, it was a nice change with the higher profile of the SUV.

        OP - you should look at Kia/Hyundai.

        • yep 100%. why suffer if you don't have to.

          Agreed, probably going to take a walk around the dealership

  • Looked at Peugeot 3008 GT-Line? That and the Tiguan are the best SUV's currently on offer IMO. The XC40 is nice too but more expensive.

    • I have access to a pretty good discount on the xc40 to bring it at the same price as the tiguan.

      Haven't considered the pug, last time I checked it was in the mid 50's but worth another look

  • 2 year old Toyota Camry in True Blue Mica Metallic.

  • Your on the list of 3 euro cars should fit your 3-4 yr max requirement. Go for a Camry if you decide on keeping one longer.

  • Volvo have the cashback gig on at the moment 5k I think it is… Never owned one but I like the look of them… not many around so resale could be reasonable.

    Ps.. reasonable legroom is a thing of the past in the back of cars… we did the rounds of SUV's late last yr with both kids in tow, both teens and they hated most of them

    • End up buying anything?

      • Mitz ASX… she didnt care the kids were cramped in the end.. it was for her.

        • How does she like it now, a year later?

          • @modiika: yea shes happpy with it.. although Im not a fan of the gearbox… call me old fashioned but I like gears that change..

            • @pharkurnell: I felt like the steering was a bit disconnected or something when i test drove it on the weekend.

              It was incredibly hard to turn down their offer, 2020 demo model (4000kms), exeed (top variant) for $28.5k driveaway. I think they were desperate because it was end of month. But in the end I just didnt like the feel.

              • @modiika: Buyers market.. offer em 25k :)

                we went on run out sale, think it was 22k but just base model

                dealers would have been selling nothing in recent months, end of month sales would be awesome… :)

                • @pharkurnell: THe best i'd seen elsewhere for that model was 31k drive away. It's normally advertised at 37k.

                  They were offering me less on the lower models.

                  The Corona virus has been weird on the car market. Some cars that are slightly less popular at the moment the dealers seem desperate. I.e they were very keen to offer me 10%ish percent discount at Mazda. But VW and Kia didnt want to budget at all on pricing, or so minimal as to be basically meaningless.

                  • @modiika: Agree.. but i think most of them are bluffing or have been told by the mother ship to hold off discounting…

                    Many Car salesmen have quotas' they need to sell… holding out on price isnt going to sell anything

                    • @pharkurnell: Yeah, i think part of the issue is where Covid has limted stock. IE VW shut production for a month, and all have had shipping delays. THere isnt as much pressure on the dealer as there is so little stock coming through. It makes sense to hold for the best price you can get, as you cant move volume.

                      No doubt the manufacturers have stock backing up, particularly those that didnt close their factories, but that stock doesnt seem to be on shore hurting the local dealers. Maybe their will be a real glut of stock in 2-3 months. Although situation seems to be worsening in Europe and US, so who knows for american and european cars.

  • Kia Sportages are affordable and well specced, albeit not as big as the Rav4 which i think would be a pick of the lot. The latest Hybrid Rav4 had a 6 month waitlist for a reason.

    Personally i believe the Sportages are a good mid sized alternative to the VW's without the eurotrash reliability, not the funnest thing to drive but still it serves as a strong SUV.

    If you can stretch to it the XC40 is a nice car and as long as it's within the warranty period would be a great buy.

  • Honda Accord, or Honda CRV, or budget HRV, thinks they all get 7 years warranty now plus road side emergency service. >>> it's for twenty years don't need to replace

  • I can highly recommend the Tiguan, am a current owner. Happy to answer questions

    • Cheers mate. Any issues so far? Any negative off the top of your head ?

      • I have the Wolfsburg with the 162TSI (same engine as the Golf GTI) and its a great unit, plenty of power. As for the DSG it works flawlessly, and the key is to drive it like a manual. People always hate on the DSG but once you adjust your driving to work with it, it works perfectly. The only negative is on really cold days the DSG can be a bit hesitant e.g not as snappy, but as it warms up its fine. Apart from that I can't really think of any niggles. For servicing I have found it to be pretty good, and definitely not as expensive as people make it out to be. Here you can see the servicing cost for 5 years at VW (, but for me I take it to my VW specialist which also works out to be a bit cheaper. Honestly for the $50k you could get a used but fully optioned Highline, with the R-Line pack, and IMO it is much much better than the Asian SUV rivals, which I cross shopped. It feels much more premium and refined. Hope it helps!

      • As for issues, the only one was that the head unit was playing up when the car was in reverse, and a quick update by the dealer fixed it

  • I have a late 2017 MK7.5 Golf 110TSI Highline wagon and it’s been good. I’m 6 foot 5 and the head room is good - the full length sunroof with auto blind is amazing and our 3 kids under 11 still fit in the back. Boot space is amazing (605l) which I think is better than any suv including the Tiguan. Niceties which I could no longer live without include adaptive cruise, auto parking, full LED headlights and blind spot monitoring. Best thing about it is that it was less than $40k drive away with 5 year warranty - equivalent Tiguan is $10k more.

    There is a slightly raised version in the Alltrack Premium (on your list) but two things to keep in mind service costs on the Alltrack are much higher and it doesn’t have blind spot monitors/rear cross traffic alerts on any grade as they can’t put the sensors in the plastic bumpers.

    Skoda is another good option - I personally find their ‘packs’ annoying as you need to get them all to get some things you want - and their sales service in brisbane was lacking.

    Hope you find something suitable.

    • I agree the Golf wagon is great alternative to the Tiguan and definitely worth considering, esp fully loaded. How have you found the 110TSI?

      • I like it - I like low capacity turbo petrols and I feel like 110 is plenty for a small FWD wagon. Fuel economy of the 110 is great also - we’ve done 65,000k and we average low sixes per 100km - it does require PULP though.

        I’d only owned manual cars before this but medical emergency meant we had to get our first auto suddenly and since I’m used to driving manuals I’ve had no problem adjusting to the DSG which is more like an automated manual. I disliked the conventional auto in the Mazda6 wagon I test drove against the Golf.

        • That's good to hear, sounds like its got plenty of get up and go for its application. The Wolfy (which is stage 1 APR), gets about 8-9L per 100 kays (98 octane) on the daily commute so im pretty impressed, also done about 50,000km.

          You hit the nail on the head by referring to it as an automated manual, if only the critics knew….

        • I test drove a lot of vehicles and ended up with the 110 golf (also came from a manual car)

          What do you mean the DSG drives differently? Is there some different technique to drive it?
          To me it drives like any auto

  • I haven't read all the comments but let me tell you about what I think you need with 6ft, family safety, economy…. the car you want is the FORD MONDEO MD TITANIUM HATCH DIESEL. Anything past 2015 will have airbag seatbelts even in the back seat, autonomous braking, self parking, AC power in the back seat even! The Titanium equip level features aren't even all mentioned in most ads, but you must see it to believe it. The diesel engine is super quite and strong and gives <6 liter/100km combined mileage. Phenomenal mileage considering the size of this èssentialy small ford falcon replacement. For a mid sized car it is massive, but you must test drive one and consider it. Make sure you go for Titanium to get all the great innovations! Self levelling suspension, dynamic cruise control (never go back) blind spot alerts, electric tailgate, great stereo,…. my previous cars were Peugeot, but I'm pretty sold on the mondeo. Check the reviews! One review which gave it a low star rating complained of all the tech on board, claiming its more to go wrong!! But in 4 years he had nothing go wrong but still complained about too many buttons..
    Do yourself a favour and check it out!

    • Cheers mate. Someone else suggested it and I haven't looked at one in the past 5 years so I'll have a look.

  • Can I recommend you consider adding VW Passat on that list? Bigger than the Golf but a much better family car overall. I have a VW 3.6 VR6 CC. Beautiful car and low running / servicing costs. A refined car. It's really a budget Mercedes. The Passat might be too big for you though you don't state what you are downsizing from? The Passat can come with 4Motion AWD. My CC has it though it's for traction control vs. 4WDing.

    I've never been a fan of SUVs, they are small inside and expensive to purchase / run and service. Many shorter people like SUVs for the high riding position though you are both tall so I think you will need more leg room overall. It's also easier for kids to get in/out of a sedan than an SUV. A Golf might be too small for you. The Passat has plenty of room for a child and a friend plus the boot space to carry lots of gear. My brother has two children and they traded in two Golfs to a single Passat. If the Passat is too big then perhaps a Skoda or a Suburu mid size sedan.

  • Devise a list. Contact for brochure to be sent out. Weigh up the pros and cons. Go for test drive. Pay on way out

  • You mention that your wife had owned a previous RAV4 and hence ruled this one out. I have had the previous model RAV4 twice as hire cars (an AWD 2.5l and a FWD 2l) and strongly disliked them both. They weren't bad cars but I just couldn't bring myself to get enthused over them.

    The new RAV4 is a brand new car with little carryover from the previous model. My partner has recently purchased a Hybrid RAV4 Cruiser AWD and it's nice. I just put a 1000km on it over the weekend and I can barely fault it. Rides and handles brilliantly, goes like the clappers, well built, lots of technology, easy to drive, and at 6foot3 I fit fine too. I think you'd be doing yourself a disservice by not testing one.