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good (cheap?!) car for up to 4 children - any advice?

(23 Posts)
wethree Thu 20-Aug-09 13:23:39


i'm expecting number 2 in feb 2010 and my DS will then be 3. i also have two step children in their early teens and i'm trying to solve our potential transport issues!

they live far away and don't visit frequently but are here for a few weeks when they come, about 4 times a year.

at the moment we have two cars but i'm wondering if we could consolidate to one that would take all 6 of us next year? for the most part, it will only be me, my hub and two children but is there something that can accommodate the older two as well so we don't have to travel in convoy?!

i'm keen to avoid the typical people carrier big van style (ie Galaxy) but can't think of any alternatives?

any tips greatly appreciated smile


Nighbynight Thu 20-Aug-09 14:13:48

We have a mid-size people carrier, ie one step down from the Galaxy (its cheaper!)

Ours is a VW touran, with 2 extra seats fitted, so total 7. The 2 extra seats are in teh back, they make the boot a bit small when they are folded out, and they dont have a lot of legroom, but we find this an acceptable compromise.
It would be OK if you put the teenagers in teh middle row (unless they prefer to be at the back, as my older children unaccountably do), and a smaller child behind.

you can fold the 2 rear seats down to make the boot huge, or you can fold just one of them down.

wethree Thu 20-Aug-09 18:22:41

thanks, i hadn't thought about a touran - i've had a look online and it looks quite good!

ilove Thu 20-Aug-09 18:24:17




CarGirl Thu 20-Aug-09 18:25:30

multipla or zafira

4andnotout Thu 20-Aug-09 18:26:43

We have just got a fiat multipla which we love, but we are now getting rid of a dihatsu hijet, they are tiny little mpv's but very economical to run, and if you only need the back two seats occasionally you can fold them up out of the way and have a huge boot

wethree Thu 20-Aug-09 18:27:05

don't mean to be horrible but i'm not sure i'm ready for a multipla! i think they are terrible practical but they are just a bit too 'out there' for me.

might look at the zafira tho.

wondering if i can just strap my husband to a roof rack so that i can stick with a 'normal' car!??!

CarGirl Thu 20-Aug-09 18:28:12

I used to have a hijet!!!!! I loved how narrow it was and the sliding doors, I so miss them.

weegiemum Thu 20-Aug-09 18:29:47

We have a Zafira. We love it (and only have 3 kids)

One of the good things about it is we got it as an ex-motability car - so one careful owner, full service history, low mileage.

Some people have been negative about the Zfira on here but we have had no bother with it and in fact love it.

You can collapse the back seats when you don't need then for older kids. Its also fairly compact - doesn't look as much like a people carrier as some of them.

4andnotout Thu 20-Aug-09 18:32:20

Cargirl we just got back from 3 weeks camping in france with ours people were agog when we unloaded four kids and a tent and camping equipment. Got to sell it now though, im hoping it will get snapped up as we are only asking £500 for it.

Cosette Thu 20-Aug-09 18:33:43

We have a Volvo V70 estate with 2 extra rear facing seats in the boot area - they flip up when needed. They've been great for fitting in extra children on school runs etc. Not so good for long journeys though - but might be worth considering if you have ad-hoc needs.

CarGirl Thu 20-Aug-09 18:35:09

Only downside of the Zafira is the ones sat in the boot are in the crush zone (v bad if in an accident) and it's virtually impossible to get 3 car seats across the middle row without suffering buckle crunch.

4andnotout I did a 500 mile round trip to the north and back in mine, wasn't keen to do it again!

wethree Thu 20-Aug-09 18:41:53

seats in the crumple zone is a concern - even if they are for occasional use. so hard to find one that doesn't do that. like the V70 idea cos it looks more like a car than an mpv.

thanks for all the great ideas.. i will go an investigate!

cazzybabs Thu 20-Aug-09 18:42:46

galaxy - cheap and reliable and economical and OK to drive

wethree Thu 20-Aug-09 18:45:40

Cosette - re V70 - general reviews on interweb don't mention the rear seats - do you know if this a specific optional extra you can get them to fit or something?

Nighbynight Thu 20-Aug-09 21:26:43

The foldable back seats in the touran are also fairly near the back. I asked the dealership about this, and they said that the back is curved outwards for extra strength, so that the seats arent in teh normal crumple zone.

Ponders Thu 20-Aug-09 21:37:03

Well, they would say that, wouldn't they? grin

In any car which only has a space a few inches deep behind the third row, those seats are in the "crumple zone" - & that goes for cars like the Espace & Galaxy too, not just the smaller ones (although I think all such cars are stronger at the back now than they used to be).

The only ones which don't have seats in the crumple zone are the super-long ones with a decent luggage space like Previa, Grand Voyager & Grand Espace, & probably the 3 seats across ones like Multipla & that Honda (FRV?).

Cars like the V70 with rear-facing seats are arguably slightly safer, both because the seat backs are nearer the middle of the car, & because in an impact a child's head would be thrown back against the head-rest instead of forward into space; but they are less pleasant for a child to travel in because there is virtually no moving air in the back.

Whatever you get will be a compromise, wethree, so test drive them all & see which suits you best smile

Nighbynight Thu 20-Aug-09 21:54:43

I could see the truth of his words myself, as it has a thick bit that curves outwards, which is indeed stronger than a straight bar across the back.
the dealer has a very good reputation in our town, most of their business comes by recommendation and they are very serious. eg they advised me not to buy various VW extras, cos you can get them cheaper elsewhere.

anyway, the touran is german, and now that I work with german engineers, I appreciate the annoying lengths they will go to to ensure a good product. so I tend to trust VW.

Nighbynight Thu 20-Aug-09 21:56:55

btw, I compared all the cars in the same class as the touran, and chose the touran based on fuel economy, price & record of callouts by ADAC(german AA/RAC).

Cosette Thu 20-Aug-09 22:33:09

The extra seats are an optional extra, we bought our car second hand from a volvo dealer, and they swapped the seats in from another car, so it was fairly straightforward to get hold of one. Pics here -

wethree Fri 21-Aug-09 14:04:12

brilliant, thanks everyone! i shall go hunting!

EllyBell Wed 26-Aug-09 09:24:55

Hi, I have a Zafira which I have been using for my childminding for the past 2 years. Has been a great car and is amazingly flexible space wise.

As I have decided to stop childminding I am now selling my car as hubby has an estate if we need space. Please let me know if you are interested.

Details: 1.6 Life, aircon, blue metallic, 55reg (old shape), only 21k miles, tax and MOT from 1st Aug, v good condition. asking around £4,400 ono. Please contact my husband on 07917 367838 if you want pics etc!

EllyBell Wed 26-Aug-09 09:26:02

PS: when we were looking at this we also considered the Multipla, good car but I found it was a little rocky to go round corners.

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