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best car for 3 kids - zafira style mpv or estate?

(51 Posts)
bathtime Thu 30-Jul-09 10:32:23

We need to get 3 kids in the back with 2 on highback boosters and one in group 1. What have you found better - an estate or an MPV style car?
Pros and cons?
I am drawn to the idea of 7 seats and easier getting in and out of mpv, but wouldn't want a huge tank, so not bigger than zafira style models.
Or are estate cars just as good? I liked our previous estate, but it wasn't quite wide enough for 3 seats in back.
I know we can get 3 seats in touran or picasso - any others - do the newer zafiras fit 3?
Or would anyone recommend an estate that fits 3 in the back?
Our budget isn't huge - about £5or6K.
I can't understand why car manufacturers and car seat makers haven't really cracked this one!

bathtime Thu 30-Jul-09 11:40:28

Anyone?

ChopsTheDuck Thu 30-Jul-09 11:44:51

zafiras aren't very nice tho. They are very basic, the entry level one doesn't even have electric windows at the back. They do fit three seats.

But I do think a mini mpv is better than an estate for hauling kids in and out. It's higher up for starters. It still does feel a lot more tank like than driving a estate tho.

I've got a citroen grand picasso, had nearly a month now and I am loving it. Economical, and really well thought out for kids. There are lots of litte touches like sunblinds, and electronic child door and window locks, display to show if they have their belts on, etc. The electronic displays make it look far nicer than the zafira. Only problem is that it's french!

dinkystinky Thu 30-Jul-09 11:48:12

Take a look at ford S-max or ford C-max - supposed to be a bit more exciting to drive. I think you'll probably struggle to find an estate which can fit 3 baby seats/toddler sets in the back - if you're talking 2 booster seats only it may be possible.

We have an audi estate which is fine with 2 kids in the back - one in booster, one in rearfacing seat - but you really would struggle to get another babyseat in there.

dietstartstomorrow Thu 30-Jul-09 11:49:00

I have a <cough> Multipla - not the prettiest but very practical.

I want a C8 next, but there are quite big, although they have the slidey door feature.

How about a Scenic or a C4

NoseyHelen Thu 30-Jul-09 11:49:11

The zafira gives no room for the front passenger to have anything in the footwell. The tiniest bag means you have to skew your legs.

BlueKangerooWonders Thu 30-Jul-09 12:02:59

I love my Toyota Verso. But we did spend many a happy weekend (!) trailing 2 dc, 2 car seats and a baby seat to see what would fit best! Second the thumbs down for Zafira, and we found any wv just too heavy. I think an mpv is the only way to get 3 seats comfortably across (and as soon as they get to school, you'll be v popular if you can have one or two back for tea, without it causing major logistical problems.

nappyaddict Thu 30-Jul-09 12:06:29

Get a Grand Scenic or Toyota Verso.

nappyaddict Thu 30-Jul-09 12:16:56

Or what about the Ford S-Max?

Or you could get a 6 seater like Fiat Multipla or Honda FR-V.

I don't know how you feel about 4x4s but you can get a 3rd row of seats for the Honda CR-V.

bathtime Thu 30-Jul-09 14:08:50

Oh no, nobody likes the zafira!
Ford smax would be perfect but it's currently out of our price range. Maybe in a couple of years time. Till then... I'll look at the suggestions here. I had thought of Verso - are they good? - do you have 3 seats in the back? Do the extra 2 rear seats fold down easily when you're not using them?

I had also thougth about renault grand scenic, but think you have to take the extra seats in and out - is that right?

So no votes for an estate? I was thinking about somehting v v boring but good write up like the newest Ford mondeo estate (husband shuddered)....

bathtime Thu 30-Jul-09 14:09:09

ps thanks for the replies so far!

nappyaddict Thu 30-Jul-09 17:53:41

No you don't take the extra seats in and out on the scenic they fold into the boot.

Thelongroadhome Thu 30-Jul-09 19:39:03

I have a Volvo V40 and it fits 3 child seat / booster combinations but is a bit tight. It means they cant put the seatbelts in themselves because you have to squeeze your hand down. But, I think the slightly bigger models fit them well - my Mum has one and it has a seat that pulls up and fits 2 children in the boot.

bumpsoon Thu 30-Jul-09 19:50:58

thumbs up here for the multipla too ,just love the way we all flash lights/wave at one another ,except when im dh car and forget grin. The only major downside is the boot size ,its tall but not that wide . I hanker after my friends ford galaxy ,but dh says no .If i could go for one it would be the renault scenic grand ,the 7 seater version

TheProfiteroleThief Thu 30-Jul-09 19:53:29

Zafira suited us v well - 2 in middle row, 1 in back. Whilst poss to fit 3 in middle, it did cause buckle crunch, so we didn't.

Next move is a smax, as current farkign car imposs to use

sarah293 Thu 30-Jul-09 19:56:09

Message withdrawn

TheProfiteroleThief Thu 30-Jul-09 20:24:38

Was def rock and a hard place - it is a bit higher there than other cars, but not ideal. tbh, no car was ideal that we could afford. Lots of rubbish safety reports iirc

wingandprayer Thu 30-Jul-09 20:32:02

I have just bought Toyota verso and would highly recommend. Don't have three kids yet but you never know grin. Is joy to drive, very spacious and this is my second Toyota as I have been so happy with their customer service. God I sound like right car nerd....

Ponders Thu 30-Jul-09 20:36:48

I have an oldish 2-litre diesel Zafira (2002) - it would be dead cheap now, about £3500, but really really good; if anything happened to mine I'd struggle to replace it sad

There is plenty of legroom in front unless you have to push the seat right forward for some reason, & the ride in the back is fab, esp when you're carrying a heavy load. The only real prob with child seats is that the middle seat only has a lap belt but you can always use one of the rear seats instead.

Ponders Thu 30-Jul-09 20:37:51

& I prefer not to have electric windows in the back with children - manual much safer.

Bigmouthstrikesagain Thu 30-Jul-09 20:45:25

Hi we have a Ford Mondeo (inherited from FIL) and now we have 3 children we cannot fit baby seat and 2 highback booster seats in back so I travel in middle back seat with ds in front - not happy about that but we use car rarely as I cannot drive.

So we are facing the reality that we are going to need a people carrier soon. It is not just the car seat issue - it is also the sheer amount of stuff you end up carrying with you with 3 children!

We will probably look at a ZAfira - am reading theis thread with interest as up to now all cars dh has owned have been inherited so he has never bought one before we are finding prospect a bit daunting (also actually having to pay for it!!).

fabhead Thu 30-Jul-09 20:55:15

we had a zafira which I absolutely hated, it was crap - I think you would struggle to get a third seat in the middle as it was so narrow and if you had the third row up you struggled to get a buggy in (it was a 2002 one though, the newer ones must be better?). We swapped it for an SMAX which is fantastic and I thouroughly recommend it - I know you said it is out of budget but they are great if it is doable.

drosophila Thu 30-Jul-09 20:55:46

We have Honda FRV and think it is great. For us the thing that swung it was the rep and the fact you don't loose any boot space even when you use all 6 seats. DP says it is much better to drive than other MPVs.

drosophila Thu 30-Jul-09 20:59:03

Also the thing with 5 + 2 is that usually the extra seats are small and given their position in what is in effect the boot they are the least safe seats in a collision if hit from behind. The crumple zone is reduced.

lou031205 Thu 30-Jul-09 22:06:19

Bigmouth - I am surprised by that. We have a Mondeo & have 3 under 4, so have 1 stage 0 car seat, 1 stage 0+ (in the middle seat - it uses the lap strap) front facing, and 1 stage 1-3 car seat. You have to shut the door, but they all fit without buckle crunch.

We won't be able to fit all 3 in the back when DD3 outgrows her stage 0, though sad

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