Big families call for big cars. But it’s not all about the number of seats on offer; it’s important a large vehicle ticks all the right boxes – comfort, versatility, safety, entertainment and ample cargo space so you can bring all your gear along for the ride.
Here are a few popular segment choices to keep you and your whole crew moving.
Eight-Seat People Movers
Named Drive Car of the Year Best People Mover for the third year in a row1, the Kia Carnival remains the most popular people mover in Australia2.
Along with having the room to fit up to eight adults comfortably, the Carnival has a huge load space at the rear for luggage – a whopping 627 litres with all seats up.
Each seat in the middle row slides fore and aft independently, allowing you to apportion space where you need it. The centre seat is even reversible, allowing you to keep an eye on a baby in the back. Plus, a rarity in its class, there’s enough width to accommodate three baby seats side by side.
Adding to the Carnival’s allure is its convenient storage features, including nine cupholders, a large central storage bin, wireless charging nook and long front door pockets.
A finalist for the 2022 Drive Car of the Year Best Large SUV3, Hyundai’s most spacious SUV can comfortably seat eight people, with a seven-seat option also available.
Among its many impressive features are the three-zone ventilation system and the unique Quiet Mode function, which allows you to mute the rear speakers for when the little ones have tired themselves out after a day of exploring. Split folding rear seats in the second and third rows enable you to easily configure the space as it suits you, and you can take advantage of up to 704 litres of cargo space when you fold down the third-row seats.
The Palisade comes equipped with a variety of ISOFIX and top-tether anchor points to secure multiple baby, child and booster seats. There’s also eight cupholders (four in the third row, two in the second and another two in the front), plus door pockets, and a large storage box in the floating centre console, beneath which you can conveniently store all your road trip reading material.
Mazda's biggest SUV has long been popular among Aussie families, ever since it first launched in 2006. But the second-generation CX-9 has really pushed the big-SUV boundaries, taking on more expensive luxury SUVs from Mercedes-Benz and Audi, with its combination of sleek styling, exceptional comfort and punchy performance.
The latest CX-9 comes with a suite of innovations like the one-touch reclining seats, allowing easy access to the third row, a hands-free tailgate for when you’ve got your hands full and active driving display, which projects all your key information into your line of sight. There’s 230 litres of cargo space available, though this expands to 810 litres with the rear seats stowed.
A range of advanced safety features such as Smart City Brake Support, Adaptive LED Headlamps and Blind Spot Monitoring plus the pioneering i-Active AWD which is designed to monitor, predict and respond to changes in driving conditions, will keep you and the whole clan well protected in a range of environments.
The trophy cabinet for the Korean brand keeps filling up, with the Kia Sorento taking the top honours in both Drive’s Car of the Year 2021 for Best Large SUV and carsales’ Best Family SUV 20214. The Sorento stood out for its class-leading innovations, five-star ANCAP safety rating and outstanding versatility.
An optional hands-free smart power tailgate opens onto nearly 200 litres of cargo space behind the third-row seats, which can be tripled when the third row is folded flat. And if that weren’t enough, even the second-row can be folded flat with a single touch.
If off-road adventure is at the heart of your family escapes, the Sorento might be the car for you. Fine-tuned for Aussie roads and conditions, the Sorento delivers smooth handling and comfort on any surface, plus (in its Diesel variants) a range of drive and terrain modes to choose from thanks to the advanced AWD system.
The Outlander is a capable and confident mid-size SUV that punches above its weight in terms of space and versatility. All seats can recline for added comfort, while the slide adjustable 40:20:40 split second row and 50:50 split rear third row can fold fully forward to create a variety of passenger and cargo configurations. All rear seats can lie flat to create a capacious luggage area and up to 1717 litres of cargo space for 5+2 seat models.
The Subaru Forester
Combining a spacious, versatile interior, strong off-road capability and technology that provides safety and entertainment for all passengers, it’s not hard to see why the Subaru Forester remains a favourite mid-size SUV for families. Leg room, head room and passenger space are particularly standouts in the Forester, ensuring everyone travels in comfort, while there are easily accessible ISOFIX points for the little ones and a roomy boot space (up to 1,779 litres with the rear seats folded flat) with a low lip that’s perfect for your furry companions.
Something for the empty nesters
Kids all grown up and finally flown the nest? If you’re looking to downsize to a smaller vehicle, without compromising on practicality and comfort, here are a few fun, compact cars to consider treating yourself to, now that it’s all about you:
Available in a hatch or sedan, this enduring favourite has loads of style, plenty of smart tech and excellent handling capabilities.
With a sporty design, ample cargo area and plenty of zip, this could be the perfect little adventurer to move onto.
Alfa Romeo Giulia
A synthesis of safety, luxury and performance. A beautiful-looking sedan catering to the highest expectations.