Family car purchase advice

Hans-Dieter Seufert
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Up to 15,000 euros: Skoda Fabia Combi

N a, we couldn't think of anything more original than a small station wagon. Small SUVs, vans and box-type station wagons are already in the class up to 15,000 euros. But none of them is overall as convincing as the Fabia Combi, which costs only 600 euros more than the normal Skoda Fabia. There is then 26.5 centimeters more car.

That means: actually only more rear, because that's where the whole increase in length is. 530 liters fit behind the large flap - a figure with which the Skoda Fabia Combi could appear in the compact class as well as with the 1,395 liters maximum volume with the rear seat backrest folded down. In terms of size, the Skoda Fabia Combi should be sufficient today for all those who not so long ago had a VW Golf IV Variant (trunk 460 to 1,470 l).

In terms of safety (six airbags, city Emergency braking system) and drive (from 90 HP, all turbos) the Skoda Fabia Combi offers even more, and at a much lower price. A Golf Variant with 75 hp and meager basic equipment cost 17,400 euros ten years ago. The Skoda Fabia Combi, also with 75 hp, costs 13,090 euros today. The one-liter, three-cylinder gasoline engine demands a contemplative spirit from the driver. The 1.2-liter turbo gasoline engine with 90 hp goes much better with the Skoda Fabia Combi. It starts homogeneously with the 1.2 TSI, pulls energetically, remains cultivated and economical with a consumption of around 6.5 l /100 km.

Inexpensive extras for the Skoda Fabia Combi

The prices for the Skoda Fabia Combi 1.2 TSI in the basic version Active, which you should never buy, start at 14,340 euros. Because for 15,190 euros Skoda offers (currently unlimited) the special model Cool Edition, which brings air conditioning and radio including a USB port. Except for the split, foldable rear seat (140 euros) and Bluetooth hands-free kit (110 euros), everything is really important. If you want something more elegant, you can add a few extras to the Ambition (from 16 420 euros) - which, by the way, are all pleasantly priced at the Fabia.

The Skoda Fabia Combi always impresses with its large, easily accessible shelves Isofix anchors, large doors and comfortable seats. It springs a bit tight, but is almost overconfident agile for a small station wagon. And if we are completely honest, there is one thing that cannot even occur to us: why one moreYou would need a car.

Up to 20,000 euros: Renault Scénic

There are a lot of cars that families can use doing well. But there are surprisingly few cars that get along well with families. At Renault, they recognized this difference early on and a tradition of designing cars around the needs of families - from the R 16 to Espace and Kangoo to the Renault Scénic.

Let's first clarify what makes the latter such a good one Family car makes: Consistency. A Renault Scénic bounces well, drives safely, but doesn't care much about the whole handling stuff. He's not here for fun, but for the family. Even the 4.37 meter short Renault Scénic offers so much space and trunk (470 to 1,870 l) that you have to have a very pronounced need for two folding seats (700 euros) to get the 1,200 euros more expensive and 20 centimeters longer Grand Scénic take.

Renault Scénic: child-friendly and practical

As always, it's the small details that make a car easier to cope with the major challenges of everyday life. The Renault Scénic has Isofix anchors on all the rear seats. In addition, the three individual seats can be moved separately to enlarge the trunk. Or to position a small child in the middle and move closer to the parents. The hustle and bustle on the back seat can be used to referee the interior mirror, there are folding tables and sun blinds, storage bunkers and seat pockets. It doesn't sound very exciting, but it is extremely practical.

The price list is practically irrelevant, the Renault Scénic is already on its way into the sunset and is being sold at high discounts. The basic equipment Authentique comes with air conditioning and six airbags. Remaining stock with the old 1.6-liter vacuum cleaner (110 hp) can be found for 15,000 euros. The program officially starts with the new, cultivated, sufficiently spirited 115 hp 1.2-liter turbo gasoline engine at 19,290 euros. The basic equipment is sufficient, but if you want more, we recommend the Limited with CD /USB /Bluetooth radio and rear window lifters. In the list it ranks at 21,050 euros, in reality it is often 4,500 euros less. As an extra, the deluxe package with seat heating, automatic air conditioning, navigation system, folding tables, dividing net, interior mirror, roller blinds, parking beeper and a bit of Klimbim is worth it for 2,510 euros. As a result, that's all it takes

Up to 25,000 euros: VW Touran

VW makes it really difficult for us not to find the best Touran up to 25,000 euros. There is only one, the 1.2 TSI in the basic version Trendline for 23,350 euros. Richer in equipment or performance, the compact van costs considerably more. Which is possibly annoying, but not dramatic, because the basis is very convincing. This is mainly because VW bought the Touran - possibly after twelve yearsnot hastily - developed from scratch.

For the new edition, the VW Touran grew 13 centimeters in length, four in width and eleven in wheelbase - which gave the space an even more, well, lushness . The VW Touran accommodates five passengers over a length of 4.53 meters with an almost wasteful amount of space. But let's take a look at the rows: The two occasional seats that can be folded up from the trunk floor cost 770 euros and 123 liters of trunk space. Adults can be accommodated tolerably on the folding seats in the VW Touran - and children are particularly safe because there are Isofix brackets even here. The three seats in the second row can be moved lengthways, tilted and laid completely flat. Nice things such as sun blinds and folding tables are also on offer, as are remote-controlled child safety devices. If you fold everything down, you have a two cubic meter loading hall behind you when you sit on the front chairs.

As much as we will recommend S-Max and Multivan in a moment, if you don't constantly drive four or five children around , it should seldom be possible to use the entire space in the VW Touran. This is more likely to succeed in terms of cubic capacity, with the 1.2-liter basic petrol engine giving the VW Touran a sufficient lead. Of course, the 1.4-liter turbo with 150 hp does this much more spiritedly - but it is only available from 28,200 euros in the extensive Comfortline equipment. Anyone who is not in such a hurry, but still has a few vulnerable financial reserves, may be better off investing the money in the comprehensive assistance arsenal (lane keeping and lane change assistants, adaptive cruise control and park assist, sometimes only from Comfortline) or LED lights. But that is part of the VW tradition: when it comes to making a car a little more expensive with extras, they never make it difficult.

Up to 30,000 euros: Ford S-Max

New parents may still fall for these commercials in which families travel: A van curves along the sunny sea, while the wind blows in Mum's hair , Papa grins cuddly at her. Swivel on the back seat, there are children for whom the journey can't last long enough, in bare white clothes. Already clear. In real everyday family life, parents' evenings, lantern parades, flute auditions or kindergarten renovation meetings are much more common.

However, the old Ford S-Max managed to make people look forward to such trips. Even those who swapped their Focus ST for a Ford S-Max could be enthusiastic about the agility of the van. The sharpness of the handling has now decreased somewhat in the second generation, but the largest Max is now even more practical. The enormous loading hall can be conveniently furnished with the two folding seats. And if the passengers in the single seats in the second row get some of their lavish standard seating space (820 mm, as much asat the Skoda Superb) and move forward, there is enough space on the folding seats even for adults.

Ford S-Max with 4,160 euros discount

It is enough for 2,200 liters of luggage, fold All rear seats in the Ford S-Max become one loading level - in the second row this is done as standard at the push of a button, for the third row it is only available at an additional cost in the more expensive versions. There is also no shortage of payload potential, the Ford S-Max with all-wheel drive and 180-hp diesel can pack over 750 kilos. It weighs almost two tons when empty, which is why it's never really in a hurry, but it's really expensive. But Ford is currently giving customers a € 4,160 discount on the Ford S-Max. So it starts with the 1.5-liter turbo gasoline engine with 160 hp currently at 26,240 instead of 30,400 euros. Whereby we used the grant from Ford to counter-finance the surcharge for the two-liter diesel with 150 hp.

Its list price, which is not very significant, is 32,950 euros in the trend equipment. It already has everything you need, but can be supplemented well with a few extras: We recommend the two folding seats, the assistance ensemble in the technology package, rear sidebags, the better radio and the adaptive LED headlights. This means that even the trip to the parents' evening in the Ford S-Max has real bright spots.

Over 30,000 euros: VW Multivan

We're sorry about that now, but the truth is reasonable: It There is no cheap VW Multivan, there are only lame and incomplete ones. The fact that VW offers it for less than 30,000 euros, from 29,952 euros and 30 cents to be exact, just means that you have to spend more on extras. We're not talking about luxury, but rather elementary things like seats for the second row of seats, air conditioning and radio. In contrast to other cars here - Fabia or Scénic, for example - more equipment actually makes the VW Multivan better. But first we try to keep it as cheap as possible.

Let's start with the VW Multivan Trendline with 102 PS diesel. At 36,414 it costs 2,112 euros more than the 84-hp version of the two-liter turbo-diesel, but unlike the basic version, it breaks the zero hundred mark in less than 20 seconds, and still manages 157 km /h. We take the Trendline because it has radio /air conditioning and the Conceptline is only available as a five-seater. VW recommends the rustic nine-seater station wagon to all those who need lots of seats at an affordable price (there is a daily registration with 84 hp, air conditioning and radio for 27,000 euros).

A must: Electrically folding exterior mirrors

With the VW Multivan Trendline, two swivel seats in a row cost 1,095 euros, with integrated child seats 518 euros more. The side head airbags from the first to the third row must also be present. They are available for 494 euros, but only in combination with the bedtime package including roller blinds (637 euros), but we would have taken that anyway. For narrow passages - and with the T6 many are narrow - we need itElectrically folding exterior mirrors (167 euros), the emergency brake assistant (292 euros plus 357 euros for the multifunction display) and all-round parking sensors (678 euros).

Without child seats, this makes 40,133 euros for the Multivan minimum. For those who can calculate more generously, we recommend the properly equipped 150 PS Comfortline for 46,892 euros. It has seven seats as standard; with everything we chose for the Trendline, it costs 48,522 euros. In return, the lively powered Multivan offers an enormous amount of space with dimensions that are still suitable for the city, pleasant comfort, a sublime view and ultimate variability with a folding sofa and table. The VW Multivan: a family car that is not from bad parents.

Small details make the difference

It is often the small ideas that are most useful in everyday family cars. Or, as everyone knows, lugging the child seats around makes it easier when your wife wants to take a cheerful round of ladies for a walk in the family car in the evening. Then all child seats have to be taken out. It's much easier with integrated seats, such as those offered by the Multivan. With Isofix anchors, seat assembly is at least easier and safer, with Vans triple Isofix on the back seat is now mostly standard. And instead of having to fold down each seat individually, they fold at the push of a button on the Ford S-Max. Always extremely popular with children: folding tables and sun blinds.

There are good family cars in every price range

Of course, we quickly end up with the VW Multivan 2.0 TDI Comfortline, better than 4Motion with all-wheel drive, if we think about what the perfect family car could be. And if you buy it, you actually get the ultimate parent mobile just in case. But at a price that does not correspond to the realities of life and, above all, to the savings book reality of many families. However, our major test showed that there are cars in every price range that meet the needs of families particularly well. We were particularly impressed by one model: the Renault Scénic. Because it is about to be replaced, it is now often available from dealers for less than 16,000 euros. He does not like to beguile with handling or charm with materials. But it was evidently developed by people who know what families need: space, security and a few helpful ideas.

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