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Six practical but good-looking family cars

Motoring journalist Rob Griffin takes a look at family cars that successfully combine practicality with good looks.

The time may have come to swap the sports car for a motor more suited to transporting children, shopping bags and the general paraphernalia of life.

But that doesn't mean you have to completely give up on your sense of automotive style.

We round-up six of the best practical, yet good-looking, family cars.

Ford S-Max

Ford S-Max

The Ford S-Max is without a doubt one of the sportiest looking seven-seaters ever produced.

What's more it's nippy, easy to manoeuvre and when you're behind the wheel it doesn't feel like a big car.

On the downside, the two seats at the back don't offer much legroom and when all seven are occupied there's not a lot of luggage space.

You can pick up a six-year-old S-Max with a high mileage for less than £4,000. A new one will set you back between £23,000 and £30,000, depending on the spec.

Volkswagen Sharan

Volkswagen Sharan

It's not quite as sporty-looking as the S-Max, but the Volkswagen Sharan is still relatively sleek and very spacious.

There's plenty of headroom inside and the handling is good - as we have come to expect from a VW.

The new-look Sharan replaced its predecessor three years ago, taking its place in VW's stable of multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) that includes the Caddy, Touran and Multivan.

It has won praise for being well-designed and constructed – as well as looking the part – and can effortlessly fit seven adults, while the sliding rear door makes it easily accessible.

Citroën C4 Grand Picasso

Citroen C4 Grand Picasso and Grand Picasso

The seven-seater Citroën C4 Grand Picasso is definitely one of the most stylish looking MPVs on the road, and you can get your hands on a new one for around the £20,000 mark.

Nice touches include the panoramic windscreen and glass sunroof. In short, it's a well-thought out and attractive looking kiddie carrier.

There are also plenty of ingenious carrying nets and storage which, as every parent knows, is essential. On the downside it doesn't favour as well as rivals when it comes to the ride.

For those with smaller families there's always the five-seater Citroën C4 Picasso.

Chrylser Grand Voyager

Chrylser Grand Voyager

Versions of the Chrysler Grand Voyager have been around for the best part of 25 years and the car's manufacturer is marketing the most recent version as a luxury MPV for larger families.

Depending on what version you opt for – and prices start around the £30,000 mark – you can even get access to dual DVD players coming down from the roof to keep the offspring quiet.

For days when you're not in Mummy or Daddy mode, the seats fold away to give you plenty of space.

Land Rover Discovery 4

Land Rover Discovery 4

Okay, so it's never going to be the coolest looking vehicle on the road, but having a Land Rover Discovery 4 on your driveway won't frighten the neighbours either.

It’s clearly a beast of a machine, but its powerful 3 litre V6 diesel engine is enough to transport seven adults and their various belongings around – regardless of the terrain.

However, this combination of qualities comes at a price.

You need to spend the best part of £40,000 on a new one, while a more advanced version will set you back at least another £12,000.

Peugeot Expert Tepee

Peugeot Expert Tepee

The Peugeot Expert Tepee might not be the Miss World of Motoring but it's as good as it gets if you're after something with nine - yes nine! - seats.

This van-based MPV, available in a choice of two lengths, is very spacious and has plenty of storage possibilities with various compartments in the dashboard, door panels and seats.

The cost is in the same ballpark as other MPVs with prices starting around £21,000.

What do you think?

Can you better our choice of family motors that combine practicality with good looks?

We want to hear from you! You can share your views on our message board below. 

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Rob Griffin

Rob Griffin

Rob Griffin is a freelance journalist who regularly appears in national publications, including The Independent and Daily Express. He covers motoring, business, and personal finance issues.

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