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Tyres / Tyre News4x4 & SUV / Top 5 most practical cars

Back to school: Top 5 most practical cars

Land Rover Discovery

With big boots, handy storage compartments, and flexible seating, these practical picks help to take the stress out of family life. But which is our number one?

Practical cars, just like families, come in all shapes and sizes. Equally, every family will have their own unique set of needs and desires for a daily runabout. That’s why for this list we’ve compiled a broad spectrum of motors to suit most tastes and budgets.

Whether you’re looking to make the move to a spacious family E-SUV, or you’re in the market for a cheap to run and easy to park supermini that’s got bags of room for you and your 1.7 children, these models are truly consummate all-rounders.

5. Dacia Sandero

Dacia Sandero
Image credit: Dacia

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Coming in at number five: the Dacia Sandero. This plucky Renault derived supermini is probably the very antithesis of glamour, or performance for that matter, but you knew that already. However, if it’s a spacious supermini on a budget you’re after, this little Dacia is almost unbeatable.

With the range starting at just £12,995, the Sandero is not only one of the cheapest family cars on sale, but one of the cheapest cars full-stop. For this meagre outlay you get one of the most spacious cabins in class, plus a 328-litre boot that beats rivals like Honda's Jazz and Vauxhall’s Corsa comprehensively and will certainly fit several school backpacks and lunchboxes.

It should be cheap to run too. Sensible drivers will see over 53 mpg from the 3-cylinder 900cc petrol, while tyres won’t be a big outlay either, sized at just 185/65/15.

4. Hyundai Tucson PHEV

Hyundai Tucson
Image credit: Hyundai

Ok so it’s a big step-up from the humble Sandero, but given the Tucson PHEV’s breadth of abilities, we think it’s fantastic value at £39,330.

Hyundai's mid-sized SUV truly ticks almost every box. Good ground clearance and a high driving position? Check. 4-wheel drive for effortless all-weather commuting? Check. Ample boot space? At 558-litres, that’s another check.

Plus, a bonus with the PHEV model is that if the school run is short enough you can do it solely on electric power, due to a 31-mile EV range. Perfect for the environment and your weekly budget.

3. BMW 3 Series Touring

BMW 3 series
Image credit: BMW

If you don’t need (or want) that lofty driving position, the venerable 3 Series has long been a class leader — and for good reason. Offering stellar driving dynamics since 1975, this bimmer demonstrates that practicality and performance aren’t mutually exclusive.

In Touring form you get a spacious 500-litres with the seats up, rising to an enormous 1500-litres folded flat. Meanwhile, that finely honed chassis and versatile range of engines will cause the stresses of rush hour traffic to fade into the distance.

And, for those undercover petrol heads turned family men/women, there’s even a hot version with 370bhp on tap. Or you could go the whole hog and opt for the fire breathing M3 Touring, but we doubt the kids flying about in the back, or your wallet, would thank you.

2. Land Rover Discovery

Land Rover Discovery
Image credit: Land Rover

It’s not the cheapest or most reliable 7-seat 4x4 money can buy, but it is the best.

Since its inception in 1989 the Disco has grown considerably, and while this might make fitting into a parking space a little more challenging, when it comes to practicality and interior space there’s little that can phase it.

These generous cabin dimensions become particularly apparent in the third row of seats, where, unlike rivals like Volvo's XC90, it can happily seat two adults.

At 1137 litres with the rearmost seats folded down (258 with all 7 in place) the Discovery will swallow all manner of sporting equipment, musical instruments, and pets. For those who have equestrian hobbies, it can even tow 3500kg with ease on any terrain you need it to.

If you can put up with the strange asymmetrical rear end – and afford the £58,000 base price – the Discovery has family living all sewn-up.

1. Skoda Enyaq iV

Skoda Enyaq iV
Image credit: Skoda

Our top pic will likely aggrieve some given that it’s an EV, but for the way motoring landscape is headed, they don’t come better than the Enyaq iV.

Despite being based on shared architecture with models like Audi's Q4 e-tron and VW’s ID.4, the EV Skoda somehow managed to perfect the recipe a little better.

The Enyaq is the least alien feeling to drive of all the modern EV SUVs, so it shouldn’t take much adjusting to. Whichever model variant you choose (four-wheel drive or rear only) the handling feels surefooted too – no doubt aided by standard Hankook Ventus S1 Evo 3 EV tyres on all four corners.

But as far as practicality and livability go, the Enyaq takes things up a notch. The dash utilises more conventional buttons and knobs than rivals, which might look less appealing, but in the real world are far easier to use than touch screens which cause glare and pick up mucky fingerprints.

Interior space is just as impressive thanks to a flat floor in the rear – handy for parents rescuing toys and leftover food – and a large 585-litre boot. Skoda has even gone the extra mile with thoughtful touches like umbrellas hidden in the doors and an ice scraper located in the tailgate.

An excellent 336-mile range should help to convince some EV sceptics, and the accessible £38,000 base price means that the Skoda is a much more realistic option than other EV-SUVs on the market.

What do you think of our number one pick? Are you ready to take your family wheels into the future with an EV, or do you think internal combustion still has plenty of life left yet?

Hero image credit: Land Rover

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