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Five family-friendly runabouts for the daily grind
Making the school run fun

Five cars to make the school-run fun

  • Published 8 December 2019
  • 4 minute read
  • By John Redfern

Getting the kids to school in the morning can feel like a logistical nightmare. From making sure everyone has what they need, to finding a place to park, it can start your day with a shed-load of stress.

One way to improve the mood is with a car that makes the journey to school fun. We've picked five options that vary in price and performance, but all offer a blend of practicality and driving enjoyment.

What makes a car good for the school run?

Our choices include cars with the space to accommodate multiple children and their belongings, or the pace to nab that final parking space. The overriding criteria is that they must be well-suited to the school-run.

That means making sure they have enough space for child seats inside, along with important safety technology. I know that kids can be hard work, but I also know that taking care of them matters a lot.

Citroen Berlingo

Maximum practicality in a compact shape Citroen Berlingo: best cars for the school run Citroen Berlingo is great value transport for all the family   Lease it now

If your idea of fun is having space to carry anything and everything, the Citroen Berlingo could satisfy you on the school-run. It may be based on a small van, but this is a positive when it comes to herding children and their stuff.

Commercial vehicles are designed to maximise interior space, and the Berlingo benefits from that thinking. You’ll find an incredible variety of 28 compartments dotted throughout the cabin, which together provide up to 186 litres of storage space. The rear seats can be folded flat to create a gigantic area for luggage.

Pick the regular M model to seat five, or the jumbo XL version if you need space for seven. Sliding rear doors make getting kids in and out easy, while Citroen has even included an extra interior mirror to keep an eye on those in the back. Isofix child car seat mounting points are standard for three seats in the rear.

Priced from £20,100, there is a choice of petrol or diesel engines, with an array of safety kit included on all models. Lease deals can be found from £250 per month, offering the chance to enjoy a stress-free school run for a manageable amount.

Lease a Citroen Berlingo today

Volvo V60

Swede dreams are made of theseVolvo V60: school run car You could run a Volvo V60 from £294 a month   Zing it!

The Volvo V60 also offers a low-stress environment, but with a distinctly Scandinavian feel. It looks like the bigger V90 estate, but is a more manageable size, making it perfect for school drop-offs or pick-ups.

What makes the V60 stand out is how it does so many things well. Its interior is luxurious and refined, but still practical and spacious. It can seat five people with ease, and still has a hefty 529 litres of squared-off space in the boot. A power-operated tailgate also means no concerns about children slamming the boot shut.

The V60 looks impressive on the road, with bright LED headlights and a bold front grille. Yet it is surprisingly easy to drive and park, with sensors to help you reverse into the tightest of spaces. Volvo also includes the safety features the brand is renowned for, plus Isofix mountings for two child car seats in the rear.

Prices start from £34,315, but keen leasing deals mean a V60 could be on your driveway from around £294 per month.

Volvo V60 lease deals! Take a look today

Ford S-Max

Family hacks come no finer Ford S-Max: school run car Ford S-Max: prices start at £346 a month   Buy it now

To some, buying a people carrier might seem like opening the door to motoring boredom. But the Ford S-Max manages to achieve what initially seems impossible. Here is a seven-seater MPV that is actually fun to drive.

The S-Max sits lower to the ground than most cars of its type, meaning it can take to faster country roads without feeling out of its depth. On the school-run, that makes it feel agile and enjoyable, and not like drive a bus - even with all seven seats full.

Ford offers a range of diesel and petrol engines, with the most powerful versions serving up impressive performance. Safety kit isn’t in short supply either, with airbags throughout and parking sensors on all models.

While prices start at £28,410, plumping for the fanciest versions pushes this to more than £40,000. Thankfully, Ford dealers are often keen to do deals, meaning a new S-Max could be yours for less than £350 per month on a leasing deal.

Lease the Ford S-Max for less than £350 a month

Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance

Performance and Practicality! VW Golf GTI: best school run cars The VW Golf GTI is one of our favourite pocket rockets   Research lease deals

The Volkswagen Golf GTI is the original hot hatchback, with a legendary reputation for combining performance with everyday practicality. Behind the big alloy wheels and stylish go-faster stripes, this is still very much a Golf.

Offered only with five doors, the Golf GTI is spacious enough to accomodate kids for the school-run. The rear seats have Isofix mounting points, while the boot can hold up to 380 litres of luggage.

Available to lease from £280 per month, the £33,015 GTI Performance comes with a 2.0-litre petrol engine that offers potential for serious speed. It might be advisable to make the most of this after dropping the kids off at school, however...

Research the VW Golf lease deals here

Skoda Kodiaq vRS

Zingy seven-seater SUV Skoda Kodiaq vRS: school run car Skoda Kodiaq vRS packs performance and value   From £508 a month

Skoda’s biggest SUV has seating for seven, plus the most powerful diesel engine ever fitted to a car from the Czech brand. A bespoke body styling kit with chunky bumpers, a set of 20-inch alloy wheels and dual exhaust tailpipes show this family holdall means business.

After winning the battle for coolest parent at the school gates, the Kodiaq vRS can drive home with the capacity of a compact van. Fold all the rear seats flat for a huge 2,065 litres of space, or just make use of the numerous interior storage compartments.

For a four-wheel-drive SUV with such oomph, the Kodiaq vRS is decent value: priced from £43,390, whilst monthly lease costs begin at around £508.

Standard equipment includes satellite navigation, climate control and LED headlights. Oh, and because no one likes getting drenched while waiting for the 3pm bell, there are hidden umbrellas for the driver and front passenger.

Lease a vRS Skoda Kodiq today

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