We are looking for an estate car (preferably) to replace our 2004 Ford Galaxy about 2 to 3 years old - budget upto around £10k.
As we will be making several long (to Switzerland) trips each year as a family of 5 (3 kids aged 12, 10 and 6) - it is importnant that the back seat has decent legroom, but also that there are 3 separate seats (rather than the middle one being simply a space between the 2 outside seats.
It is not necessary that these 3 seats move independently.
Can anyone help advise me as to which (if any) estates offer this configuration?
Thanks in advance
Just to clarify - I really do not want another MPV (even if a smaller one than the Galxy). A large family estate (Mondeo or Vectra sized) - but with excellent back seat comfort is what we are looking for. I would even go for a hatchback or a saloon if necessary - but if we went via the MPV route, then we would probably go back to a Galaxy or S-Max. Effectively this would be a waste though - as we rarely used more than 5 seats (though this was usually 2, 2, 1 to try and separate the squabbling brood!).
I would not want to have three people in the back seat of a Mondeo estate for long. There is not a lot of leg room and there is a transmission tunnel which makes it uncomfortable to fit your legs in. This relates to the previous model Mondeo, not the one that is just released.
Not that many interior photos of the new Mondeo on Ford's website. But at least one suggests three seperate seats with a 66/33 fold. I'd suspect however that until very recently 3 seats and a flat rear floor were the province of MPV/van derived car ranges.
We've had a Berlingo for three years now. Kids (now 15 and 13) love the extra space and take full advantage of the interior cubbies etc. Downside compared with Xantia estate is height - too dificult to get bikes on the roof and adding a roofbox seriously limits one's car parking options.
I can appreciate the OP's problem, a 5 mile journey seems a long way with squabling kids. It's all about territory and that's why it's important to have seperate seats.
I know the OP says no to another MPV and he appears to be thinking of the 7 seat, 3 row variety. So how about a Fiat Multipla. Six individual seats and I believe the front middle one can be removed, or alternatively, it could be used as a punishment/reward for one of the three kids.
I don't know of any conventional estate cars that have 3 seperate rear seats, like an MPV. Most estate car central seating positions do seem to be a compromise in that the rear seats are often designed for 2, rather than 3. I think an MPV will be the most comfortable way to go.
Where there is a car and MPV based on the same platform, the MPV tends to have a flat floor in the back whereas the car doesn't. I don't know why, but I can't think of any exception to this rule of thumb among the cars I'm familiar with.
With MPVs, its worth checking all three rear seats are the same size - the centre seat in the first generation Scenic was narrower than the outer two, and isn't a comfortable place to travel for long (unless you're six, in which case your view out is blocked by your bigger siblings on either side!).
I think that this must be right - it is either an MPV or less comfort for the kids!
One final thought - much of the problem with the middle back seat in a conventional car (estate or saloon) is due to the lack of a flat floor in the back. Can anyone advise me as an estate that does not have this intrusion (and also what this intrusion is for in FWD cars?!)?
Do some estate cars still have extra seats in the boot? Not that you'd want to go to Switzerland in one I suppose.
A lot of family squabbles would be avoided if cars still had three seats in the front, because you could award the front seat for good behaviour.