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Which SUV for carrying children?

My daughter is a company director and will shortly be needing a new car to contract/lease hire. She prefers an SUV type vehicle as opposed to a people carrier, but she has three small children, all under five years old, and requires plenty of room in the back for their car seats and a good size boot for all the kids stuff. Two other important requirements are low car tax and a first class safety rating. The car would be mainly used for local trips to the nursery and school, and to her work (all under five miles). Can I please have your recommendations to a maximum of £25,000?

Asked on 8 April 2012 by DW, via email

Answered by Honest John
These are conflicting requirements. You can buy a triple child seat for a five-seater SUV, but they are £1200 (www.multimac.co.uk/home). The other way is to buy a seven-seater SUV but very few have any luggage capacity as well, and you can expect an SUV to use around 15 per cent more fuel than a seven-seater MPV.

She could take a look at the new Mazda CX-5 (www.honestjohn.co.uk/road-tests/mazda/mazda-cx-5/) though a better bet is probably a Ford S-Max (www.honestjohn.co.uk/road-tests/ford/ford-s-max-20.../). That has three separate seats in the centre row plus two behind, and drives and handles like a sports car.
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