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buying advice

Growing family? Here are the best cars with 3 ISOFIX points across the back

On a budget of €20k.

WHEN THE NEED comes along for a larger car to accommodate a growing family, there is one question that is most frequently asked: Which cars can fit three ISOFIX child seats?

The good news is that there is now a good selection of different cars on the market that offer a higher number of ISOFIX points. Some of the larger seven-seat SUVs offer up to six, but for many families having three is enough.

Where some SUVs and MPVs score well with parents is having the capability of fitting three ISOFIX seats in a line across the rear – meaning a family of five can all fit into the one car.

This week we take a look at three of the more popular models on sale in the used market that feature three ISOFIX points and cost less than €20,000.

1. Citroën C4 Picasso & Grand C4 Picasso (2013 onwards)

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Citroën’s C4 Picasso range of people movers has proven popular with families thanks to the combination of spacious interiors, elevated driving position, practicality and relative value for money.

The current model comes in two versions, with the larger seven-seat version being called the Grand C4 Picasso. In the rear, there are three individual seats, all with fixing points and for added versatility, any combination of these, including the front passenger seat, can fold flat.

As for the driving experience, both models have an improved ride comfort thanks in part to its newer underpinnings. The diesel engine can be light on fuel consumption over long runs, though this will increase on shorter urban trips. One annoying feature is the dual-screen setup in the dashboard. It may look nice, but adjusting some settings, like the climate control, can’t be done by touch alone, which can prove distracting and cause you to take your eyes off the road.

2. Renault Scenic (2009-2016)

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The previous generation of Renault Scenic (and the larger Grand Scenic) also features three ISOFIX points in the rear, and like the Citroën the rear (or middle row in the case of the Grand Scenic) are individual seats. Having such an arrangement allows for some further adjustment, which can help if the child seats are bulky.

While not as stylish as the current generation, the Scenic still sold in high numbers here in Ireland resulting in a good availability of used models. With that in mind, do look out for models with proper service histories and preferably lower mileage with some form of used car warranty.

3. SEAT Alhambra (2010-onwards)

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There is very little to differentiate the sometimes pricey Volkswagen Sharan from the more affordable SEAT Alhambra. Both cars are almost identical, and the Alhambra is one of the few MPVs that feature rear sliding doors. Not only do these make life so much easier in car parks, for example, but kids tend to love them too.

It isn’t the most stylish-looking car, but it does well on the practical side of things. In the rear, that middle row gets individual seating and three ISOFIX points.

Even with all seven seats in use, the Alhambra still offers 267 litres of boot space. Alternatively, you can fold all five rear seats down to free up 2,297 litres of cargo space. A slight facelift to the Alhambra in 2016 didn’t change much, and if you go back a few more years, you can pick one up for less than half of what it originally cost.

More: Looking for a fun car to spice up your life? Here are 4 must-sees on a €10k budget>

More: Buying a first car for your son or daughter? 4 models you should really see first>

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