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buying advice

3 family cars under €20k that can take three child seats - and still have room for luggage

We comb through the second-hand market for the best buys.

WHEN IT COMES to buying a used family car, many parents will be looking for a car that can accommodate three child seats and still have a large enough boot for all your gear.

Many car makers might claim to be able to deliver on this, but the sizes and types of child seats mean that it isn’t always possible. This week, we take a look at cars that can, and that you could buy with a budget of €20,000.

1. SEAT Alhambra (2010 onwards)

DoneDeal DoneDeal

When it comes to value for money, few seven-seater MPVs deliver as much as the SEAT Alhambra. It takes all the practical features you might look for and wraps it up in a package that looks smart, can easily fit into a parking space and is comfortable to drive.

Its sliding doors add to the ease of getting those younger passengers in and out. Even with all seven seats in use, there’s a small boot space left. It’s possible to fit three child seats across the middle row and with each seat being individual, there’s lots of versatility.

2. Opel Zafira Tourer (2011 onwards)

DoneDeal DoneDeal

The Opel Zafira Tourer is another of those few cars that quite easily take numerous child seats. Its curvy exterior sets it apart from some of the more boxy looking MPVs, and overall its size doesn’t make it too tricky to squeeze into a space.

However, it doesn’t have sliding rear doors which can help when someone parks next to you without leaving much room.

On the inside it feels bright and airy. The driving position is good though the centre console is a bit of a mess, with far too many buttons. Most used examples feature the 1.6-litre diesel engine, which isn’t too thirsty, but the more powerful 2.0-litre engine is better if you make lots of long trips with the kids and luggage.

3. Citroen Grand C4 Picasso (2013 onwards)

DoneDeal DoneDeal

One of the biggest and most spacious seven-seaters on the market, the Grand C4 Picasso also ranks as one of the nicest to drive. Its chic exterior is complemented by an interior that has good build quality and an appealing design. The only downside to the dual-screen setup of the centre console is that there isn’t a physical dial or knob for adjusting the climate controls, making it harder to do it just by touch.

In the back, there are five individual seats with plenty of adjustment. Alternatively, you can fold one or both of the third row seats to increase cargo capacity. Its diesel engine is especially good on motorway journeys, and if you can find an automatic at the right price, even better.

More: Want an SUV for €15k? 4 lesser-known brands to consider>

More: How to buy a second-hand car that’ll slash your bills – and two models to see first>

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