Getting everything sorted for the new school term can be a stressful process, let’s face it, it’s hardly retail therapy! With everything on the checklist from lunchboxes to pencil cases and backpacks to rubbers, you can be forgiven for missing the new car plate registration release.
September not only marks the start of a new school term; it is also the official release date of 66-plate cars. The 66 is the third and fourth places on the number plate which denotes that the car has been produced and registered in the second half of 2016 and replaces 16-plate cars as the newest cars on the road.
Now is the perfect time to invest in a new car for yourself, with the latest safety features and designs you are sure to turn heads on the playground when you go back to the school run.
Wilsons has picked some of the best family cars to help you get noticed on the first day back at school that are practical, stylish and affordable.
Arguably one of the most popular crossover SUVs on the market, the Nissan Qashqai cleverly manages to blend the qualities of a hatchback and SUV to produce a well-rounded car. The Qashqai has previously scooped the What Car? Car of the Year Award in 2014 and 2015, so it is evidently a car of quality. Nissan have equipped it with its latest Safety Shield Technologies which use audible and visual warnings to prevent front collisions, alert you if your concentration levels dip on those early morning drives before the coffee has kicked in and provide blind spot and lane departure warnings.
As a practical compact MPV, the Citroën C4 Picasso really does have a lot going for it. Firstly, its roomy interior provides a welcoming space to accommodate everyone and everything. The back seats and front passenger seat can be folded flat to create a clutter free loadspace. Alternatively, when you have the family in the car, everyone will marvel at the space and legroom they have thanks to the elongated wheelbase. The C4 Picasso really excels when it comes to fuel economy, producing a best in class 74.3mpg from its BlueHDi 100 engines. What’s more, if you need even more space, the C4 Picasso has an award winning big brother, the Citroën C4 Grand Picasso that provides two additional seats with the same style and quality.
If you a looking for a large family car, but don’t fancy a crossover or MPV then you should definitely consider the Peugeot 508. This model now comes with a 7” touchscreen and LED lighting as standard. The new-look saloon car is set to turn heads wherever it goes thanks to its assertive and contemporary style on the road. The 508 also features highly efficient engines including a hybrid model that boasts 80mpg and 91g/km of CO2.
The latest Vauxhall Astra is another award winner picking up Auto Express’ Compact Car of the Year 2016. It is touted by many critics as one of the best family hatchbacks around thanks to its reasonable price, modern technology, practical spaciousness and competitive fuel efficiency. The Astra is a jack-of-all-trades that is capable of doing everything a family car should do while also having strikingly good looks. In terms of safety, the Astra comes equipped with Vauxhall’s pioneering OnStar technology which provides a number of services including roadside assistance for mechanical breakdowns or medical emergencies, stolen vehicle assistance and pinpoint destination downloads.
As a rival to the Vauxhall Astra, the new Renault Megane provides some serious competition. Redesigned for 2016, the new Megane joins the refreshed Renault range that includes other family favourites Kadjar and Captur. In terms of design, the Megane really will have you turning heads wherever you drive with C-shaped LED daytime running lights and confident sharp lines. Renault have been careful not to sacrifice substance over style; the new Megane achieved a full five-star rating when it was independently crash tested by Euro NCAP thanks to its sophisticated active safety technology.
Obviously the original Fiat 500 isn’t the most practical family car. Thankfully, Fiat have produced a bigger, more grown up version to handle the rigours and demands of family life, the 500X, which is available in City Look or Off-Road Look. The Italian manufacturer has a certain way with design so that all of their cars look distinctive on the road, but the 500X is also excellent under the bonnet. Its Euro 6 engine provides high-grade performance and driving flexibility which keeps fuel consumption and emissions low thanks to MultiJet II technology.
If money is looking tight thanks to the overpriced school uniform and bulging pencil case that has to include every single piece of stationery invented, then you might want to consider the Dacia Duster. The Romanian manufacturer has been gaining notoriety throughout Europe since the turn of the century with their low-cost, but brilliantly made cars. The Duster represents Dacia’s entrance into the SUV market and with an entry price of less than £10,000 it is competitive with smaller city cars rather than larger family cars. However, the positive press surrounding the incredible price should not divert attention away from the Duster’s many excellent attributes including its practicality and functionality for everyday family life.
For all of these cars and more besides, find your perfect car for the school run to ensure that you stand out on your first day back for all the right reasons.