Check out our handy guide to cars in Singapore to see which car type suits your family best!
Keen to buy a car in Singapore, mama? Once you’ve sorted out the nitty gritty stuff like passing your driving test and getting a licence, the fun part really starts when you get to go car shopping!
First off, figure out your needs. Will this primarily be a means to get from point A to point B, such as a work commute or for grabbing groceries? Do you have older kids, or younger kids? (Remember that car seats take up a lot more space in a backseat.) Do you anticipate doing school runs or carpooling? Perhaps a 7-seater will work best for you.
Finding it all just a bit overwhelming? We’ve rounded up five common car types (and their sometimes-confusing abbreviations) along with their pros and cons to help you find the vehicle that will fit your fam the best. We’ve also teamed up with two of Singapore’s most popular, award-winning car brands – ŠKODA and Volkswagen – to get their top picks in each car class. Happy shopping, mamas!
Don’t call it a minivan! MPVs rate for spaciousness, safety, smooth ride and cargo space. They’re the ideal vehicle for families because of their low ground clearance (making it easy for little ones to hop in and out – or for parents to strap kiddos into car seats), plus features like sliding doors and three-zone climate control.
Pros: Spacious seating; easy access for children and car seats; fold-down seats for ample cargo space; multi-zone climate control; smooth, comfortable ride; better mileage than SUVs.
Cons: Harder to park than standard cars.
Model to try: Seems to us, the Volkswagen Sharan is basically a spa on wheels. It’s got luxury features like a a panoramic sunroof, three rows of individually adjustable, ergonomic seats for everyone in the family, and luxe interiors with Alcantara leather and “Mirror Oak” interior trim. Its fam-friendly credentials are of course topnotch: we love the integrated child seats in the second-row that basically feature a built-in booster along with belt tensioners. Its power sliding doors open at the touch of a button, just like its electric tailgate, and the second and third row seats can fold down for a massive 2,297 litres of cargo space. Don’t worry about being underpowered, mama – the Sharan comes equipped with a Volkswagen TSI engine which means more power with less fuel usage. This results in a van that’s big but nimble – and therefore a snap to park (park assist and a rear view camera help with this, too!).
A popular choice with families the world over, SUVs offer a handy combination of size, space and comfort. Full-sized SUVs usually offer three rows with 7 seats – perfect if you’ve got a large brood (or have your kiddos’ friends in tow!). We also like the height of SUVs, which makes it easier to see other cars on the road. This size and flexibility also allows for increased cargo space.
Pros: Spacious; smooth ride; extra seats; enhanced cargo room; height improves visibility.
Cons: Pricier than compact or sedans; Generally get lower mileage than compacts or sedans; Typically higher petrol consumption (though not the case with Volkswagen and ŠKODA SUVs, which featured a turbo-charged straight injection engine to allow for higher torque at lower RPMs, resulting in more power with less fuel usage!)
Models to try: We absolutely adored the ŠKODA KODIAQ when we took it on a family road trip to Malaysia. It’s a 7-seater that was named “Family SUV of the Year” in 2017 by Top Gear Magazine for its comfortable ride, 5-star safety rating, largest-in-class luggage space, and clever ŠMART features like an umbrella stashing area within the door, virtual pedal (so you can open the boot when your hands are full!), and panoramic sun roof.
If you’re after something slightly more compact (parking an SUV in a parking garage isn’t always a joy!), try the ŠKODA KAROQ, a 5-seater with a wide range of cool driver assistance features that you’d normally find in higher end luxury segments. It’s also got exemplary safety features like Driver Alert, Electronic Stability Control, and Front Assist with city emergency brake. Did someone say boot space? The VarioFlex rear seat system means you can totally remove the rear sat when necessary to create 1,810 litres of boot capacity – the largest boot capacity in the category (we’re sensing a trend here!).
The classic family car if ever there was one, the estate car/station wagon combines the driveability of a car with the enhanced cargo space and comfort of bigger vehicles like vans or SUVs. You won’t have to sacrifice power or style, but get every bit of the fam-friendly functionality you’re looking for.
Pros: Comfortable ride; Enjoyable driving experience; Increased cargo space compared to other car classes; Great utility and functionality.
Cons: Not as sleek as a sedan and not as much space as an MPV or SUV
Model to try: Heard about Volkswagen’s New Golf Variant R-Line? It combines all the zip and verve the classic Golf is renowned for with sharper design and features that will appeal to families, such as a cavernous boot space (605 litres!) that expands to 1,620 litres with a fold-down back seat. Parents will also go gaga for the Discover Pro infotainment system (you can change music and other settings with the simple wave of a hand!), not to mention new safety features like a Blind Spot Sensor with Rear Traffic Alert (incredibly key in Singapore!) and a proactive occupant protection system. From an aesthetics point of view, the Golf Variant R-Line features a panoramic sliding sunroof and supple leather interiors.
If practicality is what you’re after, you can’t do much better than a hatchback or compact car! These practical, efficient models are the most cost-effective vehicles on the road, and if you choose wisely you will still get from Point A to Point B in comfort and style!
Pros: Compact size means greater fuel efficiency and easy parking; Affordable pricing; Hatchbacks allow for ample cargo space.
Cons: Smaller than other vehicle classes.
Model to try: As we detailed when it came out last year, we’re pretty enamored with the ŠKODA Octavia, a comfortable family ride that’s small in size but big on space, with an impressive 590 litres of boot space (increasing to 1,590 litres when you fold the rear seats down!). It’s also got an impressive 1.4 TSI engine with lots of torque and horsepower. Families will love the big rear doors (meaning you can clip in car seats without a hassle), along with safety features like seven airbags and driver assistance including rear view camera, park distance control, and blind spot detection. The sub-$100k price tag may be the sweetest feature of all, though!
The classic comfortable car model, a sedan is a pleasure to drive, allows for ample luxurious features, and isn’t too big or too small. You’ll get a smooth ride, plenty of power, and – hopefully – passengers who are plenty comfortable in the backseat, too.
Pros: Smoothest ride; Powerful Engine; Easy to drive and park; Luxurious appointments
Cons: Less cargo space than bigger models; Tighter fit in the backseat as compared to an SUV or MPV.
Model to try: The ŠKODA Superb was named “Best Sedan in Singapore” in 2018 by Torque Singapore thanks to a powerful engine (350NM of torque) and absolutely ginormous 1,760 litre boot space. Backseat passengers will be plenty comfy, too, as the Superb offers largest-in-class interior space. The Super has all the makings of a luxury sedan (minus the hefty price tag!), with motion activated infotainment and front passenger ventilated and power assisted seats. We also like its cool SmartLink+ system, which mirrors your smartphone (Apple or Android) for easy access to music, maps, and other handy apps. And safety is paramount as always, with Blind Spot Assist, Rear Traffic Alert, and Park Assist.
ŠKODA and Volkswagen are two of Singapore’s most popular car brands – and it’s easy to see why. If you’re after clever and innovative features at a friendly price point, be sure to check out ŠKODA to see why it was Singapore’s most awarded car brand in 2018. And for a truly robust line-up of cars catering to all the different journeys in life – from executive to expanding families – be sure to visit Volkswagen for a wide range of options that will always give you flexibility and practicality.