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A family car is a car classification used in Europe to describe normally-sized cars. The name comes from the suitability of these cars to carry a whole family locally or on vacations. Most family cars are hatchbacks or sedans, although there are MPVs, estates and cabriolets with the same structure as with the other body style. The term covers two types of family cars.
Small family cars
Small family cars are between 4.30 m (169 in) and 4.45 m (175 in) long if they are hatchbacks, or between 4.40 m (173 in) and 4.70 m (185 in) if they are saloon or estate models. Since the 1990s there have been multi-purpose vehicle based on them, called compact MPVs like the Citroën C4 Picasso/Xsara Picasso (3 millions units worldwide since 1999) and the Renault Scénic (more than 4.2 millions units worldwide since 1996). Popular small family cars are the Ford Focus, Renault Mégane/Renault Fluence line (15 millions units worldwide since 1988, non-including the Renault Scénic), Peugeot 30x line (more than 9.4 millions units worldwide since 1985, last to date Peugeot 308), Citroën C4/Citroën C4L/Xsara line (7 millions units worldwide since 1991, non-including the Picasso line), Vauxhall/Opel Astra, Škoda Octavia, SEAT León and Volkswagen Golf.
In North America, which uses a different classification system, cars of this size are generally referred to as compact cars, and the term "family car" is almost never used to describe a vehicle in this class.
Large family cars
Large family cars were usually around 4.50 m (177 in) in length by the early 1990s, but are now shifting to 4.80 m (189 in) or more in length. Examples of large family cars include the Ford Mondeo, Opel/Vauxhall Insignia, Peugeot 508, and Volkswagen Passat. Large family cars can also be flagships such as the Citroen C5, Honda Accord, Mazda6, Mitsubishi Galant and the Škoda Superb.
Equivalently sized cars in North America are usually called mid-size cars; the term "family car" is fairly often used to refer to a vehicle in this class. Examples of cars in that class include the Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu and the Buick LaCrosse.