Best people carriers and MPVs

Ford B-MAX profile
7 Aug, 2013 11:00am

Our round-up of the 10 best MPVs and people carriers, including the new Citroen C4 Picasso and innovative Ford B-MAX

The best MPVs – or multi-purpose vehicles - stand out with their large dimensions and clever use of interior space.

Most come with either 5 or 7 seats and flexibility is the name of the game here. Manufacturers are constantly battling to offer the cleverest and most useful seat layouts and folding mechanisms, as well as sliding doors, so owners can squeeze in as many people and as much luggage as possible. The result is some of the most practical cars on the market – although unless you have a large family and often carry five people or more, a regular family car will probably be more than spacious enough.

Drivers who really need an MPV can choose between five and seven seats. Only in the largest and cleverest models are the two rearmost seats spacious enough for adults, but the extra passenger capacity is often useful for emergencies. Most modern MPVs have individual seats that fold, slide and can even be removed to allow you to carry any combination of people and luggage. Those with the best designs have seats that fold flat to maximise load capacity. If they can only be removed, you’ll have a huge, van-like space at your disposal, although you’ll need somewhere to store the seats when carrying loads.

The middle row of seats in many MPVs can be made up of individual seats, which come in handy for parents who need to fit three child seats.

Unless you’re going for one of the smaller MPVs on the market, diesel is usually the better option. Large people carriers are often heavy, so petrol versions will be thirsty. Diesels not only offer better fuel consumption, they also provide the extra torque required to power the car when it’s fully loaded and enhance its towing capacity.

Driving fun is likely to be low down on the list of priorities for buyers in this market, although the class leaders belie their tall dimensions by delivering excellent handling, accurate steering and strong performance. The best MPVs will offer a car-like driving experience as well as massive carrying capacity.

Find out which MPV is right for you by clicking the links on the left.

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seat alhambra first? seriously? and I am a seat owner...

Impressively four Fords make the Autoexpress Best MPV list. No offence to Seat Alhambra owners but I can't understand Autoexpress obsession with this behemoth.
MPVs belong to a class of cars where purpose defines the looks hence the bulky and ungainly looks.
The little Ford manages to stand out in this list. The new 1L turbocharge unit is a welcome addition to an ageing and rather uninspiring line-up of petrol and diesel engines.
Sliding doors may improve access to the rear in tight parking spaces but I can't get over the absence of B-pillars.

You couldn't make this stuff up!

I diligently read this article but understand almost nothing. What kind of MPV is best to choose?

The best car for you depends on your personal circumstances. Don't choose based on anything you read here. AutoExpress is light entertainment, nothing more.

If you like a bumpy ride, go with the ford. If you like reasonable ride on suspension go with VW/SEAT but more boring inside than out. MPV side is very difficult, journalist always seems to like the Citroen C4 picasso because of its practical ability which it is not far off the ford for practical but the suspension which is a lot more smoother but depreciates so fast you might as well say you will have to buy another car from scratch because you will not get a penny back from it. Vauxhall Zafira is not a bad car but same again depreciates fast. A lot of cars do not come with spare wheel think about that too.

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