Top 10 best people carriers and MPVs to buy 2024
These top MPVs are loaded with family-friendly features and lots of space
SUVs might arguably be more stylish and are certainly now more popular but nothing quite beats a good old-fashioned people carrier when it comes down to pure family-friendly practicality. The market isn’t as big as it once was, but the best MPVs and people carriers still offer a huge amount of space for you and your loved ones.
Our expert road testers — along with their families — have tested every MPV on sale in the UK and based on this extensive real-world testing, we’ve rounded-up the top 10 best people carriers to buy right now.
All of the cars here deliver the versatility that family buyers need, while also offering reasonable running costs. We've chosen the best models in a variety of classes, ranging from the conventional five and seven-seat models to the best van-based MPVs. There’s also a variety of petrol, diesel, hybrid and fully-electric powertrains, so there should be something for everyone.
Top 10 best people carriers and MPVs to buy
Read on to find the best MPVs and people carriers to buy right now, listed in reverse order below.
10. BMW 2 Series Active Tourer
If you’re stuck in the quandary of wanting a reasonably sporty car but needing something sensible for the family, BMW might have the answer in the form of its 2 Series Active Tourer. Naturally, this front-wheel-drive MPV isn’t about to replicate the performance of an M3, but even the least-powerful 220i will accelerate from 0-60mph in 8.1 seconds. You also get a desirable badge.
When it comes to carrying your loved ones, the 2 Series Active Tourer is exclusively available as a five-seater. Inside, there is plenty of room and the overall level of build quality is very high. There are a number of useful storage cubbies at your disposal, too, along with a 406-litre boot. The Active Tourer is fitted with BMW’s twin-screen dashboard, this features the brand’s OS 8 software which looks sharp and is easy to use.
9. Volkswagen Multivan
While the ID. Buzz marked the introduction of fully-electric power to Volkswagen’s MPV line-up for the first time, the Multivan sticks with combustion, offering a choice of hybrid and plug-in hybrid power for now. As you can tell by its appearance — as well as the name — this seven-seater is shaped like a medium-sized panel van, so there’s plenty of space inside.
The best bit about the Multivan, though, is that it does a surprisingly good job of hiding its commercial physique. When we first drove the VW, we found it to be very refined and comfortable to drive, although the large cabin can act as an echo chamber for road noise.
8. Lexus LM
Just when we thought the luxury SUV had all but killed off the MPV, Lexus unveiled the LM. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to afford the starting price of almost £90,000, this big Lexus is by far one of the poshest people carriers that you can buy. There’s the choice of a somewhat sensible seven-seater or a range-topping Takumi version with just four seats. Opt for the latter and your rear passengers will be living the high life.
Step inside the LM Takumi and you’ll find swathes of leather and soft-touch materials, and in the back you’ll also find two fully-reclining, massaging seats and an enormous 48-inch screen. There’s also a divide between you and those in front for complete peace and quiet. The 2.5-litre Toyota-sourced hybrid powertrain is effortlessly smooth and quiet, too. If we’re honest, this isn’t exactly the most family-friendly MPV on the market — or even on this list — but it’s certainly one of the finer ways to travel with multiple passengers on four wheels.
7. Toyota Proace Verso
It may look like a vehicle that your parcels are delivered in, but the Toyota Proace Verso is worth a look if you need an awful lot of space or seats from your next car.
Seven-seat versions get two rear-facing seats, like a taxi, while you can have up to nine seats for minibus use or really big families. Fold even a couple of seats down and there is an enormous boot, with up to 4,000 litres on offer if you don’t need to use the space for passengers.
As van designs are often shared between multiple brands, the Proace Verso uses the same underpinnings and most of the same styling as the Citroen SpaceTourer, Vauxhall Vivaro Life and Peugeot Traveller, and all of these vehicles are available with fully-electric power.
6. Ford S-MAX
The Ford S-MAX is spacious, practical and cheap to run, and while the latest model isn't quite as driver-focussed as the original, it's still hugely comfortable and refined on the move.
The S-MAX is a seven-seater, however it isn’t as roomy as its larger Galaxy sibling and the rearmost seats are pretty cramped. However, if you only need five seats then this MPV provides a decent amount of room all round, including 965 litres of cargo space.
The handsome S-MAX is offered in three trim levels: Titanium, ST-Line and Vignale. The latter is for those who want a little more luxury, offering all the kit plus extra sound insulation and quilted leather seats – but it comes at a very hefty price. For most buyers the lower trims will make more sense, and every car comes with the essentials.
5. Volkswagen Touran
The Touran features seating for up to seven people but, due to its compact size, the rearmost seats are probably best for only occasional use. Opt for the Touran’s dedicated SE Family trim level, and this adds extra safety features and sat nav to the mix.
The 2.0-litre TDI diesel has been removed from the Touran powertrain range so now there’s just a 1.5-lite TSI petrol with 148bhp. This engine is fitted with active cylinder shut-down technology so it is able to achieve over 40mpg.
4. Ford Tourneo Connect
There’s the choice of either a petrol or diesel engine, both of which are taken from the VW Group. The petrol is a 1.5-litre four-cylinder with 113bhp and 220Nm of torque, and the diesel is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder with either 120bhp. All powertrains come with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic transmission.
The engines aren’t the only thing to come from VW either. Inside you’ll find plenty of Germanic influence with the 10-inch screen and 10.25-inch drivers display using Volkswagen’s infotainment system.
Practicality should easily be enough for most families. The short wheelbase model comes with a maximum carrying capacity of 2,600 litres and the long wheelbase ups this to 3,100 litres.
3. Volkswagen ID. Buzz
The ID. Buzz can be thought of as a modern day interpretation of the legendary Type 2 Kombi, so it’s definitely a head-turner. More importantly, though, it’s also one of Volkswagen’s best all-electric models to date.
VW has focussed particular attention on maximising the amount of space on offer within the ID. Buzz, all while keeping the large battery pack from being too intrusive. This effort has paid off as there’s plenty of room for five passengers, along with a number of cleverly-designed storage areas. The 77kWh battery should also deliver a range of up to 258 miles, according to the WLTP cycle.
The ID. Buzz handles itself pretty well for a car of its stature, with body roll kept in check by the low centre of gravity. It’s comfortable, with only a small amount of road and wind noise. So only the biggest bumps upset the ride quality.
2. Citroen Berlingo
The original Citroen Berlingo managed to make the idea of a van-based family car rather appealing when it arrived over 20 years ago carrying the Berlingo Multispace name, and today the latest model still offers plenty of practicality for a decent price.
While the fundamentals, such as space and low running costs, are more or less the same, we think the current Berlingo is more comfortable and better to drive than its predecessors. It can get a bit noisy on the move, but opting for the all-electric e-Berlingo helps to improve things.
Whichever version you choose, you’ll find a spacious 775-litre boot with five seats in place. Perhaps even more useful are the numerous storage cubbies around the cabin, which offer up a further 186 litres of space. There’s a vast amount of room for every passenger, too. If you have a large family, there’s also the option of the seven-seater Berlingo XL.
1. Dacia Jogger
The Dacia Jogger is quite literally a lot of car for very little money. Not only does the Jogger follow the Romanian brand’s popular approach of simplicity and low cost, but it’s also a bit of an unusual package. The Jogger blends MPV, small SUV and estate car qualities and rolls them all up into one.
There's up to 1,807 litres of luggage space, it’s surprisingly nimble to drive and there’s seating for up to seven people. This combination has earned the Jogger the prestigious title of our Family Car of the Year for two years running- not bad for a model that starts from under £19,000.
Inside, things are kept very simple and functional - an indication of the car’s low prices - but the modern essentials such as air-conditioning, cruise control and smartphone connectivity are all provided as standard. There’s also the choice of either a 1.0-litre petrol engine or a 1.6-litre full-hybrid powertrain. Neither unit is particularly quick, but they should prove adequate both in town and at motorway speeds. The hybrid can also return over 55mpg.
Best people carriers and MPVs
- Dacia Jogger
- Citroen Berlingo
- Volkswagen ID. Buzz
- Ford Tourneo Connect
- Volkswagen Touran
- Ford S-MAX
- Toyota Proace Verso
- Lexus LM
- Volkswagen Multivan
- BMW 2 Series Active Tourer
Now read our list of the best family cars...