The family holdalls you should be checking out
MPVs used to be simple contraptions. All they had to do was offer loads of space inside for as many people as possible. Today, they need to do much more. Practicality and versatility are as important as overall space. Seats should offer the adjustability of aircraft pews. Every scenario should be catered for.
The seven SUVs we’ve picked out here do all that and more. They are well-priced, well equipped, relaxing to be in and cost-effective to run. They’re also safe for the many occupants onboard. Here’s our pick of the people carriers.
7. Seat Alhambra
You can’t get much better than the What Car? MPV of the year, and the Seat Alhambra won the title for three years running between 2011 and 2013. It’s a big beast, which can take some getting used to, but the pay-off is huge space inside for seven people, and loads of practicality. It’s refined, good to drive and keen value for money.
Best buy: 2.0 TDI 150 SE
6. Vauxhall Zafira Tourer
By introducing a new 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine instead of the old 2.0-litre, Vauxhall has improved the Zafira Tourer enormously. It’s smooth to drive, powerful and economical – company car drivers will like the low CO2 emissions as well. Flexible inside, Tech Line trim is also decent value.
Best buy: 1.6 CDTi 136 Tech Line
5. Ford S-Max
The S-Max is a great Ford. It’s the best-handling MPV you can buy, providing loads of fun for the driver behind the wheel – not always the case in this class. It’s practical inside for passengers too, and the boot is decent. We just wish the interior was a little classier to the touch.
Best buy: 2.0 TDCi 150 Zetec
4. Citroen C3 Picasso
The clever Citroen C3 Picasso is getting on a bit these days, but it’s still an MPV worth looking at: What Car? ranked it the best budget MPV in its 2017 Car of the Year awards. It rides nicely, has great visibility and the boot is commodious. You won’t enjoy driving it as much as a Ford B-Max, but you’ll love what you get for your money.
Best buy: 1.2 THP 110 Edition
3. Citroen Grand C4 Picasso
Another former MPV of the year, the stylish Grand C4 Picasso is a relaxing and comfortable people carrier to drive. The 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine is great and, like the C3 Picasso, it has a really light and airy interior. Citroen’s thought hard about the details, and ample safety kit adds family-focused reassurance.
Best buy: 1.6 HDi 120 Exclusive
2. Ford Galaxy
The commodious Ford Galaxy is one of the best large MPVs on sale. Ultra-flexible seating is spacious for those both in the middle and third rows, and all the seats are fully-flexible so fold in endless combinations. Like the S-Max, it’s fun to drive and, one-up, offers the responses of a much smaller and sportier car.
Best buy: 2.0 TDCi 150 Zetec
1. VW Touran
The Volkswagen Touran does it all. The interior is super-spacious and practical, seats slide and fold in umpteen ways and even adults shouldn’t find too much trouble getting into the third row. On the move, it’s as comfortable and reassuring to drive as you’d expect. Yes, it’s a bit dearer than the competition, but that’s still not enough to stop it being the reigning What Car? MPV of the year for 2017.
Best buy: 1.6 TDI 110 SE