Best large MPVs

Last updated: Jan 7, 2016

An MPV (or multi-purpose vehicle) was for many years the first choice for family motoring. They tend to be easy to get in and out of and have space for seven or more occupants inside. Versatile seating systems that allow you to free up lots of boot space are also commonplace in the class.

Recent years have seen the popularity of MPVs fall as more and more people are drawn to large crossover and SUV models, which boast sporty looks and high-up driving positions. MPVs were traditionally seen as expensive to run, too – another factor that put some buyers off.

But we’re not writing off the class just yet. For sheer space and versatility, MPVs still can’t be beaten, while the latest lightweight materials and advanced engines mean they can be surprisingly efficient, too. Here, we’ve put together our list of the top 10 big people carriers on sale in the UK right now.

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso MPV

You won’t believe just how cheap the big Grand Picasso is to run. It has a super-efficient 1.6-litre diesel engine that can return up to 74mpg and escapes road tax thanks to its sub-100g/km CO2 emissions. The more powerful diesels continue the trend, emitting just 110g/km for £20-a-year tax. But just becase the C4 is eco-friendly doesn’t mean it skimps on standard kit: a touchscreen display, air-conditiong and Bluetooth phone connectivity are all standard. And whatever version you choose, you’re getting a remarkably spacious and comfortable family car that will turn heads with its space-age styling. Read more.

Key points

4.8 / 5
Price 
£21,935 - £29,360

Ford Galaxy MPV

The Galaxy is Ford’s largest MPV and one of the most spacious cars you can buy, full stop. Unlike some other large MPVs, it’s perfectly capable of carrying adults in comfort in its two third-row seats, while all seats can be folded away to reveal a load area that rivals many vans’. This is also a surprisingly satsifying car to drive, thanks to smooth, powerful engines and well developed suspension and steering. You have a choice of two petrol and four diesel engines, as well as three trim levels offering everything from the basics right up to indulgent luxury. Read more.

Key points

4.5 / 5
Price 
£27,045 - £37,545

SEAT Alhambra MPV

Although it was recently updated, the Alhambra has been around for many years in its current form. It’s always been one of our favourite family cars, though, thanks to its responsive handling, good long-distance cruising ability, tough build quality and reasonable list price. You get seven seats, a choice of efficient engines and lots of kit for your money – over 50mpg fuel economy is possible, along with 146g/km CO2 emissions. Although it doesn’t top our large MPV chart anymore, the Alhambra is still a highly recommended model. Read more.

Key points

4.2 / 5
Price 
£24,885 - £36,130

Ford S-MAX MPV

Initially it can be hard to tell the difference between Ford’s S-MAX and Galaxy, but put them side-by-side and you’ll see the S-MAX is lower and sportier than its slightly larger sister model. This means it’s also a bit less spacious, but if sheer carrying capacity isn’t vital to you, the S-MAX can still carry seven people and a decent amount of luggage with ease. However, a sloping roofline means the third-row seats are only really suitable for young kids – in contrast to the same seats in the boxier Galaxy. Like that car, the S-MAX is powered by Ford’s modern turbocharged petrols and diesels, offering a great balance between performance and efficiency. Read more.

Key points

4.5 / 5
Price 
£25,145 - £36,295

Renault Grand Scenic MPV

‘Grand’ indicates this car is larger and more spacious than the standard Renault Scenic, with space for seven people. A low list price makes it great value for money, even if it’s starting to get on a bit these days. Standard kit includes TomTom sat nav, plus the Renault is comfortable and easy to drive despite its size. For maximum efficiency, go for the 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine (which can return up to 68.9mpg), but we’d recommend the stronger 1.6-litre, particularly if you expect to be carrying a full load of passengers on a regular basis. Read more.

Key points

4.5 / 5
Price 
£22,360 - £24,785

Ford Tourneo Connect MPV

In contrast to the stylish S-MAX and Grand C-MAX, the Tourneo Connect is a more ultilitarian vehicle that’s based on the Ford Transit Connect small van. But that doesn’t mean it’s unsophisticated to drive, as the baby Transit is actually one of the more car-like commerical vehicles out there. And while its boxy looks won’t draw many admiring glances, they do mean the Tourneo is even bigger inside than the gigantic Galaxy. The standard version has five seats, while there’s also the larger Grand Tourneo Connect if you need to carry seven. Read more.

Key points

4.2 / 5
Price 
£14,495 - £23,095

Ford Grand C-MAX MPV

Yep, it’s another Ford! The Grand C-MAX is smaller inside and out than the Galaxy and S-MAX, but still packs in seven seats. Its boot is quite small with all three rows in use, however, which prevents it from featuring higher up this list. Sliding rear doors make getting in and out a breeze, even in tight multi-storey car parks, while the same efficient diesel and petrol engines that feature in larger Fords are present and correct here. Plus, like the other Ford MPVs, the C-MAX is good fun to drive, so transporting the family doesn’t become a chore. Read more.

Key points

4.2 / 5
Price 
£20,745 - £28,265

Volkswagen Sharan MPV

The VW Sharan is closely related to the SEAT Alhambra, but not quite as cheap, hence it finishing a few places behind its Spanish cousin. Like the SEAT, this is a high-quality, efficient and good-to-drive car, with the added appeal of the desirable Volkswagen badge on the nose. It’s a seven-seater, but one whose third-row seats are a bit cramped for adults. In better news, the engine range is very efficient, with even the strong 2.0-litre diesel topping 50mpg fuel economy. And although it’s pricey to buy, second-hand values are rock-solid. Read more.

Key points

3.9 / 5
Price 
£26,680 - £36,660

Peugeot 5008 MPV

Ride quality is the name of the game with the 5008, which can feel like it’s floating along on long journeys. It also boasts stylish and dynamic interior design, plus a clever seating system that lets you fold each chair indiviudally to get exactly the amount of passenger and luggage space you need. Running costs are not the absolute lowest in class, but there’s a still a good choice of smooth and capable petrols and diesels. Read more.

Key points

3.8 / 5
Price 
£22,620 - £26,720

Mercedes V-Class MPV

MPVs are more frequently associated with sensible practicality than stylish luxury, but the Mercedes V-Class aims to buck that trend, offering a similarly classy interior to the brand’s renowned executive saloons. The interior is more suited to holding a business meeting than transporting rowdy kids and you can even get an ‘Extra Long’ model that can accomodate eight people. Two diesel engines are available, offering hushed and efficient progress, as well as a bewildering array of standard equipment. A very impressive car, then, but it comes at a high price – from £45,000. Read more.

Key points

3.5 / 5
Price 
£47,025 - £50,195