Best large MPVs

Last updated: Oct 24, 2013

The MPV (multi purpose vehicle) has traditionally been the ultimate family car. They are designed for easy access, can haul around seven people in relative comfort and have seats that can be folded down to create van-like levels of boot space.

They have become less popular in recent years, partly because buyers have begun to prefer the sportier looks and higher seating position of SUVs, and partly because the recession has seen a lot of families choosing smaller cars that offer cheaper running costs.

But the MPV still has a lot to offer. No SUV can match it for versatility and space. And the latest crop of MPVs are better looking and cheaper to run than ever before.

So if you’re in the market for a family car, don’t make a choice before taking a look at our top 10 large MPVs.

SEAT Alhambra MPV

The SEAT Alhambra is a hugely practical, good to drive and very well made despite its low price tag. It offers seven seats, a good range of economical engines and plenty of standard equipment alongside a quiet and smooth ride. It’s surprisingly good to drive for a big heavy car, and the most frugal engine can manage 50.4mpg and 146g/km emissions, which means road tax is affordable. It’s a little bit more expensive than some of its rivals but it is unmatched for comfort, practicality and economy, making it our choice as the best MPV. Read more.

Key points

4.8 / 5
Price 
£25,630 - £33,810

Renault Grand Scenic MPV

Being longer than the standard Scenic, the Renault grand Scenic has much more room and even another row of seats in the back, meaning it can seat seven. It’s great value for money compared to the SEAT Alhambra and Ford Galaxy, with sat-nav and LED daytime running lights as standard. The steering is light and the ride is quiet, and there’s loads of room inside for passengers or luggage. There’s even a very efficient 1.5 dCi diesel engine option that can get 68.9mpg, though we prefer the more powerful 1.6-litre diesel. Read more.

Key points

4.5 / 5
Price 
£20,585 - £24,115

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

The Citroen C4 Grand Picasso has incredibly low running costs for an MPV. The 1.6-litre diesel engine will return 74mpg and has CO2 emissions below 100g/km – making it free to tax. And even the most powerful diesel engine in the line-up does 67mpg and emits just 110g/km, which is still remarkably good for a car of this size. The Citroen C4 Grand Picasso also comes with loads of equipment as standard – including an excellent touchscreen display, air-con and Bluetooth connectivity. There's loads of space, the seats can be easily folded away, and it's a comfortable, too. Read more.

Key points

4.4 / 5
Price 
£19,205 - £27,855

Ford Galaxy MPV

The Ford Galaxy is a spacious MPV that can seat seven adults easily in its luxurious and comfortable interior. It balances a comfortable ride and fun handling very well, making it a great choice to nip about town or on country roads. It can be hard to park thanks to its big size, but that does mean there is a huge amount of space inside for anything you need to carry, especially with all the rear seats folded down. The Galaxy feels like a quality product thanks to its standard equipment being so good- there’s climate control, parking sensors, Bluetooth and all-around electric windows. Read more.

Key points

3.9 / 5
Price 
£25,470 - £34,135

Volkswagen Sharan MPV

Unlike a lot of people carriers, the Volkswagen Sharan provides car-like handling without sacrificing practicality. The stylish and good quality interior is very spacious and can seat up to seven (though the back row of seats are only really suitable for children). The engines available for the Sharan have good performance and economy, with the 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel returning 50.4mpg. It’s more expensive than its rivals, especially the SEAT Alhambra, which offers similar quality and good drive without the hefty price tag. Read more.

Key points

4.0 / 5
Price 
£25,060 - £34,530

Hyundai i800 mpv

The versatile Hyundai i800 is based on a van, but designed for families. That means it’s got lots of room- enough for up to eight people. There are some neat touches to the interior, like a stereo with MP3 compatibility and air-conditioning for the front and back separately. The styling is boxy and the 2.5-litre diesel engine is a bit underpowered, but the i800 is still good value for buyers looking for huge amounts of space to transport people- or anything else. Read more.

Key points

3.4 / 5

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer MPV

The interior of the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer is very practical and flexible, seating seven- five adults and two children comfortably- and offering loads of boot space. The diesel engines are powerful enough and fairly cheap to run, and the handling is pretty good too. It’s one of the most stylish large MPVs, and all models are well equipped- thought the most expensive models get the best tech, with automatic climate control and panoramic screens on the top versions. Read more.

Key points

3.2 / 5
Price 
£20,195 - £29,285

Chevrolet Orlando MPV

The seven-seat Orlando MPV hides its spacious and practical interior behind a chunky and SUV-inspired design, and it is available with a range of powerful and efficient diesel engines. The interior has some nice touched, like a hidden compartment for valuable and a convex mirror to keep an eye on passenger in the back, but the interior feels a little flimsy and the petrol version is noisy and slow. Read more.

Key points

3.2 / 5
Price 
£18,050 - £25,650

Volkswagen Caravelle MPV

Its boxy van-like looks aren’t for everyone, but as you might expect the Caravelle is also van-like in the most important way: it’s got plenty of room inside to carry anything you need to, be it people or goods. The interior is very adaptable to your needs, with sliding seats, a folding table and lots of storage boxes. The two diesel engines on offer are surprisingly efficient, the most economical getting 37.2mpg, and are available with an easy to use automatic gearbox. Read more.

Key points

2.5 / 5
Price 
£35,658 - £70,845

Mercedes Viano MPV

If you’re looking for the ultimate in interior space for an MPV the Mercedes Viano is a decent choice. It has a variety of different ways to lay out the interior seats, and the seats are completely removable to give the Viano a vast load carrying area. Its size makes it difficult to park and the driving experience is very van-like, but it’s a good motorway cruiser and the diesel engines available are quite powerful. Read more.

Key points

1.7 / 5
Price 
£37,260 - £41,470

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