Best people carriers and MPVs
1The SEAT Alhambra is quite simply one of the most accomplished MPVs on sale. It's mechanically identical to the Volkswagen Sharan but even better value. What’s more, being a part of the VW Group, you can expect exceptional build quality and a durable interior. The versatile seating folds into the floor, while the punchy diesel engines are responsive yet frugal.
2Although it has only five seats, the Ford B-MAX has revolutionised the mini-MPV category. Its clever design does away with the integral B-pillar between the front and rear doors, allowing unrivalled access to the interior and impressive practicality. Thanks to the intelligent use of high-strength steels in the roof and sills, the B-MAX still achieves a top score in the Euro NCAP safety ratings, even without the B-pillar.
Key pointsPrice: £12,995 - £18,895
3The Renault Scenic comes in both five and seven-seat versions – allowing you to decide what level of practicality you need. The latter – the Grand Scenic – offers an extra 21cm in length over the standard car and represents great value for money when compared to rivals like the Volkswagen Touran and Vauxhall Zafira. With just one specification available, all cars come with sat-nav as standard.
Key pointsPrice: £20,355 - £23,395
4If you need more space than a B-MAX, try the bigger S-MAX for size. Its seven-seat setup allows for seemingly endless seating arrangements, while the sporty looks do well to disguise its large dimensions. From behind the wheel, it looks and feels much like a Ford Focus, and is surprisingly nimble on twisty back roads. There’s a large range of engine, with the 2.0 TDCi diesels offering the best blend of performance and efficiency.
Key pointsPrice: £23,105 - £32,875
5If you want a small MPV that drives more like a conventional family hatchback, the Vauxhall Meriva is a solid choice. The rear doors hinge at the back to give easy access to the interior and, while it’s not quite as innovative or practical as the accomplished Ford B-MAX, it remains an intelligent purchase for families with small children.
Key pointsPrice: £12,620 - £22,355
6Forget the dubious build quality of previous Peugeots – the latest generation have improved substantially. The 5008’s interior is well laid out, and everything feels solid and well built. A practical interior in this class is key, and the Peugeot MPV gets it right. Add in a range of accomplished diesel engines and you’ve got an impressively rounded package.
Key pointsPrice: £18,800 - £26,205
7Citroen threw away the rulebook when it designed the C4 Picasso. Gone are the typical boxy MPV looks, replaced by a bold, sleek and curvaceous body. The huge windows give great visibility and the large interior is amazingly practical. Just be sure to avoid the automatic gearbox and thirsty petrol engines.
Key pointsPrice: £17,500 - £25,155
8The conservative Volkswagen Touran offers everything you’d expect from a VW. It’s well built, solidly engineered and the practical interior has seating for seven. But, being a Volkswagen, it’s more expensive to buy than many of its rivals. That said, choose a super-frugal BlueMotion model and you’ll benefit from rock-bottom running costs.
Key pointsPrice: £19,430 - £27,990
9Thanks to cars like the fine-handling MX-5, it’s no surprise the versatile Mazda5 is great to drive. Its exterior styling divides opinion, but the spacious interior feels well built and the ride is among the most comfortable in the class. Sliding rear doors make for easy access, while the capable diesel engines offer impressive efficiency.
Key pointsPrice: £20,295 - £21,695
10The Toyota Prius+ is by no means the best car in its class when it comes to driver enjoyment. That said, it’s the only seven-seater MPV on sale to offer tax-free CO2 emissions of less than 100g/km, while still boasting impressive economy of nearly 69mpg. List prices are high, but all cars come with a panoramic roof, rear-view camera and heads-up display.
Key pointsPrice: £25,995 - £29,295