Best people carriers and MPVs
Multi Purpose Vehicles, or MPVs, are so called because they blend the ease of use of a car with some of the practicality normally associated with a much larger vehicle. In the UK, MPVs are also known as people carriers, while in America, the term ‘minivan’ is more common.
While it would be fair to say that early MPVs (which first started to appear in the 1980s) lived up to the ‘van’ part of their American name, in recent years MPVs have become better and better to drive and look at, without losing any of their essential practicality.
The modern MPV has a challenging remit to fulfil, with buyers wanting generous and flexible interior space, car-like driving characteristics and low running costs. MPV customers have also come to expect sleek looks in addition to this wide breadth of abilities. Despite this, many of the cars on our list have practical, van-like features such sliding rear doors to improve access, as well as a load capacity that (with all seats folded) is measured in thousands, rather than hundreds, of litres.
We’ve included traditional seven-seat MPVs like the Ford Galaxy in our list of the top 10 people carriers, as well as smaller, sleeker models like the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. All of the cars we feature are available with economical diesel engines and each has a unique selling point – be it excellent handling, a cavernous boot, distinctive looks, or a combination of all these.
Many of the cars here allow you to fit three ISOFIX child seats in the second row of seats, and if this is an essential feature for you, our dedicated top 10 list of the best cars with three ISOFIX points should be your next port of call. If you simply must have seven seats, meanwhile, be sure to check out our top 10 list of the best seven-seater cars you can buy, while if you’re after a practical car but want more rugged looks, make your way over to our rundown of the best SUVs and 4x4 cars on sale today.