Best people carriers and MPVs

Last updated: Oct 22, 2014

MPVs and people carriers are excellent cars to go for if you have a large family or want a flexible interior. Most offer extra seats that can be arranged in a variety of different ways and have plenty of storage space throughout the cabin. The very latest models have sliding doors and no C-pillars (the pillars between the front and rear doors) for excellent access.

But a spacious and flexible interior is just part of the critera – to get on our top 10 list, cars need to offer value for money, low running costs, useable performance, decent reliability and appealing looks. Just because you’re buying an MPV doesn’t mean you should settle for a car that's not fun to drive, so our list includes models such as the excellent Ford S-MAX.

We've tried to feature a broad spectrum of models from the small Ford B-MAX, to the mid-sized Kia Carens and full-sized SEAT Alhambra, so keep reading for our guide to the UK's top 10 MPVs.

SEAT Alhambra MPV

The SEAT Alhambra has uncompromisingly boxy looks, but they pay off when it comes to carrying people and their luggage. While some MPVs make you choose between the two, the SEAT offers 276 litres of luggage space even with all the seats in use. The SEAT also gets sliding rear doors, which offer excellent access to the rear seats, and they can also be opened even when the car is in a tight parking space. The diesel engines are the best choice, because they do a better job of moving the big MPV while also returning good fuel economy. Read more.

Key points

4.8 / 5
Price 
£25,630 - £33,705

Ford B-MAX mini MPV

The Ford B-MAX comes from the other end of the MPV scale from the SEAT, as it only offers five seats, but it's extremely practical nonetheless. Sliding rear doors and a pillarless body mean the Ford offers unrivalled access to its interior. Boot space with the rear seats up is a useful 318 litres, but that jumps to 1,386 with them lowered. The Ford B-MAX is based on the Ford Fiesta and gets that car's swish styling – albeit on a more upright body – and excellent handling characteristics, which mean the B-MAX is surprisingly good fun to drive. Read more.

Key points

4.6 / 5
Price 
£12,995 - £19,095

Renault Grand Scenic MPV

The Renault Grand Scenic comes from the manufacturer that arguably built the world’s first MPV, the Renault Espace, so it should be good. It has seven seats and offers a huge 2,063 litres of boot space with the third row of seats removed, although it would be better if they folded into the floor. As with most modern cars, the Renault got five stars for safety from Euro NCAP, while the most economical diesel can return 68.9mpg and has emissions as low as 105g/km for £20 annual road tax. Read more.

Key points

4.5 / 5
Price 
£20,585 - £24,115

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

If you want the practicality of an MPV, but without the drab looks, then the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso is a strong contender. Its small headlights and panoramic windscreen make it look like it's beamed down from space. The most economical version boasts impressive fuel economy and emissions of 74.3mpg and 98g/km respectively. The Citroen is hugely practical inside, and as it's primarily for carrying families, has been set up to be comfortable rather than fun to drive. Read more.

Key points

4.4 / 5
Price 
£19,460 - £28,110

Ford Grand C-MAX MPV

Compared to the Citroen, the Ford C-MAX looks boring, although it does have practical sliding rear doors. It's a seven-seater, but with all seats in place, there’s a meagre 115 litres of boot space. All but the third row of seats have plenty of legroom, and there's a good range of engines, too. As with any Ford, though, it’s the driving experience that really makes the C-MAX stand out, with a balance of fun handling and comfortable suspension. The car’s interior also keeps most wind and road noise at bay. Read more.

Key points

4.2 / 5
Price 
£19,745 - £27,000

Ford Galaxy MPV

Just like the Ford B-MAX and the Ford C-MAX, the Ford Galaxy is excellent fun to drive and also comfortable on long journeys. Unlike some seven-seaters, the Galaxy’s extra pair of seats are fine for adults, and even when the Galaxy is full to capacity, there’s still a 308-litre boot. Lower all the seats and that jumps to 2,325 litres, which means your Galaxy can also double as a light removals van if needs be – and Ford’s super-efficient diesel engines mean the Galaxy will be much cheaper to run than a commerical vehicle, too. Read more.

Key points

3.9 / 5
Price 
£25,670 - £34,335

Kia Carens MPV

Kia has already shown it can build an excellent family hatchback, so it’s no surprise to us that the Kia Carens is an excellent MPV. As with every other Kia, it has an excellent seven-year warranty. The Kia is a seven-seater on paper, but the third row of seats is really only suitable for children. The car does get added flexibility from the middle row of seats, which can be slid forwards or backwards for more or less legroom. Kia chose to make the Carens a comfortable car to travel in, but the downside is that it’s not much fun to drive. Read more.

Key points

4.2 / 5
Price 
£17,995 - £25,050

Volkswagen Sharan MPV

The Volkswagen Sharan shares many parts with the SEAT Alhambra, but in time-honoured Volkswagen fashion, it gets some classier touches to elevate it from the cheaper SEAT. We’d rather save the money and go for the SEAT, however. As with the Alhambra, the Sharan has 375 litres of boot space even with all the seats up, so there’s no need to choose between people and luggage. Read more.

Key points

4.0 / 5
Price 
£25,320 - £34,790

Ford S-MAX MPV

The Ford S-MAX is a large and practical MPV, but it's also one of the most fun-to-drive cars here thanks to suspension that confortable but also controls body lean in the corners. Ford also offers a good range of engines, including economical diesels and a fast 2.0-litre EcoBoost petrol, in case you decide to explore the limits of that fine handling. The S-MAX is still an MPV at heart, though, so it gets 285 litres of luggage space even with all seven seats up. Read more.

Key points

4.2 / 5
Price 
£23,310 - £33,085

Fiat 500L MPW MPV

The Fiat 500L attempts to combine the retro looks of the Fiat 500 with a more practical body shape, and the result is mixed. The cute looks of the standard car are lost, but the interior is much more practical, thanks to a flat floor, 400-litre boot and rear seats that slide backwards and forwards for more or less boot space. Unfortunately, the 500L lacks the practical sliding doors of the Ford B-MAX. The Fiat has a strong range of engines, with the TwinAir petrol being the pick of the bunch, but it isn’t that much fun to drive. Read more.

Key points

3.6 / 5
Price 
£15,840 - £21,030

Sponsored Links