Top 10 best cars with sliding doors 2022
If ease of access is a priority, cars with sliding doors offer an enormous advantage. We list our top 10
Do you have a young family or regularly carry passengers who require easy access to the front and rear seats? If so, you may be familiar with the struggle of squeezing through a small gap created by a car door that can’t be fully opened, while desperately trying to avoid knocking it into a closely parked car. Imagine if you could simply slide the doors open instead...
There aren’t that many cars out there with sliding doors but the dozen or so available to retail buyers in the UK offer a reasonably broad selection to choose from. Parking in tight spaces or along busy narrow roads will never cause anxiety again.
Choosing a car with sliding rear doors rather than conventional ones gives you a number of advantages. If you want a seven-seater, for example, having wide-opening sliding doors makes access to the back row of seats far easier than it tends to be in a car with normal doors.
Even if you want to stick with five seats rather than opt for a seven-seater, sliding rear doors make getting into the back seats simple. Parents with small children are able to easily lean in to strap them in or unbuckle them, unencumbered by door pillars or protruding windows.
You’re at a huge advantage in tight car parks and on busy city streets, as sliding doors hardly protrude from the body of the car when they open, effectively removing the chance of denting another car or scratching your own car’s paintwork.
Many cars with sliding doors are based on vans; these are often referred to as MPVs. While that doesn’t mean they’re bad to drive – modern vans are far plusher and more car-like than they once were – it does mean that if you’re making the switch from a family hatchback or people carrier, you may find interior noise is louder than usual and notice bumps in poor roads. If you’re stepping up from a family hatch, it’s also worth noting they’ll feel a lot bigger from behind the wheel.
Before heading to a dealership, it’s worth noting two important points about sliding rear doors. Firstly, they’re more expensive to manufacture than normal doors and naturally their cost is factored into the price of the car. Secondly, they’re usually heavier and if you choose one of the larger cars on this list, you may find the doors hard to slide, particularly if you’ve parked on a hill. They can also require a fair pull and shove to get open and are noisier to open and close than hinged doors. If, however, the car you’re after has a power-opening option, this solves the issues surrounding weight – at a price.
Read on for our list of the best cars with sliding doors.
The Multivan is Volkswagen’s replacement for the firm’s now-discontinued Caravelle MPV. Aside from just a name change, the Multivan offers some big upgrades over its predecessor. The Multivan has a much more attractive and modern design, but while its smooth looks might give the impression it’s fully electric, all available powertrains involve some use of petrol or diesel.
The Multivan is available with either a 134bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine, 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel or as a plug-in hybrid pairing a 1.4-litre petrol engine with a 10kWh battery to produce 215bhp; it has an all-electric range of around 30 miles which will keep running costs down on short trips.
While it is quite expensive, every version of the Multivan is well equipped, with entry-level Life models getting a host of included safety features and electrically latching sliding doors – go a step up to a Style model and you’ll get fully electric sliding doors which will help with getting children in and out of the car. The Multivan’s rear seats sit on rails which allow them to be rearranged and turned 180-degrees, which adds to its versatility. A fold out table, multiple cup holders and USB charging ports also mean there’s lots on offer to keep rear passengers happy.
As the biggest MPV Ford offers, the Tourneo Custom stops just short of being a fully fledged minibus. It’s based on the Ford Transit van, which itself is very popular, and is capable of seating up to an impressive nine people. It has individual seats that can be rearranged to face each other for a more social set up or removed entirely, freeing up the MPV’s van potential – the Tourneo Custom is incredibly versatile.
Unfortunately, a fully electric option isn’t available, but there are a range of 2.0-litre diesel engines, available with or without mild-hybrid electric power and varied power outputs. There’s also a plug-in hybrid option with an electric motor mated to a 1.0-litre petrol engine that Ford says is capable of up to 33 miles on a charge, although we got around 20-25 miles in testing. The Transit that the Tourneo is based on has always felt nimble to drive, and that’s also the case here.
The Tourneo Custom’s interior is designed to be much more car-like, with an infotainment screen, leather-trimmed steering wheel, auto headlights and air conditioning as standard. There’s also a range of accessories and colour options to help make it feel less like a van, although ultimately there’s no escaping the Tourneo Custom’s commercial roots. For an impressive amount of practicality and the option of nine seats for a very large family, though, the Tourneo Custom is a great option.
The Citroen e-SpaceTourer is a large MPV based on the underpinnings of the Dispatch van, but with a reasonably luxurious interior given its commercial beginnings. It doesn’t look too bad from the outside, either, with the same wide two-bar grille as other hatchbacks and SUVs in the range and a choice of fetching paint colours. Three lengths of SpaceTourer are available, with XS the shortest, M at around five metres in length and XL allowing up to nine people to get comfortable.
An overhead unit provides rear passengers with airline-style air-conditioning and lighting, while sunblinds, tray tables and power sockets are also provided, but it can get a bit noisy on the move. Citroen axed the diesel engine options for the Spacetourer in January 2022 and left electric power as the sole option for the MPV, the clue being the ‘e’ in ‘e-Spacetourer’. With a 50kWh battery, it has an official range of up to 148 miles, which should be adequate for most drivers. It’s also capable of 100kW rapid charging speeds, which means you could recharge up to 80% in around 30 minutes at a public rapid charging station.
The Citroen e-SpaceTourer, Toyota Verso and Peugeot e-Traveller have been built as part of a joint effort, so you’re sure to notice some similarities. For a start, Toyota offers Compact, Medium and Long versions, depending how many passengers you want to carry, and how much space you have to park. Like the Citroen, the interior isn’t bad for a vehicle originally designed for ferrying cargo, with Shuttle, Family and VIP trims offering progressively more kit and clearly aimed at the private-hire industry.
Even the Shuttle has eight or nine seats, automatic wipers, air-conditioning, DAB radio and Bluetooth, covering all the essentials. A five-star Euro NCAP safety rating provides great peace of mind, too, especially with so many people on board. Meanwhile, engines include two 2.0-litre diesels with 138bhp or 178bhp, the latter of which is unnecessary unless you plan on towing a heavy trailer along with your passengers.
Of the e-SpaceTourer, Verso and e-Traveller trio, the Peugeot arguably has the most conservative styling, with a simple grille flanked by swept-back headlights. Some neat alloy wheels and stylish colours ensure you won’t be mistaken for a delivery driver, though, as does plenty of tinted privacy glass. Otherwise, there’s the same choice of three body lengths, providing enough space for just about any family.
Peugeot has decided to push the Traveller slightly upmarket, with no cut-price version on offer and every trim getting an impressive roster of equipment like climate control, cruise control, Bluetooth and a seven-inch infotainment display. The Allure trim is even more luxurious, thanks to leather seats, a panoramic sunroof and even a heads-up display. As with the Citroen e-Spacetourer, the Peugeot e-Traveller is now offered only in electric guise, with the previous diesel Travellers being discontinued in early 2022.
If you want to spend even more money on a car with sliding doors, turn to the Mercedes V-Class. With a starting price of just over £64,000, this car is for people who are serious about their sliding doors. Available in standard, long and extra-long wheelbases, the V-Class can seat up to eight people in leather-lined luxury, while the driver enjoys a dashboard and equipment that’s familiar from the rest of Mercedes’ range. The V-Class’ versatile seating system means almost any configuration is possible and extras like central foldaway tables effectively turn it into a mobile office.
Mercedes offers the V-Class with a 2.0-litre diesel engine, available in two power outputs: 160bhp and 234bhp. Equipment is generous: the ‘entry-level’ Sport includes leather, sat nav, power-opening doors and a reversing camera; AMG Line adds a bodykit, larger alloy wheels and carbonfibre trim details, but at £2,000 more it seems a slightly unnecessary expense.
The Tourneo Connect is a fair bit cheaper than rivals and if you can get past the van-like looks, it’s a hugely practical and capable car. With Ford Focus underpinnings, the Tourneo is another car-like MPV on the road, even if the tall interior and proportions mean it’s a little on the noisy side at speed. That caveat aside, there’s little not to like. The unashamed focus on practicality means adults can practically stand up in the high Tourneo Connect, while the seven-seat option adds further appeal – although the rearmost seats are a little on the small side and tricky to fold up and down.Ford previously offered a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with the Tourneo Connect, but the 1.5-litre diesel is now the only option, available with 98 or 118bhp. Ford has recently stopped selling the more basic entry-level Tourneo Connects, leaving buyers with just Zetec, Titanium and the more ruggedly styled Active models to choose from.
The Citroen Berlingo has always been an appealing choice for families seeking affordability and maximum practicality. It’s generally been an option with few frills, but the latest version has moved the game on significantly. It’s still based on the same van architecture as the Peugeot e-Rifter and Vauxhall Combo e-Life, but Citroen stylists have masked its undignified background well. The nose features a distinctive chevron grille with swishy LED running lights on either side above sunken headlights, while Citroen Cactus-style ‘airbumps’ adorn its flanks. Twin roof rails look the part, too. There are two sizes of Berlingo, both available with five or seven seats, and of course access is exceptional thanks to the sliding rear doors.
The standard M model will be enough for most with its 775-litre boot, but if you’re a glutton for luggage space the long-wheelbase Berlingo XL gives you 1,050 litres. Inside, apart from the space around you on all sides, there’s very little to suggest you’re driving what used to be a van. Good quality trim and an impressive infotainment system means it actually feels rather plush.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it’s a bit unfair to award the Peugeot Rifter’s sister car a higher placing simply based on its more glamorous nose – but the Carbuyer consensus is that the Rifter looks a little more mundane than the Citroen Berlingo, although it still has a little more flair than the Vauxhall Combo. The Rifter also features Peugeot’s i-Cockpit instrumentation that needs to be viewed over, rather than through, the steering wheel and that can be a tad divisive. Otherwise, the Rifter offers all the many advantages of its PSA Group stablemates, including the same wheelbase lengths, plus five- and seven-seat options.
With all petrol and diesel models discontinued across the brands, the Peugeot, Citroen and Vauxhall models share the same electric drivetrain with a 50kWh battery, so it really is a matter of personal preference for the manufacturers. All variants offer a supple ride and decent refinement that belie their commercial vehicle origins.
The Vauxhall Combo is now only offered as an electric vehicle, known as the e-Life, which should mean running costs will be fairly low. It shares parts with the Peugeot e-Rifter and Citroen e-Berlingo. It’s pretty good for family life, given that all three models were developed from the ground up as commercial vans – that means the Combo has plenty of space for luggage and can seat seven.
The Combo e-Life fills the MPV-sized gap the discontinued Zafira Tourer left in Vauxhall’s line-up. The Combo has a 50kWh battery that Vauxhall claims is capable of a range of around 174 miles on a charge. Don’t let this limited range put you off, though, because Vauxhall has equipped it with a 100kW charging capability, meaning a 30-minute charge can top the battery up from 10% to 80%, which makes long journeys less of a chore.
When compared with rivals, however, the Combo lacks flair, with its commercial origins even more apparent than its Peugeot and Citroen sister MPVs. It’s a no-nonsense design that does the job with no frills.
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