Top 3 used family MPVs for £20,000

Dear Carbuyer, I’m looking for a spacious used MPV to transport my family of five. What can I get for £20,000?

Once a common sight on UK roads, MPVs experienced a huge surge in popularity when the Renault Espace debuted back in 1984. Yet, they are now slowly going extinct thanks to the boom in SUV sales with only a handful of models still on sale. However, there are an excellent array of used family MPVs on the market, which all offer a vast interior space and great practicality. 

Our reader wants a used MPV for under £20,000 to transport a family of five, read on to see what great options you can find in the second hand market. 

Renault Scenic Vision concept previews new 2024 MPV

On paper, traditional people carriers and MPVs have plenty in common with their more fashionable SUV counterparts. Both are typically larger than a regular hatchback or estate car, and several MPVs and SUVs are also available with seven seats

It is true that SUVs offer a higher driving position, rugged styling and larger dimensions, but most offer a similar amount of space as an equivalent MPV. Models like the Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer offer 165 litres of boot space with all seven seats in place, an amount not far behind the Skoda Kodiaq SUV at 235 litres. Fold down the third row in both models, and the boot space is nearly the same at just over 630 litres. 

A further benefit of an MPVs design is their boxier shape; they typically feature a taller roofline as part of a two-box design - meaning they offer a vast amount of legroom and headroom for passengers. This upright shape also benefits boot space, with some larger MPVs providing a rectangular shaped load space similar to a panel van. 

We’ve searched the internet and picked out three of the best used family MPVs that you can buy under £20,000. Each model ticks every box that a good MPV should, yet all excel in different areas. 

The stylish choice:  Citroen Grand C4 Spacetourer

  • For: Stylish looks and cabin, comfortable, good economy
  • Against: So-so handling and fiddly infotainment

The Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer is set up for comfort, with its smooth ride making it suitable for relaxing journeys with the family. This is achieved via soft suspension; the trade-off for this is that the SpaceTourer doesn’t corner very sharply, nor is its steering particularly responsive. However, one advantage the SpaceTourer has is that its official fuel economy stands at between 43.6mpg and 60.1mpg.

The SpaceTourer’s seats are extremely comfortable, and the panoramic windscreen makes the cabin feel bright and spacious. Entry-level cars feature a monochrome display, while higher-spec Feel and Flair editions are equipped with a 12-inch colour display. Infotainment, meanwhile, comes from a slightly unintuitive seven-inch touchscreen that’s standard on all models. There’s only 165 litres of boot space with all seven seats in place, 793 with five up or 2,181 with just the two front seats in position.

Around £19,000 gets a 19-plate, 25,000-mile 1.2 PureTech 130 Feel, with diamond-cut alloy wheels, a panoramic roof and part-leather seats.

The spacious choice: Ford Galaxy

  • For: Big boot, good handling, 4x4 model available
  • Against: Not as upmarket as VW or as economical as C4

Despite being bigger than the Grand C4 SpaceTourer, the Ford Galaxy is a better car to drive. It offers decent ride comfort, but balances this with engaging handling, less body roll than the Citroen and more accurate steering. The Galaxy officially returns between 40.4mpg and 46.3mpg – a fair bit behind the Citroen, but better than the Sharan. Another positive for the Galaxy is the availability of four-wheel-drive, which gives added security.

With plenty of good-quality materials, the Galaxy’s interior is smart and sleek. An eight-inch central touchscreen allows for reduced clutter on the dash, while a 10.1-inch semi-digital instrument cluster is optional on entry-level models, and standard on higher grades. The Galaxy is the most spacious car here. It has 300 litres of boot space with all seven of its seats in position, and 1,301 litres when five seats are filled. Only have the front two seats up and you’ll have a massive 2,339 litres at your disposal.

Our reader’s £20,000 budget will secure a 17-plate Galaxy 2.0 TDCi Titanium X with sat-nav and cruise control.

The refined choice: Volkswagen Sharan

  • For: Solid interior build quality, generally refined
  • Against: Disappointing fuel economy, slightly dull

The VW Sharan’s steering sits between the Citroen and Ford, in that it inspires confidence, but doesn’t offer vast amounts of feedback. Yet there’s little body roll, and the engines are strong. The Sharan is also pretty agile. It lacks the edge of the Ford, but it’s perfectly competent, and generally comfortable on rough surfaces. What’s not so good is its official economy, which stands at 31.7mpg to 44.8mpg, and is down on the competition here.

While the Sharan’s cabin is a bit dour to look at, in terms of quality it’s the best here – everything is well put together and should cope well with the wear and tear that comes from family use. The straightforward design continues with its touchscreen infotainment system, which works well whether you’re using its VW-based functions, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. As with the Galaxy, the Sharan offers 300 litres of boot space when all seven seats are in place, but when you’re using five seats there’s only 711 litres on offer, which is the lowest figure here. With just the front seats up, there’s 2,297 litres available.

You can get a 17-plate, 60,000-mile Sharan 2.0 TDI for £20,000 in SE Nav spec, which comes with sat-nav, a powered driver’s seat plus a leather steering wheel.

Carbuyer’s choice:

Certainly the most unconventional choice here, the Citroen Grand C4 Spacetourer is a surprisingly funky MPV that makes typically dull family transport a little bit more interesting. Those who remember the original Citroen Picasso from the early noughties will be familiar with the easy-to-read centre-mounted digital dials and rear passengers will have plenty of light thanks to the Feel model’s panoramic roof. Although the Citroen may not be as sporty to drive as the Ford or as spacious as the VW, it has ample room for most families and great practicality. 

Looking for a new MPV or people carrier? Check out our picks of the Top 10 best models to buy now

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