Best MPVs and People Carriers

6 minutes Published: 06/10/2020
Alasdair Cherry

Multi-Purpose vehicles (MPVs), more casually referred to as people carriers, are the ultimate vehicle for large families. Practicality is the name of the game here - MPVs need to be functional, comfortable, and safe.

On the whole, MPVs are a fraction of the price of SUVs yet offer more practicality, with seven seats and huge boots. While they may not be as slick looking as a hatchback, they are the best car for large families looking for a stress-free life. 

To help you find the best MPV and people carrier for you, we’ve rounded up our top picks. They’re all practical, comfortable, have easy-to-fit Isofix child seats, and have been given 5 Star Euro NCAP safety ratings!

If you’re a fan of a larger car body style, you should also check out our best SUV cars and best 7 seater cars roundup. And if you’ve not got a massive family? An MPV might be overkill. Check out our best family cars list for some recommendations on great cars for small to medium sized families.

1. Citroen Grand C4 Spacetourer

RRP: £23,205 - £33,310 | From £277.55 per month to lease
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: MPV
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 99 - 134g/km

Pros

  • Every seat is spacious.

  • Cheap to run.

Cons

  • Competitors have better tech.

  • Exterior design won’t be liked by everyone.

Previously known as the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, the Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer has been given a makeover and certainly lives up to it’s ‘Grand’ name. This roomy seven-seater can niftily be transformed into a five-seater by folding the seats in a space allocated under the boot.

The interior has a nice blend of materials, and it’s a really comfortable car to sit in. Even in 7 seater mode, the legroom and headroom is decent. The C4 offers digital tyre pressure monitoring and anti-lock brakes, so you can make sure your car is as safe as can be.

Citroen has packed the C4 with incredibly efficient diesel engines, it won’t cause you a fortune. For a car big enough to carry 7 adults, you won’t get much better value for money than the C4 SpaceTourer. 

Our Rating:

2. Volkswagen Touran

RRP: £22,185 - £33,070
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: MPV
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 111 - 197g/km

Pros

  • Easy mechanics for folding and stowing seats.

  • It’s a VW, and drives as well as you’d expect.

Cons

  • Not a bargain.

  • A bit ugly on the outside.

With all Volkswagens, you know you’re going to get a reliable and smooth journey - the Touran is no different. The Volkswagen Touran is a 7 seater, and the third-row seats can be effortlessly pulled from underneath the boot whilst the second-row seats independently slide forwards and backwards. This makes getting everyone in the car a fast and effortless event. 

Inside, the Touran is really comfortable. It’s got quite a blocky shape that may not be too slick looking from the outside but it’s worth it - this car feels massive. The Touran features nine airbags, as well as a proactive pre-crash protection system, that tenses the seatbelts and closes windows, greatly reducing the chances of injury in a crash. 

Although it may not be much of a looker, the Volkswagen Touran excels in almost every other area that you’d want from an MPV.

Our Rating:

3. BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer

RRP: £26,515 - £34,785
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: MPV
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 149g/km

Pros

  • Punchy engines.

  • Plush interior.

Cons

  • More expensive than alternatives.

  • Not as practical as rivals.

While BMW are renowned for their sports saloons, BMW have broadened their horizons with this seven-seater people carrier. 

The 2 Series Gran Tourer isn’t as spacious as other cars on this list, but it offers a much better driving experience. If maximum practicality isn’t important to you, the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer might fit your needs. Turbo engines are featured throughout, so you won’t have any trouble overtaking on the motorway (with noisy kids sitting behind you). 

The BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer is more expensive than other rivals, but you can’t argue with the level of quality and comfort provided. For those that want to trade some practicality for style and a fun drive, this is a good shout.

Our Rating:

4. Renault Grand Scenic

RRP: £22,930 - £30,090
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 1.2 - 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D, H
  • Body: MPV
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 94 - 205g/km

Pros

  • Good fuel economy. 

  • Great driving position. 

Cons

  • Cheaper trims are lacking basic tech. 

  • Interior cabin is really basic.

A mid-priced option, the Renault Grand Scenic offers a reliable mix of practicality and safety that rivals any competitor.  The Scenic offers a commanding driving position with clear and wide visibility, making for a safer driving experience. 

The sliding seats provide a level of flexibility that will keep your passengers satisfied. However, if you plan to fill up the car make sure it’s children you stick in the back, as it will be uncomfortable for tall adults. 

Inside, the Grand Scenic is a bit bare bones, so don’t be expecting luxury. That being said, it’s an MPV and it offers practicality, comfort, and is safe - what more do you want?

Our Rating:

5. Ford C-max

RRP: £17,995 - £28,235
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 1.0 - 2.0
  • Fuel: D, P
  • Body: MPV
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 99 - 189g/km

Pros

  • Well priced.

  • Smooth drive.

Cons

  • It’s comfortable but the interior is boring.

  • Rear-seats are hard to fold.

The Ford Grand C-Max is basically a larger version of the Ford Focus. The Focus is an amazing car to drive, and while the Grand C-Max is hardly fun, it drives really well for an MPV. 

More importantly, it’s cheap to run - Ford’s EcoBoost engines are really fuel-efficient, so you won’t spend a fortune at the pump. There’s plenty of interior space for five people, but the third-row seats won’t be comfortable for anyone over the age of 12. They’re also not the easiest to fold over. 

The Grand C-Max offers some nice features, like Parking Assist, reducing your chances of smacking the Audi behind you as you’re driving to park this thing!

Our Rating:

6. Seat Alhambra

RRP: £22,025 - £33,005
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 1.4 - 2.8
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: MPV
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 278g/km

Pros

  • Huge boot space.

  • Good value for money.

Cons

  • Not great looking.

  • Interior lacks spark.

The urban myth that claims you can’t get comfortable third row seats in an MVP is defied by the spacious SEAT Alhambra

Space is where this colossal MPV earns its money. There’s enough room for two tall-ish adults to sit in the rear seats comfortably. Even when all seven seats are occupied there should be enough space for all seven passengers’ belongings. 

With blind spot protection, this car is a safe and easy car to drive. The SEAT Alhambra is most definitely a dark horse. Rich in space, comfortable to drive and insanely practical, it has all the traits of a great MPV.

Our Rating:

7. Ford S-max

RRP: £24,345 - £35,340
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 2.5
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: MPV
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 129 - 232g/km

Pros

  • Great driving experience.

  • Front two rows are really comfortable.

Cons

  • Rear seats are cramped.

  • Sacrifices practicality for style.

The Ford S-Max, dare I say it, can almost categorise itself as a sporty and trendy MPV. While great performance is hardly what you’re looking for with this body style, it’s actually quite nice to drive. 

Passenger and boot space is impressive across the board and like most MPVs, the front and middle rows are incredibly roomy, but the third row lets it down. As with most Ford cars, the engines are ultra-efficient, so you won’t spend a fortune on fuel. 

Ford S-Max might not be the most practical MPV out there - competitors offer a lot more space for the same price. However, it has sharp styling and might appeal to you if you’re looking for that Ford driving experience. 

Our Rating:

8. Volkswagen Sharan

RRP: £22,675 - £34,670
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 2.8
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: MPV
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 307g/km

Pros

  • Spacious as well as comfortable.

  • Hugely versatile and practical.

Cons

  • Expensive to buy.

  • Mundane cabin.

If you’re looking for a car with the sole purpose of carrying seven passengers in ultimate comfort, the Volkswagen Sharan is what you want. 

The Sharan’s interior may not be as flashy as some competitors, and it’s borderline boring -  but there’s enough room for seven-adults to sit comfortably as well as extra boot space to load a few suitcases. Unlike many rivals, the third row isn’t only for short journeys.

This MPV is extremely well-equipped, with lots of safety tech like Stability Control, to keep your vehicle under control in dodgy weather conditions.  

Our Rating:

Summary

If you’ve got 3 kids and another on the way, a Mercedes coupe isn’t the car for you - no matter how much you want it. Face it, you need a seven-seat MPV. 

 Thankfully, large MPVs are actually great cars these days, and there’s never been a better range of options. With nearly every manufacturer offering one, you can take your pick. 

All of our top picks offer plenty of practical storage space and are ultra-safe, so you really can’t go wrong with any of these choices! 

Need 7 seats but not sold on the MPV body style? If you're looking for more inspiration check out our 7 seater lease deals page, here you will find a range of family cars to meet your monthly budget.

Alternatively, if you have a bigger monthly budget for the next family car, we've gathered all our MPV lease deals in one place to make things simple for you.