MPVs; talk about multi-talented vehicles. These cathedrals to family ferrying must be all things to all people; spacious – with room for up to seven people – practical, versatile, well kitted out and comfortable. And that’s just the cabin… They also need to be well priced to buy and cost-effective to run, and if they can be safe as houses, stylish to look at and good to drive as well, then all the better.
Let’s look at seven of our favourites, and one of our least liked.
7. Seat Alhambra
What Car? magazine’s triple-times MPV of the Year from 2011 and 2013, the Seat Alhambra is a genuine champ. Its substantial size can take a while to get used to on the road, but its huge cabin takes seven people and is super-practical. Refinement, good dynamics and great value for money are further attributes.
Best buy: 2.0 TDI 150 SE
6. Vauxhall Zafira Tourer
The Vauxhall Zafira Tourer was improved no end when the old 2.0-litre engine was superseded by the new 1.6-litre turbodiesel. Economy, power and smoothness are all strong points, and the low CO2 emissions make sense for business drivers. The versatile cabin is a big plus, and Tech Line trim is also a good-value buy.
Best buy: 1.6 CDTi 136 Tech Line
5. Ford S-Max
This is the best-handling MPV money can buy. The Ford S-Max gives great smiles per mile for the driver, unlike some of its rivals, and accommodation is spacious and practical for people as well as luggage. The cabin could be classier to feel, though.
Best buy: 2.0 TDCi 150 Zetec
4. Citroen C3 Picasso
What Car? rated the Citroen C3 Picasso the Best Budget MPV in its 2017 Car of the Year awards, despite the model’s advancing years. Among its attributes are its good ride, great visibility and spacious luggage area. Not quite as much fun to drive as the Ford B-Max, but great value for money.
Best buy: 1.2 THP 110 Edition
3. Citroen Grand C4 Picasso
Stylish Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is relaxing and comfortable from behind the wheel, and has also been declared MPV of the Year in the past. We love its 1.6-litre turbodiesel, while the light and airy cabin has great attention to detail. The family-focused reassurance is enhanced by great levels of standard safety kit.
Best buy: 1.6 HDi 120 Exclusive
2. Ford Galaxy
One of the best large MPVs on the market, the spacious Ford Galaxy features super-flexible seating even in the middle and third rows, with seemingly endless layout combinations. One-up, it responds like a much smaller and sportier model, giving the driver plenty to smile about.
Best buy: 2.0 TDCi 150 Zetec
1. VW Touran
We love the Volkswagen Touran, with its super-spacious and practical cabin. The seven seats slide and fold in numerous combinations, and there’s enough space in the third row even for adults. The drive is comfortable and reassuring, too. It’s the current What Car? MPV of the year, and that’s worth paying the little bit extra for.
Best buy: 1.6 TDI 110 SE
One to avoid: Fiat Doblo
Yes, the Fiat Doblo is well priced, big inside and fun to drive, but its van-with-windows styling also makes it uninspiring to look at, while the cabin suffers far too much wind noise.
Sarah Bradley is a writer for WhatCar.
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