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Best cars

Best MPVs for 2017

By Martin Pratt

Article 10 of 14

People carriers are perfect for families, offering comfort, practicality and bags of interior space. These Best Buy MPVs also deliver low running costs and long-term reliability.

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MPVs, or multi-purpose vehicles, are the ideal choice for anyone who needs to carry a lot of people and luggage around, making them perfect for larger families(and minicab drivers...).

The Renault Espace was the first people carrier to hit the mainstream in the early 1980s, but MPVs are now available from most of the big brands. Popular models including the Renault Scénic, Citroën Picasso, Ford C-Max and S-Max, and even a premium offering in the shape of the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer.

Below are our recommended new and used MPVs – Best Buys that are truly multi-purpose, as well as reliable and affordable to run.

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Best new MPVs

Toyota Prius+
Typical price £25,409
Brand score 83%
Reviewed Nov 2015
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
3 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This is a great seven-seat MPV all-rounder. It may be a little sluggish on the road, but this is a comfortable, economical car with lots of interior space, especially when used as a five-seater.

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer
Typical price £22,220
Brand score 83%
Reviewed Sep 2014
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
Model reliability:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This is as practical an MPV as we've tested with a well thought out cabin - it’s a blast to drive too.

Toyota Verso
Typical price £17,967
Brand score 80%
Reviewed Mar 2009
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

There's a lot to love about this versatile MPV - it oozes practicality and the huge well-equipped cabin is a pleasure to be in.

Volkswagen Touran
Typical price £19,138
Brand score 79%
Reviewed Jun 2016
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This seven-seat family MPV majors on practicality and space. It's versatile and has proven itself brilliant for those with large families. This latest model drives well, too.

Ford Grand C-Max
Typical price £18,904
Brand score 79%
Reviewed Sep 2010
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
Model reliability:
3 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This MPV is as good to drive as most hatchbacks while still being an effective people and luggage carrying car.

Ford C-Max
Typical price £16,766
Brand score 78%
Reviewed Sep 2010
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
Model reliability:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

If you want an MPV that's fun to drive then look no further. Despite being a joy on the road, the car is still as spacious and practical as you'd expect an MPV to be.

Best used MPVs

Toyota Verso (2004-2009)
Typical price £2,410
Brand score 83%
Reviewed May 2004
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
5 out of 5
Model reliability:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This people carrier is on the larger side of the MPV scale. The space utilised well - there's plenty of versatility.

Toyota Verso-S (2011-2013)
Typical price £7,307
Brand score 82%
Reviewed Mar 2011
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Despite being a smaller MPV it still has plenty of interior space. It has some stiff competition but it's one you should consider.

Honda FR-V (2004-2009)
Typical price £3,226
Brand score 78%
Reviewed Nov 2004
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
3 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

A unique interior layout sets this MPV apart, but despite the unusual arrangement it's still a competent, versatile vehicle.

Mazda 5 (2010-2015)
Typical price £5,726
Brand score 77%
Reviewed Jun 2010
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

It's a compact, seven-seat MPV that has earned its Best Buy stripes in our testing. It's designed to be sportier than most, emphasised by the swoopy creases down its sides - it's certainly less plain-looking than some other people carriers.

Volkswagen Touran (2003-2010)
Typical price £2,375
Brand score 76%
Reviewed Aug 2003
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This practical MPV people carrier is feeling its age now, but important factors like safety and fuel economy have stood the test of time.

Volkswagen Caravelle (2010-2015)
Typical price £21,512
Brand score 74%
Reviewed Jan 2010
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This MPV is more van than car and that means there's a tonne of space inside. It's easier to drive than you might think, though, so don’t dismiss it based on size alone.

Ford S-Max (2006-2014)
Typical price £5,059
Brand score 74%
Reviewed Jun 2006
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
Model reliability:
3 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This MPV somehow manages to be sporty while maintaining the core sensibilities of an excellent MPV - comfort, space and versatility.

Ford Galaxy (2006-2015)
Typical price £3,919
Brand score 74%
Reviewed Jun 2006
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
Model reliability:
3 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This full-size MPV can comfortably seat seven thanks to its vast interior, though its size does make it a bit unwieldy on the road.

Renault Espace (2003-2012)
Typical price £1,494
Brand score 73%
Reviewed Feb 2003
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

It's not had the best reliability record but this MPV is comfy and easy to drive.

Peugeot 807 (2002-2010)
Typical price £770
Brand score 73%
Reviewed Oct 2002
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This MPV is one of the cheapest we recommend. It is being overtaken by more modern rivals but there's still a lot to love.

Not seen the car for you? Browse all our MPV reviews

And here are three MPVs to avoid

MPVs are designed to be versatile, spacious family cars. There should be plenty of space for the biggest and smallest family member, with room in the boot for a fortnightly food shop. The image of MPVs as the perfect family drive makes it all the more alarming that some are woefully unsafe.


We look at the Euro NCAP results, but we also consider the safety equipment each car comes with. Electronic stability control (ESC) is all but essential for keeping high-ride cars stable while cornering. MPVs that don't have ESC can be difficult to manoeuvre, particularly at high speeds. This means you’ll need to work harder to keep the car in lane, and any last-minute turns could result in skidding and complete loss of control. We’ve tested models where ESC is optional, or not available at all, and you’ll find most of those cars among the models we’d recommend you steer clear off.


Chances are you and your family will be spending a fair amount of time in your MPV, which is why we look at how much comfort and space you get in every seat in the vehicle. We use dummies to measure the exact head and legroom so, if your kids have shot up over the last few months, you know they won’t be hunched in the back. We’ve found cars that compromise on quality and comfort. These cars have drab, poorly thought-out interiors that aren’t going to keep anyone happy during a long drive.


Below are three cars whose poor safety records, dull interiors and poor reliability ratings put them bottom of heap when it comes to MPVs.

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