Cookies at Which? We use cookies to help improve our sites. If you continue, we'll assume that you're happy to accept our cookies. Find out more about cookies

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.

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

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.

Which? members can log in to see the MPVs we recommend. If you're not already a member, take out a £1 trial to unlock this table and all our expert impartial reviews.

Best new MPVs

Ford Grand C-Max (2010-)
Typical price £20,370
Brand score 76%
Reviewed Sep 2010
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
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 as good to drive as most hatchbacks while still being an effective people and luggage carrying car.

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer (2012-)
Typical price £18,780
Brand score 74%
Reviewed Jan 2012
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 5
Model reliability 0-3 years:
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 both bigger and smarter than the model it's now replaced. With super-flexible seating and masses of room for luggage, not to mention an impressive drive, it's a cracking MPV and a Which? Best Buy.

Volkswagen Touran (2015-)
Typical price £18,971
Brand score 73%
Reviewed Jun 2016
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
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.

Hyundai ix20 (2010-)
Typical price £14,114
Brand score 73%
Reviewed Nov 2010
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Model reliability 0-3 years:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

For such a small car, it's immensely practical. Passengers will be comfortable and the boot is huge, despite it seeming to shrink slightly on post-2015 models. Its strong reliability record seals the deal as a Best Buy. We did find that fuel consumption was some way off official claims, however.

Best used MPVs

Toyota Verso-S (2011-2013)
Typical price £7,466
Brand score 73%
Reviewed Mar 2011
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
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.

Toyota Verso (2004-2009)
Typical price £2,331
Brand score 73%
Reviewed May 2004
Best Buy
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Ride quality:
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.

Peugeot 5008 (2010-2016)
Typical price £6,155
Brand score 72%
Reviewed Jan 2010
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Model reliability 3-8 years:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This one is that rare thing: a large and highly practical seven-seat MPV that's also good to drive. It's very comfortable and massively spacious inside, yet it doesn't feel too big when you're behind the wheel - and it's good-looking for a people carrier, too.

Honda FR-V (2004-2009)
Typical price £3,012
Brand score 72%
Reviewed Nov 2004
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 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 £5,428
Brand score 70%
Reviewed Jun 2010
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
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.

Mazda 5 (2005-2010)
Typical price £2,496
Brand score 70%
Reviewed Jul 2005
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

It boasts a versatile cabin, twin sliding doors and decent build quality - plus it gives a sportier driving experience than most MPV rivals, despite being ultra-practical at the same time. The engine choice is rather limited, however, and the third-row seats are cramped.

Renault Espace (2003-2012)
Typical price £1,788
Brand score 69%
Reviewed Feb 2003
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
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.

Citroen C4 Picasso (2007-2013)
Typical price £1,811
Brand score 69%
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 5
Model reliability 3-8 years:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Massive interior space is this car's most impressive aspect. You have huge amounts of room for up to seven passengers and their luggage, and it's this huge practicality that sees it rated as a Best Buy. It's comfortable too, but it's far from sharp to drive. Some engines are weak and the automatic transmission is awful.

Ford Focus C-Max (2003-2010)
Typical price £1,448
Brand score 67%
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
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 a decent car to drive and its engines are up to the job, too. It's an easy car to use, with good visibility and easy parking. However, it falls very much into the 'compact' MPV category, so if you're buying your MPV to maximise space and the ability to carry people, you'll be better off looking elsewhere.

Ford S-Max (2006-2014)
Typical price £5,258
Brand score 67%
Reviewed Jun 2006
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Model reliability 3-8 years:
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.

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.

MPVs to avoid

Volkswagen Sharan (1995-2010)
Typical price £750
Brand score 45%
Reviewed Jul 1995
Don't buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Seat comfort:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
4 out of 5
Boot space:
5 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

This spacious seven-seater is generally practical and user-friendly with a big boot, but the rear seats aren't the most comfortable for adults over long distances. It's far from being an inspiring drive: the steering is disappointing and the diesel engines are unrefined. Safety is off the pace, too.

Toyota Urban Cruiser (2009-2012)
Typical price £4,907
Brand score 45%
Reviewed May 2009
Don't buy
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Seat comfort:
3 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 5
Seat space:
3 out of 5
Boot space:
4 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

One major issue with this short-lived compact MPV is its disappointing three-star result in the Euro NCAP crash test - modern cars like this really should be five-star performers.

Peugeot Partner Teepee (2008-)
Typical price £14,165
Brand score 45%
Reviewed Jun 2008
Don't buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Seat comfort:
3 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
4 out of 5
Boot space:
5 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

This MPV is certainly practical and spacious, as well as being more refined than its predecessor, but it's way behind the times in terms of safety, as well as in other areas such as refinement and driving dynamics.

Fiat Multipla (2000-2010)
Typical price £750
Brand score 45%
Reviewed Jan 2000
Don't buy
Driving stability:
3 out of 5
Seat comfort:
3 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
4 out of 5
Boot space:
5 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

Safety standards are way behind what you'd expect from a compact MPV and as such this is a Which? Don't Buy model

Fiat Doblo (2010-)
Typical price £13,602
Brand score 45%
Reviewed Mar 2010
Don't buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Seat comfort:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
5 out of 5
Boot space:
5 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

It's certainly a lot better than the old model, with much improved build quality and more accomplished driving dynamics, but it's a Which? Don’t Buy as its crash test performance leaves a lot to be desired.

Citroen Nemo Multispace (2009-2012)
Typical price £3,413
Brand score 45%
Reviewed Mar 2009
Don't buy
Driving stability:
1 out of 5
Seat comfort:
3 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 5
Seat space:
5 out of 5
Boot space:
5 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

It may be practical, but we can't recommend it because of its below-par three-star Euro NCAP rating. The lack of electronic stability control (ESC) in the launch version meant that it flipped over during our stability test, and it still has little useful safety kit. Neither does it hide its van-based nature well.

Citroen Dispatch Combi Jumpy (2006-2015)
Typical price £2,121
Brand score 45%
Reviewed Jan 2007
Don't buy
Driving stability:
3 out of 5
Seat comfort:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 5
Seat space:
5 out of 5
Boot space:
5 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

As you'd expect from a van-based people carrier, there's loads of space and up to nine people can be accommodated. Don't expect a car-like driving experience, though: it can't shake off the crudeness of its van origins. Safety is well below par, too.

Citroen Berlingo Multispace (2008-)
Typical price £14,896
Brand score 45%
Reviewed Jun 2008
Don't buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Seat comfort:
3 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
4 out of 5
Boot space:
5 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

This is a popular car with our members thanks to its practicality, but its uninspiring cabin and subpar safety rating aren’t good enough. Side and curtain airbags are optional, rather than standard. Earlier models didn’t have stability control - which is all but essential in tall van-like MPVs. It all feels dated, with its underpowered heater and a cabin that does a poor job of blocking engine and wind noise. It’s an MPV in dire need of an upgrade.

Vauxhall Combo Tour (2007-2011)
Typical price £1,523
Brand score 42%
Reviewed Oct 2007
Don't buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Seat comfort:
3 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
5 out of 5
Boot space:
5 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

If you need to carry lots of stuff - and lots of big stuff - this model is aimed at you. It's huge inside, both for luggage and passengers. The sliding rear doors make access very simple and, while this isn't the last word in luxury, it's a highly practical mode of transport. However, its stability and behaviour in our avoidance tests are so concerning, it's a Don't Buy model in our eyes.

We test cars more thoroughly than anyone else

Our tests go further than those carried out by other organisations, and because Which? is independent and doesn't accept advertising or freebies, you can trust our reviews to give you the full, honest and impartial truth about every car we test.

Every car we review is subjected to more than 100 individual tests in a lab, on a test track, and on real roads – and we really clock up the miles, driving around 900 miles in every car we test.

Testing in controlled lab conditions means the results we collect are directly comparable between different cars, helping us determine exactly which models are better and why, and helping you find the perfect car for your needs

And so you know which cars are likely to prove reliable for years to come, we also gather feedback from thousands of UK car owners through the Which? Car Survey, using it to generate detailed reliability ratings for the cars we test.

To take the guesswork out of choosing your next car, take a Which? trial for £1 and you'll receive access to all our expert reviews and advice, plus Which? magazine itself.

SHARE THIS PAGE