Top ten: MPVs of 2017

Top ten: MPVs of 2017
Top ten: MPVs of 2017

In the days before SUVs ruled the earth, MPVs and people carriers were a popular family choice – and they still do a great job. Here are our favourites

Back in the day, a good MPV didn’t have to do much more than offer enough seats for everyone in the family along with an appropriate amount of luggage space and decent fuel economy for long trips.

MPV/people-carrier buyers have become more discerning nowadays. They still want plenty of room inside, but it needs to be cleverly designed to maximise versatility. That means plenty of seating flexibility, a comfy and soothing ambience, stacks of safety equipment and ‘toys’ to keep passengers secure, and happy, and low running costs.

Thankfully many manufacturers are keeping the MPV flag flying, and the products they are building are very much up to the job of family transportation, 2018-style. Check out what we think are the ten best right now.

10. Kia Carens 1.7 CRDi 114 2

Not the most exciting vehicle to drive, or the easiest to get into the back of, but the Carens is well priced and nicely equipped. It’s also practical, smart and comfortable. Definitely worth considering if you need a mid-size MPV at under £20,000.

9. Citroën C4 Picasso 1.6 HDi 120 Exclusive

Clever seats that you can slide or fold away plus a spacious boot give the C4 Picasso plenty of brownie points in the family-friendliness stakes. Like the Kia, it’s not the most thrilling drive, but economy, space and style are all high points, and the dash design is easy on the eye.

8. Volkswagen Sharan 2.0 TDI 150 SE

For driving familiarity it’s hard to beat a Volkswagen, and that feeling of constancy through the range is replicated in the Sharan, a full-size MPV that feels little different to a saloon from the driving seat. Great diesel engines are good compensation for a relative lack of practicality-boosting tricks. Even basic models are well equipped.

7. Seat Alhambra 2.0 TDI 150 SE

This SEAT has won many awards in its long life, and it’s still right up there with the best thanks to its generous space, refinement and value. It might feel like a big car from the driver’s seat but you’ll soon get accustomed to that and learn to appreciate its excellent practicality for up to seven adults.

6. Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 1.6 CDTi 136 Tech Line

Much better than the rough old 2.0-litre model, the new 1.6-litre diesel Zafira Tourer has tax-friendly sub-110g/km CO2 emissions, flexible seating and a very tempting pricing structure. We recommend the Tech Line spec.

5. Ford S-Max 2.0 TDCi 150 Zetec

As you might expect from Ford, the S-Max has great handling. It’s the nearest thing to a fun-to-drive MPV. It’s also cheap to run in 2.0 diesel format. Some rivals have classier interiors, but practicality is fully delivered and the boot is a decent size too.

4. Citroën C3 Picasso 1.2 THP 110 Edition

An award-winning budget MPV, the C3 Picasso combines airiness and a commodious boot with smooth-riding suspension. Ford’s B-Max is a more satisfying drive, but the French car is super value and should be even more competitive in that respect now that it’s about to be replaced by the C3 Aircross.

3. Citroën Grand C4 Picasso 1.6 HDi 120 Exclusive

Another much-praised Citroen MPV, the Grand C4 Picasso has a refined and fuel-efficient 1.6-litre diesel engine and a pleasingly minimalist interior. Easy-fold seats and a rich list of standard kit seal the C4’s appeal.

2. Ford Galaxy 2.0 TDCi 150 Zetec

Airport taxi firms still rate the prize-winning Galaxy for its ability to carry seven and a good wodge of luggage too. Its layout is based on three sliding individual middle-row seats and two flat-folding rear seats. The Galaxy’s agility on the road is another positive point in its favour.

1. Volkswagen Touran 1.6 TDI 110 SE

If your needs in a mid-sized MPV boil down to having the most space and the most cabin flexibility, the Touran is a shoe-in. A sliding/folding middle row of seats plus two back seats that will accommodate adults team up with great comfort and great driveability. It’s dearer than some, but worth it.

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