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The best MPVs

Car buyers have fallen out of live with multi-purpose vehicles – or MPVs for short – in recent years, favouring the robust styling of SUVs.

Thing is, they’re missing out, because MPVs offer far greater flexibility and practicality for growing families, and are often cheaper to run, too.

So, find out how much your car’s worth with an online tool such as Parkers’ valuation calculator, and see which of the best MPVs we’ve rounded-up below will suit your family’s needs.

The top MPVs on sale

  • Citroen Berlingo / Peugeot Rifter / Vauxhall Combo Life
  • Ford S-Max and Galaxy
  • Mercedes-Benz V-Class and EQV
  • Volkswagen Caravelle
  • Volkswagen Touran

Citroen Berlingo / Peugeot Rifter / Vauxhall Combo Life

Save for the front end styling, interior trim and elements of the dashboard design, these three van-based MPVs offer a huge amount of space for the money.

Available in two lengths, with a choice of five or seven seats, the Berlingo and its close cousins have practicality in spades, with space-saving sliding doors, ceiling mounted storage bins and other cubbies dotted around the cabin.

Economical petrol and diesel engines offer decent performance, but all three will be available in fully electric guise before the end of 2021, with a range of 174 miles between charges.

They’re not the last word in style, but they more than make up for it in being fit for purpose.

Ford S-Max and Galaxy

Long staples of the MPV scene, but their popularity has waned, too – undeservedly so. Both are great choices if you enjoy driving, with the S-Max being the slightly sportier of the two.

Which is best depends on your circumstances: it’s best to think of the S-Max as a spacious five-seater with a couple of smaller seats in the back for kids, while the Galaxy will accommodate seven adults comfortably.

Diesel engines offer power and economy, but those who primarily drive in cities might find the petrol hybrid versions introduced in 2021 suit them better.

Easy cars to make part of your family.

Mercedes-Benz V-Class and EQV

More van-based MPVs, but this time on a much larger scale, with seats for up to eight adults and with ample luggage space behind.

Rails in the floor mean seats can be slid back and forth, while those in the middle row can be switched to face backwards.

Although outwardly similar, V-Class models are distinguished by being diesel-engined, while the EQV is fully electric with a range of 248 miles. Whichever you choose, both are easy to drive, but their length can make them tricky to park in confined areas.

Luxurious fittings and masses of space make it feel special, but all this doesn’t come inexpensively.

Volkswagen Caravelle

A direct rival to the Mercedes V-Class, VW’s Caravelle is the modern equivalent to the iconic camper vans of the 1950s and 60s. You can even specify a two-tone paint option to recreate some of that magic, but it doesn’t come cheap.

In fact, like the Mercedes, it’s expensive to buy, yet it offers even greater flexibility and ease of use, plus it’s a bit shorter, making it less daunting in multistorey car parks.

Lots of up-to-date technology inside and out, superb build quality and a pair of punchy diesel engines that don’t sacrifice fuel efficiency in their quest for performance.

As desirable as it is excellent.

Volkswagen Touran

Not content with having one great MPV in its line-up, Volkswagen offers the compact Touran at the other end of its range.

This is very much car based, sharing much of its technology – and style – with the omnipresent Volkswagen Golf, including a range of well-regarded petrol and diesel engines.

Despite its relatively short length, VW has fitted seven seats into the Touran – the rearmost ones best-suited for kids, though – which all conveniently fold flat into the floor when you’re hauling cargo and not people.

There’s an upmarket feel to the interior, too, meaning you won’t feel you’re sacrificing creature comforts by choosing a family focused model.