estate cars are a British institution, combining the class of a saloon with much desired extra boot space
people carrier and MPV
Finding a foothold in the car market thanks to their van-like nature, MPVs and people carriers are great for large families as they're big on space and seats.
An MPV, or ‘people carrier’ as they are more commonly known, is essentially a van a number of people can travel in, with seats inside rather than space, and windows on the side. Renault popularised the MPV/people carrier concept on these shores in the mid-80s. While Renault pushed the general idea on this side of the Atlantic, Chrysler did the same State-side with the Voyager 'minivan'.
As with any car segment, the basic principle for a people carrier has remained the same across the board, but design and features have been hugely refined over the years to add further style and driving quality. More van-like versions such as VW's Transporter have found popularity in certain quarters – particularly with the likes of campers and surfers – while smaller versions typically appeal to families of five or six. You can even get a supermini-sized MPV these days if you'd like one — the Ford B-Max and VW Golf SV are prime examples.
MPVs have fallen slightly out of favour of late, giving way to newer segments such as crossovers and SUVs, which are nearly as practical but marketed with a much more rugged, streetwise appeal. Yet if it’s sheer practicality you’re after, MPVs are hard to beat.
The Vauxhall Zafira is the original, compact, seven-seater family car with some clever thinking.
The Ford S-Max revealed itself a decade ago as a seven-seat, fun-drive and is still going strong.
Designed with everyday practicalities in mind, the Vauxhall Meriva offers family-friendly transport.
An MPV with small hatchback charm, the Nissan Note is packed with cost-effectiveness
The Citroen C4 Picasso has a large amount of MPV practicality perfectly balanced with continental style.