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.

MPVs, otherwise known as people carriers, are ideal if you've got a big family to move about thanks to their van-like nature which means they’re big on space.


  • done enable large families to get around together.
  • done have ample storage space.
  • done practical and dependable.
  • clear less fashionable than newer car types.
  • clear MPG returns aren’t the strongest.
  • clear their size makes them hard to park.

October 12th 2017

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What does MPV stand for?

MPV is short for “multi-purpose vehicle.” These cars are typically favoured by families because of the extra space inside. MPV cars tend to have a more practical interior compared to regular hatchbacks. An MPV is essentially a van that 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'.

What are the features of an MPV

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.

Every MPV is exceptional in terms of spacious boots and flexible interiors. Seats can be configured, flipped, stowed, and folded to suit your requirements. Need to pick up some furniture, bikes, or golf clubs? An MPV has you covered. Just push the back seats down and you have enough space to challenge a minivan.

Best MPV cars on the market today

There are a range of sizes with MPV cars, which means there is something to suit everyone. There’s no denying the sheer size of MPVs, but you can still have a great deal of fun in these gentle giants.

Some of the smaller models have been based on superminis like the Ford B-Max. Although smaller, these come with five seats and a fully practical interior. Other models, such as the Ford C-Max and the Citroen C4 Picasso come in seven-seat forms. 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.

If you need acres of space inside your MPV, the SEAT Alhambra is worth considering. This comes with a gigantic interior for family and friends to fit in as well as practical sliding doors. Another popular people carrier is the Citroen Berlingo which has been around for more than twenty years and has sold more than two million models.

What is the difference between an MPV and an SUV?

MPV cars and SUVs are both excellent choices for family vehicles. Even if you don’t need a large vehicle for an army of people, both types are exceptional for all-around driving ability.

SUV stands for “Sports Utility Vehicles”. They can be driven over rough terrain and in extreme conditions, and they come with buckets of space. Just like MPVs, SUVs have enough capacity to load large items and transport people with ease.

While SUVs boast four-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive options, MPVs typically only come with front-wheel-drive, which makes them more suited for more relaxed drivers who aren’t likely to be doing much off-road motoring.

As SUVs perform better on off-road conditions than MPVs, they are generally more expensive. MPV cars tend to have smaller engines and a simpler layout compared to SUVs. This also helps drive the production costs and overall price down.

MPVs are also generally more fuel efficient than SUVs. Although their popularity has waned a little in recent years because of the rise of SUVs, many MPV models remain favourites amongst families and those who require sensible, cost-effective and practical vehicles.

Are MPVs/people carriers alternatives to crossovers?

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.

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