Best petrol MPV

Need plenty of seats and interior space? Check out the best people carriers - also known as MPVs - available now to suit any budget

Sam Naylor
May 28, 2021

If you’re looking for a practical family car that’s designed to be used by your family every day, then a people carrier is a great choice. These models, also known as MPVs, are built to help people travel with family or friends in comfort and safety.

They also work really well as taxis, but don’t let this put you off if you’re looking to get a car for yourself. After all, taxi firms don’t choose models that are unreliable, cramped or uncomfortable - they only pick cars that stand up to heavy use, so they’re more than capable of withstanding family use.

The best people carriers have a spacious interior with lots of leg and headroom for passengers, but that’s not the only thing they need in order to be a good buy.

One of the most important other aspects is comfort, so the models we’ve picked are all smooth and pleasant enough to travel in. They also need to be good to drive - not in the sense of feeling like a sports car, but simply that they keep you relaxed and calm when you’re behind the wheel.

Best used petrol MPV

We’re focusing on petrol models here. As drivers shift away from diesel models, which have their benefits - fuel economy being the main one - more and more are thinking of switching to a petrol model. These versions are typically quieter and smoother than diesel variants, but not quite as economical.

You’ll find that as customer habits change, prices do too - so used petrol models are harder to find, as fewer were bought new, and therefore they can be a little more expensive as well. It’s not by a large amount, but it’s worth considering if you’ve not decided on petrol or diesel yet.

We’ve picked models for a variety of budgets, from smaller and more affordable people carriers up to smarter, larger and more upmarket cars.

Read on to find out our top picks - covering both easy-to-drive five-seat models and supersized seven-seaters - and for more information about each one.

1. Citroen Grand C4 Spacetourer 1.2 PureTech 130 Flair

Best for comfort

Used deals from £16,490
Monthly finance from £268*

The Citroen Grand C4 Spacetourer (earlier models are called the Grand C4 Picasso) is probably the best all-round choice of people carrier. Even with a fairly modest budget you can get into an earlier car, but the latest version may hold more appeal and no matter which you choose, you’re getting a highly spacious and comfortable family car.

The Citroen’s 1.2-litre petrol engine is strong and brings decent fuel economy, so it’s easy to recommend. The ‘EAT8’ automatic gearbox is smooth too, so it makes the car nice and easy to drive. The seats are good and the suspension is very smooth over bumps in the road.

There’s loads of room in the back seats, even the rearmost ones in this seven-seater car. Adults won’t want to spend a long trip there but they are spacious enough for kids to get settled, and can be folded away to increase boot space.

CITROEN GRAND C4 SPACETOURER BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Vauxhall Combo Life 1.2 Turbo Energy

Best for space

Used deals Limited stock

If you need a people carrier that can accommodate up to seven adults, a van-based model such as the Vauxhall Combo Life (or the very similar Peugeot Rifter and Citroen Berlingo) is a much better choice than you might expect.

The Combo Life is as easy to drive as a car, but as it’s based on a van, there’s more room inside than virtually any model designed to be a car from the outset. That means there’s room for passengers to stretch out, or with the seats folded there’s enough room for just about anything, from several mountain bikes to a dinner table.

The 1.2-litre petrol engine is the same one as in the Citroen Grand C4 Spacetourer above, so it’s very good. It has enough performance, reasonable fuel economy and stays quiet for the most part. If you can forget the Vauxhall’s dreary looks, it’s an extremely practical choice.

VAUXHALL COMBO LIFE BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Ford B-Max 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium

Best for tight parking spots

Used deals from £6,950
Monthly finance from £162*

If you want a small people carrier - a car that’s easy to park in the city and easy to drive, but also practical enough for family life - then the Ford B-Max is a great choice.

It’s based on the Ford Fiesta, so it’s very good to drive and comfortable. The 1.0-litre 'EcoBoost' petrol engine is a gem as well, with strong fuel economy and good performance, and it’s an affordable used buy.

The real appeal of the B-Max is that it has special sliding side doors with no central pillar, so access to the back seats is fantastic. It’s great for tight parking spots and getting kids into car seats.

2012-2017 FORD B-MAX BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Renault Scenic 1.3 TCe Iconic

Best for style

Used deals Limited stock

With the rise of the SUV in full swing, Renault decided that it would redesign the well-known Scenic people carrier to make it more appealing to modern buyers but without compromising on its practicality. There’s also a Grand Scenic that has seven seats.

Renault’s redesign was a success and the Scenic looks smart, yet is also roomy inside and has a big boot. Access to the rearmost seats in the Grand Scenic could be better, but it’s still good enough for kids.

The other great thing about the Scenic is that it’s available with an excellent 1.3-litre petrol engine. This motor is very quiet, smooth and has plenty of performance. It’s also efficient, so should help keep running costs down.

RENAULT SCENIC BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Volkswagen Touran 1.4 TSI SEL DSG

Best for all-round practicality

Used deals Limited stock

The Volkswagen Touran is great for all sorts of uses, and it’s popular with taxi firms for this reason. It’s very good for carrying both people and luggage - or both at the same time - and its smart looks mean it has a more upmarket feel than most people carriers.

We’ve picked a 1.4-litre petrol model with a 'DSG' automatic gearbox here, which will be a good combination for school-run traffic. If we were planning to do more miles, we might choose the more reliable manual model instead, but the DSG is smooth and easy to use.

The 1.4-litre petrol is refined and quiet, so it’s a good choice if you want a petrol MPV - though it’s harder to find, as most new buyers chose diesel power for the fuel-saving benefits.

VOLKSWAGEN TOURAN BUYERS' GUIDE

6. BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer 218i Luxury

Best for driving

Used deals Limited stock

The BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer is the seven-seat version of the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer model. Both of these are much better than they look - underneath the awkward styling is a practical and comfortable family car that’s also good to drive.

BMWs are known for being good to drive and even the 2 Series Gran Tourer lives up to this - it’s enjoyable, if not exactly exciting, to drive on a twisty road and it stays nice and comfortable here, too.

The smart cabin is a great place to spend time - it’s well-built and the materials look high-quality. There’s plenty of tech as well, and the smooth engine in the 218i model is another plus. You may want to avoid M Sport models as they can be less comfortable than other variants.

BMW 2 SERIES ACTIVE TOURER BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Kia Carens 1.6 GDi ISG 2

Best for peace-of-mind warranty

Used deals Limited stock

The Kia Carens is a roomy and easy to drive people carrier that has a lot of appeal to those who want peace of mind. If you don’t want to pay the high price needed to get a new car but still want the warranty that comes with one, the Carens is a great choice.

As every Kia comes with a seven-year warranty, you can buy used examples with plenty of that left. Even four-year-old versions come with three years of warranty remaining, which is the same amount you get with most new cars, though you'll pay much less to buy the Kia in the first place.

The Carens isn’t as practical or cheap to run as some of the others on this list but the reliability and warranty aren’t easy to ignore - and as it’s a comfortable family car, that could be all you really need.

2013-2019 KIA CARENS BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Mercedes B-Class B200 AMG Line Premium automatic

Best for interior appeal

Used deals Limited stock

The Mercedes B-Class has one of the smartest and most appealing interiors of any people carrier, and it comes with a fantastic media system that uses two screens and is packed with useful features including full smartphone connectivity and detailed sat-nav directions.

It’s not the most spacious model around, but if you want an upmarket family car and the A-Class is too small, then the B-Class could be a good choice. It’s roomier both in the back seats and in the boot, so there’s more room for people and luggage.

Go for the most recent model (2019-on) as it’s the best yet. The B200 model uses the same 1.3-litre engine as the Renault Scenic above and it’s a great motor, being both quiet and efficient. It’s available with an automatic gearbox here, which is a good fit in the relaxed Mercedes.

MERCEDES B-CLASS BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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