Best cars with sliding doors

After a large people carrier but worry about door dings and getting in and out? Fear tight car parking spaces no more with sliding doors

BuyaCar team
Apr 30, 2020

If you haven't ever had a car parking ding on the side of your car door, you’ve probably not been to any car parks. Some dents are of course inflicted by careless drivers, but a number also reflect a growing problem. Cars are getting bigger.

In fact, cars are getting so big, that car park operators such as NCP, have had to make some of their parking spaces larger. Most car parks still feature teeny-weeny spaces, though, so why not address the problem yourself?

One of the easiest ways to do this is to choose a car with sliding doors. Sliding doors can be a godsend in tight spaces, making it a doddle to load and unload children and luggage. And, even the most mischievous children can only do so much damage with sliding doors, compared with slamming conventional car doors, or bashing them into other cars, walls or anything else around you.

If you can handle the fact that most cars with sliding doors look like vans with side windows, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without sliders. Better yet, opt for electrically operated sliding doors and save yourself the hassle of actually opening the door for yourself - very luxurious. Seat offers these on the Alhambra, and Mercedes has them on the V-Class too.

Opting for sliding doors does somewhat restrict your choice in cars as they only really feature on people carriers. These are, as the name would suggest, good at carrying people. But they’re not so good at looking stylish or going fast.

Read on for our pick of the seven-seater cars with sliding doors or jump to the five-seater cars with sliding doors.

Best cars with sliding doors

Seven-seater cars with sliding doors

1. Mercedes V-Class

Used Mercedes V-Class deals from £29,965
Monthly finance from £368

In terms of space and accommodation, the Mercedes V-Class is in a class of its own. There may only be two trim levels (both well equipped) but there are no less than three body lengths ranging from the 4895mm-long Standard model to the 5370mm-long Extra Long. And as the name Extra Long suggests - this is a laaaarge car.

Standard length is a seven-seater only (Extra Long is an eight-seater) but even with all seats in place there’s 610 litres of luggage space - as much as many big-booted estate cars offer.

Sport is the lower of the two specification levels available but even so packs 18-inch alloy wheels, LED lights, leather, dual powered sliding doors, adaptive suspension and a reversing camera. The 250d diesel engine is the most powerful engine on offer. It produces 194hp, enough to take the big V-Class from 0-62mph in 9.1 seconds.

Mercedes V-Class buyers' guide

2. Peugeot Rifter

Used Peugeot Rifter deals from £12,246
Monthly finance from £176

Buying trends among the public are moving away from traditional MPVs, and even SUVs, and into crossovers that look like off-roaders, but don't offer much tangible off-road ability. In an attempt to counter this trend, and keep its latest boxy van-based MPV popular, Peugeot insists the Rifter borrows styling queues like plastic cladding and raised suspension from its other crossovers, like the Peugeot 3008.

It comes in two different sizes and can be configured with five or seven seats. No matter what you think of the looks, as a practical family car, not much can beat it for space. But what’s really impressive is the space inside, and not just for the occupants. It has 180 litres worth of storage space in the interior - in other words, it has 12 litres more space scattered around cubbyholes in the cabin than a Toyota Aygo does in its actual boot.

Peugeot Rifter buyers' guide

3. Seat Alhambra

Used Seat Alhambra deals from £13,280
Monthly finance from £216

Sliding doors? Check. Seven seats? Check. Feeling lazy? Well, if you are, SE L and Xcellence spec cars get power operated hatchback and sliding doors. This means that you don’t have to actually bother opening the rear doors or boot yourself. A secret upside of this is that your kids can feel like a contestant in the latest series of BBC’s The Apprentice.

The Seat badge on the bonnet helps keep prices cheap, and there a regular Seat Alhambra discounts that make ownership even better value. Go for a used model and you can take advantage of even lower prices - despite the car's large size, prices for used Alhambras can be surprisingly small.

Seat Alhambra buyers' guide

4. Ford Grand C-Max

Used Ford Grand C-Max deals from £8,995
Monthly finance from £158

Not to be confused with the smaller, five-seat C-Max, which has conventional doors, the Grand C-Max is a seven-seater with sliding doors that make life easier for anyone trying to clamber into the two seats in the third row. Also making life simpler is the way the middle seat in the second row can be folded away to create a ‘corridor’ from the front to the rear of the vehicle.

The Grand C-Max uses mechanical parts from the old Ford Focus, so it’s feels notably more agile around corners than van-based alternatives. An update in 2015 modernised the design, as shown above, but earlier cars are still just as practical with sliding doors.

Ford C-Max buyers' guide

5. Volkswagen Caravelle

Used VW Caravelle deals from £37,480
Monthly finance from £459

With many new versions approaching £45,000, the Caravelle is not for the faint-hearted - so it's worth looking at used models for maximum value. Either way, you really need a good reason to buy one especially since by most measures, the VW Sharan people carrier beats it. Where it doesn't, however, is in the Caravelle’s enormous interior space and its ability to accommodate adults, rather than just two children, in the rearmost seats.

The 2.0 BiTDi 204hp diesel engine is a cracker making this VW feel surprisingly fast, but you’ll find the lesser-powered and cheaper 2.0-litre diesel is just fine for most situations. SE trim has alloy wheels, power sliding doors, a digital radio with colour screen, and two removable third-row seats. Top-spec Executive adds a few luxuries, but adds more than £4,000 to the price. It’s not worth it. If you need more space there’s a long wheelbase version too.

6. Volkswagen Sharan

Used VW Sharan deals from £11,995
Monthly finance from £221

Based on the same mechanical parts as the Seat Alhambra found further up this page, the Sharan is another large, seven-seat MPV with sliding doors.

Like most such vehicles, life’s a little cramped for those in the back row but if you’re small, there’s little to complain about. Its list price is more expensive than the Seat, but you may find that finance deals on the Sharan make the monthly payments level. Either way if you're considering one, it makes sense to compare prices on the other.

Volkswagen Sharan buyers' guide

7. Toyota Proace Verso

Used Toyota Proace deals Limited stock

If you need a truly big people carrier, there’s not much that can equal a Toyota Proace Verso. Sharing a design and French production facility with the Peugeot Traveller and Citroen SpaceTourer, the Toyota Proace is based on a medium size van and offers airy accommodation for up to nine adults. It’s not as nicely finished as a Volkswagen Caravelle, but it does feels slightly larger, and the interior feels impressively high quality.

Although the nine-seater Shuttle version is an option, we’d recommend the eight-seater ‘Family’ trim as the one to go for, as it offers more comfortable seating. A seven-seat ‘VIP’ versions is plusher still, but rather expensive.

Five-seater cars with sliding doors

1. Citroen Berlingo MPV

Used Citroen Berlingo deals from £13,490
Monthly finance from £213

The Citroen Berlingo is now in its third generation, and makes a fair fist of hiding its van origins with a stylish nose that apes the design of other Citroen models. Inside, there is a smart-looking dashboard with a prominent eight-inch touchscreen media system perched on top – it all feels suitably quirky and high-tech and very much not like a van (even though it is based on the Berlingo van).

That feeling continues when you get on the road, with a surprisingly smooth ride and handling that’s not as roly-poly as you might expect of such a tall-looking car. There is, of course, acres of space - including 775 litres of boot space with the seats up and a whopping 3,000 litres with them folded down. There’s also a larger seven-seat version.

Citroen Berlingo buyers' guide

2. Ford Tourneo Connect

Used Ford Tourneo Connect deals Limited stock

Ford offers plenty of cars with sliding doors, each with their own unique features. One look at the Tourneo Connect is all you need to realise that it’s basically a converted van, which gives it an enormous amount of luggage space: the boot is 1,529 litres in size (more than three times the amount that you get in a Ford Focus) - with the seats up.

With rear seats folded forward, the car basically reverts to a van, delivering an enormous luggage area. The larger seven-seat Grand Tourneo Connect can accommodate a couple of bicycles stored upright. Its commercial vehicle origins make it a little noisy on the road (there’s not as much soundproofing as in a normal family car) but the level of equipment is equal to what you’d expect of a family hatchback - and better than you’d get in a van.

3. Volkswagen Caddy Life

Used VW Caddy Life deals Limited stock

If your budget is tight, but you really want your sliding door MPV to come with a VW badge, then the Caddy Life is the obvious answer. It’s a little more expensive than a Citroen Berlingo or a Fiat Doblo, but it feels almost as well put together inside as a Golf. So much, much better than most of its direct rivals.

It’s also an awful lot cheaper than the bigger VW Sharan. It is a shame that the more powerful 150hp diesel is only available in the larger seven-seat Maxi Life variant.

4. Fiat Qubo

Used Fiat Qubo deals Limited stock

The trick with a practical, no-nonsense car like the Qubo is to keep it real. Avoid the top-spec Trekking version and plump for the mid-range Lounge model. It has all the things necessary to elevate it beyond budget level (alloy wheels, air-conditioning, steering wheel controls and a 5.0-inch touchscreen media system with Bluetooth and a USB connection) without breaking the bank.

The 1.3-litre Multijet diesel engine is hardly powerful, but it does have enough shove to haul you and your family around easily enough and to keep up with fast-flowing traffic. The Qubo leans a lot in corners and its steering is light and vague, but if you accept these limitations, it’s pleasant enough. Practicality is its big virtue: those twin sliding doors open onto as much as 2,500 litres of load space with the rear seats folded.


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