Best cars with sliding doors

Fear tight car parking spaces no more by picking a car with sliding doors

BuyaCar team
Mar 25, 2019

If you’ve not had a car parking ding on the side of your car door, you’ve probably not been in any car parks. The dings are of course inflicted by careless drivers, but also point to a growing problem. Cars are getting bigger.

In fact, cars are getting so big, that car park operator NCP recently made parking spaces larger in its car parks.

One of the easy ways around this is to buy a car with sliding doors. It’s a godsend in tight spaces, and makes it a doddle to load and unload children and goods. If you can handle the fact that most of them look like vans with side windows, you’ll wonder how you ever did without one. Better yet, opt for electrically operated sliding doors and save yourself the hassle of actually opening the door for yourself. Seat offers them 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 7 seater cars with sliding doors or jump to the 5 seater cars with sliding doors.

    

7 seater cars with sliding doors

1. Mercedes V-Class

Latest Mercedes V-Class deals from £32,662
Finance from £405 per month

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 to the 5370mm-long Extra Long.

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. Sport is the lower of the two spec levels but even so packs 18in alloys, LED lights, leather, twin powered sliding doors, adaptive suspension and a reversing camera. The 250d diesel engine is the most powerful engine on offer. It's a 2.1-litre but it produces 190bhp, enough to take the big V-class from 0-62mph in 9.1 seconds.
Mercedes V-Class buying guide

2. Peugeot Rifter

Latest Peugeot Rifter deals from £15,700
Finance from £227 per month

Buying trends among the public are moving away from traditional MPVs, and even SUVs, and into crossovers. In an attempt to counter this switch, 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 and 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 in cubbyholes than a Toyota Aygo does in bootspace.
Peugeot Rifter buying guide

3. Seat Alhambra

Latest Seat Alhambra deals from £13,499
Finance from £220 per month

Sliding doors? Check. Seven seats? Check. Feeling lazy? Well, if you are, SE L and Xcellence spec cars get a power operated boot 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.
Seat Alhambra buying guide

4. Ford Grand C-Max

Latest Ford Grand C-Max deals from £7,995
Finance from £131 per month

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 far steadier and feels more agile 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 buying guide

5. Volkswagen Caravelle

Latest Volkswagen Caravelle deals from £27,999
Finance from £368 per month

With many versions approaching £45,000, the Caravelle is not for the faint-hearted. You really need a good reason to buy one especially since on most measures, the VW Sharan people carrier beats it. Importantly, where it doesn't, is in the Caravelle’s enormous interior space and its ability to accommodate two adults, rather than just two children, in the rearmost seats.

The 2.0 BiTDi 204hp engine is a cracker but you’ll find the lesser-powered and cheaper TDI 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 thanr £4000 to the price. It’s not worth it. If you need more space there’s a long wheelbase version too.
Volkswagen Transporter buying guide

6. Volkswagen Sharan

Latest Volkswagen Sharan deals from £14,790
Finance from £229 per month

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.

7. Toyota Proace Verso

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 large 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 fixtures and fittings are impressively high in 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.

5 seater cars with sliding doors

1. Citroen Berlingo MPV

Latest Toyota Proace deals from £14,112
Finance from £208 per month

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 perched on top – it all feels suitably quirky and hi-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 – 775 litres with the seats up and a whopping 3,000 with them folded down. There’s also a larger seven-seat version.
Citroen Berlingo buying guide

2. Ford Tourneo Connect

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 1529 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 sound-deadening 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

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

Latest Fiat Qubo deals from £6,750
Finance from £124 per month

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 con, steering wheel controls and a 5.0-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth and a USB connection) without breaking the bank.|

The 1.3 Multijet diesel engine is no ball of fire, 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 2500 litres of load space with the rear seats folded.

       

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