Best cars with sliding doors

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

BuyaCar team
Jun 28, 2018

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 the NCP is currently making 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. For extra cash, obviously.

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 five-seater cars with sliding doors or jump to the seven-seater cars with sliding doors.

     

Five-seater cars with sliding doors

Ford B-Max

Our pick Ford B-Max 1.0T 125PS EcoBoost Zetec

If any car illustrates the phrase ‘small but perfectly formed’, it’s this. Not only does the B-Max have sliding doors but it also has no fixed pillar between the front and rear seats. This means it couldn’t be simpler to get in and out of, or to strap a child into their seat, regardless of parking space size.

The car is designed around the parts that make up a Ford Fiesta, so it’s surprisingly compact too.
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Fiat Qubo

Our pick Fiat Qubo 1.3 Multijet 80hp Lounge

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.

Meanwhile, the 1.3 Multijet diesel engine, while no ball of fire, will get it from 0-62mph in a reasonable 13.9 seconds. The Qubo leans a lot in corners and its steering is light and vague. However, 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.

Ford Tourneo Connect

Our pick Ford Tourneo Connect 1.5 TDCi 120 Zetec

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 1,029 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, with a large luggage area. The larger seven-seat Grand Tourneo Connect can accommodate a couple of bicycles stored upright.

Citroen Berlingo Multispace

Our pick Citroen Berlingo Multispace Feel BlueHDi 100

Another van that’s been converted into a family car, the Berlingo Multispace makes the most of its height in offering a shelf underneath the roof - like a central overhead storage compartment in an aeroplane, only without the doors to stop items falling on passengers’ heads.

As soon as you sit behind the steering wheel, you feel as if you’e in a van, thanks to the upright driving position and vertical dashboard. It doesn’t feel luxurious, but you do benefit from an enormous amount of interior space. There’s also a seven-seat option.

Peugeot Partner Tepee

Our pick Peugeot Partner Tepee 1.2 PureTech 110 Outdoor

Here’s another functional people mover with van-like proportions and roly-poly van-like driving manners. Get beyond those shortcomings, though, and the Tepee is a relatively comfortable but impressively practical vehicle that can carry up to seven people, if you choose the optional third row of seats.

There's a range of petrol and diesel engines, plus an electric option that qualifies for low company car tax and is particularly useful for short journeys, where there's no need to recharge on the go. The Partner Tepee comes in two different specifications and the most expensive Outdoor trim comes with so much more, that it's the one to go for. Features include alloy wheels, raised suspension, a touchscreen digital radio, and front and rear parking aids. Not only these but it also has three individual rear seats that can taken out. Do that, and its sliding doors open to reveal a massive 3000 litres of load space.

Seven-seater cars with sliding doors

Peugeot Rifter

Our pick Peugeot Rifter BlueHDi Allure

The Rifter is the newest car on this list and it goes on sale later this year. It’s so new that UK pricing hasn’t formerly been announced yet either. But buying trends among the public are moving away from traditional MPVs, and even SUVs, and into crossovers. Peugeot insists the Rifter borrows styling queues like plastic cladding and raised suspension from its other crossovers, like the 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.

Ford Grand C-Max

Our pick Ford Grand C-Max 2.0 TDCi 150 Titanium

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 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 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.

Volkswagen Caravelle

Our pick Volkswagen Caravelle 2.0 TDi 150PS SE SWB

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 Sharan people carrier beats it.

Of course, 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 204PS 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 and £4000 to the price. It’s not worth it. If you need more space there’s a long wheelbase version.

Seat Alhambra

Our pick Seat Alhambra SE 2.0 TDi 150 Ecomotive

Thanks to its sliding doors, you need never worry about getting this big Seat into a cramped parking spot. And because the Alhambra has seven seats, they make life much easier for those in the third row. Feeling lazy? More expensive versions have powered doors that’ll make you feel as if you're a contestant in the latest BBC Apprentice series.

The Seat badge on the bonnet helps keep prices cheap, and there a regular Seat Alhambra discounts that make ownership even better value.
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Mercedes V-class

Our pick Mercedes V250d auto Sport Standard

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 a 2.1-litre but it produces 188bhp, enough to take the big V-class from 0-62mph in 9.1 seconds.

VW Sharan

Our pick Volkswagen Sharan TDI 150 SE

Based on the same mechanical parts as the Seat Alhambra, 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 are slightly cheaper.

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