When MPVs burst on to the scene in the 1980s, they didn't have to do much more than provide seats for all of the family and space for their luggage. It's a bit different these days. The seats need to be clever; they must fold flat - ideally into the floor - and move independently of each other. If an MPV provides seats for seven, the rear pair should be roomy enough for adults; when folded away, they should leave a good-sized boot. Our top MPVs also need to be safe, cheap to run and well equipped.

Citroen C3 Picasso
Key facts
0-60mph 12.1sec
Top speed 117mph
Fuel economy 70.6mpg
CO2 emission 105g/km

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

Best buy £16,000-£22,000

This price bracket plays host to some fierce competition, including the Kia Carens and Vauxhall Zafira Tourer, yet the Citroen has managed to beat all of them.

List price £23,255
Target price £21,546
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Citroen C4 Grand Picasso
Key facts
0-60mph 12.2sec
Top speed 111mph
Fuel economy 44.8mpg
CO2 emission 145g/km

Citroen C3 Picasso

Best buy less than £16,000

In 1.4 VTi form the C3 Picasso is sensibly priced, economical and still comes with a respectable level of kit.

List price £14,875
Target price £12,578
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Seat Alhambra
Key facts
0-60mph 10.9sec
Top speed 120mph
Fuel economy 50.4mpg
CO2 emission 146g/km

Seat Alhambra

Best buy more than £22,000

The Alhambra has been a favourite at this price point for several years, and it's easy to see why. Even with all seven seats in place its boot is a respectable size, while the roomy rear two seats are easy to reach via the sliding rear doors and tilting middle row.

List price £25,340
Target price £23,432
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