Price from £10,500 (est)
On sale Summer
What’s great? Stylish, practical – perfect for families on a budget
Citroën has combined its knack of creating great MPVs with its rediscovered design flair to come up with the C3 Picasso. Fluid lines, a wraparound front screen and unusual detailing make this MPV stand out from rivals like Nissan’s Note and Renault’s Grand Modus.
As with those cars, it’s best to think of the C3 Picasso as a supermini-plus rather than an out-and-out MPV. At 4.1 metres long, it is the same length as the Note and, similarly, packs a family-friendly interior into a compact, affordable package.
The interior isn’t as distinctive as the exterior, but it’s light, airy and practical. Thanks to the tall body, there’s plenty of headroom, while the rear seat slides and reclines to maximise comfort.
Even with the seats as far back as they’ll go, the boot is a healthy 385 litres. The seats also drop as you fold them, so you can create a flat, deep loadbay of an impressive 1506 litres. If that’s still not enough, you can fold the front passenger seat forward to create an even longer space.
As you’d expect, there’s the usual array of clever cubbies and storage solutions, including a two-stage floor that increases the boot’s versatility.
Prices should start at around £10,500 and, although Citroën hasn’t confirmed equipment levels, you’ll be able to choose big-car features, such as a sat-nav system with a seven-inch screen and Bluetooth connectivity, on higher-specification models.
Power will come from 95 or 120bhp 1.4-litre petrol engines, or 1.6 diesels with 90 or 110bhp. A stop-start version that switches the engine on and off in traffic to cut fuel consumption and CO2 emissions is expected to join the range in 2010.
Price from £14,500 (est)
On sale Late 2009
What’s great? Butch styling, low prices
The production version of Chevrolet’s Orlando isn’t likely to differ much from the concept that made its debut at the Paris motor show.
Despite the chunky, 4x4 looks, it’ll be a practical, seven-seat MPV aiming to deliver practicality to rival a Citroën Grand C4 Picasso or Volkswagen Touran – but for less cash.
Underneath, the Orlando uses the same basic platform as the Cruze saloon. It will have the same engines, so you can expect a 138bhp 1.8-litre petrol and a 148bhp 2.0 diesel. That should be plenty for strong performance, even with a full vehicle.
Passengers will sit in a decent amount of space and everyone should have a good view thanks to a theatre-style seating layout that places each successive row a little higher than the one in front.
When load space takes precedence, the rear seats fold down and the middle row tumbles and slides forward to leave a large, flat area.
You can expect every version of the Orlando to have a reasonable amount of kit, with prices starting at around £14,500.
Fiat Fiorino Qubo
Price (est) £10,000
On sale January
What’s great? Lots of practicality for little cash
If you’re after big practicality in a compact, affordable package, Fiat’s new Qubo could be right up your street.
It’s shorter than some superminis, but its boxy, van-based body crams in a whole lot of space. The 330-litre boot is deep and well shaped and although removing the rear seats is a rather fiddly affair, you’re left with a distinctly van-like 2500-litre space.
Thanks to the high seats and ample headroom there’s plenty of space for passengers, while sliding side doors make it easy to get into and out of the rear seats in tight parking spaces.
Its dinky size and small turning circle make the Qubo perfectly suited to city life, but we’ve already driven it and found that it’s refined and capable on any road.
Prices have yet to be confirmed, but they’re expected to start at just under £10,000 for the 72bhp 1.4-litre petrol model. The 74bhp 1.3-litre diesel version will cost an extra £1000, but it returns 62.8- rather than 40.4mpg and falls eight brackets lower for company car tax.
Price from £15,000 (est)
On sale Summer
What’s great? Well-priced practicality combined with versatility
Once upon a time, buying an MPV meant giving up on having a good-looking car, but early indications are that the new Renault Scenic will lay that view to rest forever.
Although information and pictures remain scarce, spy shots of the Scenic undergoing pre-sale tests reveal that it has a sleek new look, including a sporty front end.
Gone, though, is the famous rump that defined the Scenic and Megane for so long. That’s consigned to history as part of Renault’s bid to appeal to upmarket buyers – something it hopes to achieve by delivering classier interiors and improved reliability.
To that end, the cabin is expected to feature an abundance of clever practical touches, such as underfloor storage and easily folding seats, as well as the option of a full-length panoramic glass roof to enhance the feeling of space.
Initially, the Scenic will come with just five seats, although a seven-seat Grand Scenic will follow. Diesel and petrol engines are expected to be supplied from the latest Megane range.