1: Mercedes-Benz B-Class
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 81.4%
From an unimpressive seventh place last year, the Mercedes B-Class has climbed to the top of the MPV class.
The contented owners loved the look of it and the way it drove. Better still, very little went wrong. There were a few complaints about problems with the tailgate and rear window wiper and, curiously, reports of strange noises from under the car. The only issue on the road the was excessive tyre wear. Otherwise owners said the B-Class remained problem-free.
The heating and air-conditioning systems came in for particular praise, while the seats, stereo and interior all scored above average.
Owners also enjoyed polite, helpful service and clean, comfortable dealerships – until the bill arrived. Mercedes' repair charges did not score well for fairness, and the B-Class's service costs were among the worst for MPVs.
2: Citroen Grand C-4 Picasso
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 80.9%
Last year's class leader is knocked into second, but only just. The seven-seat Grand C4 Picasso scored higher marks for appeal than the B-Class, but couldn't match the class winner for reliability. Owners loved the look of the car and found the interior attractive and comfortable. Dealer service and running costs didn't cause any upsets, and it scored some of the highest marks for space and versatility.
So what let the Grand C4 Picasso down? Owners found the fuel cap hard to operate and had problems with the tailgate and windscreen wipers. Engine problems were wide-ranging, but the most common issues related to the automatic transmission
and to the engine stalling.
3: Toyota Verso
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 80.7%
Toyota dealers are doing something right: the Corolla Verso sits in third place, but it was the highest-ranked MPV for dealer service. The smart dealerships, helpful staff and top-quality service particularly impressed owners. The car's exterior styling, especially the front end, wasn't such a hit with owners.
Mechanically, owners said the brakes were noisy, threw up dust and, most worryingly, didn't have enough stopping power. The heating system was criticised for taking too long to have any effect, while the windows took too long to clear. Ownership costs were given the thumbs up, however.
4=: Citroen C4 Picasso
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 80.5%
C4 Picasso owners enjoyed some highs (great dealer service and reasonable running costs) and suffered some lows (reliability problems with the car, inside and out). Although the seats and audio system scored only average marks, in other respects the five-seat C4 Picasso was popular with owners. They found it a pleasure to drive, with good brakes and a trouble-free engine. Visibility and space were well rated, too.
However, problems were almost as wide-ranging. Most common were fuel cap-opening issues, but there were also complaints about the doors, lights and too much wind noise.
4=: Volkswagen Golf Plus
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 80.5%
In joint fourth place, the Golf Plus scored well across the board. Its lowest mark – and the only area in which it fell below average – was for storage and space. Owners felt the boot wasn't big enough or easy enough to load, and thought that the car could be easier to get in and out of.
Once in it, however, they loved the seats, driving the car and liked its engines. Fuel economy was well rated, and owners were satisfied with the standard of service from dealers. The exterior also came in for praise.
Issues that did arise related to the fuel gauge, wipers and cooling systems.
6: Volkswagen Touran
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 78.4%
The Touran is only one place below VW's other MPV in this class, but overall it's a long way down the table. A few problems let down an otherwise good reliability score and the running costs were rated as high. Owners enjoyed their Touran most from behind the wheel: they found it good to drive, with smooth, powerful, economical and reliable engines. While fuel consumption was praised, insurance and repair costs scored badly.
Specific reliability problems included issues with the door locks, cruise control and the horn. The audio and navigation systems also gave owners headaches, with the CD player and speakers coming in for particular criticism.
7: Renault Scenic
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 78.2%
The five-seat Scenic has improved on last year's result to overtake its seven-seat sibling, and owners were happy with most aspects of their cars. Only the Scenic's seats and engine were scored merely average for appeal, while owners rated their cars' looks, storage space and entertainment systems well.
Reliability was generally judged to be good, but the heating and ventilation system let the car down badly. Owners complained that the fans were noisy, didn't clear windows fast enough and emitted unpleasant-smelling air.
Inside, owners felt that passenger space was only average, although boot space scored better. They found it easy to see out and to read the controls while driving. Dealers made Scenic customers happy, too.
8: Ford S-Max
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 77.8%
Gripes with the standard of service from dealers and the cost of owning the S-Max were the main bugbears for owners. A few reliability issues gave cause for complaint, both inside and out; too many owners had problems with the tailgate and experienced water leaks into the car. Door locks were another problem area.
However, owners liked the amount of space, found the seats comfortable and enjoyed driving the car. The heating and engine got the thumbs up, too.
9: Ford C-Max
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 77.5%
C-Max owners experienced much better service at dealers than their S-Max-owning counterparts, but they also had more call to visit a garage with reliability problems. Owners weren't as fond of their C-Maxes either, rating them only average for appeal. The seats scored particularly badly, with owners enduring too many squeaks and rattles as well as headrest adjustment problems. Also, the mats didn't stay in place, and the audio controls were fiddly.
Although the C-Max was considered good to drive, engine reliability issues affected its overall score.
10: Renault Grand Scenic
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 77.4%
We've seen a slight drop on last year's eighth-place showing for the Scenic, despite a good overall reliability score. Two areas dragged the car down: the seats and ventilation system. Owners had trouble adjusting the seats and headrests, as well as problems with the seatbelts and unexplained seat rattles.
Owners also complained that the heater didn't warm up fast enough, the air-con didn't cool quickly enough and the noisy fans blew out stale-smelling air. However, they were happier with the size and shape of the boot, and the view out of the car. The Grand Scénic scored average marks for dealer service and ownership costs.
11: Mazda 5
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 77.3%
The Mazda 5 has hauled itself up a few places in the table compared with last year, but despite good scores for reliability it has more to do to impress owners. They found it disappointing on the road: the engine, manual gearshift and handling all came in for criticism. Fuel consumption scored below average, too, but the biggest bugbear was excessive tyre wear.
Insurance and service costs were given average scores, while owners were satisfied with the dealer service. Owners were also happy with their 5's reliability, both inside and out, and the stereo system got top marks. The seats and heating were also praised.
12: Skoda Roomster
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 77.1%
The Roomster's first appearance in the JD Power survey won't be cause for much celebration at Skoda HQ. It's the brand's lowest-placed model in the survey and the only one in the bottom half overall. Owners didn't find much to like about the Roomster. It scored merely average marks for space, but otherwise disappointed across the board.
There was better news regarding service standards and ownership costs: the Roomster performed well in both areas.
Reliability proved a mixed bag, with owners reporting few engine problems, but finding too many other aggravations. On the road, they found the car pulled to one side or the other, and said the brakes were noisy.
13: Citroen Xsara Picasso
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 77.0%
The ageing Xsara Picasso has plummeted from second place last year to 13th. The only area in which it scored above three stars was for mechanical reliability; owners had very few problems with either the engine or gearbox in particular, although neither scored highly for appeal. They found little to recommend inside the car, although the space – notably the boot – was rated above average for the class.
The stereo, seats and heating systems didn't win any plaudits, and owners didn't think much of the driving experience. They did at least find the service standards no worse than average, although the bills came in for criticism.
14: Ford Galaxy
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 76.1%
Galaxy owners liked the look of the car and the way it drove, but reliability, service standards and running costs all came in for a pasting. In fact, only the Ford S-Max could match the Galaxy for such disappointing service, suggesting that Ford may have a problem on its hands. Owners reported most reliability problems with their cars' bodywork, controls and engines. Water leaks and loose mouldings affected the outside, while owners had trouble starting the car and found it stalled frequently.
Flat batteries were another commonly reported issue.
14: Vauxhall Zafira
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 75.6%
The Zafira is bottom of the MPV pile and is also in the bottom 10 models in the survey overall. Owners found the Zafira's driving dynamics and seats tolerable, but otherwise it scored badly for appeal. The seats and exterior proved reliable, but the fiddly audio system let the car down. The Zafira was given the lowest marks of any MPV for the driving experience – too many drivers felt the car pulled noticeably.
MPV league table
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Name Andrew Higgs Age 50 Lives Andover, Hampshire Job Company director Model Mercedes B180 CDI Elegance Mileage 15,000
‘Our B-Class is great: it has loads of space, my wife likes the high driving position and the panoramic sunroof is a delight. It’s an automatic, so fuel consumption isn’t stellar at around 40mpg.
‘Mercedes’ build quality is good and nothing has gone wrong. Dealer service has always been a pleasure, too.
It’s not a driver’s car – the ride and steering could be better – but it is a car we’ll be proud to own in five years.’