What’s the best nearly-new car for me?

Reader wants a practical, roomy car for less than £17,000 and asks which would best suit his needs...

Volkswagen Touran

I'm looking to change my car for a nearly-new one. My budget is £15,000 to £17,000. My priorities are space, practicality, reliability and ease of access for my wife.

I want something with good visibility, I don't want too many toys and gadgets and prefer diesel power. I was thinking of one of the van-based MPVs or a Volkswagen Touran. Any advice would be welcome.

Alan Eatough

What Car? says…

Many thanks for your email. The VW Touran is our favourite MPV – it was our MPV of the year in 2017 and 2018 – and it sounds like it would suit your needs. It's just as good to drive and plush inside as the Golf on which it's based, but is far more spacious and practical.

2016 Volkswagen Touran 2.0 TDI R-Line review

It has a high driving position and tall windows, so visibility is excellent, and access is good thanks to wide-opening doors. There is more room for passengers in the second row of seats than rivals, and each of the third row seats can be slid back and forwards separately

Your budget should secure a 2016 1.6 or 2.0-litre diesel Touran with around 20,000 miles. 

You could also consider the Peugeot Rifter or Citroen Berlingo – we don't rate them as highly because they're not quite as good to drive and aren't as plush inside or as quiet. However, they are good value for money, as well as being spacious with bright, airy cabins. Within your budget, you should be able to pick up a 2018 car with around 3000 miles. 

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 Best and worst MPVs and people carriers 2019

There was a time when all a good MPV needed to do was to provide space for the whole family, and have a big enough fuel tank to cope with long motorway journeys.

Things are a little different now, though. Outright space is still important, but how that space is packaged is even more critical. A new people carrier should offer a versatile interior that can adapt to a raft of scenarios. And if it seats seven, the rear pair should be able to fold flat into the floor.

Our favourite MPVs also provide a comfortable, relaxing environment, plus plenty of safety kit to protect passengers from harm. And, of course, affordable running costs are crucial.

Here we count down the top 10 MPVs on sale right now. And we reveal the model that's best avoided.

10. Citroen C4 Spacetourer

Citroen Grand C4 Spacetourer

The C4 Spacetourer is one of the most versatile five-seat cars around, with a roomy boot and seats that slide and fold independently. Its sleek, uncluttered dashboard is seriously classy, too. Just don't expect the Spacetourer to be particularly fun to drive.

Read our full Citroen C4 Spacetourer review, see our latest deals or see our leasing offers

9. Volkswagen Sharan

Volkswagen Sharan

With a strong range of diesel engines and smooth handling, the Sharan handles more like a saloon car than a full-sized MPV. There's also an excellent driving position and plenty of space for seven people, although the seats are quite heavy to fold up and down.

Read our full Volkswagen Sharan review, see our latest deals or see our leasing offers

8. Seat Alhambra

Seat Alhambra front

The Alhambra has all the strengths of the Sharan, but costs less to buy. That was enough to make it our MPV of the Year between 2011 and 2013, and while the Alhambra's huge size can take some getting used to, in return you get near faultless practicality and space for seven adults.