Best MPVs and people carriers 2024 – reviewed and rated

Practicality reigns supreme in the MPV class, but the best options are also affordable, comfortable and fuel efficient. These are the top 10 MPVs we recommend, plus one you should avoid...

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Oliver Young
Published06 June 2024

Family life isn't a walk in the park, but a practical MPV certainly makes things easier. These people carriers are specifically designed to make light work out of ferrying your kids around, with versatile interiors that give you plenty of space and practicality. They often come as 7 seaters, too.

But it's not all about the sensible stuff, because the best people carriers also have good-quality interiors, refined driving experiences and plenty of equipment, both in terms of creature comforts and safety. 

Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo and Volkswagen Multivan fronts

Our team of expert testers have driven every MPV on sale, and crammed them full of people and luggage to deliver their verdict. And they all agree that the best MPV to buy is the Volkswagen ID Buzz. To find out which version is best, however, and see which other options, including non-electric models, make our list, you'll need to keep reading. We've also named one model as the MPV to avoid.

Remember that if any of the cars here take your fancy, you can click through to read our full reviews, or check out our savings via our free New Car Deals service.

Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Pleasant to drive with a comfortable ride
  • Hugely practical
  • Strong resale values

Weaknesses

  • Not available as a seven-seater - yet
  • Fiddly air-con controls and infotainment
  • Efficiency could be better

A former What Car? Car of the Year winner, the Volkswagen ID Buzz very successfully updates the MPV formula for the age of the electric car, yet it still loveably tips its hat to the past.

In other words, it's a modern electric car, though one with some retro styling inspired by classic VW Type 2 campers. The ID Buzz is powered by the same punchy, 201bhp electric motor found in the other Volkswagen ID models, such as the VW ID 3 and VW ID 4 – it has the same 77kWh (usable capacity) battery pack as well. That battery officially gives the Buzz a range of up to 260 miles, depending on which trim you choose, but we found around 236 miles is more acheivable in real-world conditions.

Its enormous footprint makes the ID Buzz one of the most spacious and versatile electric cars you can buy. Plus, it drives well and is cheaper than you might think if you're buying on finance.

“I found the physical switches below the Buzz's touchscreen and to the right of the steering column (for functions such as deactivating the lane-keeping assistance) much easier to operate than touch-sensitive equivalents.” – Will Nightingale, Reviews Editor

Read our in-depth VW ID Buzz review

Our pick: 1.0 TCe Expression 5dr

0-62mph: 11.2 sec
MPG/range: 47.9mpg
CO2 emissions: 132g/km
Seats: 7
Boot: 160 litres
Insurance group: 13E
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Extremely well priced
  • Genuine seven-seat usability
  • Easy to drive

Weaknesses

  • Very poor safety rating
  • More engine noise than rivals
  • Middle row seats don’t slide back and forth

Offering lots of practicality for not a lot of money is nothing new, but few stick the landing and avoid harsh compromise like the Dacia Jogger.

It's cheaper to buy than a Toyota Yaris small car, yet it's a very accomplished seven-seater and one that's decent to drive and comes with a good amount of kit. For the best value, we think the 109bhp petrol engine (badged 110 TCe) is the one to go for – over the hybrid version.

Its one-star safety rating (earned during safety testing by Euro NCAP) stops it from taking the win, but remember that every Jogger still comes with six airbags, Isofix child-seat mounts for the outermost seats in the second row, and automatic emergency braking. It's also worth remembering that if the rival Ford Galaxy and Volkswagen Touran were tested under these stricter conditions, they likely would score poorly compared with newer models.

Where the Galaxy and Touran score extra points over the Jogger is with their engines, which are altogether smoother, and have much better power delivery when you've loaded them to the gunwhales. That being said, those models also cost more than the Jogger to buy, and the Galaxy is only available from dealer stock. Indeed, its low price helped secured the Jogger the title of the Best Seven-Seater for Value at the most recent What Car? Car of the Year Awards.

“While many modern cars force you to use their touchscreens to change temperature, I liked that the Jogger takes a back-to-basics approach, with big physical dials which make keeping comfortable on the move a doddle.” – Lawrence Cheung, New Cars Editor

Read our in-depth Dacia Jogger review

Our pick: 1.5 TSI EVO SE Family 5dr

0-62mph: 8.9 sec
MPG/range: 44.1mpg
CO2 emissions: 146g/km
Seats: 7
Boot: 834 litres
Insurance group: 19E
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Superb space and practicality
  • Strong level of standard equipment
  • Great to drive by MPV standards

Weaknesses

  • Rivals offer more economical diesel or hybrid engines
  • Costly to buy on PCP finance
  • Automatic gearbox can be hesitant

Just because you're wearing your sensible trousers when buying a new MPV, it doesn’t mean you have to slum it. Opt for a Volkswagen Touran and you’ll find the same level of plushness that you’d get in the big-selling Volkswagen Golf, but with far greater practicality.

All five of the Touran's rear seats feature Isofix child seat mounting points and enough space for adults. Indeed, average-sized adults will be more comfortable in the Touran's rearmost seats than they would be in some rivals, and the boot is a deep, wide shape, so it's easy to load your luggage into.

The only engine on offer in the Touran is a 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol. While it's not the last word in performance – the 0-60mph sprint takes 8.9sec – it feels plenty quick enough even if you've got seven people on board and a boot full of luggage. The ride is generally good, too, and the Touran keeps its composure better through corners than in van-based MPV rivals such as the Citroën Berlingo and Peugeot Rifter.

“Usually we'd advise against going for a panoramic sunroof, because these tend to lower the height of the roof lining, thus impacting headroom. In the Touran, however, two adults can sit comfortable with plenty of head room, even with one fitted.” – Doug Revolta, Head of Video

Read our in-depth Volkswagen Touran review

Our pick: 2.0 TDI Life 5dr DSG

0-62mph: 11.6 sec
MPG/range: 43.5mpg
CO2 emissions: 170g/km
Seats: 7
Boot: 469 litres
Insurance group: 26E
Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Exceptionally good predicted residual values
  • Good value against van-based MPV rivals
  • Lots of safety tech

Weaknesses

  • Infotainment not the best
  • No rear air-con as standard

While the smaller, electric ID Buzz is a more sophisticated package, the Volkswagen Multivan is the more practical machine, plus it remains better to drive than many of its van-based MPV rivals.

It comes with an extensive range of engine options to suit all needs, too, including a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). For the vast majority of buyers, though, it's the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel which will be most well suited to most needs. It offers lots of low-down grunt, so is a great choice if you plan on regularly filling your car to the brim with people and luggage.

Speaking of space, long-wheelbase versions of the Multivan offer seemingly infinite amounts of space, but it's not like standard-wheelbase models are diminuitive. With all seven seats in place, though, you're unlikely to get a pushchair in the boot.

While much of the Multivan's interior is made from hard plastics, these are at least formed into different textures, which makes the Multivan a bit more premium than some rivals.

“With its digital dials and matrix LED lights, the Volkswagen Multivan feels that bit more modern than some old-fashioned MPVs.” – Neil Winn, Deputy Reviews Editor

Read our in-depth Volkswagen Multivan review

Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Five-star NCAP rating beats other MPVs
  • Pleasant to drive
  • Better value than the closely related VW Caddy

Weaknesses

  • Slightly low-rent interior
  • Rivals have better rear seat space
  • Infotainment could be better

Although it's based on a van, don't go thinking that the Ford Tourneo Connect is more geared towards luggage than people. While it's true that whether you opt for the regular Tourneo, or the stretched Grand Tourneo Connect, both are absolutely cavernous inside, they're also comfortable, and even offer more leg room for third-row passengers than you'd find in the rival Seat Tarraco or Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace.

Engine options are confined to a 112bhp 1.5-litre petrol or a 120bhp 2.0-litre diesel, and it's the latter we recommend for its low down pulling power – useful if you plan on loading the car to the rafters regularly.

While much of the Tourneo Connect's interior is built from hard plastics – even the cheaper Dacia Jogger feels a bit more premium, with its cloth and satin chrome trim pieces – it does feel well put together. The lack of physical controls for the climate is infuriating, though, because it means you need to go venturing into the touchscreen infotainment system.

“The Tourneo Connect was built alongside another van-based MPV, the Volkswagen Caddy, but ultimately represents better value for money when you consider all the extra kit it comes with as standard.” – Steve Huntingford, Editor

Read our in-depth Ford Tourneo Connect review

Our pick: 220i MHT Sport 5dr DCT

0-62mph: 8.1 sec
MPG/range: 49.6mpg
CO2 emissions: 129g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 415 litres
Insurance group: 24E
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Plenty of rear space
  • Good balance of ride and handling
  • Class-leading infotainment system

Weaknesses

  • Firm ride for an MPV
  • Tyre roar on coarse surfaces
  • Expensive, especially top-end models

BMW's take on the MPV formula is a truly premium product. Indeed, its interior quality knocks the socks off of most other cars on this list, with plenty of dense, soft-touch materials in all the right places, and build quality which means it should stand up well to the rough and tumble of family life.

Although you can have your 2 Series with petrol, diesel or even plug-in hybrid power – the latter being especially tempting for company car drivers – it's the entry-level 168bhp 220i petrol which we think will suit most buyers best. It's powerful yet efficient, and features mild-hybrid assistance to help keep your fuel bills low.

Rear passengers will find a touch more head and leg room than they'd get in the Volkswagen Touran, but mild hybrid versions lose out a little on boot space compared with the Mercedes B-Class.

“It may miss out on a third row of seats, but at least the ones in the 2 Series Active Tourer are pleasantly flexible – they can split and fold in a plethora of different ways, and can be slid forwards and back, so you can prioritise boot space or leg room.” – Stuart Milne, Digital Editor

Read our in-depth BMW 2 Series Active Tourer review

Our pick: B200 AMG Line Executive 5dr Auto

0-62mph: 8.4 sec
MPG/range: 44.8mpg
CO2 emissions: 142g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 420 litres
Insurance group: 23E
Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Stunning interior
  • Comfortable ride
  • Lots of passenger space

Weaknesses

  • No seven-seat option
  • Some road noise and the petrol engine could be quieter
  • There are cheaper alternatives

The Mercedes B-Class is even more comfortable over broken British roads than the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, and contains noise better – meaning you can relax away the miles without needing to turn the stereo up.

It's not available with as many different power options as its BMW rival – there's no hybrid or plug-in hybrid version, for example – but we think the entry-level B200 1.3-litre petrol engine will be the best pick for most people. It offers plenty of performance, even with every seat filled, yet should also keep your running osts in check.

With fixtures and fittings more reminiscent of a luxury saloon than a family MPVs, the B-Class is a nice place to spend time, and two six-footers will find themselves with plenty of head and leg room in the rear seats. Any middle-seat rear passengers won't want to be there for long, though, beause the seat cushion is raised.

“With a wide range of plush materials and lots of ambient lighting, Mercedes hasn't forgotten to inject its spacious interior with a big dose of wow-factor.” – Lawrence Cheung, New Cars Editor

Read our in-depth Mercedes B-Class review

Our pick: 2.0 TDI 122 Life 5dr DSG [Tech Pack]

0-62mph: 11.4 sec
MPG/range: 54.3mpg
CO2 emissions: 135g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 1213 litres
Insurance group: 12E
Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Five-star NCAP rating beats other MPVs
  • Pleasant to drive
  • Better warranty than most rivals

Weaknesses

  • Low-rent interior
  • Rivals have better rear seat space
  • Very expensive

The Volkswagen Caddy is the sibling of the Ford Tourneo Connect we saw earlier on this list – so it should come as no surprise that it shares many of the same strengths. Its extremely practical, for example, with enough space for three adults to sit side-by-side on the rear bench, and a boot which should have no trouble in swallowing anything you might wish to throw at it.

Engine options are confined to a 112bhp 1.5-litre petrol, or a 2.0-litre diesel with 101bhp or 120bhp – and none get mild hybrid assistance to help with your fuel bills. It's the petrol option which we recommend for its reasonable pep, but make no mistake, this is not a quick MPV.

While the Caddy attempts to give you the feeling of the smaller Volkswagen Golf in the way it drives, it's only partially successful. There's accurate steering and strong brakes, yes, but the Caddy's sheer size and weight means it still feels like a very big car – the Volkswagen Touran is more composed.

"I found the Caddy's sliding rear doors handy for getting in and out in tight parking spaces, but there's a high sill to clamber over to actually get inside the car.” – Darren Moss, Deputy Digital Editor

Read our in-depth Volkswagen Caddy review


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And the MPV to avoid...

Mercedes EQV

For VIP transportation at large events, a lot of companies will rightly think the EQV makes a lot of sense. Private buyers won't find much of value here, though, because it's very expensive, yet will officially travel just 213 miles on a single charge. Read our review

FAQs

Which is the most reliable MPV?

The Mercedes B-Class topped the MPV class in the 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey. Similarly, the title of most reliable used MPV is currently held by the 2012-2019 Mercedes B-Class.

What’s the best small MPV?

If you’re looking for family-friendly practicality in a compact and affordable package, we’d point you towards the seven-seat Dacia Jogger.

Which is the best VW MPV?

If you’re ready to go electric, the Volkswagen ID Buzz is unmatched in the MPV class. It’s absolutely vast, yet manages to be good to drive and remarkably hushed at speed. If, however, an electric car doesn’t suit your lifestyle, then it’s hard to go wrong with the VW Touran.

Should I buy an SUV or an MPV?

Nowadays, hopping on the SUV bandwagon can seem like the obvious choice when choosing your family transport. After all, many of the best SUVs are practical enough to put some estate cars to shame, and offer a high driving position. A couple manage to be great fun to drive, too.

However, family life can be unpredictable, and few SUVs can offer the versatility and sheer interior big-ness of a great MPV. If you’re not all that keen on following the crowd, any of our top 10 MPVs could make a smart buy.

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