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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by
Oliver Young
Published25 July 2023

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. 

Best and worst MPVs

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 – the 2023 What Car? Car of the Year.

But if an all-electric people carrier isn’t for you, or you’re on a tighter budget, we’ve rounded up the best of the rest. Below you can click the links to read more, or find the very best MPV deals around right now.

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

The VW ID Buzz very successfully brings the MPV up to date and into the future, 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. It's the most practical ID product and 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.

Read our VW ID Buzz review

Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Superb space and practicality
  • Tempting PCP finance deals and big discounts
  • Great to drive by MPV standards

Weaknesses

  • Rivals offer more economical diesel or hybrid engines
  • Ford Galaxy has more third row space
  • 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 a Golf, but with far greater practicality. All five of its rear seats feature Isofix child seat mounting points and enough space for adults. The Touran drives better than the rival (now discontinued) 2018-2022 Citroën Grand C4 Spacetourer, too, and buyers should find comfort in it having been recently safety tested, unlike most MPVs that have been around since 2015 (like the Touran has). 

Read our Volkswagen Touran review

Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Great practicality
  • Flexible 1.2 Puretech 110 petrol engine
  • Excellent value

Weaknesses

  • Fiddly infotainment system
  • Some storage solutions are optional
  • Mainstream MPV rivals are better to drive

Okay, it's the same as the Peugeot Rifter and Vauxhall Combo Life underneath, but the Citroën Berlingo’s keener pricing, better level of standard equipment and slightly plusher feel make it an even better buy. Add in its hugely spacious interior and a soft ride – softer than the Touran’s, in fact – and you’ll find the Berlingo a relaxing cruiser in which to cover miles. Some non-van-based MPVs are better to drive overall, but, put simply, cars don’t get much more practical than this for the money. Oh, and there's an electric version as well – and you can read our Citroën e-Berlingo review here. 

Read our Citroën Berlingo review

Our pick: 1.0 TCe Expression 5dr

0-62mph: 11.2 sec
MPG/range: 48.7mpg
CO2 emissions: 130g/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 getting any higher than this mind you, plus it hasn't really got the performance to cope with a car full of people and belongings. 

Read our Dacia Jogger 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 VW 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). As we mentioned, you can get Standard and Long versions, with the latter offering seemingly infinite amounts of space – at quite a high price, though, especially if you also want the PHEV engine option. 

Read our Volkswagen Multivan review

Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Practical seating flexibility with heaps of boot space
  • Handles surprisingly well on the road
  • Quiet on the motorway

Weaknesses

  • Not that well equipped
  • Infotainment system is sluggish
  • Top trim pushes up the price

If you need to carry seven people and some luggage as well, the Ford Galaxy has long been the go-to MPV. With its huge boot and spacious seven seats, it fulfils the same practical role as rivals such as the (now discontinued) 2010-2022 Volkswagen Sharan, but is quieter and more composed on the road. The Galaxy is also one of the best-handling MPVs out there and has a comfortable ride. Sure, it doesn't have the most luxurious interior you'll ever see, plus there are newer options on this list – this generation of the model has been around since 2015 – but the Galaxy remains a sound choice. 

Read our Ford Galaxy review

 

Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Tremendous space
  • Lots of practicality
  • Comfy ride

Weaknesses

  • Slightly more expensive than the Citroën Berlingo
  • Infotainment system is fiddly
  • Some cheap feeling interior trim

The Peugeot Rifter is essentially a Vauxhall Combo Life wearing Peugeot badges, but it feels slightly classier inside and this pushes it one place higher on this list. Unlike the Combo Life, you don't have to have it as an electric car – although you can if you want, so read our Peugeot e-Rifter review here). There's a good range of petrol and diesel engines to choose from, with our favourite being the 128bhp diesel option (badged Blue HDi 130). Apart from that, you have class-leading space and a surprisingly good driving experience here. Just remember to opt for the XL version if you need seven seats. 

Read our Peugeot Rifter review

Our pick: 100kW Design 50kWh 5dr Auto

0-62mph: 11.7 sec
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 983 litres
Insurance group: 18A
Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Great practicality
  • Decent performance despite its size
  • Lots of standard safety kit

Weaknesses

  • Fiddly infotainment system
  • Low-rent interior
  • The range could be better

The Vauxhall Combo Life doesn't hide its van roots. It's unashamedly devoid of pizzazz, but this helps keep its price down and its practicality up. It delivers more space per pound than just about any other new car. Both five and seven-seat versions are available, sliding rear doors make it easy to get kids in and out in tight spaces, and this is one of the most comfortable MPVs around. The electric version's official range of 174 miles is decent for the class and price point, although it's not great overall. 

Read our Vauxhall Combo Life review

Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Decent handling
  • Comfortable ride
  • Practical interior

Weaknesses

  • Interior quality could be better
  • Some rivals are cheaper
  • Third-row seats best for children

If you're looking for an MPV that won't cost an arm and a leg to run, the economical Ford S-Max is well worth considering. Like most of the best modern Fords, such as the Ford Focus, it's also one of the best-handling cars in its class, combining precise steering with excellent body control. And while the interior isn't as classy as some rivals' – think VW Touran – it's as practical as you'd expect from a family car of its size. You will find more space inside the larger Ford Galaxy, mind you, and that's reflected in its higher place on this list. 

Read our Ford S-Max review

Our pick: 220i MHT Sport 5dr DCT

0-62mph: 8.1 sec
MPG/range: 47.9mpg
CO2 emissions: 132g/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

The first, 2014-2022 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer was a controversial car when it first went on sale. Not only was it BMW's first MPV, but it was the first BMW to feature front-wheel drive rather than the sportier rear-wheel drive setup that the brand has traditionally been associated with. This second generation version of the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer caused less of a commotion upon its arrival. It has a robust, high-quality interior, what's more it’s good to drive and offers impressive engines (including two plug-in hybrid options). There are much more spacious MPVs out there, mind you, and you can't get it with seven seats. 

Read our BMW 2 Series Active 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 230 miles on a single charge. Read our review

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