There was a time when all a good MPV needed to do was to provide space for all the family and their luggage, 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. If it seats seven, the rear pair of seats should be able to fold flat into the floor, and the seats should be able to be moved and folded independently of each other.
Our favourite MPVs also provide a comfortable, relaxing environment, plus plenty of safety kit to protect passengers from harm. We expect them to have a generous standard specification, combined with running costs that won’t break the bank, too.
Read on for our pick of the very best people carriers and MPVs, as well as the ones to avoid.
The best MPVs
10. Kia Carens
With an appealing and practical interior and a comfortable ride, the Kia Carens impresses in most of the key areas MPV buyers will be looking for. Sure, it’s pretty ordinary to drive and access to the rear seats isn’t great, but it’s competitively priced and well equipped. This is one of the better mid-size MPVs, and it should be on your shortlist if your budget is less than £20,000.
Our pick: 1.7 CRDi 114 2
A roomy boot and seats that slide and fold independently mean the C4 Picasso is one of the most family-friendly new cars. The sleek, uncluttered dashboard is a seriously classy feature, too. The Citroën isn’t as good to drive as some rivals, but it’s far more spacious, stylish and economical than most cars in this class.
Our pick: 1.6 HDi 120 Exclusive
With a strong range of diesel engines and smooth handling, the Sharan feels more like a saloon car to drive than a full-sized MPV. There's an excellent driving position on offer, and the cabin is fairly practical - even if the Sharan can't offer many of the clever seating tricks of its rivals. Entry-level models are well equipped, too, meaning there's rarely any reason to look further up the range.
Our pick: 2.0 TDI 150 SE
Click through to the next page to see more of our favourite people carriers and MPVs, and the ones to avoid