7. Ford Galaxy
Yes, the Ford Galaxy is identical to the Sharan and Alhambra in many ways, but it has one advantage over the other two, which is its ubiquity. That pushes its price down, and means you can find a much better example much more easily. And you still get the same classy dashboard, a great choice of engines, and affordable maintenance and repair costs. If you need a car that can carry seven adults in comfort, the Galaxy is a great buy for the price.
We found: 2003 1.9 TDI Ghia, 99,000 miles, £1995
A litany of common problems mean that, at this age, the Zafira could be a liability. But it’s impossible to ignore the value the seven-seat Vauxhall offers, or its superb versatility. Choose wisely and buy an example with a full service history that drives well and looks tidy and well cared-for, and you could end up with a seven-seat bargain on your hands.
We found: 2006 1.8i SRi, 90,000 miles, £1995
5. Mazda 5
The Mazda 5 suffers from a rather small middle seat in the third row, which is why it’s better as a six seater with an occasional seventh. Use it thus, however, and it’s a great option, with a good record for reliability and a smart interior. Its party trick, however, is to have sliding rear doors, which are extremely handy in tight car parks. It does have a firm ride, but the payoff for this is sporty handling that makes it really very enjoyable to drive for an MPV.
We found: 2006 1.8 TS, 93,000 miles, £1995
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