Do I have to buy an MPV to seat six?

Do I have to buy an MPV to seat six?

Q: I have a family of four children and need a car with six seats. I want reasonable performance and economy (I commute 110 miles each day). Are there any estate cars with a third row of seats, or do I have to buy a MPV? I have a budget of around 10,000.
David Preston

A: Some estate cars (such as the Peugeot 307 SW) have a rearward-facing bench behind the back seats. This isn't a particularly safe (there are no head restraints) or comfortable arrangement, though, so we'd advise going for a diesel MPV every time.

Because you only need six seats, you could try the Fiat Multipla. It has only two rows of seats, but squeezes an extra seat between the driver and passenger.

The Multipla 1.9 MultiJet Dynamic Family usually costs 15,200, but we spotted a brand-new one at internet broker for 11,466.

If that's a bit pricey, there are plenty of second-hand cars around for a lot less. Economy is also fair at 44mpg.

Another six-seater is the FR-V - like the Multipla, it has two rows of three seats, and power comes from a 2.2-litre diesel engine. Average fuel economy is about the same as the Multipla at 44.8mpg. We've seen two examples at non-franchised dealers for under 11,000.

If you'd rather have a third row of seats, how about the Volkswagen Touran? A three-year-old 1.9 TDI SE with seven seats will set you back around 10,000.

The Touran is larger than the Fiat, and should be slightly more economical, averaging 47mpg.