We’ve studied every new people carrier on sale, and nominated the very best in six distinct categories.
Below each MPV is its buzzScore – the mark out of 10 we assign each car based on a consensus of expert reviews from the most trusted car publications. The higher the buzzScore, the better the car!
Follow the link for more detailed information about each MPV, as well as extensive photo and video galleries.
Best People Carrier Under £15k: Skoda Yeti
Beneath the Yeti’s questionable design is an excellent MPV – it’s a bargain at just under £15k for the base ‘E’ model. Standard features include air conditioning, front electric windows, central locking, electric mirrors and a full compliment of airbags and electronic safety systems.
As it’s a base model, you’re restricted to two engines – a 1.2-litre TSI petrol or a 2.0-litre diesel. The petrol’s the only one that falls under the £15k threshold though, but as it’s a VW developed unit, that’s no real hardship. The critics say the engine suits the Yeti’s character rather well, although it may struggle fully laden. Fuel economy is a decent 44mpg.
Price from: £14,775
Most Economical/Greenest People Carrier: Toyota Prius Plus
Toyota’s seven-seat Prius + is Europe’s first full hybrid MPV. Its drivetrain is largely carried over from the standard Prius (although the + is built on its own, bespoke platform) – which means it uses a 98bhp 1.8-litre engine and a heap of Lithium-ion battery packs – together producing 136bhp. It’s at its best around town, where it can run on electric power alone for a mile at speeds of up to 30mph, this video describes the process quite nicely.
Elsewhere, the petrol engine needs to work hard to move the Prius’s considerable bulk. Toyota claim fuel economy and emissions of 68.9mpg and 96g/km (the higher spec’ T-Spirit only manages 64mpg and 101g/km). Criticisms leveled at the + include a high price tag, downmarket interior and noisy CVT ‘box.
Price from: £26,140
Best Seven-Seater People Carrier: Ford Galaxy
While it’s not uncommon for large MPVs to boast seven seats, it’s rare for those two extra seats – usually stowed away in the boot – to be able to accommodate fully grown adults. The Ford Galaxy is the exception. As such, we’ve given it the title of carwow’s Best Seven-Seater. But the news gets better – it’s more fun to drive than anything else with as many seats, it’s available with a host of strong engines and the seats are easy to move and fold. Above all, it’s well built – so it can withstand the rigors of family life.
Price from: £24,625
Best Warranty: Zafira Tourer
Vauxhall’s 100,000 mile ‘Lifetime’ warranty has earned its new Zafira Tourer our Best Warranty accolade. The warranty is available to the car’s first owner for an unlimited number of years until the car reaches 100,000 miles – most owners will have sold on their Tourers by then, so this really can be thought of as a warranty that’ll last the car’s tenure with it’s first buyer. With some attractive finance deals on at the moment it represents great value for money.
The Tourer itself is a rival to Ford’s S-Max. The reviews available are broadly positive – testers especially like the styling and seven-seat interior – but many say it’s not as fun to drive as its rivals. The Flexi7 seating arrangement, as shown in this Vauxhall video, does mean it suits a variety of uses though.
Price from: £19,455
Best Handling People Carrier: Ford S-Max
Dads the country-over rejoiced when Ford debuted the S-Max in 2006. For the first time, they wouldn’t have to sacrifice their love of driving for the sake of their families by buying a van-like, unattractive MPV. The S-Max is the best of both worlds – great to drive and great to look at, but still practical enough to ferry a family around in comfort. It’s available with a host of different engines – like a version of the 2.0-litre EcoBoost you’ll also find in the Focus ST. With 237bhp, it accelerates from 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds and hits a top speed of 146mph.
The interior is plush, almost too plush for your unruly kids, in fact. Each of the seven seats can accommodate adults – the third row at a push – and it’s largely well spec’d. Faults are few and far between, the only real concern being its price.
Price from: £22,375
Overall Best People Carrier: Ford C-Max
The C-Max boasts the highest buzzScore of any MPV – large or otherwise – on carwow. It’s fitting, therefore, that we give it our general Best People Carrier nod. As it’s a Ford (and based on the Focus), you’ll have fun driving it – whether it’s to pick up the kids from school or en route to the local Sainsbury’s.
The interior is spacious and and feels broadly solid, and space in the back is entirely adequate. There’s even a seven-seater version, called the Grand C-Max, with sliding doors if you need the extra room – but the two rearmost seats are only good for kids. The 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol is the most fun, but the more sensible diesels do the job just fine.
Price from: £17,475
Still not sure what people carrier to buy? Here’s a list of the best MPVs on sale at the moment.