Six of the best: second-hand compact MPVs
Need to ferry up to seven? Get a people-carrier into your life. Here are the best buysIf you’ve a busy life – and plenty of people in it that need transport – a compact MPV will prove a boon. Offering as they do up to seven seats, or huge luggage space, while occupying no more road space than a regular family saloon.
Only a few months back, such was their popularity as second-hand cars that prices were steep. But now they’ve fallen dramatically, in line with those for pretty much every other type of car. At current levels, they’re cracking value.
But which should you go for? With almost every manufacturer offering an option, the choice is broad and potentially confusing.Here’s motors.co.uk’s pick of the market.
Volkswagen Touran 1.9 TDi S (seven-seater)
Pay £6995 for a 2005, 05-registered car showing 38,000 miles.
Boxy shape makes this a practical bus that is versatile and is well-finished inside. Although this ‘S’ model is at the bottom of the range, it is a quality item and its equipment tally includes remote central locking and air conditioning plus anti-lock brakes and a full set of airbags. The diesel engine is lively, if noisy, and should return an easy low-40s mpg. It’s available with five or seven seats, but settle for the five-seater only if you’re sure you’ll never need to carry more than that at once.
Vauxhall Zafira 1.6 Life
Pay £7000 for a 2007, 07-registered car showing 10,000 miles.
The original mid-sized seven-seater remains among the best and is terrific value, especially if you go for an entry-level model, such as this. The Life misses out on alloy wheels but has air conditioning and a good stereo with CD as standard, while its 104bhp petrol engine has enough pep and will return up to 38mpg overall. The Zafira has rear seats that drop into the boot floor until needed, while the mid-row seats slide back and forwards to juggle passenger and luggage space.
Mazda 5 1.8 TS
Pay £6499 for a 2005, 55-registered car showing 25,000 miles
Sweet-driving 5 has sliding doors to both sides, so it’s easy to enter and exit in car parks and other crowded places. Has seven seats, although rears and centre-mid perches are only really suitable for kids. Each of these three folds neatly away to leave ample space for four and big luggage space. Cabin is well equipped, although plastics feel cheap compared to the Touran’s. The 5 rides well and lively 1.8 engine returns up to 37mpg overall. And, because, it’s a Mazda, it promises to be extremely reliable.
Ford Focus C-Max 2.0 TDCi Zetec
Pay £4995 for a 2004, 54-registered car showing 47,000 miles
The C-Max only ever comes with five seats, and comes second to the others above for that reason. That said, it’s a great thing to drive, car-like and direct. And the 2.0-litre diesel here is the pick of the range for its abundant low-revs shove, it smoothness and its exceptional economy – it’ll return up to mid-50s miles-per-gallon. It’s a touch smaller than a Zafira or Touran and so it’s easier to manuvre in a packed car park. Zetec trim, meanwhile, means air conditioning, alloy wheels and bright metal panels on the dash are standard. There’s good space in the cabin and each of the mid-row seats tips and slides independently.
Citrn Xsara Picasso 2.0 HDi SX
Pay £2999 for a 2002, 52-registered car showing 62,000 miles
The value pick of our six. Though now an ageing model, this Citrn is smooth to drive while the 2.0 litre diesel is powerful and will return an easy 45mpg. Some of the cabin trim looks and feels low-rent but it is hard wearing and this SX model is stocked with goodies such as four airbags, anti-lock brakes and air conditioning. The Xsara Picasso is very practical – the boot is big and square, while each of the rear seats slides and folds to add extra luggage space when needed. Meanwhile, this model remains in Citrn’s new-car line-up until next year at least – so spares should be easy to find for years yet. Big, centrally mounted digital speedo is a gift to back-seat drivers everywhere.
Renault Scenic 1.6 Dynamic
Pay £3999 for a 2004, 04-registered car showing 22,000 miles
Back in the mid-1990s Renault launched the original Scenic, and invented the mid-size MPV. It took rivals years to catch up and while others have now overhauled Renault, a current model Scenic like this is an attractive and well-priced buy. The Scenic’s ride is notably smooth and the good view out from its raised seating position makes it a cinch to drive. Its cabin fittings seem cheap compared to some of its rivals here, but the layout and its clever use of cabin and load space remains impressive. The Dynamique falls midway across Renault’s model line-up and so alloy wheels, air conditioning, six airbags and anti-lock brakes come as standard. The 1.6 engine installed here is livelier than you’d expect and is reasonably economical, returning up to 37mpg overall.
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