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Five UK Mid-Sized MPVs Compared

Whether you need to play taxi to ferry the family around or simply to drive from A to B, a mid-sized MPV can be the ideal compromise between a family hatchback or saloon or going for a full blown MPV or people carrier. The saloon or hatchback may have made the grade when you started out with a family, but it is soon time to move up to something with more space and a lot more flexibility. An estate one possible option, but we’d prefer one of the latest mid-size MPVs.

Mazda5 – £16,245 – £23,695

Mazda5 mid sized MPVMazda states that for most of the Mazda5′s life, it will be used to carry four to five passengers whilst only occasionally taking its full seven-seat capacity. This ensured that its mid-size MPV would not be compared with full-size seven seater people carriers such as the Ford Galaxy and Renault Espace.

Besides this caveat, the Mazda5 surpasses expectations. When configured as a six-seater, all occupants have plenty of leg and elbow room and should you want to squeeze in another then a seat magically appears between the others in the middle row. All seats are comfortable and offer numerous of storage options within easy reach. Both rear rows of seats fold flat for shifting very large items, making trips to the local tip or picking up a new fridge a synch.

Practicality and flexibility may be near the top of your list of must haves, but no doubt you would like your new car to be value-for-money too. You’ll be glad to hear that the Mazda5 is just that. It’s also good to drive.

VW Touran – Price range: £15,625 – £23,225

VW Touran mid sized MPVVolkswagen’s Touran is a lot more pricey than a number of its competitors, but it has many other positives that justify the extra cost, namely its faultless fit and finish and sense of high quality. Like most seven-seaters, the rear bench does restrict boot space, but the Touran’s rear seats can be folded flat under the boot floor, eliminating the need to remove and store them when you need more cargo space than people-carrying capacity.

The Touran feels similar to the Golf Plus, which is no bad thing and there is a massive range of engine and trim options, including the VW Group’s excellent DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

Vauxhall Zafira – Price range: £16,015 – £24,515

Vauxhall Zafira mid sized MPVVauxhall’s entrant into the mid-sized MPV market is already a great seller in the market with class-leading flexibility, often claiming to be the first with a compact seven-seater on the market. Compact is all relative of course and the new Zafira has grown in most dimensions since it’s first launch.

The interior design of the Zafira, incorporating Vauxhall’s is great and offers a smart Flex7 seating arrangement, even if it can’t quite match the Touran’s ambience. Buyers on a budget will love the wide range and even the cheapest models have one of the freshest exterior designs among this group. If the budget stretches and you are missing the pre-parenthood sports car, there’s always the ridiculously fast 240bhp VXR Zafira featured in Vauxhall’s memorable ‘Daddy Cool’ ads.

Renault Grand Scenic – Price range: £14,995 – £23,695

Renault Grand Scenic mid sized MPVRenault invented the MPV with its class leading Espace so its Grand Scenic must be cutting into the sales of it’s big brother. Since the Espace was released, we’ve had the mini-MPV Modus and the mid-size Scenic with the latter having the same number of seats as Renault’s Megane, the only real differences being that its taller with a more flexible interior, including removable centre rear seat.

The Grand Scenic features seven seats and some usable luggage space, as well as a modern and airy interior along with a range of engine and trim versions. The downside is that those extra seats and boot space have been at the cost of the car’s originally neat styling with the rear of the Scenic looking oversized.

Kia Carens – Price range: £11,995 – £16,495

Kia Carens mid sized MPVThe Carens relative lack of comfort and refinement mean it’s not the best MPV among this group, but it’s a convincing effort and the pricing means it’s hard to argue against. Kia has completely revamped the old and awkward looking Carens, keeping all the best bits and overhauling nearly all the bad bits The seven-seater Carens is a practical and flexible mid-sized MPV that’s easy to drive, cheap to run and feels well put together. Flicking through the Carens brochure reveals that the range is quite straightforward, with one petrol and one diesel engine and we would recommend the diesel for its superior economy and stronger performance when fully loaded.

The downside for the Carens could that the cheapest models only have five seats, and the cabin isn’t as cleverly designed and laid out as it should be. The interior is plain, and the ride and handling don’t match the class leaders. That said, the petrol is cheaper to buy and copes well enough around town and owning one should be a painless experience, thanks to the five-year warranty that comes with every car.

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One Response to “Five UK Mid-Sized MPVs Compared”

  1. The Touran is an outstanding car, easily the best in this line up!

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