Thinking of buying a large MPV People Carrier with room for up to seven people? Well, what about if, for not much more, you could get yourself a smart-looking one with space for up to nine folk? That's what's on offer from the appealing-looking Citroen's SpaceTourer MPV.
Sensibly, all the Euro6 units engines on offer in the Citroen SpaceTourer are diesels and if your needs are mainly based around lighter people carrying duties and short distance urban work, then the entry-level 95bhp 1.6-litre BlueHDi unit may well be quite sufficient: this engine's also offered with 115bhp. For heavier payloads and longer journeys however, you'll be needing the 2.0-litre BlueHDi model which gives you a lot more pulling power and is available with 150 or 180bhp, the most powerful unit mated to the brand's efficient EAT6 auto transmission.
News that Citroen's large MPV is based on the marque's Dispatch van may lead you to fear the worst when it comes to handling dynamics. Actually though, you should be pleasantly surprised by the dynamics on offer here, these aided by a variant of the same EMP2 platform used for Citroen's Grand C4 Picasso People Carrier. The ride should particularly impress. Special wishbone filtering is provided to dampen the impacts from our country's terrible tarmac and the variable stiffness springs and shock absorbers should deliver decent levels of comfort whether the vehicle is loaded or unloaded. Refinement is also claimed to be surprisingly good for such a square shaped, large MPV. As before, there's the option of a Grip Control traction system. We also like the 'Coffee Break Alert' warning system, which flashes up a dash warning after two hours of uninterrupted driving at speeds of 40mph and above.
Citroen's first serious stab at the super large MPV segment is surprisingly easy on the eye, aiming at what the brand calls 'a sense of robust assurance without appearing aggressive'. The front design consists of a short horizontally-styled bonnet with large, high-set headlights, providing a commanding view of the road. In addition, the front features a broad, protective bumper with strong black air intake grilles that contrast and accentuate the Citroen SpaceTourer's styling.
Under the skin, this MPV utilises the acclaimed 'Efficient Modular Platform 2' (EMP2) chassis, one of the things that enables this model to offer so much interior space. There's room for up to 9 spacious seats with 1,500litres of boot space - or up to 4,900-litres of luggage space if you take out the removable seats. Available in three defined lengths, ranging from 4.60m to 5.30m, the SpaceTourer's height of 1.90m is low enough to guarantee entry into covered car parks - a relatively rare attribute in this segment. The 'M' and 'XL' length versions of 4.95m and 5.30m will be the variants chosen by most buyers, but even the shortest 4.60m-long 'XS' version can comfortably accommodate up to 9 people in all seats. Key selling points include hands-free access for the electrically-operated side and rear door and an opening rear window in the tailgate so small items can be more easily put inside.
It's time the top ten large MPV segment was shaken up a bit. For too long, it's been dominated by the Volkswagen Caravelle and the Mercedes V-Class, both models that sell at rather over-inflated prices. The only more affordable alternatives in the past have been relatively unappealing - models like Hyundai's i800 and Ford's Transit-based Tourneo Custom. In comparison, this Citroen SpaceTourer looks a good contender for one of the best large MPVs out there.
It's much cheaper than a Caravelle or a V-Class, easier to drive because it feels more compact on the road, yet just as spacious inside, with room for up to nine. The only real impediment to success might lie in the fact that you can get much the same recipe in this segment from the Peugeot Traveller and Toyota Proace Verso models that share this Citroen's basic design. Still, if you get the right deal on a Citroen SpaceTourer and you've a Citroen dealer in close proximity, we think you'll like it.Click here to find out more about our Citroen SpaceTourer range
This Peugeot Traveller large MPV might be fundamentally based on the marque's medium-sized Expert van but it's undeniably sophisticated as well as being light, airy, and seriously spacious, with room for up to 9 people. If anything, its commercial vehicle roots serve as a strength, the voluminous interior, tough build and uncomplicated design proving ideal for family buyers who'll happily shoulder the slight ride and refinement issues.
Engine choice in a Peugeot Traveller model is pretty straightforward, provided you've a clear idea of the kind of work you want it to do. Sensibly, all the Euro6 units on offer are diesels and if your needs are mainly based around lighter people carrying duties and short distance urban work, then the entry-level 95bhp 1.6-litre BlueHDi unit may well be quite sufficient: this engine's also offered with 115bhp. For heavier payloads and longer journeys however, you'll be needing the 2.0-litre BlueHDi model which gives you a lot more pulling power and is available with 150 or 180bhp, the most powerful unit mated to the brand's efficient EAT6 auto transmission.
A key factor behind the success of the Peugeot Traveller's Expert Tepee predecessor was the way it remained compact and wieldy in the manner of smaller, more car-like MPVs from the class below. This large MPV model should retain much of that same usability around town and will certainly ride much better thanks to more sophisticated suspension and a stiff EMP2 platform. Special wishbone filtering is provided to dampen the impacts from our country's terrible tarmac and the variable stiffness springs and shock absorbers should deliver decent levels of comfort whether the vehicle is loaded or unloaded. Peugeot also claims that refinement is much improved this time round. As before, there's the option of a Grip Control traction system. We also like the 'Driving time warning system' which flashes up a dash warning after two hours of uninterrupted driving at speeds of 40mph and above.
This Peugeot Traveller certainly looks much more of a car-like thing than its Expert Tepee predecessor with its sharply angled windscreen and smart frontal treatment. Under the skin, this large MPV utilises the acclaimed 'Efficient Modular Platform 2' (EMP2) as the basis to combine its relatively compact exterior dimensions with maximum roominess. Inside, this model can offer up to 9 spacious seats with 1,500 litres of boot space - or up to 4,900-litres of luggage space if you take out the removable seats.
Available in three defined lengths, ranging from 4.60m to 5.30m, the Traveller's height of 1.90m is low enough to guarantee entry into covered car parks - a relatively rare attribute in this segment. The 'M' and 'XL' length versions of 4.95m and 5.30m will be the variants chosen by most buyers, but even the shortest 4.60m-long 'XS' version can comfortably accommodate up to 9 people in all seats. There's also a top 'Business Plus VIP variant which provides its rear-seat passengers with a 'four face-to-face' seat configuration, each occupant treated to their own individual leather armchair. There's also a multi-function roof with tri-zone climate control and soft air diffusion, plus mood lighting for even greater luxury. Across the range, most models get hands-free electric sliding side doors which can be activated with a wave of the foot.
Bridging the gap between Peugeot's passenger car range and the marque's light commercial vehicle line-up, the Peugeot Traveller has a big job on to convince the public of its large MPV credentials. In the past, seasoned industry observers had a well-practiced sneer held in reserve for any commercial vehicle that tried to pass itself off as a passenger car, but times have changed. Modern light vans have reached levels of sophistication that aren't a million miles away from the passenger car average and we've seen in the smaller van-based MPV sector that there is an eager market for affordable, utilitarian people carriers.
The Peugeot Traveller takes the voluminous interior of its commercial vehicle progenitor and does enough to make it presentable and comfortable for business or family usage. It also borrows the Expert van's mix and match range structure, giving excellent flexibility for customers to specify the vehicle in the way they want. With rugged build, competent driving dynamics, strong economy and attractive prices, it seems well-suited to being in the best large MPV category and as a result, could well be worth a look for larger families.Click here to find out more about our Peugeot Traveller range
The commercial vehicle origins of the sixth generation Volkswagen Caravelle endow it with more interior space than most large MPVs but it masks its links to the Transporter van very well inside where quality is high. With ample space for seven adults and luggage, strong common-rail diesel engines and a classy feel, there isn't much else that can do what a VW Caravelle can.
You'll want to know whether this large MPV it drives like a car-like MPV or a van-like minibus, so let's get that out of the way right up-front. The on-road experience is somewhere between the two, though your reaction might be more positive than that if you're not up to speed with just how dynamically adept the latest generation of large vans really are. This feeling you get at the wheel of this one varies a little of course depending on whether it's fully loaded with passengers, a state in which both ride and composure are much improved.
If there's no one in your Volkswagen Caravelle but you, you're probably more likely to notice the vague power steering and the slightly lumpy low-speed ride. And of course the high-sided shape and 2.5-tonne kerb weight don't take particularly kindly to sharp high speed cornering antics. Better of course to settle back and use this vehicle as intended, wafting around on the potent wave of torque delivered by the common rail four cylinder 2.0 TDI diesel engines. There are two on offer here, base models being powered by a single turbo 150PS unit that gets this sizeable chunk of German real estate to 62mph in 12.9s en route to 113mph. Ideally though, you want to opt for the pokier 204PS BiTDI twin-turbo version of this unit. At low engine speeds, the largest of the two BiTDI blowers delivers steady charge but go a bit faster and there's a second smaller turbocharger, ready to cut in and give additional boost. At first glance, the stats don't seem much affected (the 0-62mph time improves to 9.8s and the top speed to 126mph) but what's more important is the jump in pulling power. When towing: all VW Caravelles can tow a braked trailer of up to 2,500kgs. The figures quoted are for manual models but most buyers tend to prefer to specify the optional seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox.
The sixth generation VW Caravelle gets the smarter nose section inroduced with the T6 Transporter van and, as before, is available in either short or long wheelbase bodystyles. All the excitement though, is inside. At 4,892mm long and 1,904mm wide in short wheelbase form, the Caravelle was never going to be anything but roomy. The seating layout is comprised of two arm-chairs in the front and two more behind with a three-seater bench in the back row. Unlike many seven-seater MPVs, there's also a usable luggage area behind the third row and it can be made more usable by sliding the rear bench forward on its runners. The front and second row seating is also mounted on a system of runners in the Caravelle's floor so these chairs can be moved around to tweak the layout. The front seats can even be rotated 180 degrees to face backwards, creating a kind of living room layout around the multi-function table that's mounted on its own rail in the centre of the cabin. If you get tired, the back seats fold down into a bed.
Adaptability is not in short supply then, but how well does it all work? It's theoretically possible to lift all of the furniture out of the VW Caravelle but you'll need biceps the size of breadbins: it's not light. Sliding the chairs around is quite straightforward, although you might need to think ahead before embarking on a rearrangement as the multi-function table can get in the way. The build quality impresses and even in standard trim, the Volkswagen Caravelle doesn't feel like a commercial vehicle. The switchgear and instruments will be familiar to VW passenger car owners and there's an abundance of storage options around the vehicle.
Whether you see it as a posh minibus, an executive MPV or some kind of lifestyle vehicle in the mould of VW's classic Camper vans, what puts the Volkswagen Caravelle's into the best large MPV competition, it's unique selling point, is space. There just aren't many vehicles that can seat seven in this kind of comfort and take a significant amount of luggage along for the ride. The pricing will deter some but buyers are getting a big hunk of a large MPV for their money and there aren't too many alternatives with similar qualities.Click here to find out more about our Volkswagen Caravelle range