What is a Multi-Purpose Vehicle?

Last updated August 11, 2022

Multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs), more commonly known as ‘people carriers’, are a type of car favoured for their versatility and dependability. Used for both personal and commercial services, these vehicles are ideal for transporting passenger groups of over five people and for moving larger loads of cargo than can generally fit in the boot of a standard saloon.

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Features of a MPV

The features of multi-purpose vehicles vary dependent on their individual make and model but generally include:

  • Extra seats - All MPVs have between five and nine seats. Five-seater MPVs have the standard layout of two seats in the front and three in the rear, with seven-seaters, eight-seaters and nine-seaters generally adopting 2-3-2, 2-3-3 and 3-3-3 layouts respectively.
  • Spacious boots - The vast majority of multi-purpose vehicles on the market are designed to include a spacious boot, with some MPVs boasting boot space in excess of 1000L even with all seats in use.
  • Versatile interior - Most MPVs can have some or all rear seats folded down to create extra boot space whenever necessary, allowing more room for transporting cargo.
  • Designed for a range of terrain - Many multi-purpose vehicles are designed to drive well on a variety of surfaces, from standard suburban roads to rough countryside terrain.

MPV Pros

  • Range of seating options - The smallest MPVs are five-seater models, while larger models may include seating for up to nine people. There’s an MPV to suit a variety of seating requirements.

  • More room all round - With large capacity boots and the ability to expand storage into the seating area if needed, MPVs are perfect for drivers who regularly find themselves transporting large loads.

  • Greater storage space - Fixed monthly repayments allow you to budget for other expenses month-to-month and manage your finances

  • Ideal for families - All of the above features, as well as an increased focus on safety in many MPVs, make these vehicles ideal for family life.

MPV Cons

  • Utilitarian look - A majority of MPVs are somewhat bulky and utilitarian in appearance and do not share the sleek, streamlined look of smaller vehicles.

  • Less fuel efficient - Due to their large size and heavy weight, MPVs are generally less fuel efficient than sedans and saloons.

  • Difficult to handle - The weight and size of multi-purpose vehicles may make some models more difficult for drivers to handle, specifically when steering and parking.

Tips when purchasing a MPV

If you think that a multi-purpose vehicle could be the right type of car for you, it’s worth shopping around for your perfect make and model of MPV. Here are some tips for matching yourself to the right multi-purpose vehicle for you.

  1. Identify your biggest need - No two MPVs are the same, so it’s worth deciding which feature of MPVs is most important to you before you begin your search. Nine seats? Over 800L of boot space? Whatever is at the top of your wish list, keep this in mind while choosing your new car.
  2. Consider visibility - MPVs are often rather large with high dashboards, so it’s important to check that the height of the driver’s seat allows you good visibility whilst driving. This is one of the many reasons it’s important to book a test drive before you finalise a purchase.
  3. Check fuel economy - Many MPVs come with a lower fuel efficiency rating, so it’s important to consider this when choosing the right model for you. The higher the mpg (miles per gallon) rating of a MPV, the higher the running costs may be. With that in mind, always consider mpg when choosing the right vehicle for you.

Selling your MPV

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Frequently Asked Questions

An SUV (sport utility vehicle) is designed for off-road use, while an MPV is designed for everyday use. SUVs are also generally taller and have a more rugged look, while MPVs are shorter and have a more streamlined look.

A MUV (multi-utility vehicle) is typically a two-seater vehicle that is designed for urban use, while an MPV can seat up to seven passengers and is more suitable for longer trips. MUVs, such as transit vans, are generally preferred for commercial use, while MPVs are more suited to everyday driving.

Hatchbacks are not generally categorised as MPVs, instead falling into the category of ‘passenger cars’.