If being able to carry people and/or cargo in your vehicle is critical, your two main options are the multi-purposes vehicle (MPV) or the sports utility vehicle (SUV) - unless you plan to open a bus company or a haulage firm!

These are a raft of pros and cons of each vehicle type - covering capacity, styling, features - and price. It's important to evaluate these before making a final purchase decision.


Transporting people

If you have several family members, both an MPV or a three-row SUV offer the right capacity. The newest models in each category will feature the latest tech - although entry-level models may offer minimal features.


Hybrid and electric models

As you might expect, neither van-style vehicles nor SUVs have been left out of the hybrid/electric revolutions. These powertrains offer superb fuel economy/running costs - and will reduce how often you refuel/recharge on longer journeys.

Naturally, there could be limitations regarding the number of available charge points for EVs - something to bear in mind.


Moderate space needs

If you regularly need to ferry around three, four, or five people, an SUV such as a Peugeot 3008 or a Nissan Qashqai could be ideal. You might even opt for a supermini such as a Ford Fiesta or a VW Golf, or a five-door coupe such as Audi A5 Sportback.


Larger space needs

More people? More luggage? The spacious Skoda Superb estate could be ideal. For more flexibility, the Ford C-MAX or the Citroen Picasso are good options because you can reconfigure seating to either carry more people or more luggage. As far as SUVs go, the Kia Sorento and the Volvo XC90 are practical options.


Larger van-based models

If you regularly travel with the better part of a football team, or often transport larger items (surf boards, bicycles etc), then a larger van-based model might be more suitable than an SUV or regular MPV. Among the prime options is the well-equipped Ford Tourneo Custom, based on the highly successful Transit Custom. The Volkswagen Transporter Shuttle also ticks most boxes, coming as it does from a long line of comfortable and well-built 8-seaters.


Which is best for kit: SUVs, MPVs or larger van-based models?

In the past, MPVs and larger van-based models have lacked the equipment of flashier SUVs. But this is no longer the case: Bluetooth, ESP and ABS braking and Automatic Post-Collision Braking are commonplace, and you can pay more for things like more upmarket interiors.


What about styling?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder - but let's face it, SUVs look sportier. That said, MPVs are a lot sleeker and less boxy than they once were. However in this discussion, practicality tends to trump looks.


What about price?

In terms of SUVs, an entry-level Nissan Qashqai or Peugeot 3008 will set you back less, while a Volvo XC90 bursting with options could easily double the cost.

For the MPV buyer on a budget, the Citroen Picasso or the Ford C-MAX are good options.

Larger van-based models tend to cost the most, but of course it all depends on whether you buy an entry-level model or select lots of extras.


Approximate entry-level prices (2020) mentioned in this article:

Volvo XC90 - from £55,000

Ford Tourneo Custom - from £40,000

Volkswagen Transporter Shuttle - £38,000

Audi A5 Sportback - from £35,000

Peugeot 3008 - from £30,000

Nissan Qashqai - from £20,000

Citroen Picasso - from £20,000

Ford C-MAX - £18,000