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Car Wars Wednesdays: MPV vs SUV

August 12, 2015

Manufacturers don’t have it easy when it comes to designing family-friendly cars. From passenger space and performance figures to dynamic design and motorway capability, there are any number of factors that make for a perfectly practical car.

In today’s Car Wars, we’re getting up close and personal with the Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) and Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) markets to see which one comes out on top as the most spacious, well-equipped and practical performer.

So will it be the MPV or SUV that takes the title of best family car? Let’s find out.


Original image by m01229


If you’re in the market for a family-friendly ride, the MPV and SUV classes are packed with options. From durable 4x4s to spacious people carriers, your choice of family car will be largely dependent on your needs.

MPVs are designed to maximise cabin space – and with the Citroen C3 Picasso, Renault Scenic and Ford C-Max being just some of the best MPVs on the market, there’s plenty to choose from. If you’re on the hunt for a more sporty vehicle, the Ford S-Max, Land Rover Discovery and Jeep Grand Cherokee can be found in the SUV class.

For aesthetic appeal and all-round attention to detail, the SUV market wins round one.


With entry-level models in both classes coming with plenty of kit, it’s difficult to choose a winner in this round. SUVs like the Ford S-Max come with electric windows, Bluetooth connection, front and rear parking sensors and dual-zone climate control as standard.

If you’re on the hunt for a well-equipped MPV, the Renault Scenic packs in air-conditioning, cruise control, keyless entry, automatic headlights and wipers, Bluetooth and alloy wheels.

For bags of kit to suit the whole family, the MPV market scoops this round.

Performance and Handling


Original image by Paul Townsend

When it comes to costs, SUVs are known for being gas guzzlers – with top end road tax costing £505 a year, thanks to the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s 327g/km of CO2 emissions. But in terms of performance, opt for the 252bhp 3.0 litre turbodiesel engine in the Land Rover Discovery and you’ll sprint from 0-62mph in an impressive 8.8 seconds. Where the SUV market scores well is with off-road capability – as most models are more than able to tackle difficult terrain.

If you’re likely to spend more time on the motorway with the family, an MPV is the way to go. The 1.6 litre Citroen C3 Picasso accelerates from 0-62mph in 11.6 seconds, while the 138bhp version of the SEAT Alhambra returns 50.4mpg and emits just 146g/km of CO2 for an annual tax bill of £145 – resulting in far more family-friendly running costs.

For impressive performance figures coupled with low running costs, MPVs take this round, too.


Purchase prices vary across the MPV and SUV markets, depending on the size of vehicle and equipment required. For an entry-level Ford S-Max or Land Rover Discovery, you’ll have to shell out £24,545 and £30,695 respectively. Opt for an MPV and a Renault Scenic will set you back £19,365 – while a Kia Carens can be yours from as little as £18,195.

If you’re looking for change from your £20k, stick with the MPV market.

The verdict: In the battle of the big cars, there can only be one winner – and thanks to practicality and performance figures, today’s title goes to the MPV market.

Do you agree with today’s winner? If you’re still struggling to decide whether an MPV or SUV is the best fit for you, why not consider a crossover like the Nissan Qashqai and get the best of both worlds?

If you’re on the hunt for MPV finance or SUV finance deals that suit you, apply online now – or alternatively, check out our online car finance calculator for a quick quote today.

About The Author

Jon Le Roux is co-founder and company director of The Car Loan Warehouse. Being a mad engineering and motorsport enthusiast, I spend more hours than is healthy, watching, reading or talking about cars, boats, motorbikes…..basically anything with an engine.