When you need to move lots of people and luggage, sometimes the only option is a large van. Don't despair though, because these Japanese vans are cheap as chips.
1 - Mitsubishi Delica (2007-present)
The Mitsubishi Delica was built on Shogun running gear and will be great if you need to negotiate tricky terrain with your whole family on board. It seats seven or eight, depending on the model, and can have its seats removed in favour of an inflatable bed. It’s available with a choice of 2.5 and 2.8 diesel engines or a 3.0 V6, with prices from £2000.
It can also lend itself well to a camper conversion. It’s great because of its more compact exterior dimensions, but the high centre of gravity can make cornering at speed a scary prospect.
As with all of the cars here, get online and look for an owners’ club before you buy. This could save you a packet.
2 - Mazda Bongo (1999-2013)
The Bongo is a versatile MPV that lends itself well to camper conversions or can be used as an eight-seater, with the seats flattening to form a bed for two people. Prices vary from £1600 to £16k, according to condition and age, and care is needed when buying.
Deals that are too good to be true are just that. Watch out for well-worn cars, engine problems and potentially perilous camper conversions. The 2.0 16v models are great if you don’t want to carry or tow much, but the 2.5 V6 diesel has all the torque you need for hauling. The 2.5 V6 petrol is expensive to run and maintain, and avoid LPG conversions.
3 - Toyota Alphard (2008-2015)