Renault Grand Scenic
Land Rover Discovery
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso
When the school holidays arrive, Britain hits the road in MPVs to get away from it all. Now is the time to buy, and these seven-seaters can be had from just £4000.
1 - Ford Galaxy (2006-2015)
Whether it’s a supermini, family hatch or large MPV, Ford usually delivers excellent driving cars in a great package. The Galaxy may not be as fine-handling as its S-Max sibling, but it corners well and remains composed over bumps.
Inside, there’s plenty of leg and head room throughout, and you’ll even get a couple of bags in the boot when all the seats are occupied. Usefully, the five rear seats fold flat into the floor, giving van-like space.
The Galaxy is pretty reliable, but look out for power steering pump failures and alarm faults. A base Edge trim gets air-con, electric windows and a heated windscreen. We found a 2010 2.0-litre diesel with 52,000 miles for £8850.
2 - Renault Grand Scenic (2003-2009)
There aren’t too many better or cheaper ways into a used seven-seat MPV than a Grand Scenic. It’ll accommodate you and your clan in supreme comfort due to a supple ride and great refinement.
You get plenty of space and storage. The middle row of seats can be folded or removed and the third row folds into the floor for extra load carrying. It promises to be a safe car, too, achieving a five-star Euro NCAP rating when tested in 2003.
It’s affordable to run and maintain and there are few reports of major faults, but the build quality can be sketchy and keep an eye out for electrical glitches.We found a 2010 1.5 dCi Expression with less than 60,000 miles on the clock for just £5295.
3 - Land Rover Discovery (2004-present)
Facing the prospect of a car full of excited kids, some of them yours, some of them your kids’ friends? Nightmare. Well, you need to treat yourself to a Discovery. Not only will you get some street cred over seven-seat MPV rivals, but you’ll also be cocooned in a luxurious cabin, spoilt by a supple ride and have all-terrain 4x4 mastery at your disposal.
A Disco is relatively expensive to buy and run, but you’ll retain more of your cash when you sell it. Major problems are few, with electrical and software glitches being the most common.
SE spec comes with air suspension, leather seats and plenty of kit. A 10-year-old 2.7 diesel, having covered less than 60,000 miles, will set you back £13,495.
4 - Volvo XC90 (2002-2015)
When the XC90 was launched in 2002, it became the first socially acceptable 4x4. It retained its popularity until it was replaced by a new model last year.
It isn’t the most dynamic of cars, but your loved ones will be treated to a luxurious ride, a well-built interior and the protection of a plethora of airbags. SE trim comes with leather seats and cruise and climate control, enhancing the experience. There’s plenty of room for five passengers, while the third row is best limited to two smaller offspring.
Check beneath for off-road damage and beware of internal creaks or ill-fitting trim, both hints that it’s been in a crash.
We found a 2006 2.4-litre diesel with 51,000 miles for less than £10,000.
5 - Citroen C4 Grand Picasso (2007-2013)
On a cost-per-seat basis, the C4 Grand Picasso is a steal. It’ll take five in comfort, plus two young ’uns in the third row. It’s also cheap to run and has an innovative cabin, excellent visibility and a comfortable ride. It’s good to drive, too.
Best combination to go for is the frugal 1.6-litre diesel in VTR spec, which comes with air-con and alloy wheels.
The fly in the ointment is the build quality. Cheap to buy on this occasion also translates to cheaply made. Bits of trim can break or fall off and the seats wear prematurely. And should a bumper need replacing, for example, their ‘one-piece’ construction means it could set you back £1300.
Nevertheless, we found a 2008 bargain, which had covered 48,000 miles, for less than £4000.