Our partners – and car review experts – at CompleteCar.ie have come up with the best new compact family MPVs that you can buy today. As you will see from our list, being small doesn’t necessarily mean a car can’t be spacious or practical.

 

1 – Ford B-Max – small, but perfectly formed

Plus: sliding doors, flexible interior

Minus: cabin design is a bit dull

  • Pricing: from €21,932 to €26,515
  • Popular engines: 1.6 petrol and 1.5 diesel
  • Power output: 75- to 105hp
  • Fuel consumption: 3.8- to 6.4 litres/100km
  • Road tax: Band A3 to C (€190 to €390)
  • Safety: five-star EuroNCAP including 84% passenger protection

One of the daily tasks for most compact MPV owners is getting people in and out of the car each day. In the B-Max, Ford has made this so much easier by removing the central B-pillar. This means that, when you open the front and sliding side doors, you have this vast open area that is as practical as it is impressive looking. By re-engineering this structural element into the doors the Ford is still just as safe and scores a full five stars on the EuroNCAP test. It drives well too thanks to it sharing its chassis with the cracking Fiesta. Added to this is a choice of decent engines, which manage to combine good levels of performance without being too thirsty for fuel.

The Top Five Compact Family MPV's of 2016 Ford B Max

2 – Renault Scenic – all-new version is much improved

Plus: looks good, inside and out

Minus: interior only impresses in top specs

  • Pricing: to be confirmed
  • Popular engines: 1.0 & 1.2 petrol, 1.4 hybrid and 1.5 & 1.6 diesel
  • Power output: 110- to 160hp
  • Fuel consumption: 3.9- to 5.8 litres/100km
  • Road tax: Band A2 to B1 (€180 to €270)
  • Safety: five stars from Euro NCAP, including 90% for driver protection

The Renault Scenic has been a familiar sight at schools and crèches for many years and it is easy to see why. Now there’s an all-new model and it looks nothing short of impressive. Its bold new look matches with the rest of the French company’s range. Inside, there’s a hard-wearing interior and top-level models get a cool portrait-style touchscreen. Passenger space is good if not great, and unlike some others in the segment, there’s only a rear bench seat, not individual ones. The obvious engine choice is diesel here but Renault may introduce a new mild-hybrid version that is cheaper to tax and has lower emissions. Those who like their car to look good will also be drawn to the standard-fit 20-inch alloy wheels.

renault-scenic

 

3 – Volkswagen Golf SV – like a Golf, only bigger

Plus: conventional looks, spacious interior

Minus: gets expensive as you add spec

  • Pricing: from €23,800 to €35,715
  • Popular engines: 1.2, & 1.4 petrol, 1.6 & 2.0 diesel
  • Power output: 85- to 150hp
  • Fuel consumption: 3.6- to 5.5 litres/100km
  • Road tax: Band A2 to B1 (€180 to €270)
  • Safety: five stars from Euro NCAP, including 85% child occupant protection

The Volkswagen Golf may be a great car, but it is too small for those looking for an MPV. So, say hello to the Golf SV. This supersized Golf isn’t that much longer or wider than a conventional car but it packs in plenty of space by being taller. With room for five and a 590-litre boot there is lots of room for the everyday tasks, as well as family holidays. The rear seats can also slide forward and back to either add boot space or increase rear legroom. Although it is a little more expensive than its rivals, the Golf SV is good to drive and delivers real refinement on the move. If you don’t do huge journeys the turbocharged petrol engines are worth considering as they can be quite economical.

The Top Five Compact Family MPV's of 2016 Volkswagen golf sv

4 – Opel Meriva – clever interior maximises space

Plus: unique doors make life easier, good engines

Minus: a bit drab inside

  • Pricing: from €19,995 to €25,495
  • Popular engines: 1.4 petrol and 1.6 diesel
  • Power output: 100- to 140hp
  • Fuel consumption: 4.4- to 7.2 litres/100km
  • Road tax: Band A4 to D (€200 to €570)
  • Safety: five stars from Euro NCAP, including 89% adult occupant protection

The Opel Meriva was clearly designed by a team of people with families, such is the amount of clever and practical elements incorporated into it. Opel equips the Meriva with rear-hinged back doors, which makes getting in and out that bit easier, and is especially useful if you’re strapping in the little ones. Throughout the cabin there are numerous storage bins including a huge one between the front seats. An optional panoramic glass roof floods the cabin with light and is perfect for keeping younger passengers distracted. The driving position is good though the interior is a little dull to look at. On the plus side the 1.6-litre CDTi diesel engine in particular is very good and can return some respectable fuel economy figures.

The Top Five Compact Family MPV's of 2016 new opel meriva exterior

5 – BMW 2 Series Active Tourer – the premium choice

Plus: well-finished interior, plenty of drivetrain options

Minus: more expensive than its rivals

  • Pricing: from €34,290 to €51,710
  • Popular engines: 1.5, 2.0 petrol, 1.5 hybrid and 1.5, 2.0 diesel
  • Power output: 116- to 231hp
  • Fuel consumption: 3.8- to 6.5 litres/100km
  • Road tax: Band A2 to C (€180 to €390)
  • Safety: five stars from Euro NCAP, including 70% for safety assist

If you want something a little more upmarket then the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer really is your default choice. It isn’t the type of car we would normally associate with the German marque, but it knows its customers need more practical vehicles sometimes. The BMW is loaded with clever storage solutions and has functional things like foldable tables on the backs of the front seats. Naturally the quality of the interior is top notch and there is a wide choice of engines to choose from, as well as either front- or all-wheel drive transmissions. Not only can you get the usual diesel and petrol power units, BMW has also introduced a plug-in hybrid model that can do up to 38 kilometres on just electric power, meaning those morning school runs can be done is near silence. Well, from the car anyway…

The Top Five Compact Family MPV's of 2016 bmw-2-series-active-tourer