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People Carrier Versus Estate

By: Scott McBride - Updated: 26 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
People Carriers Multi-purpose Vehicles

A few years ago people carriers or multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) started to become very popular. These vehicles are targeted at families who have a lot of people to ferry about. Most have a five to eight-seat capacity and some have a third row of seats, although this can mean cramped accommodation. With all the seats in use the luggage space can be limited.

These vehicles are certainly more fashionable that estate cars and are becoming the vehicle of choice for many families. Whether or not they are any more practical is open to debate and it’s a debate that rages on and on.

Certainly the five-seater people carriers are not much more practical than an estate. After all, some models of estate will offer a seven-seat capacity, although the rearmost seats tend to be child-sized. In general, estates have five doors and same benefits as hatchbacks, but with more load space.

More Expensive

When bought new, people carriers will typically be more expensive than the equivalent estate car. For instance, in March 2009, the on-the-road list price for a Ford S-Max Zetec with a two-litre diesel engine and six-speed gearbox was £22,545. That was £850 more than the Ford Mondeo Zetec estate with the same engine and gearbox.

This extra cost tends to be reflected in the prices of used cars, but such was the popularity of people carriers a few years ago that the market is now flooded with second-hand examples and there are some bargains to be had. Using the Ford S-Max and Mondeo estate as an example again, a quick online search found a dealer selling a 2008 S-Max for £13,499, while a Mondeo estate the same age was going for £12,999. Both cars had just less than 10,000 miles on the clock.

So which is better, a people carrier or an estate? It is not black and white and depends on your personal circumstances. People carriers are spacious and ideal for ferrying your children and their friends around, but, with a full load of passengers, luggage will have to be kept to a minimum as there is not much space in the back for bags. It is possible in many models to take out some of the seats to give you more room, but those who need only five seats may find an estate car to be more practical.

Luggage Space

Dog owners may find an estate car to be the sensible choice, because a dog guard can be fitted to give the dog its own space. Then again, those transporting five people and their dog will find there is little or no space left for any luggage and will probably end up investing in a roof box.

As a general rule, those transporting more than five people on a regular basis should opt for a people carrier. Families of five or less, and especially those with and a dog, would be better with an estate car. A couple with only one or two children and no pets may find better value by ignoring both people carriers and estate cars and opting for something smaller and more fuel efficient.

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