Supermini MPVs – a popular choice for today’s buyer
by Helen Jackson |
posted 21 March 2019
Building a decent supermini MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle) is very much the art of making a lot out of a little, but it’s an art many people like. So here we look at three of the best buys that are on the market at the moment, the Kia Venga, the Ford C-MAX and the Fiat 500L.
The Kia Venga has had a bit of a tough time establishing itself in this company. Undeterred, Kia has given its MPV a wash and brush up. There really was very little wrong with this car; it was just so low profile that too few buyers even thought to shortlist it. There are petrol and diesel engines to consider, with a 1.6-litre 123bhp petrol unit available with either a six-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic.
On the latest version, the styling has been sympathetically updated, with a revised front bumper and a main grille with high-gloss black mesh and a chrome surround. The cabin has benefited from a boost in materials quality, with even the entry-level trim now getting a smarter black Houndstooth cloth upholstery. The Venga might just be the forgotten Kia. But do your homework and you'll realise that this is a model with some very specific qualities that really does make a strong case for itself.
Ford's second-generation C-MAX is brought bang up to date with a raft of improvements that family buyers will love. Cleaner styling and engines are a big draw, with the introduction of a Focus-style dashboard and a 1.5-litre diesel powerplant that'll be the big seller here in the UK. Refinement has been improved and there is a stack of high-tech options to consider.
Ford could not be content to rest on its laurels in this sector and again delivered the goods. The design is evolutionary, with the dynamic styling delivering a stronger, sleeker front end and inside there are customer-led design refinements that mean fewer controls and switches. All-in-all a much-improved second-generation car that keeps its rivals on their toes.
The Fiat 500L is a five-seater small MPV that doesn't feel like one, taking care of people and baggage-carrying chores with a practical dash of Italian flair. The Fiat 500L MPV has sharpened up its act and in this improved form, it's safer, smarter and better connected. There’s just the one engine on offer, a 95bhp petrol version that is great for city running, though a little outgunned on the motorway.
Inside, the instrument binnacle you view through the restyled steering wheel has been re-designed and three adults can comfortably sit on the back seat, plus standard models have a 455-litre boot. It means that as well as being fun, cheeky and cool, this Fiat is a sensible family car you can really feel good about.
We all know that a supermini MPV needs to be big enough to fit family and luggage but not so big that it's too hard to pilot around town. When you’re driving any of these three, you’ll find the best of both worlds.