SUVs have been the trendy large vehicle of choice for a few years now, replacing the standard MPV that many families would previously go for. The midsize MPV segment has seen sales in Europe fall across the past six consecutive quarters, and given the popularity of SUVs and their rising sales, things weren’t looking great for the MPV car.
Yet in the first few months of 2018 a range of new and facelifted van-based MPVs have been announced, including the updated Citroën Berlingo and New Peugeot Rifter. Given their sharper style and taking inspiration from the SUV boom, could these models usher in the latest vehicle trend?
New Peugeot Rifter Revealed
Replacing the old Partner Tepee is the New Peugeot Rifter, which debuted at the Geneva Motor Show. It joins the facelifted Citroën Berlingo and Vauxhall Combo Life as part of the PSA Group’s offering in the van-based MPV market for 2018. All three are mechanically identical and include the EMP2 platform front end which allows for greater driver assistance technologies.
The Berlingo has taken more of an SUV approach to its design, crossing over somewhat, while the New Peugeot Rifter treads closer to the MPV car style. Still, it looks sleeker and trimmer than before with a rounded body that’s easy on the eye.
A claimed storage capacity of 775 litres up to the window line and choice of 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel engines with automatic gearboxes optional, means there’s a model to suit various drivers. Due to go on sale in summer 2018, you can register your interest in the New Peugeot Rifter online, with seven-seater options expected in 2019.
The Changing MPV Market
People carriers and MPVs were the most common big cars for sale not so long ago, popular with families due to their size and space even if they weren’t always the most attractive vehicles. Over the past decade they’ve been replaced by SUVs in many cases, which offer similar levels of space and seats but with a far better design and higher driving position.
Rather than killing off the MPV car though, the popularity of SUVs has influenced the direction many new MPVs have taken. Along with manufacturers focusing more on exteriors to create the best MPV, a lot has gone into the development of comfortable yet spacious interiors, including all the expected modern car technology, improving emissions and fuel economy to make them attractive to modern drivers.
With many drivers requiring more flexibility with their vehicles, this is where van-based MPVs have a great selling point, which could see them grow in popularity.
Benefits of Van-based MPVs
The main advantage of a van-based MPV car is the practicality they provide. Many models can fold down the rear seats or even remove them (such as with the Citroën Berlingo Multispace) to basically turn it back into a van. For transporting large items such as furniture this is ideal, along with for disabled users to fit in a wheelchair and attach mounting points.
Certain models include rear sliding doors too, which further improve accessibility, with the spacious interior ideal for those with large or growing families, dogs and more. Plus many new MPVs look the part too now, such as the facelifted Citroën Berlingo which has striking looks incorporating distinctive design elements of the C3 and C3 Aircross. An eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system and wireless phone charging are further benefits.
SUVs may continue to dominate the larger car market but with some of the latest MPVs being released, the trend of the best big cars for sale could soon shift.