Vans great and small
Get ready for summer with a versatile new MPV
Summer is a time when a young man’s or woman’s thoughts turn to driving out of town with the family. It’s a perfect time to consider a new van or MPV.
Men, throw away your fears that you will be emasculated driving a minivan. Women, fear not that you will be labeled as a soccer mom. The space, convenience, and comfort are worth the lack of sexiness.
With so many models in this segment, it’s worth taking a look at some of the more interesting choices, in order of size class.
(7 seats, 1.5-liter gasoline engine with 105 ps, P885,000)
A new platform promises the biggest interior space in its class, thanks to a long wheelbase while retaining a compact footprint.
Ground clearance is a SUV-like 205 mm for the top-spec models with the larger 16-inch wheels. Mitsubishi’s styling studios actually managed to make a compact MPV look exciting.
BMW is entrenched in sedan, wagon and SUV niches, so it’s not surprising that the MPV segment was next.
The front-wheel drive layout is not what you’d usually expect from BMW. Convenience features like a foldable front seat and hands-free power tailgate lend some versatility.
If you need seven seats, BMW also has the 2 Series Gran Tourer.
Suzuki lends some of the Swift’s styling touches to its MPV lineup, giving the boxy APV a prettier sister.
The Ertiga looks more modern and upscale inside and out, and has available features like sliding second-row seats and push-button keyless start.
Toyota’s compact MPV remains as functional as ever, and there’s even a higher-end variant called the Veloz, with styling and feature upgrades.
Honda Mobilio is an efficiently-packaged seven-seater that received a dose of style with its facelift.
The interior is roomy and functional. The 1.5-liter inline-four paired with CVT is sufficient for city driving.
Volkswagen combines its familiar functional cockpit with a bulbous rear compartment to come up with the Caddy.
The Caddy is a tall van with sliding doors and a cabin replete with multiple storage compartments and flexible seating.
(7 seats, 2.0-liter diesel with 165 hp, P2.29 million)
Style and comfort are what Peugeot does best, and both are in abundance in the 5008 MPV.
Exterior styling and interior appointments, including leather seats and trim, are commensurate with its premium positioning.
There are many reasons why Toyota moves so many of them every month, chief of which are practicality and ease of use.
The new Innova model has added more powerful engines and smoother transmissions.
Exterior and interior style look more upscale, too.
If you’re looking for a minivan that you won’t mind driving yourself every day, you can end your search here. The Odyssey drives like a hatchback, while carrying along space for up to eight. Clever touches abound throughout, like step-through room from front seats to rear.
The Urvan packs up to 18 persons on board in five rows of seats. The fifth row can be folded up to provide space for luggage.
Five-speed automatic transmission is available, as are safety features like ABS brakes and brake assist.
The Alphard is Toyota’s flagship van, with everything a taipan could want: business-like interior with large captain’s chairs, power seats and doors, and a powerful V6 engine that makes quick work of highway travel.
Mercedes-Benz brings its standards for features and equipment to the MPV class.
Seating can be ordered in one of several configurations, including group-facing for the second and third row.
The MPV is actually responsive to driving inputs, making it a pleasant drive. Be sure to tick the box for the Burmester sound system.
The default choice for several generations now, the Toyota Hiace is still constantly sold out, thanks to variants that serve various needs, from the basic Commuter, to the more plush 11-seat Super Grandia.
(7 seats, 2.0-liter diesel with 152 ps; P3.39 million)
Peugeot’s sub-5 meter long MPV features enough space for the second and third rows to face each other, complete with a center table—perfect for conversations or games on the go.
No list of MPVs would be complete without the Starex, a mainstay of the genre for seemingly forever.
It has seen numerous small improvements over the years. The latest includes four-wheel disc brakes, ABS brakes, and electronic stability program.
Foton gives the Japanese competition a run for its money with the utilitarian View van.
Foton offers the View in the basic TransVan or the more upscale Traveler variant.
The Grand Carnival is the American-style minivan done right. Kia’s combination of handsome styling, versatile interior, and useful features make it an attractive solution for family transport.
NOTE: All prices are for base models.
The Crafter is VW’s minibus good for up to 9 occupants in four rows of seats, thanks to the 4325-mm wheelbase inside the 6940 mm length.
You can choose a high-roof version to enable maximum space. The Crafter is designed for both passengers and cargo, with removable seats and plenty of volume for bags and sacks of material and equipment.
(9 seats, 2.1-liter diesel with 165 ps, P5.99 million)
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is also known as a commercial vehicle in Europe, but for the Philippine version, it has been outfitted for maximum comfort.
(14 seats, 2.5-liter diesel engine with 170 ps, P2.688 million)
If you find the Starex too puny for your extended family, Hyundai has the H350. It packs 14 seats within its 6.2-meter length.
It promises the comfort and safety of a modern MPV, with monocoque construction, ABS brakes and electronic stability assist.
The Toano is a high-capacity van that features heavy-duty suspension, high-strength steel plates, and safety features including ABS brakes.
A high roofline allows for near-standing room inside the roomy cabin.
NOTE: All prices are for base models.
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