Need family transport? Here's why an MPV is probably better than an SUV
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Your friends and relatives all drive SUVs and recommend that you get a seven-seater model for your family as well. But here's why you should be considering an MPV instead!

Category: Car Buying Advice

We all know that SUVs rule the car market. Almost everyone who owns one wants to buy another in the future, and the few who don't own an SUV yet probably aspire to buy one.

People like SUVs because they look more dynamic and adventurous, and not 'boring' like an MPV. Some models are even equipped with all-wheel drive, and this off-roading ability further increases the appeal.

But if a family-ferry is what you're looking for, you should consider an MPV instead. Here's why.

1. A superior layout

Even if these chairs were moved forward, there would still be plenty of legroom in both the second and third rows of seats
MPVs are primarily designed to move people, unlike SUVs, which have a body style that's geared towards off-roading. Whether the SUV in question can be driven off-road is another story, but the point is SUVs have higher ground clearance and possibly larger wheels to facilitate this.

Compromises must be made when packaging the interior. The wheel wells may intrude into the cabin, which is why in even a seven-seater SUV, the third-row seats are quite cramped.

A purpose-built seven-seater MPV, on the other hand, has a more optimal layout for ferrying seven adults. Accessing the third row is also potentially easier, especially if the second row of seats are captain's chairs - the space between them makes getting to and from the rear much easier.

2. Captain's chairs

When the meetings are over, just sit back, put up your feet and ask the chauffeur to wake you when you reach home
Speaking of captain's chairs, you'll surely feel like a boss sitting in one. In some models, these even have extendable footrests, providing 'business class' travel on the go.

If you're a businessman looking for a mobile boardroom, an MPV is also the most comfortable way of travelling to and from meetings and events. Key people such as your corporate lawyer, CFO, and CTO can accompany you to these appointments, so you can make plans and formulate strategies along the way.

Now, some SUVs also have captain's chairs in the second row. However, these are relatively expensive models such as the Bentley Bentayga Extended Wheelbase and BMW X7 M60i. The only 'mass market' option is the updated Hyundai Palisade.

3. A proper last-row of seats

The Hyundai Staria has three full-size seats in the third row, thus increasing passenger comfort
Speaking of third-row seating, a proper seven-seater SUV, such as a Honda Odyssey, Toyota Alphard/Vellfire, and Kia Carnival, all have adequate space to accommodate adults in the last pair of seats.

In most seven-seater SUVs, ingress and egress here can be tricky and even awkward, as you attempt to squeeze between the second and third-row benches. Once you finally get seated, legroom is usually at a premium. You might even find your knees close to your torso.

A seven-seater MPV, even a more compact one like the Toyota Sienta Hybrid or Honda Freed, still has more room for the last two occupants than an equivalent seven-seater SUV or crossover.

4. Sliding doors

Tight carparks are much less of an issue for an MPV's passengers, especially if the MPV itself is a compact model
Most carparks in Singapore are rather tight, so even if you manage to park an SUV, getting in and out of the car will be a squeeze. But it's less of a problem with sliding doors.

An MPV's sliding doors add to its convenience. Apart from taking up less space when open, the large aperture they create also makes ingress and egress much easier than any other body style.

As a bonus, the flat floor also means you can enter/exit from the opposite side if a vehicle is parked to close to the side you're sitting on. It's hard, and in certain cases, downright impossible to do that in a car with conventional doors.

5. A square room

The Toyota Alphard remains one of the industry benchmarks for full-size seven-seater MPVs
Another reason that makes MPVs more compelling than SUVs is their superior headroom. If you have tall family members, they'll appreciate this.

A taller 'ceiling' also adds to the commodious feel. If the MPV has a sunroof, the extra light makes the interior feel airier as well. You can't get the same feeling in an SUV, especially in so-called 'coupe-SUV' models.

'Coupe-SUVs' usually have a roofline that slopes downwards towards the tailgate. It makes the car look a bit sleeker, at the cost of reduced headroom for rear passengers.

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