DESIGNED to travel on at least four wheels in contact with the ground, multipurpose vehicle has an empty weight of at least 300 ponds but less than 3,000 pounds and has a permanent upright seat or saddle for the driver which is mounted at least 24 inches from the ground.
A car classification used in Europe, a compact MVP is described as a multi-purpose vehicle versions of small family cars fitting between the mini MPV and large MPV subsegments. In Japan, the term “space wagon” is sometimes used to refer to this type of vehicle.
The first MPVs
The first vehicle to be described as multi-purpose vehicle was the Renault Scenic produced by French automaker Renault. It was based on the chassis of the Mégane small family car.
It became the 1997 European Car of the Year on its launch in 1996. In l978, the Lancia Megagamma minivan designed by Italdesign in1978 and introduced the same year at the Turin Motor Show can be seen as the forerunner of modern MPVs which became popular in the 1980s.
In l981, Nissan Praire was introduced in Japan and in l982 was launched in Europe featuring many features associated with the MPV format.
It was also known as Multi ni Canada and the Stanza Wagon in the U.S.
The Praire is one of the very first compact MPV’s placed into production, utilizing flexible seating arrangements and sliding rear doors on both sides of the vehicle, with a liftgate in the back.
Some later MPV models include the Citroën Xsara Picasso/Citroën C4 Picasso, Ford C-MAX/Grand C-MAX, Opel Zafira Tourer, SEAT Altea/XL, Skoda Roomster and Volkswagen Touran. From Japanese manufacturers, there are Nissan Lafesta and the Mitsubishi RVR.
The Citroën Xsara Picasso is a 5-door compact MPV produced by
French manufacturer Citroën from 1999 to 2010.
The model was facelifted in 2004 with minor modification to the front design.
Meanwhile, the Citroën C4 Picasso is a multi-purpose vehicle, available as a five-seater and a sevenseater version, called the Grand C4 Picasso, produced also by Citroën.
The seven-seat Grand C4 Picasso made its debut first, at the Paris
Motor Show in September 2006, with the five-seat version following in January 2007.
The C4 Picasso and Grand C4 Picasso were designed by Donato Coco and share the same platform and engines with the Citroën C4 and the Peugeot 307.
The C4 Picasso is the luxurious alternative to the budget Citroën Xsara Picasso, another vehicle in Citroën’s MPV lineup.
Both the C4 Picasso and Grand C4 Picasso are produced at the Vigo
PSA Factory in Spain.
On the other hand, Ford C-MAX/ Grand C-MAX are designed to help get the most out of family life. The ultra-flexible interior of both versions makes for an impressively comfortable and accommodating experience.
The 5-seat C-MAX includes seating that can change with one hand as well as lots of storage space.
The 7-seat Grand C-MAX offers maximum versatility and a handy walk-through for easy access to the rear seats. The C-MAX and Grand CMAX also offer lots of technologies to help with virtually every aspect of driving.
For example, Active Park Assist practically parks the car for you while on the road, PowerShift, EcoBoost and the enhanced suspension provide more power, a smootherride and use less fuel.
The Opel Zapira, also called Zafira Tourer introduced in 2011, is a compact multi-purpose vehicle produced by the German manufacturer Opel since early 1999.
The third generation is classified as a large MPV.
Produced by Spanish automaker SEAT since 2004, SEAT Altea, an MPV, was designed by the Italian Walter de Silva as the first example of SEAT’s new corporate look.
Another extended version is the Altea XL presented at the 2006 Paris Motor Show.
Skoda Roomster is a five-seat MPV-styled leisure activity vehicle produced by the Czech automaker Skoda Auto.
It was launched as a production model in March 2006 at the Geneva Auto Show.
Volkswagen Touran is a compact MPV based on a vertically stretched fifth generation Volkswagen Golf Nk5 and sold in Europe and other select markets.
It was launched in 2003. Examples from Japanese manufacturers were the Toyota Gaia, Nissan Lafesta and the Mitsubishi RVR.
The Toyota Gaia was replaced by the Toyota Isis. It shares a platform with the Toyota Ipsum (a sister car) and Toyota Caldina.
It was manufactured from May 1998 until September 2004.
Nissan Lafesta is a seven-seater minivan built by Nissan Motors for the Asian market.
The name was derived from the Italian workd fiesta, meaning holiday, festival or party, and according to the manufacturer “expresses a desire to spend an enjoyable time in the car together with the family members or friends.
Mitsubishi RVR is a range of cars produced by Mitsubishi Motors from 1991 to 2002 and from 2010 to present.
The first two generations were classified as compact multipurpose vehicles.
Most compact MPVs have better “flexibility” than other body styles: for example, seats may be individually folded or even removed. Due to the multi-purpose architecture, the bonnet may be shorter and the passengers sit more upright than in regular cars, providing for a roomier interior.
Compact MPVs remain predominantly a European phenomenon, although they are also built and sold in many Latin American and Asian markets.
Some compact MPVs are currently available in the United States and Canada, including the Mazda, Dodge Journey (Fiat Freemont) and Kia Rondo. Larger MPVs are referred to as Minivan in the US and Large MPV in Europe such as the Hyundai Trajet, Kia Carnival, Mitsubishi Grandis and Renault Espace. Generally, compact MPVs are five and seven-seaters — the first and (if present) third rows with two seats and the middle row with three.
The two rear seats are sometimes smaller than the others, enough for children or for short distances.
In some cars, these seats can only carry a limited weight (less than an adult’s weight). Some manufacturers offer the third row seating as an option, and a few offer two distinct models, one of them strictly fiveseater, and the other with either fixed or removable additional sixth and seventh seat.