MPV buying guide - Find your best fit

MPV buying guide - Find your best fit

MPVs were the hot trend, at least before the COVID-19 outbreak. And why not, they are practical, spacious, and well equipped. But some people think that MPVs are meant for people-carrying and luggage stuffing only, they are wrong as these are adaptable and flexible too. They may not always have appealing looks, but they do compensate for this with their versatility and practicality. 

The popular MPVs available in the Malaysian market are Toyota Innova, Nissan Serena, Toyota Avanza, Perodua Alza, Toyota Vellifire, Proton Exora, Honda Odyssey, and Toyota Alphard.

So, if you are looking to buy any of these, the following tips might help you in the search for a cost-effective and high-quality model.

1. Number of required seats 

Seat configuration in the MPV

Before diving deeper into the specifications of different MPVs, figure out the number of seats you intend to have. Usually, MPVs have three rows of seating. The first row meant for driver and front passenger is followed by two rows for rear passengers. So, the question comes how frequently you will be going to use the third-row. A study shows that most of the MPV owners use the third-row very rarely, thus a 5+2 seater SUV could be a better option in that case.

Does the 5+2 seater MPV have enough inside space? 

The answer is no. The third row of these MPVs is suitable for children only. Though adult passengers can fit in, but only for short trips, as it feels cranky while sitting. So, in that case, the proper seven-seater MPVs should have opted. For very large families, the eight-seater MPVs are also available in the market viz. Toyota Innova. 

Which 5+2 seater MPV available in Malaysia?

Among the 5+2 seater category, we have Perodua Alza on the list, while Toyota Avanza, Nissan Serena, Proton Exora comes under the seven-seater category.

5+2 seating pattern

What are the benefits of 5+2 seater MPV?

5+2 seater MPV comes with its plus points which you need to consider while making the decision. These are more fuel-efficient and easy to park as larger the MPV, the more cumbersome it is going to be to drive in tight situations. For larger MPVs, customers also need to check the parking sensors, reverse cameras, and even autonomous parking systems which might become tough on their budget.

Rear-wheel-drive MPV vs Front-wheel-drive MPV

If your larger MPV is rear-wheel driven like in the case of Toyota Avanza, you won’t have any difficulty in the parking as they have a very tight turning circle, making it excellent for moving into tight parking spots. But MPVs driven by the front wheels, allow more space inside the cabin. 

2. Captain Seats

More on the seats, some MPVs feature captain seats in the second row. It can opt if you are looking for more premium seating. This seating configuration also offers easy access to the third-row seats. However, it is not a good option for some parents as handling the child-seat becomes difficult.

3. Access and flexibility 

MPVs sit a bit higher than the hatchbacks but some also have additional features for an easier getting in and out. If there are three rows, check how easy is it to get into the third row. Some MPVs don't let the second-row seats tumble forward, but only tilting the seatback forward for the access, which is quite difficult.

A few MPVs also come with the sliding doors which are extremely practical for getting the children as well as car seats in and out, particularly when the space is limited. However, it adds to the cost of the MPV.

Moreover, check the flexibility of folding the third-row seats, see how convenient it is to fold the seats down and flat.

Folder three-row seats

4. Storage Space

While selecting an MPV, one of the crucial aspects for many people is the amount of space available for luggage keeping. In the case of other cars, it is easy to figure out the boot capacity and space between and behind the seats, but in MPV there are other possibilities also. 

Besides the visible space, there is also a storage area within the floor which is covered by a simple panel and it is versatile in the type of items that can be kept there. So if you need extra bits of space, it is worth checking that your model features such an area or not. Moreover, you can also check how many of the seats can be folded flat. The more folded seats, the more storage space available for transporting the large items.

5. Safety

safety features

One of the most important attributes to look in your dream MPV is the safety of your loved ones. Features such as airbags, anti-lock braking system, traction control are the standard appointments in modern vehicles. But there are also a number of other extras to consider which include parking sensors, rear-view cameras, lane departure warning, forward collision alert, blind-spot monitor, city emergency brake, driver fatigue alert, and ISOFIX anchor points for child seats.

6. Rear vents and entertainment

The comfort and entertainment features available for the rear passengers can also be considered while selecting the vehicle. Modern MPVs come with rear air vents as well as the roof-mounted monitor which enables the passengers to enjoy their favorite shows while on the move. Perodua Alza has compatible rear ac vents while Toyota Innova is amazingly premium, as it has separate vents for second as well as third-row passengers.

Rear seat monitor

7. Convenience features

When it comes to the convenience features, some models houses a pull-down picnic tables on the back of the front seats, 12-volt power sockets and USB sockets, pull down blinds on the rear windows, power windows, a panoramic sunroof, power tailgate, cruise control, and climate control.

Powered windows

8. Engine power and driving fun

After browsing the brochures and scrutinizing the desired specifications, go for a test drive, and see how the vehicle performs on the road. Analyze the power of the MPV and consider the situation of the full family on board with the luggage, does it seem well? Take a proper test drive and observe; does it adapts well to your driving style.

9. Economy

Compare the MPVs on the basis of the final price, running costs as well as maintenance cost. 

In the end, we just say that buying an MPV is a big purchase, and it’s crucial to research each and every aspect. Analyze your requirements thoroughly and match them with the best available option.

Also read: 10 Exhilarating books to read during quarantine

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