When your car needs to shift people and their luggage, it is possible to find the right load swallowing used vehicle to do the job. These are available across all buying budgets and come in all shape and sizes. So which are the best surrogate vans, minibuses and comfy load luggers we should be looking at?
Honda Accord Estate
If you want a high-quality estate car there's no reason to plump for the usual German options. Here is a pukka executive lugger that may be compact but comes with a good level of standard kit and a level of refinement that is impressive. Good value used and reliable obviously - if this is a concern we can help.
What to watch out for: Service history, Turbo failure on diesels.
As you would expect there is masses of room in the load area and it also has lots of nets, hooks and straps to keep everything in place. A waste bin and an umbrella holder are neat and useful touches whilst at the back the centre of the seat has a useful pop-up worktop.
What to watch out for: There can be electrical niggles but there are sometimes engine issues concerning rough running - get in touch for a healthcheck, repair or peace of mind.
Skoda Roomster Estate
Bizarro it may be to look at, this is actually one of the most super clever load carriers in circulation. Instantly swap between extra passenger and luggage space. It is economical to run and has proved to be decently reliable. Stand out from the crowd in one of these as they now become truly affordable.
What to watch out for: There are no real issues, apart from electric windows can go on the blink.
It’s hard to avoid the Galaxy and why would you? It’s brilliant. Enough seats and space, but mostly it is around in sufficient numbers to be cheap to buy and repair, plus it's very easy to own. Choose your engine carefully, the 1.9TDi is economical and reliable, the 2.3 petrol is the best value compromise.
What to watch out for: Suspension wear and tear, engine ECU can cause rough running.
There is a first generation Verso which is very cheap but not nearly as good as the improved model from 2004 with proper 7 seat flexibility. That third row is a tight fit, but this is a well-built and reliable package, which is suitably compact, and reassuringly Toyota (here's an interesting article on what that means).
What to watch out for: Some recalls (which you can see from a free motoreasy account area), but if it has a history no problem. Just general wear and tear.
The Mazda 5 won’t let you down.
In reality, this is much more of a 6 than 7 seater. The middle pew is rather uncomfy, but bodies are only part of the problem and the 5 is the ultimate solution. The sliding rear doors are great, the seats fold impressively and it is all wrapped up in a stylish body. Best of all it won’t let you down.
What to watch out for: Nothing really, it’s a Mazda thank goodness.
The spirit of the Citroen 2CV lives on in this little van which in insanely useful. It is boomy and boxy but that is a huge part of the appeal. There are a few engines to choose from and the 1.6 petrol and also basic 1.9 diesels are the best worry free buys we think.
What to watch out for: Weak rear suspension and electricals that go on the blink are irritating.
Citroen Xsara Picasso
If you want a big blob of space that doesn’t cost much, the original Picasso is worth considering. The equipment levels are generous and although it may not seat more than 5 but the boot is super generous and that’s what you really need. This is van that doesn’t look like a Berlingo.
What to watch out for: Electrics can play up, check clutches on the diesel models.
When you really need a great big people shifter, then the Sedona certainly fits the bill. Always good value the 2.9CDi is the obvious choice some enhanced economy (you’ll get a tad over 30mpg) plus is it fairly refined. It is a tough and pretty reliable old bus with an interesting seat layout.
What to watch out for: Have a good check around the body for rust.
For more tips when buying a used car, we have
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