Coolest People Carriers on the European Market in 2016

Mercedes-Benz V-Class Interior 11 photos
Photo: Mercedes-Benz
Citroen C4 Grand PicassoCitroen C4 Grand PicassoRenault ScenicRenault ScenicRenault EspaceRenault EspaceFord GalaxyFord GalaxyMercedes-Benz V-ClassMercedes-Benz V-Class
Minivans used to be a big thing when they first came out. Both in the US, and in Europe, people carriers were adopted for the interior space they provided, as well as for their extended practicality.
However, they ended up being made in the same template, and the novelty wore out. Soon, minivans were bland and not exciting to customers. Both in Europe and the United States of America.

Eventually, the customers went for estates and SUVs, and the segment that was once dedicated to families started to see its sales dwindling.

Nevertheless, all that has passed, as carmakers have begun making interesting minivans again. This time, we will focus on the European market, which has several cool MPVs in various segments. French automakers seem to be exquisite at making this kind of vehicles, but the Germans are not lagging too far behind either.

In what follows, we have selected for you five people carriers that come with cool features, neat exterior design, and smart interiors. All of these are available on the European market, but one car on the list has just been presented at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. Expect the latter to come to European showrooms by this summer.

Before we get started with the list, let’s review the features that a people carrier should have to be considered “cool.” First of all, they must avoid a flat look at all costs. Classic or elegant is acceptable, but never bland. Having a big family should not mean you can only buy ugly or dull vehicles.

The second thing on our list would be technology. Because it is the year 2016, a minivan should come with advanced tech features, several charging ports for the gadgets of the passengers, and neat solutions to improve safety and ease the job of the driver.

Citroen C4 Grand Picasso

Citroen C4 Grand Picasso
Photo: Citroen
Well, the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso was an easy choice for us to include on this list. The French people carrier is made by Citroen, and we all know they have a particular way of dealing with design. Unlike in the case of other categories of vehicles, the minivans from Citroen have a unique appeal.

The C4 Grand Picasso was first shown in 2014, and its look was considered outlandish at the time. A perfect description for the design of a Citroen in the brand’s characteristic style.

This model is cool because it looks like some space ship, but also because it comes with impressive cabin space and good fuel economy in real life, not just in the NEDC tests. Citroen supplied the C4 Grand Picasso with a fully digital instrument cluster, a unique feature in the segment when this model was launched.

In traditional Citroen fashion, this car has its oddities. The instrument panel is in the center of the dash. Below it, the center console has been significantly simplified and is also touch-operated. Only a few physical buttons remain, for essential functions. It can also be ordered with a panoramic windscreen, which is excellent whenever it is not sunny outside. Otherwise, you will need a good pair of Polarized sunglasses.

Renault Scenic

Renault Scenic
Photo: Renault
At this year’s Geneva Motor Show, Renault showcased their new Scenic, a compact MPV. Its looks can be considered over-designed, but there’s no way you can pass by this car and refrain from looking at it twice. It is complex and intriguing, and it also comes with several noteworthy tech features on the inside and other novelties.

Do you want to know the coolest thing about the Scenic, if you were to ignore the exterior design? Well, this car comes with 20-inch alloy rims as a free feature on every trim level. You can consider them standard, but you can also ignore them and get 19-inch wheels or smaller instead.

Renault’s latest push in the minivan segment is an “all-in bet,” as the brand’s chief designer explained. If they were to make an ordinary or boring car, it would not achieve acceptable sales results. The new Scenic will make people fall in love again, says Laurens van den Acker, Renault’s design director.

Renault Espace

Renault Espace
Photo: Renault
The Espace is considered the car that invented the minivan class for the European market. It is also the flagship of Renault’s range, and the French manufacturer has Kevin Spacey as a spokesperson for this car. However, that is not why the Espace is a cool minivan.

The current-gen Espace came out in 2015, but the model has a 30-year-long career, the first version having been released in 1984, and has been considered the definition of the MPV. Meanwhile, things have changed, and so has the Espace, but the way Renault has managed to reinvent this car is impressive. It is still an MPV, but with a dash of SUV looks and with features that were unthinkable in the segment.

You can get the Espace with Renault’s four-wheel steering system, electronically controlled dampers, a cool set of cabin lighting systems, as well as a big tablet on the center console. The latter is unique in the segment due to its vertical placement, and it integrates the controls to most of the electronically operated features of this vehicle.

Ford Galaxy

Ford Galaxy
Photo: Ford
The MY2016 Ford Galaxy is an all-new car, and it also comes with fascinating features. However, before we go into that, let’s analyze the design of the Galaxy. Ford’s largest MPV has a look that has been adapted to the way the other cars in the Blue Oval’s European range are designed. This is a safe strategy, as it focuses on brand identity to make the models easily recognizable as belonging to a particular brand.

In a way, it is just as risky as Renault’s bet on bold design, as there is a chance customers will not appreciate this look. However, we have a feeling Ford knows a thing or two about making cars that will sell, and the lines of the Galaxy are not bland or boring, on the contrary, they bear a particular blend of elegance and sportiness.

Now, let’s move on to the cool features of the Galaxy. You can get this car with third-row seats that fold and raise at the push of a button. While the first feature is not unique to the segment, the latter is a first. Furthermore, the Galaxy is available with an Intelligent Speed Limiter, which reads speed limit signs and adjusts the speed regulator accordingly. The system will prevent you from getting a fine while using cruise control or the speed limiter, while the speed limit restriction changes from a segment of the road to another. Also, the Galaxy can be had with a 210 PS bi-turbo TDCi diesel engine and with an Intelligent all-wheel drive system.

Mercedes-Benz V-Class

Mercedes\-Benz V\-Class
Photo: Mercedes-Benz
The V-Class is Mercedes-Benz’s reinterpretation of the MPV. It is the largest and youngest member of the passenger car family from this manufacturer, and it comes with all the safety and technology features available in the sedan range.

Thanks to the implementation of the characteristics mentioned above, the V-Class is the S-Class of MPVs. Sure, its design is not bold or aggressive, but it carries itself with the elegance the Mercedes-Benz has accustomed its customers to. The German company also claims this model is just as comfortable as the high-end sedans they sell.

This people carrier is on our cool MPV list thanks to its luxurious features that can be ordered from the factory. Mercedes-Benz has a generous range of materials for the interior of this vehicle, and its rear seating can be configured in multiple ways. The V-Class can be a smart shuttle for business people, as well as a deluxe hotel shuttle or the family car of choice for wealthy customers with several offspring.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
Sebastian Toma profile photo

Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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