Best Family Vans: Find the Ideal Van and Travel in Style
Discover the advantages of investing in a family-sized van and experience how it can transform your life for the better
If you have a big family, then getting from A to B can sometimes be a logistical nightmare, but there is a solution… Discover the best family vans which offer plenty of space for passengers and luggage too.
In this article, we highlight the best 7-seaters, the best crew cab, and the best van-based MPVs, and reveal the best one you can buy in 2023. There are many advantages to owning such a van, so read on to find out what to consider when choosing one…
Top vans we recommend:
Can a van be a family car?
A van is an ideal vehicle for large-sized families of up to nine people in some cases and proves a great alternative to family cars. Also known as a people carrier, minivan or van-based MPV (multi-purpose vehicle), it is designed to carry a larger number of passengers than a car can, while also having enough boot space for luggage too.
What are the advantages if you choose one?
Vans designed for household use are both functional and practical, but there are so many more advantages to owning one:
- Benefit from a car-like driving experience
- Much more space inside
- A better towing capacity than a car
- Versatile seat configuration in the cabin
- Ability to increase or decrease the storage capacity
- Customisable interior design and accessories
- A lower floor for loading and unloading
- Some have sliding doors for easier access
- Adaptable to becoming wheelchair accessible
- Sturdy and reliable on the road
- Higher seating position for better visibility
- Plenty of headroom for tall passengers
- A much wider boot opening
- Moveable and removable seats to suit your needs
What to look for when you purchase
When on the search for a reliable big van, there are a number of factors to consider. To help you get started, we’ve listed the top 10 things to look for:
- SPACE. No doubt one of the main reasons you want to purchase a passenger model is for the space inside. Lessen the stress during the daily drive by ensuring there’s plenty of room for everyone and their belongings.
- VERSATILITY. Benefit from the ability to change up the interior space; some models even offer seats that swivel around to face in the opposite direction.
- EASY TO DRIVE. Make life straightforward when behind the wheel and opt for automatic transmission.
- PERFORMANCE. Look for a vehicle that meets your power needs while providing optimum performance on the roads. Think about the engine, handling and where you’ll drive it.
- FEATURES. From adaptable air-conditioning to heated seats, a van can offer everything a car can - and more.
- COMFORT. If you’re spending hours on the road, then being comfortable should be a priority, so think about lumbar support, the style of headrest and if you’d benefit from armrests too.
- ACCESS. Due to the length of a van, they can be fitted with side sliding doors for even easier access, which can be paired with a ramp for less able passengers.
- CUSTOMISATION. Make it your own by adding bespoke elements such as shelving and racking in the storage space. For outdoor adventures, consider accessories such as a roof rack or bike mounts.
- DRIVER ASSISTANCE FEATURES. Modern vans come equipped with a range of driver assistance features for optimal safety for everyone on board. From emergency braking systems to road sign recognition technology, discover what benefits are available.
- ON-BOARD ENTERTAINMENT. When travelling with little ones, it’s worth thinking about how to keep them entertained during the journey. Some models come with TV screens in the headrests and then there are voice-activated multimedia systems to consider too.
What van has the most seats?
At this point, it’s important for us to highlight the difference between a family-sized passenger van and a minibus. The first one (minivan) has a maximum of 9 seats and can be driven using a standard car driving licence, whereas a minibus has up to 17 seats inside and may require you to apply for a minibus licence instead.
If it’s space you’re looking for, then there are a number of good options available to you when it comes to the most amount of seats available. The models with 9 seats inside are (in alphabetical order):
- Citroën SpaceTourer and Citroën ë-SpaceTourer
- Ford Tourneo Custom (also available as a Plug-In Hybrid and adventurous ‘Active’ model)
- Mercedes-Benz Vito Tourer
- Nissan Primastar Combi
- PEUGEOT Traveller and PEUGEOT e-Traveller
- Renault Trafic Passenger
- Toyota Proace Verso
- Vauxhall Vivaro Life and Vauxhall Vivaro Life Electric
It’s worth bearing in mind that most of these models can have 7 and 8-seat configurations inside too.
Best 7-seater vans
If it’s a family of 7 you’re catering for, then there’s a van-tastic range to choose from. Take a look at our list of the best 7-seater vans for families in the UK and explore more about the space and storage available, the safety features included, and the overall performance. Also referred to as van-based MPVs, most of these 7-seaters are also available in 8-seat configurations too…
1. Citroën Berlingo and ë-Berlingo Electric
Ideal for a group of 7, Citroën’s Berlingo van-based MPV is available in petrol, diesel and electric variants. Unique in design and appearance, the 7-seater Berlingo offers everyday versatility with plenty of room for storage. A perfect companion for outdoor life, it is the most car-like option available on the market right now and has surprisingly good towing capabilities too.
Interior space and seating - Select the XL version for a 7-seater setup (the standard M version will only give you 5 seats) which adapts to your needs.
Storage and cargo space - The Berlingo’s interior modularity means you can benefit from up to 4,000 litres of volume inside and an impressive 3-metres of load length when seats are folded separately or to the floor.
Safety features - Brimming with technology, the Citroen Berlingo (review here) is jam-packed with up to 18 driving assistance features for the ultimate on-board safety.
Overall performance and price - ë-Berlingo Electric (review here) has a range of up to 182 miles on a single charge and is very easy to operate. Select your driving style from normal to eco and power performance. Prices start from £25,495 on the road.
2. Toyota Proace Verso
The in-demand Toyota Proace Verso is a versatile 7-seater van (which is also available with 8 or 9 seats too) that offers spacious travel and will perfectly complement your family’s lifestyle. It’s available in three grades - Shuttle, Family and VIP - and two body lengths. Benefit from motorised side-fitted sliding doors and plenty of on-board technology:
Interior space and seating - The Verso’s versatility is extremely impressive and can accommodate larger loads without compromising on passenger space. Upgrade to a Family or VIP grade model for folding seats on a rail system that allows for a stress-free interior reconfiguration.
Storage and cargo space - Increase the luggage space from a standard 550 litres on the medium-length version to almost 1,000 litres of room in the XL variant. A handy feature on the Verso is the opening rear window which allows easy access to luggage, without fully opening the boot.
Safety features - Toyota drivers can benefit from a range of on-board safety features such as; adaptive cruise control, a pre-collision warning system, and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
Overall performance and price - The Toyota Proace Verso strikes the balance between manoeuvrability and comfort. It’s available in a choice of 2.0-litre diesel powertrains with manual and automatic transmissions. Prices start at £41,895.
3. Vauxhall Vivaro Life Electric
It’s time to go green and opt for plug-in travel with the 100% electric Vauxhall Vivaro Life Electric passenger van. Dubbed the ‘lounge on wheels’, Vivaro Life is designed to be as comfortable as possible for its 7 passengers (also available in 8 and 9 seat configurations too) with three trims to choose from:
Interior space and seating - Super-snug adult-sized seats will ensure you can enjoy any length of journey and for a touch of luxury, are available in leather trim. The panoramic glass roof lets in plenty of light and the kids can be sociable thanks to rotatable second row seating.
Storage and cargo space - There’s a host of handy storage features throughout the Vivaro Life’s cabin that prove useful when on the go. Expect a minimum of 390-litres of boot space as standard, which can rapidly increase with rear seats folded or removed.
Safety features - Vauxhall’s smart tech means that safety is a priority for all on board. Benefit from technology such as the driver drowsiness alert system, speed sign recognition, and lane departure warning too.
Overall performance and price - A full charge will provide a range of up to 143-miles and an 80% charge when on-the-go is possible in as little as 30 minutes of waiting time. Experience a powerful car-like ride and handling when behind the wheel. Prices start from £37,145.
7 seater family vans for sale
If you’re looking for a reliable 7-seater family van for sale in the Surrey and South London area, then we can lend you a hand. Get in touch to find out more about van-based MPVs and your options at Loads of Vans.
Best crew cab for families
Crew cab vans (also known as double cabs) are popular with tradespeople and businesses who need to provide transport for workers. This is because they provide the functionality of a standard workman/cargo van but with the added benefit of an additional row of removable seats, catering for up to 6 people altogether.
Renault Trafic Crew Cab
A crew cab can prove a good option when it comes to a family-friendly vehicle - especially if you need to carry a lot of luggage or the van doubles up for work and home life. There are a number of options available on the market right now, but in our opinion, the best crew cab for a household is the Renault Trafic Crew Cab. If you want to learn more about it, read our in-depth review here.
The van designed around you, the Trafic Crew Cab version, has an optimised load area plus seating for up to 6 people (1 driver and 5 passengers) in a two-row, 3-seat configuration. Take advantage of a glazed bulkhead which separates the loading area from the second row of seats for enhanced visibility.
Family crew cab vans for sale
If you need to carry cargo and passengers, then a crew cab van will certainly tick all of your boxes. As a trusted Renault van dealership serving Surrey and South London, Loads of Vans is the go-to place for reliable crew cabs.
Best family van 2023
When it comes to finding the best one, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that there are quite a few options available to you. A winner of many awards is the Ford Transit Custom which is Europe’s best-selling van and is considered to be the best family van in 2023.
This versatile mid-sized passenger version can comfortably seat up to 9 people across three rows. It is available as an all-electric, plug-in hybrid or EcoBlue engine diesel version in a range of heights and lengths, and has a maximum load space of up to 9 cubic metres.
FAQs and Answers
We hope our article about the best vans for families in the UK has proved useful. If you still have a question relating to the topic, then refer to our FAQ section right here:
What are family vans called?
Family-sized vans may also be called a minivan, people carriers or van-based MPV (multi-purpose vehicles).
Can you have a child seat in a van?
Yes. Just like in a car, you can have a child seat in a van - the same rules apply.
What's the most comfortable van?
The Vauxhall Vivaro Life is considered to be the most comfortable van and is referred to as a ‘lounge on wheels’.
How many people fit in one carrier vehicle?
Up to 9 people can fit in a people carrier van.
Are crew cab models classed as cars?
No. Crew cabs aren’t classed as cars, but can provide a car-like driving experience and can be driven using a car driving licence.
Is a van really a better family vehicle than a car or SUV?
This all depends on your needs and lifestyle. A passenger van is an ideal option if you need to carry up to 9 people plus luggage, and if you wish to tow a trailer too. An SUV or a car is not a great option in this case.
How many seats do crew cabs have?
Crew cab models can seat up to 6 people (driver plus 5 passengers) which means there is still plenty of room for cargo.
What is the difference between a crew van and a passenger van?
A crew van (or crew cab van) is designed to carry up to 6 people across two rows of seats, in addition to the cargo space in the rear - making it an ideal work van. A passenger van can carry up to 9 people across three rows of seats which means there is less room for cargo, so the boot space tends to be sized similarly to that of a car.
Find some of the best options for seating and space at our dealership
Family is at the heart of our business, so when it comes to finding minivans for your household then you can trust us with the job in hand. We specialise in the sale of new, nearly new and approved used vans and are proud to be part of one of the largest dealerships in the south of England.
Click here to view our complete stock of crew cabs or browse our new van deals to find the one that best suits your needs. Get in touch with us today for more information or advice and our team members will be happy to give all the details and assist you with the process.