The supermini may dominate the country’s motoring landscape, but Britain’s love affair with the compact multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) ]a mini minivan by US standards] continues to gather pace at a staggering rate.
During the past 12 months, the top selling compact MPVs have shifted more than 140,000 units between them – a far cry from the meagre 2,600 sold back in 1998 when Renault launched the groundbreaking Megane-based Scenic.
Underpinning the current acceleration in popularity has been a readiness from dealers and retailers to offer healthy discounts.
According to analysis by independent price monitor, CarPriceCheck.com, Britain’s best selling model, the Citroen Xsara Piccaso, also boasts some of the biggest savings. Discounts currently average 15.25% or £2,280 across the range.
Fiat’s quirky six-seater Multipla may not be able to match the Picasso in terms of sales but it does regularly deliver savings of 12.3% and as high as 20%.
Add an extra seat and you get General Motors Vauxhall’s hugely flexible Zafira, a model which has re-written the compact MPV rulebook thanks to its ingenious Flex7 seating system. Here buyers should be able to secure at least 10% off the list price – with savings as high as 15% on some diesel powered versions.
With a replacement just round the corner, Renault is hoping to shift the last batch of Megane Scenics with approximately £2,000 off list. Some dealers may improve on that deal with a further 5-7% off.
Of the remaining key players, discounts on Nissan’s Almera Tino (the fourth best selling model) average out at just under 8% at the moment, whilst prospective Chrysler PT Cruiser owners are struggling to haggle for more than 6% after the manufacturer slashed list prices by £1,500 to £2,300 in March.
More competition is due in the sector very soon. Apart from Renault’s redesigned Scenic, Volkswagen will launch the Mark 5 Golf-based Touran in August and Ford has its next generation Focus-based MAV (multi-activity vehicle) waiting in the wings. Vauxhall has also covered a further base with the recently launched five-seat Meriva, a size down from the Zafira.