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Posted by Matt Bell on 12th January 2021

The ‘people carrier’ or multi-purpose vehicle was big news in the 1980s and ’90s, leaving today’s buyers with some bargain-priced practicality. We take a look at three modern classic MPVs.

Renault Espace Mk1 (1984-91)

Launched in 1984 and running for seven years, the Matra-built glassfibre-bodied Espace was Europe’s first full-size MPV, effectively creating a whole new market that other manufacturers were destined to follow. A facelift in 1988 softened the front end a little, while the MkII Espace of ’91 brought a much more curvaceous style.

The original Espace is now a fairly rare sight, despite its success when new. Very few are offered at auction. We did spot a splendid looking 2200 TXE achieved around £2100 at a Swiss sale in October – an impressive result, although it was in very good condition and in a desirable trim level. You’re more likely to find an Espace MkI by trawling the classifieds and looking online, where you should find MoT’d but cosmetically challenged examples for around the £800-£1200 mark, while anything in genuinely excellent order is likely to be £1500 upwards.

An immaculate low-mileage UK survivor might have a price tag beginning with a two, but such cars are now quite scarce. Prices have seen little real movement in recent years, making now a great time to buy. Laying claim to being an original, it promises to be a hopeful investment.

Modern Classic MPVs

Fiat Multipla (1999-2010)

In the same way that Renault created the full-size European MPV via the Espace, it performed a similar trick with the Scenic – a five-seater compact MPV with around the same footprint as a family hatch. Other companies jumped on the same bandwagon, including Fiat in 1998 with its quirky-looking Multipla, a car that could accommodate up to six adults thanks to its wide stance and three-abreast seating.

No other compact MPV looked like the Multipla, which its critics may say is a good thing. The facelift of 2004 toned things down, but all Multiplas depreciated heavily even by Fiat standards. Today, the earlier cars retain most originality of design, but their appeal is still limited.

The good news is that the Multipla remains at ‘bargain basement’ level price-wise, which means that just £500 might buy you an MoT’d example that you can gradually improve. Double that budget and you’ll get one in far better cosmetic condition, while no more than £1500-£2000 should buy you one of the best of the pre-facelift models with a low mileage and full history. Again, there’s little sign of any upward price movement anytime soon, which means you can take your time buying. The Multipla remains at the bottom of its depreciation curve, which means it’s even cheaper to buy than it was five or ten years ago – great news for anyone who likes to stand out from the crowd.

Ford Galaxy (1995-2006)

The Galaxy was the biggest seller against its two badge-engineered siblings (VW Sharan and Seat Alhambra) here in the UK, and yet the original version is no longer a common sight. Heavy depreciation led by hard lives have resulted in most examples long-since disappearing, though some decent survivors are still out there. You’ll find far-from-perfect cars from around the £500-£600 mark with lengthy MoTs, though spending nearer to £1000 will get you a regular-spec Galaxy with a not-too-high mileage and in good overall condition. Double that budget and you might just track down a 2.8-litre range-topping Galaxy, one of the most desirable MPVs of its day as well as one of the least commonplace. Again, these values are all fairly static, and it’s likely to be some time before classic buyer demand brings much of an upshift in price.