Our guest blogger Paul Gibson from TheChauffeur.com compiles a list of the Top Five for Chauffeurs looking into MPV vehicles.
Combining luxury travel with the transportation of up to eight passengers is a tricky task – a grey area you could say.
Admittedly, it’s a rare occasion a chauffeur company is asked to transport this number of clients at the same time, but it’s always good to know you have the facility for those surprise jobs and even when a group arrives with shall we say a few more cases then expected.
Here is my top five MPVs you could consider for chauffeur work…
#1 Mercedes-Benz V-Class
The Mercedes-Benz V-Class is the latest edition to the MPV market. It’s the most expensive, most luxurious and certainly the most popular within the chauffeur industry.
Image source: www.mercedes-benz.co.uk
Replacing the Viano, the V-Class has become more ‘car like’ with a more pleasing and comprehensive cockpit for the driver. Electrically activated sliding doors on both sides are a big advantage, allowing easy access no matter which side of the road you are parked.
A seven-seat (2-3-2) configuration is standard with the option of six seats (2-2-2) where the two rows face each other with a folding table for conference situations. All the seats slide on rails so you can tailor the interior for legroom and luggage space. Leather seats and trim are of excellent quality and boot space is adequate for many hard cases.
Mercedes claim an incredible NEDC fuel consumption average of 47mpg. In high-speed motorway, you can expect to achieve more like 34mpg.
From £42,995, the V-Class has to be the chauffeurs choice for moving a quantity of VIPs in luxury, that’s why the V-Class takes the top spot as the best MPV for chauffeur work.
There is also some good news for those wanting the three-pointed star and save a few pounds at the same time. The Vito Tourer is basically a stripped back to basics V-Class – in other words, a posh minibus. Costing £29,000 inc VAT, the Vito offers less luxurious seating than the V, but more practical for some. The commercial side of MB isn’t really used to dealing with chauffeurs, they’re typical customers are normally, shall we say from a more hands-on trade, so don’t expect too many pleasantries if you plan on buying one.
#2 Volkswagen Caravelle
The Caravelle has been around pretty much forever. I was chauffeuring in a VW when I started back in 2002, At the time, it wasn’t really classed as luxury vehicle, but a practical choice for carrying seven passengers with their luggage, especially in the LWB model.
Image source: www.volkswagen-vans.co.uk
It hasn’t changed much in recent years – although it’s obviously far more efficient, refined and better looking since the old model. Quality has always been good in the VW’s and it remains that way in new versions of the Caravelle.
To cater for the higher-end of the chauffeur market, VW introduced the Caravelle Business, which was basically a ‘limo’ style version with extra heights of luxury, softer leather, champagne flute holders, fridges, fancy lights etc. With a price tag of almost £60,000, I won’t expect to see many of these on the road.
The new generation houses 2.0 TDI and BiTDI diesel engines with EU6 emissions standards, so it’s certainly an economical car to operate, but with a starting price tag of over £30,000 without any bells and whistles, it’s still one of the more pricey MPVs in this list.
#3 Hyundai i800
One of my personal favourites in this countdown is the Hyundai i800. An extremely competitively priced, practical, versatile MPV, the i800 has sold in relatively low numbers since its introduction in 2007.
Image Source: http://www.hyundai.co.uk/
When I first drove the i800, I was very surprised how ‘car-like’ it actually was despite its looks. It’s certainly one of the few MPVs that can carry eight people and lots of luggage, and I mean lots. The i800 has more than 850 litres of boot space, more than enough for bags for all passengers.
When full of people, the i800 is weighted better and gives a far superior ride than when empty. One of the surprising facts, is that Hyundai actually uses the word ‘chauffeur’ in its promotions for the i800 – more than any other manufacturer would do when promoting what is essentially a van with seats.
The best bit – the price. For a i800 with air conditioning, bluetooth and a five year warranty comes in a just under £25,000. A complete bargain and well worthy of third place in this list.
#4 Ford Tourneo Custom
A pretty transit van with luxurious seats makes it into fourth place. In all fairness, a good looking vehicle capable of carrying eight passengers, the Ford Tourneo Custom has certainly become one of the biggest people movers in the taxi and private hire markets.
Image Source: www.ford.co.uk
There’s no doubt the Ford does a lot and has many features – it needs to for the heavy £32,000 price tag. The latest Ford’s are well-equipped and you always get a lot for your money. The biggest problem here is that a chauffeur company would certainly have issues sending this vehicle to clients – unless it was an ‘emergency’ back-up people mover, or for extra luggage.
As soon as builders start putting their names on the side of a vehicle, it could never be used within the chauffeur market, which is a pity because the Ford is a economical, modern and comfortable vehicle to be in.
#5 Toyota PROACE Verso
Now, this is quite an exciting entry into the top five. The only reason it has been placed this low, is only because it’s not officially on the road yet – but this vehicle could potentially shake up the whole MPV/People Carrier market.
Image source: www.toyota.co.uk
With no prices announced, and not available to buy until September 2016, the Proace Verso will be offered in a number of guises. Three different wheelbases, and three different interior configurations. A Shuttle, Family and VIP. The VIP version will feature seven seats, leather swivel captain seats, panoramic roof and a sliding cabin table in the rear.
We all know Toyota is capable of producing totally usable and practical cars, so this is certainly one to look out for.
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