MPV vs. Van: What Should I Buy?

MPV vs. Van: What Should I Buy?

Updated on April 19 2024

An MPV, also known as Multi-Purpose Vehicles, are some of the most practical vehicle types you can buy. However, you could also say the same about vans. So which one suits your needs better and the right choice for you?

MPVs in a nutshell

MPVs go by many names. In other countries, they might be called minivans or people carriers. But either way, they have one purpose in mind, and that's to shuttle people without taking up too much space on the road. At the very least, they have six seats and room for a bit more cargo.

A family-friendly vehicle.

We Filipinos love bringing the family along in trips. Whether it's the extended family or the grandkids, we want everyone to join the fun. Because of the extra seats offered by MPVs, that's one less problem to think about when it's time to go on a road trip. Not only that, the wagon-like body means there is available cargo space for (almost) everyone's things.

A practical and multi-functional vehicle.

Because it’s multi-purpose, the owner can use it also for business endeavors like  transportation hire or cargo delivery service. MPVs can move all types of passengers on a regular trip with ease because of ample space inside. So not only is it a family car, it's a business partner as well.

Perfect for a road trip.

It's not just the size and the space that are major plusses for MPVs. They have built-in storage bins, underfoot space for leg outstretch, and more cup holders than your typical sedan.

Low maintenance and insurance fees.

Because MPVs are usually lighter than passenger vans, these tend to be more fuel- efficient. Models such as the Suzuki Ertiga or Honda BR-V easily do more than 10 kilometers per liter, Saving you a lot in the pumps. Also, because of the nature of these vehicles, insurance rates are well within reason since these cars aren't really magnets for high-risk activities. Besides, they’re cheaper on the wallet than SUVs and not costly to maintain thanks to their lighter weight.

Vans in a nutshell:

Vans are sometimes called a mini-bus or a shuttle because of their purpose. But there is more to a van than bringing people around. These are also regarded as a popular mode of transport for moving equipment or furniture. Vans are also very versatile vehicles for commercial purposes. Besides, they can also be modified or tailored to fit your purpose. That makes a van more flexible and versatile than an MPV.

Higher payload

Because of its purpose, vans have much higher payload capacities than MPVs. While MPVs can carry about 500-600 kg on board, vans can do 850 to over 1,000 kg, depending on its configuration. Simply put, vans are built for more heavy-duty functions.

More wiggle room

Because of the size, vans have a much easier time putting in people and their cargo without making it cramped inside. Aside from the cargo area, vans also have a larger floor area to allow passengers to put their luggage there as well. Some even have space under the seats, much like airplanes.


For an appropriate use, vans are adaptable utility vehicles. Seats can be re-configured or removed for your desired function. Hence, vans are convertibles, but not because the roof will fold down. Vans can be converted for various uses such as an ambulance, broadcasting vehicle, delivery van, and more. And if you have money to splash out, you can customize a van with your preferences-  mini- refrigerator, a sleeping chair-bed, foldable dining, TV in the cabin, and even a restroom. This type of customized van is popular among famous celebrities and VIPs.

The seats can also be rearranged or restyled to suit passengers’ requirements. As a large vehicle, seats can be moved or removed for specific functions. With that, you can easily load and unload pieces of furniture, appliances or bikes simply by configuring the back seats down to allow your fragile belongings to shift.


Aside from having different seating configurations, there are also many kinds of body styles available for vans. You have cargo vans, parcel vans that either have wide or narrow bodies. You also have shuttles with low or high roofs. There are also various wheelbase configurations from standard to stretched. And if that's not enough, there is a dizzying array of engines and transmission options to choose from.

Which one is right for you?

Choosing an MPV is a safe bet and a solid one-car solution. It should be enough for families and the occasional heavy haul, too. Sure, they’re not as attractive than crossovers and SUVs, but they get the job done. When it comes to practicality, versatility, MPVs are hard to beat. These vehicles also come in a wide variety of sizes and budgets, so there is an MPV model for just about everyone. Plus, MPVs are generally more refined and comfortable than vans.

What are the cons? MPVs are don't have as much space inside compared to vans, so putting people in with their cargo might be a squeeze. MPVs can carry people and luggage, but sometimes, not at the same time. Also, MPVs aren't as flexible when it comes to seating arrangements since their seats and railings are pretty much bolted to the floor and difficult to remove. You can't tell the casa to remove the seats from brand new, either. You can still use these for business for as long as you're not in the line of carrying construction equipment or other heavy machinery. Light cargo will be just fine.

So, the van is the one to get, right? Well, that depends. The pros of getting a van include the flexibility and configurations. A heavier payload capacity means you can carry more cargo and/or people on board. You can also make vans purpose-built for your needs, making these vehicles fantastic business partners. And having a van in the household means you'll never have a problem of not having enough seats or space to carry balikbayan boxes.

Vans are great when you use it to its full capacity on a regular basis. However, if you don't do that often, here are some cons you'll have to consider. You will have to live with the bulk and difficult maneuverability everyday. The width of these vehicles are particularly challenging. Vans are typically not as refined as MPVs, either, so it might be noisier than usual inside. And because they have heavy-duty in mind, the ride might be to still for your liking, especially when there is no load at the back. And since vans are heavier, consumable parts such as tires and brake pads, are more expensive.

We've told you the what's great about them, and we've also weighed in the pros and cons for you. In the end, the final decision will be down to you. We can't dictate which one to get because that will all depend on your needs. However, what we can do is tell you to check out our website.

At Automart.PH, we have second-hand MPVs and used vans for you to view. You can book an appointment with us and check out either an MPV, a van, or even both. Not only that, our advisers will help steer you to the right and informed decision.