MPV, SUV, CUV – What Does It All Mean?

Looking for a seven-seater car can be puzzling enough without having to decipher motoring acronyms such as MPV, SUV and CUV. So, what does it all mean? Motoring Journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, explains.

MPV – Multi Purpose Vehicles

The original people-movers, with room for seven-up, were vans or pickup trucks with lengthy cabs and additional seating, usually hidden under a cover. Now, the term MPV is a classification of car to describe multi-purpose vehicle versions of family cars. The Ford Grand C-Max I’m driving at the moment is a perfect example of an MPV. The C-Max is a compact MPV, and even though it’s taller, shares its underpinnings with the popular Ford Focus. Therefore, the Grand C-Max – the seven-seat version of the standard C-Max, has even more room, yet, like the regular five-seater C-Max, handles excellently – just like a Focus.  With my three kids and their friends, I can honestly say I don’t know how I’ll cope with the school run once my long-term Grand C-Max demo goes back!

Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV)

Another acronym – SUV – stands for Sports Utility Vehicle. These were originally big vehicles, because they were based on pickups. They also tended to offer four-wheel drive and seating for seven occupants. Gradually SUVs became smaller, as motorists leaned towards the chance to show their sporting and outdoors hobbies off to neighbours. These days, many SUVs only sit five-up. These Sports Utility Vehicles have generally morphed into ‘soft-roaders’. In spite of looking like off-roaders and often set up with four-wheel drive, many of today’s SUVs are restricted to road use with some, or no real capacity, for going off-road.

Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV)

The crossover utility vehicle, known as a CUV for short, is generally smaller than a large MPV or full SUV. It tends to have seating for only four or five-up, and ‘compact-CUV’ variants can sometimes only be suitable for two people, despite looking like a miniature truck.

Soft Roaders – Crossovers

Soft-roaders can usually do a good job of handling snowy roads or mud-covered country lanes, but they largely don’t have enough road clearance to really hit the hardcore off-road trails. Consequently, many of these vehicles are now branded as ‘crossovers’.

Contact Perrys

If you’re not bothered about going off-road – but you have lots of kids, or you love being a taxi driver for your mates – then an MPV is, in my opinion as a dad-of-three, the way to go. As well as space for seven, the Ford Grand C-Max, for example, offers comfort, power, loads of kit – and its looks aren’t bad either. It’s also got a five-star Euro NCAP crash test safety rating – vital if you’re carrying your most precious cargo in the world around – i.e. your children. Of course, there are lots of MPVs to choose from, but why not start with checking out the Ford Grand C-Max at Perrys?