Minibuses, MPV Vans
Minibuses and MPVs are two separate classifications of van / car. MPVs (Multi-Purpose Vehicle) or people carriers are bigger and more practical hatchbacks with space for six or more people. Minibuses however are generally considered 9 or more people with a max capacity of 16 (17 including drive) - any larger than this and the government considers it a coach.
From 1st January 2007, there is a requirement for all diesel minibuses registered after 1st October 2001 to be fitted with a speed limiter restricting their maximum speed to 62mph. This was extended to petrol minibuses from 1st January 2008 and requires all minibuses registered after 1st January 2005 to be fitted with a limiter.
What is a MPV?
Sometimes better known as a people carrier, an MPVs (multi-purpose vehicles) are made, as the name suggests, to convey five or more people and come with reconfigurable seats in the back row. Easy to access and economical with fuel, they're a great alternative to 4x4s and SUVs and are perfect for family and commercial use.
Since the 1990s the market for MPVs has grown rapidly, resulting in three distinct classes of MPVs: Mini, Compact and Minivan.
Mini MPVs are the smallest class of MPV, often built on the platforms of B-segment hatchback models with a raised roof and a five-door body. The raised roof allows for easier access and higher seating compared to traditional hatchbacks. Universally five seaters, many Mini MPVs come with space-saving sliding rear doors that allow easy access to back seats or rear hinged doors that ease access for fitting things like child seats.
The middle size class for MPVs, Compact MPVs are some of the most common types of MPV. Popular models include: the Renault Scenic, Volkswagen Touran and the Citroen C4 Picasso. Larger than their Mini cousins, Compact MPVs often come in seven-seater format with a stretched wheelbase. Despite the longer wheelbase they don't occupy much more space than a regular saloon car, making them both efficient and practical.
Minivans are the largest type of MPV on the market, with popular models including the Ford Galaxy and Seat Alhambra. Ideal for carrying seven people and all their luggage, Minivans can't be beaten when it comes to carrying capacity.
One of the main appeals of an MPV is the flexibility in seating they provide. Rear seats can be endlessly reconfigured; pushing forwards for more boot space, sliding back for more legroom and fully foldable to provide even more carry space. Passenger access is also a strong USP, with many models featuring sliding doors, perfect for tight parking spots. Due to their passenger-orientated nature, MPVs have a whole host of options available like climate control, swivelling seats in the back, 12-volt power sockets, fold down trays and much more.
Who can drive a minibus?
A minibus is a classed as a vehicle with between eight to sixteen passenger seats. A vehicle with over sixteen passenger seats is classed as a coach and requires a PCV D licence category. There are some license stipulations though:
- If you hold a driving licence issued prior to 1st January 1997, permitting you to drive Group A (or B for automatic) vehicles, you can drive minibuses in the UK but not in mainland Europe
- Drivers who passed their test after 1st January 1997 are not given this category and are required to pass PCV minibus theory, medical and practical tests to obtain a D1 licence.
- Conditions of driving a minibus
- you're 21 or older
- you've had your driving licence for at least 2 years
- you meet the 'Group 2' medical standards if you're over 70 - check with your GP if you're not sure you meet the standards
- you're driving on a voluntary basis and the minibus is used for social purposes by a non-commercial body
- the maximum weight of the minibus is not more than 3.5 tonnes - or 4.25 tonnes including specialist equipment for disabled passengers, for example a wheelchair ramp
- you're not towing a trailer
For more information please visit the following link: https://www.gov.uk/driving-a-minibus
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