Is it worth buying an MPV this year as car companies go crazy launching them?

The Charm of mpv

Worth it!

Nowadays, most people from out of town who have one or two children and both parents working usually have their grandparents or grandparents-in-law helping to take care of the children.

In such cases, the advantages of a multi-purpose vehicle (mpv) are evident.

In fact, my family had a seven-seater commercial vehicle when I was young, but we rarely used it, and many relatives and friends liked to borrow it.

I always felt uncomfortable driving a spacious car, finding it inconvenient to park, and less maneuverable compared to a sedan, so I almost never drove it.

However, when I had two children and my partner and I were together, sometimes with one set of parents, we would occasionally take short trips or go to the zoo to feed the animals. With 6 adults and 2 children, we could actually fit everyone in one car!

It was then that I discovered the charm of a seven-seater mpv.

As I drove the mpv on highways, national roads, provincial roads, county roads, and even inside wildlife parks during self-guided tours, I looked through the rearview mirror and witnessed heartwarming scenes:

The family chatting, watching TV, and snacking in the back,

The sound of family members snoring as they slept,

My child getting tired of sitting and moving from the second row to the third row. With just this simple action, my child could stretch their body and calm down.

In this kind of car, with everyone in it, it felt like a mobile little house equipped with pillows and blankets for them to use.

Under the accumulation of various happy moments,

I truly believe that driving an mpv can make the whole family feel comfortable. It’s a vehicle that gives a great sense of comfort and humanity no matter how it is driven!

Is it slow to accelerate? That’s not called slow, that’s called smooth, so as not to wake up the sleeping child.

Is the car too big and hard to park? Since the whole family is inside, it doesn’t matter if it’s a little slower or faster. Just reverse a few more times.

In short, as long as the family feels comfortable, I am happy. I feel that when driving this car, its disadvantages become advantages, and its advantages become even greater advantages!

One acquaintance described the mpv in this way:

This is a car where everyone is comfortable except the driver. And the driver who chooses to buy this kind of car will be happy as long as their family is happy!

The Background Behind the Launch of MPVs by Auto Companies

Let’s first talk about the background for auto companies' frenzied launch of MPVs.

Chinese domestic car manufacturers have successively introduced MPV models, roughly after 2022. With the electrification of automobiles, in order to cope with fierce market competition, domestic car companies have vigorously compressed the development cycle of new cars. Currently, it seems that the majority of domestic car manufacturers take about two to three years to develop a completely new model.

Xiaopeng X9

Lixiang MEGA

In other words, the MPV products launched in 2022 and later are developed starting from around 2020 to 2021. This time period is the eve of the outbreak of the domestic new energy vehicle market. BYD’s sales haven’t even reached an extraordinary level, and joint venture cars in China didn’t face the same pressure as they do now.

Around 2020, the planning department of a large-scale automaker discovered that the domestic new energy vehicle market exhibited a characteristic of “two big ends, small middle.” That is, the sales of new energy vehicles are dominated either by extremely cost-effective cars priced at 100,000 yuan or below, such as the Wuling Hongguang Mini, or by relatively luxurious new energy vehicles priced at 200,000 to 300,000 yuan or more. However, the sales of new energy vehicles in the price range of 100,000 to 250,000 yuan were relatively low.

Therefore, they concluded that “the low-end new energy vehicle market is already a red ocean, fiercely competitive with thin profit margins, while the high-end new energy vehicle market has high profit margins, a larger market, fewer existing models, and is still a blue ocean, so they recommend developing high-end models.”

Combining this with the background of China’s policy to allow families to have a second or third child, they believed that the demand for 7-seater MPVs in China will rapidly increase. And the strategies between various car companies cannot be completely sealed off. On the contrary, these past two years have been the most active period for employees to switch jobs between car companies. Therefore, each car company has “aligned its pace” and started investing in the research and development of multi-seater MPVs.

This is the historical background behind the frequent launch of multi-seater MPVs by domestic car companies in the past two years.

The demand for MPVs in families with two children is somewhat misleading.

The sales pitch at the 4S store is as follows: “A seven-seater MPV meets the needs of children and the elderly traveling together.” But when you think about it, when do you really need the whole family to travel together? It’s mainly for going back to the hometown during holidays, visiting relatives, and short outdoor trips. In reality, there are very few situations where you need to go on short outdoor trips.

So we thought, is it really worth it to buy such a big MPV for the few times a year we go back to our hometown or for outings?

Most of the time, vehicles are used for the majority of travel scenarios. We use the car to commute to work, go shopping, pick up and drop off our children at school. Is it really convenient to drive a 5.2m long MPV for these purposes? Even parking the car in a narrow parking space is already difficult, so how can you safely park such a large vehicle?

Experts are now advocating that one car is not enough for the commuting needs of urban middle-income families. The husband and wife both need a car for commuting, so a minimum of two cars are needed. Currently, the number of cars per household in urban China is far from reaching an average of two cars per household, so there is still a lot of room for growth in the Chinese automotive market.

According to this logic, if the average number of cars per household in cities is achieved, the transportation problem for families with two children will be perfectly solved. One MPV has a maximum of seven seats, while two five-seater sedans combined have a total of ten seats, which is three more seats than an MPV. Even for families with three children, adding grandparents will be enough.

In reality, a considerable portion of consumers who purchase new energy vehicles use them as the second car in their household. The couple each uses one car for commuting to work. They use the new energy car for short trips on weekends and the conventional fuel car for long trips. This perfectly utilizes the advantages of both new energy vehicles and fuel vehicles.

Actually, there are two words “commercial” before MPV that have been selectively ignored by the media

MPV stands for “Commercial MPV,” which is suitable for business travel and reception. MPVs are comfortable and spacious, making them ideal for business travel and high-end receptions. Passengers can enjoy a comfortable and safe experience while maintaining an air of prestige. Hence, this type of large vehicle is commonly referred to as “Commercial MPV.” However, for regular users, it may not be applicable in many scenarios and is not suitable.

But in terms of marketing, in order to expand the audience for this commercial MPV, the words “commercial” were intentionally downplayed.

When MPVs are extended to electric vehicles, the major drawback of high fuel consumption in gasoline-powered vehicles disappears in electric models. Since electricity prices are relatively low, the operating costs of electric MPVs are completely acceptable to ordinary users.

If you have a pressing need and do not worry about parking difficulties or the judgment of others when driving in the city, an electric MPV is worth considering. After all, its advantage lies in providing a comfortable experience for passengers. An MPV will bring a more comfortable travel experience for your family.

How can one know that the loss of a horse is not a blessing? Car companies are using high-priced MPVs as anchor points, making their ordinary cars priced at 300,000 yuan seem reasonable.

Originally, MPVs were niche vehicles, but now they have become mainstream due to the efforts of various car companies. There is already not much demand in the market for cars priced above 300,000 yuan, let alone for niche models like MPVs. Over the past two years, the proportion of car sales above 300,000 yuan has been increasing, indicating that the economic downturn does not affect the wealthy.

Car companies are rushing to launch multi-seat MPV models - even Tesla is developing an MPV model. Perhaps only a few can achieve profitability with a single model. The market is truly ruthless. Everyone has invested so much in research and development, but before they can even sell, the market suddenly turns from blue ocean to red ocean. Even the earliest companies to invest in research and development did not gain a first-mover advantage. But this is good news for potential customers because competition drives down prices.

However, who knows if losing a horse can be a blessing? Car companies don’t necessarily have to rely on high-priced MPVs to achieve profitability. As long as any car company positions MPVs as anchor points, their regularly priced cars in the 200,000 to 300,000 yuan range immediately gain competitive pricing. See? The car companies have achieved their goal of pursuing high prices. Why do car companies want to sell high-end cars and high-priced cars? Because high-priced cars have higher profit margins, and their target customers are not so sensitive to the selling price.

MPV models win the market

Automotive development is synchronized with consumer demand!

This year has been really interesting, whether it’s the new forces in car manufacturing or traditional well-established car companies, all car manufacturers have brought their MPV models to the Guangzhou Motor Show, and it seems like this year is the year of the MPV, with each car company laying out its own flagship MPV.

Actually, I don’t find this strange at all. You see, in the Chinese automobile market, SUVs are the most popular, followed by sedans, and then MPVs. Previously, the market share of MPVs was not very high, and it was mostly monopolized by foreign car companies like Toyota and Honda (with models like the Alphard and the Vellfire). Very few domestic car companies focused on this market. As electric and intelligent technologies continue to advance in automobiles, the electrification and intelligentization of SUVs and sedans are also increasing. Chinese new energy vehicle brands are fighting tooth and nail in the electric SUV and electric sedan sectors, not to mention certain joint ventures. In recent years, the highly competitive and inward-looking nature of China’s new energy market has even forced some joint venture brands to directly withdraw from the Chinese market. Domestic companies have also realized that the competition pressure in the SUV and sedan sectors is incredibly high, so some companies have started to shift their strategic focus to the MPV sector, which is slower in terms of electric and intelligent development. There is a lot of room for car manufacturers to freely explore this sector, rather than squeezing into a SUV or sedan sub-market that is difficult for everyone to develop, it is better to enter an MPV sub-market that has not yet matured in terms of electrification and intelligentization.

Actually, this is related to consumer car-buying needs. In the past, consumers were more concerned about a car’s performance and price when they were buying a car. But as consumer demands continue to evolve, they now pay more attention to the comfort and safety of the car, as well as its ability to meet their seating and storage space needs. Let’s give a small example: the Chinese car brand Li Xiang (Li Auto) has really opened up a very good sub-market with the large six-seater SUV. It truly satisfies the needs of most consumers, which is why their L-series large six-seater models have been selling like hotcakes. Currently, they only have three models, but each model sells over 30,000 units per month. This shows that if consumer demands are tapped into well, the market will be more easily accepted.

The biggest feature of MPVs is their spacious interior and comfortable seating experience. Compared to sedans and SUVs, MPVs provide more spacious seating and can accommodate more people. Especially since the seats are flexible and can be adjusted according to users' different needs, the “third mobile living space” of the future will come in the form of MPV models. Today’s MPVs, with the support of electrification and intelligent technologies, are completely different from their predecessors, and will see revolutionary changes in terms of seating comfort, safety, and riding experience.

Here are some notable MPV products at the Guangzhou Motor Show:

  • Li Xiang MEGA: With a drag coefficient close to that of a sedan, it has a significant advantage in energy consumption. With a super-low drag coefficient of 0.215, an 800V high-voltage platform, 5C Kirin battery, dual-screen design, zero-gravity seats, and queen-like co-driver seat.

  • Xiaopeng X9: Featuring a large-sloping back window, the third-row seats can be neatly stowed away. Standard rear-wheel steering across the entire range, XOS Tianji intelligent cabin system, roof ring ambient lighting, laser radar, and 800V high-voltage SiC platform.

  • Volvo EM90: Safety remains its core advantage, with Thor’s Hammer headlamps, the Tree of the World intelligent safety system, zero-gravity seat cushions, Bowers & Wilkins audio system, and a high-strength cage-style body design.

Which one would you like to get your hands on?

The spatial capacity of the Xiaopeng X9 three-row seating is not as good as the MEGA

At the Guangzhou Auto Show, the Xiaopeng X9 unveiled its popular feature of a sunken floor in the third row. It seems that they have taken back some of the attention from the ideal MEGA, but I still hold a cautious and optimistic attitude towards the Xiaopeng X9.

Compared to the current hot-selling GL8ES model with a length of 5219mm, width of 1878mm, height of 1805mm, and wheelbase of 3088mm, the Xiaopeng X9 is slightly larger with a length of 5293mm, width of 1988mm, height of 1785mm, and wheelbase of 3160mm. However, compared to the MEGA with a length of 5350mm, width of 1965mm, height of 1850mm, and wheelbase of 3300mm, the Xiaopeng X9 still appears smaller.

How much of a difference is there? Let’s compare the two cars from the side, aligning the front ends, as shown in Figure 1.

It can be seen that the 57mm length difference of the Xiaopeng X9 doesn’t seem significant, but the 140mm difference in wheelbase creates a much larger gap. The Xiaopeng X9 wastes a lot of length in the front engine compartment and rear trunk, leaving the passenger cabin between the two axles relatively small.

Furthermore, the ideal MEGA’s front doors are positioned further forward and do not clash with the wheel arches. Roughly sketching the seats, as shown in Figure 2, it can be seen that the first row of passengers in the MEGA can be positioned further forward, while the third row is slightly backward, providing an advantage in legroom.

The 65mm difference in height is also reflected in the differences in the windows. It is apparent that the ideal MEGA incorporates the experiences gained from designs such as the six-seat layout and the theater-style design for the third row in the L789 model. The MEGA has larger windows than the Xiaopeng X9, and the additional vertical dimension could be used for a larger rear screen, which aligns with the ideal’s strategy of promoting televisions.

Let’s also illustrate the third row folding down, as shown in Figure 3. Comparing the design of the ideal MEGA, which folds forward, with the Xiaopeng X9’s rearward-sinking design, it is clear that the rear compartment of the Xiaopeng X9 is longer. However, looking at the cargo space of the Xiaopeng X9, it can be seen that there is not much vertical space or height available for the seats to sink into.

This indicates that the Xiaopeng X9’s three-row seats may have compromised designs such as thin seat cushions, low backrests, short seat surfaces, and thin backrests. On the other hand, the ideal MEGA, as long as the rear floor can be low enough, can actually compensate for the difference in depth space with its height space.

Therefore, considering all factors, the Xiaopeng X9’s advantage of a sunken floor in the third row brings a larger luggage space, but on the other hand, the difference in wheelbase between the X9 and MEGA is too significant to fill the gap in passenger space.

An MPV, unlike a three-row SUV, places far more importance on the comfort of the third-row passengers than on the space in the luggage compartment.

Let’s wait for the MEGA to release the actual car and make a specific comparison of the interior space.

How suitable is the MPV model?

At the ongoing 2023 Guangzhou Auto Show, major car manufacturers have launched many MPV models, such as the retro Volkswagen ID.Buzz, the Xiaopeng X9, the popular Ideal Mega, and the Volvo EM90.

The booming MPV market indicates a change in China’s social structure. Originally used primarily for business receptions, these types of vehicles are now moving towards becoming family cars. We have gone from needing a regular family car, to needing a B-class car, and now we need a minivan that can accommodate more people, like a “dad car”.


In reality, MPV models have many drawbacks as family cars. Firstly, in China, most families are still in a situation where they own only one car. This car not only needs to be used for family purposes, but also for commuting and must be economical. Indeed, MPV models have spacious interiors and can carry a lot of people, but their large size makes them very inconvenient for commuting, grocery shopping, and picking up and dropping off children. This is an undeniable fact.

The imposing Honda Vezel with a length of 4.84 meters is already a behemoth, and the Toyota Sienna with a length of 5.16 meters is very inconvenient to drive in urban areas.

It’s really frustrating to drive a car like this in the city.

Remember, if the MPV model is used as the only family car, it can be very troublesome and inconvenient. Most Chinese families consist of three members, with both sets of parents rarely together. So buying a seven-seater MPV would often result in the last row of seats being empty. Furthermore, the space in the rear seats of a seven-seater MPV is not as comfortable as it seems. For short trips with many people, taking a taxi is a better option, and for long trips, sitting in the rear seats for a prolonged period of time can be very tiring. Instead of this, it would be better to choose a large seven-seater SUV, where the rear seats can be used in case of emergencies and folded down for extra trunk space.

The layout of a 2-3-2 seating arrangement is actually more suitable.

MPV models are not safe. Many MPV models on the market have performed poorly in crash tests because of the need for interior space. In the design process, the front of the car is usually made shorter, sacrificing the crumple zone, and the length of the trunk is also reduced. In a seven-seater configuration, the depth of the rear trunk is not as good as that of a regular SUV’s.

Ultimately, whether an MPV is suitable or not depends on the situation. Firstly, it is important to find an MPV with good safety ratings. Unless you disregard the safety of your family, it is also preferable to consider it as an additional purchase, meaning that you already have a car and the MPV is used occasionally to enhance your quality of life.

Of course, business receptions are a different situation altogether.

MPV: Luxurious and Comfortable Space

MPV is definitely worth buying, as the ultimate goal for family cars is an MPV.

MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle), as the name suggests, is a multi-functional car evolved from a touring sedan. It combines the spacious seating of a touring car, the comfortable riding experience of a sedan, and the functional use of a van all in one. Generally, MPVs have 6 or 7 seats, and they emphasize better comfort and larger interior space.

Why are car companies crazily launching various MPVs this year? Because MPVs bring high profits. Moreover, the Buick GL8 has, for more than ten years, dominated the MPV market in this blue ocean. The new energy vehicles have not yet made their mark, so this is a huge cake with vast development prospects and extremely high profits. Everyone is envious of it.

Image source: Internet, delete if infringing.

The main feature of MPVs is their large space. They usually have 7 seats or 6 seats, and can also be customized to have 4 seats. They are mainly used for business receptions, and many companies buy them for the purpose of picking up and dropping off clients. Some families also buy them. For example, if a family has two kids and a 5-seat car is not enough, they have to buy a 7-seater. Many 7-seater SUVs have a useless third row, which is very uncomfortable and cramped. Therefore, people opt for MPVs with larger space.

The most famous MPVs are the Toyota Alphard and the Lexus Alphard. The Toyota Alphard requires an additional fee of nearly 200,000 RMB to buy, and it won’t be sold without the extra charge. That’s how domineering it is. As for the Lexus Alphard, it’s even more exaggerated. It requires an additional fee of 500,000 RMB to buy, and even so, many Chinese consumers still line up to purchase it. Can you blame car companies for turning green with envy when they see this situation?

Image source: Internet, delete if infringing. Image source: Internet, delete if infringing.

Chinese consumers don’t just like big cars and spacious interiors; they like super-sized cars and super-sized interiors. MPVs perfectly meet their tastes in terms of space. The ideal MEGA size is 5350X1965X1850mm, the Xiaopeng X9 size is 5293X1988X1785mm, the Volvo EM90 size is 5206X2024X1859mm, the Dongfeng Langtu Dream House size is 5315X1980X1810mm, and the Jike 009 size is 5209X2024X1848mm. Among these, the Jike 009 has the smallest size of 5209, which would be considered the size of a flagship sedan or SUV.

Another characteristic of these cars is that they are expensive. Firstly, big cars are never cheap. Secondly, MPVs focus on comfort, and when it comes to comfort, it means top-notch seats. No, MPVs don’t use seats; they use large sofas. They are equipped with everything, such as massage, heating, ventilation, and leg supports. It’s not just about the seats though - imagine having just seats in your living room. Other features must also be in place, such as carpets, ambient lighting, and large TV screens. In short, everything that can make you comfortable needs to be well-equipped, just like decorating a house, where there is no upper limit to soft furnishings.

Image source: Internet, delete if infringing. Image source: Internet, delete if infringing.

As for those cars I mentioned earlier, the Dongfeng Langtu Dream House starts at 369,900 RMB, and the most expensive Volvo EM90 costs 818,000 RMB. These prices are far beyond the reach of 95% of customers, and when buying an MPV, people usually don’t go for the lowest trim level; most opt for the highest one.

MPVs are not intended for ordinary people because they are relatively expensive. The main target audience for these cars is still enterprises, for business receptions, where some face must be maintained when it comes to business receptions. However, there is really nothing wrong with these cars; they are just luxurious. They are truly mobile refrigerators, televisions, and sofas - a moving living room that offers comfort and feels like home.

New Energy MPV is Worth Buying

Firstly, let me state my conclusion: based on the trend of MPVs at this year’s Guangzhou Auto Show, they are worth buying. This is because many of the MPVs launched by major car manufacturers are now new energy vehicles, which solves the biggest problem of traditional MPVs: high fuel consumption. What remains are the advantages of MPVs. Taking everything into account, new energy MPVs are worth buying, and I myself have been paying attention to them and considering whether to add one to my collection.

My Opinion: The Combination of New Energy Power, MPV Space, and Autonomous Driving Function is Perfect and the Optimal Form of MPV in Current Technology!

Here are the experiences I have encountered and considered:

For me, why have I always been considering purchasing an MPV? I have a family with two children, and we often need to travel with our parents, making a total of six people. As the children grow older, the current 5-seat SUV is becoming cramped and the space is not enough, resulting in decreased comfort. We have travel needs every year, going together with relatives and friends. We also have to arrange for our eldest son to sit in someone else’s vehicle, which he is not willing to do and finds it a little unfair. During the Chinese New Year and the holiday in October, we also have a need to travel around 1000 kilometers back to our hometown, but during these times, grandparents cannot travel with us (it’s too far, and it is especially tiring to cram six people in the car). Therefore, a 7-seat car is basically a must for me.

The reason I haven’t bought one yet is because of fuel consumption. The cost of daily use is a bit high, and the car is large, so only I can drive it. It is difficult for my wife to drive. I remember once on the way to the airport, when I rented an MPV and chatted with the driver, he told me, “Don’t buy it! The fuel consumption is really high, this thing is too big, and it’s difficult to park. For us taxi drivers, it’s okay, but for a family car like yours, an MPV, you need to be cautious.”

Actually, I have also considered a 7-seat new energy SUV, but after my careful research and comparison, there are still essential differences between a 7-seat SUV and an MPV: Different space layouts: MPV models originally designed for 7 seats have a more reasonable and friendlier space layout.

The different space layout results in a 2+3+2 seating arrangement for a 7-seat SUV, while an MPV has a 2+2+3 layout. The layout of a 7-seat SUV is a result of compensatory design, where the rear trunk is removed from a 5-seat car to add a third row of seats.

The different space layout also leads to different ways for passengers to get in and out of the third row: In a 7-seat SUV, without exception, the second-row seats need to be pushed forward and the backrests folded down to enter the third row. In an MPV, passengers can directly enter the third row through the aisle between the second-row seats, which has the advantage of not affecting the second-row passengers.

SUV: Fold down the backrests to enter the third row.

It can be said that MPV models originally designed for 7 seats have a more reasonable and user-friendly spatial layout.

Ideal MEGA

This year, Ideal Cars launched the Ideal MEGA, a mid-to-large-sized pure electric MPV, and it started blind pre-orders at the Guangzhou Auto Show on November 17, 2023, breaking 10,000 units in 1 hour and 42 minutes. The biggest highlights of the new car are:

  1. It adopts an unconventional design with a drag coefficient of 0.215;
  2. It uses the Ningwang Qilin battery, an 800V platform with 5C fast charging technology, dual motors, and four-wheel drive, accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.5 seconds;
  3. It features the same dual-screen design, zero-gravity seats, and queen-like co-pilot seat as the Ideal L9.
  4. As Ideal’s flagship model, it is expected to have advanced cruise control functionality for high-speed and commuting scenarios.

XPeng X9

Another eye-catching MPV at the Guangzhou Auto Show is the XPeng X9:

Positioned as a pure electric intelligent seven-seater MPV, it features a design with many sharp lines, a futuristic floating roof, XOS Junjie intelligent cockpit, dual motor with 370 kW power, rear-wheel steering as standard, lidar, and XPeng’s city intelligent driving capability, all based on an 800V high-voltage SiC platform.

From the above examples, we can see that both models use pure electric platforms, which provide excellent acceleration and driving performance for such large and heavy vehicles. The driving experience is expected to be excellent. Moreover, the daily use of pure electric platforms is very economical, dispelling concerns about high fuel consumption. Additionally, both models offer good intelligent driving functions, which effectively address the difficulty of parking for some people due to the large size of MPVs. Furthermore, with good range, high-voltage fast charging technology, and the well-developed supporting infrastructure for new energy vehicles, the range anxiety can be effectively alleviated.

Therefore, I still believe that this year’s MPV models, with their combination of new energy power, MPV space, and autonomous driving features, are the perfect match and represent the optimal form of MPVs with current technology!

Worth buying!