Compact MPV—an abbreviation for Compact Multi-Purpose Vehicle—is a vehicle size class for the middle size of MPVs. The Compact MPV size class sits between the mini MPV and large MPV (minivan) size classes.
Compact MPVs remain predominantly a European phenomenon, although they are also built and sold in many Latin American and Asian markets. As of 2016, the only compact MPV sold widely in the United States is the Ford C-Max.
The flexibility of the interior seating is a common theme amongst compact MPVs. Many models have seats which can be individually folded or easily removed, and the upright seating positions maximises use of the interior space. The seating arrangement is usually either two rows (for a total of five seats) or three rows (for a total of seven seats), with the second row having three seats and the other row(s) having two seats.
Some compact MPVs also three seats in both the front and rear rows, and are therefore referred to as six-seaters.
Where a third row of seats is present, the seats are often smaller and intended for children or short distance travel only. In some cars, these seats can only carry a limited weight (less than an adult's weight). The third row of seating is usually optional, and is not available on all models of compact MPVs.
Early production models of compact MPVs include, the 1982 Nissan Prairie and the 1991 Mitsubishi RVR (marketed as "Space Runner" in Europe and "Expo LRV" in the United States). The 1996 Renault Scénic is credited with creating the compact MPV segment.
The 1999 Opel/Vauxhall/Chevrolet Zafira was the first compact MPV with seven seats.
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