Beware. Some online travel sellers, notably Priceline's, are passing off intermediate-size MPVs (multipurpose vehicles) as fullsize seven-passenger vans. Such cars as the VW Touran, Opel Zafira, Ford Grand C-Max, and Nissan Qashqai can accommodate no more than five persons, and if all are adults, even five is a bit of a stretch. Most rental car companies put them in a category they term Intermediate Special or Intermediate Van.

Technically, it may be possible to squeeze seven people into some of these vehicles but they are definitely not the traditional, seven-passenger family van most customers have in mind when the are shopping for a rental car to carry six or seven persons when vacationing in Europe. The Nissan Qashqai, for example, is slightly smaller than the Toyota Rav4. In one example of blatant misrepresentation, the Greece-based online seller, calls the Qashqai a seven-passenger minibus. In actual practice, this vehicle would be cramped with four passengers and luggage.

2013 Nissan Qashqai
Nissan Qashqai: 7 Passengers?

These MPV vehicles are sold by new car dealers in both a five-passenger and seven-passenger configuration. In the seven-passenger setup, virtually all the luggage space is occupied by two folding "jump seats" that are only suitable for kids on short trips. Reputable rental car companies show them as being suitable for no more than five passengers. Be assured such vehicles will NOT handle six or seven passengers with luggage.

If yours is a party of six or seven, you need a Fullsize Van (FVMR, FVAR for automatics) such as the VW Sharan, Ford Galaxy, Renault Espace, Fiat Alhambra and a few others. Regrettably, some companies use the FDMR/FDAR designator for MPVs, and a few companies simply promise a seven-passenger vehicle without showing a typical make and model. When an example is provided, however, look it up in Google. A good source for vehicle information is Wikipedia which has descriptions and specifications for most cars. In online write-ups, words and phrases such as "compact," "intermediate," "5-7 passenger," “5+2” and "MPV" all indicate something less than a fullsize van.

A step-up from the fullsize FVMR is the eight or nine-passenger Standard Van (SVMR) such as the Renault Traffic, VW Multivan, and the Mercedes Vito.

Here's more to guide you in selecting the right rental car.

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