Top 10 best 7-seater cars 2022
The best 7-seater cars carry around large families in comfort, and they needn't break the bank despite their load capacity. We have picked out the best on the market.
Vehicles in the seven-seater class have changed greatly since the first few entered the market in the Eighties. The MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle), also known as the people-carrier, became popular when the Renault Espace, and later, the Ford Galaxy, entered the market and offered car-like dynamics with vast space. The former is no longer for sale in the UK but the Ford Galaxy soldiers on, although it now competes with more popular SUVs.
Seven-seaters have evolved to take on a far wider range of forms than before, including seven-seat SUVs. Buyers of large cars are flocking to SUVs, as they offer most of the practicality of a people-carrier with the style and ruggedness of 4x4s. Their growing popularity means you can now get an array of seven-seat cars to suit most budgets, whether you’ve got £22,000 or £105,000 to spend. The latter will buy you a top-spec Tesla Model X, which can manage 0-62mph in less than three seconds, while the former will get you the budget-focused Dacia Jogger MPV, which can seat seven adults for less than £15,000. In addition to accommodating a second and third row of seats, both of these models offer a good compromise between passenger and boot space.
The expensive Tesla isn't exactly a mainstream choice, though, so our list of the 10 best seven-seaters concentrates on more attainable MPVs and SUVs. Some feature seven seats from the outset, while others require you to pay extra to take the seat count beyond five. You'll also find that some come with seven seats at the expense of luggage room, while others have a huge boot located behind the third row.
Few large SUVs are quite as spacious for seven as an MPV can be – that complicated four-wheel-drive system (if fitted) and bulky bodywork eat into space that MPVs reserve for passengers, especially in the middle-row seats. Where the option of a sixth and seventh seat is given, they tend to be best suited to children and only have enough room for adults on the odd occasion – although there are exceptions to this rule.
Despite the benefits of the traditional MPV, their numbers are dwindling; various models that were once marketed as MPVs have been reborn as or replaced by seven-seat SUVs. A good example of this is the Peugeot 5008, the latest iteration of which takes the form of a stylish and rugged-looking SUV, abandoning the 'family van' look of the previous model.
One thing all seven-seaters share, though, is versatility. More important than the sheer amount of interior space on offer is how cleverly it's used. Some MPVs and SUVs are full of clever storage compartments and practical features that become indispensable in family life. And, in many cases, these virtues come without sacrificing too much in the way of driving pleasure, or pushing the price too high.
Read on for our full run-down of the best seven-seater cars on sale today.
The Sorento is Kia's largest and most practical car, not to mention the winner of the 2021 Carbuyer Car of the Year award. It boasts a very spacious and luxurious interior plus an impressively-sized boot; with the rearmost seats folded, it boasts a 616-litre luggage compartment, increasing to 2,011 with all rear seats folded. A 199bhp 2.2-litre diesel suits the Sorento very well, providing plenty of power to haul the full-size SUV around. For the latest model, it’s also joined by two hybrid options, which will appeal if you’re looking to move away from diesel.
Combine that power with the four-wheel-drive system that's standard on all models and you have a car that always feels comfortable and safe. While the Sorento isn't as cheap as it used to be, fit and finish have improved to the point where you could consider the Sorento a less expensive rival to the Volvo XC90 and Land Rover Discovery. Alongside all this, you get plenty of standard equipment, including Bluetooth, air-conditioning, DAB radio and a rear camera, too. You also get four ISOFIX child-seat mounting points across the two rear rows, as well as the maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
The Skoda Kodiaq is the company’s largest-ever car and a greatly impressive all-round package. What marks it out is the fantastic combination of style, practicality, fuel economy and value it offers. It’s also good to drive – comfortable when it needs to be, but still engaging when the going gets twisty. Under the bonnet there’s a familiar range of Volkswagen Group petrol and diesel engines that produce all the punch you could want, without breaking the bank when it comes to fuel economy.
The Kodiaq only comes with five seats as standard, though: for seven seats, you’ll need to go for SE L trim or pay a £1,000 premium on SE. When fitted, the third seating row isn't really suited to long journeys or spacious enough for adults, but it's perfect for the school run and other short journeys. Also – and unlike some seven-seaters – the Kodiaq has a usable amount of boot space with all seven seats in place: about 270 litres. Meanwhile, if you drop all five rear seats, you get a maximum 2,005 litres of load space – enough for pretty much any eventuality.
The latest Volvo XC90 had a tough job on its hands when it was launched. The previous version remained on sale for a remarkable 12 years and in that time gained a dedicated following and redefined what large families could expect from a seven-seat car. Fortunately, this XC90 offers exceptional comfort, smarter styling, even greater practicality and a genuinely luxurious interior.
Two adults can sit in the third-row seats in relative comfort and with all seven seats in place, the 302-litre boot impresses. Fold down the third-row seats and you get 680 litres of luggage space. Drop all the seats and you won’t have to hire a van to take a big load to the recycling centre, as it frees up a huge 1,045 litres of space. A host of advanced safety equipment adds further appeal – especially for family buyers. The XC90’s only real drawback, however, is its price; approaching nearly £60,000, it’s out of reach for many. That being said, even entry-level models are well equipped and you won’t need to add many options.
The Toyota Highlander is a new name in the UK but it’s been sold in other parts of the world for a number of years. It’s essentially a bigger version of the Toyota RAV4, rather than a rugged 4x4 like the Toyota Land Cruiser. A hybrid engine is the only one available, which promises diesel-like fuel efficiency without having to plug in. The Highlander is one of few hybrid SUVs to have a large towing capacity; it’s rated up to 2,000kg, so easily enough for even a large caravan or trailer.
Inside, it’s a lot like a top-spec RAV4 because UK buyers only get a choice of Excel and Excel Premium trim levels. Kit includes heated leather seats, a panoramic sunroof, a reversing camera and wireless phone charging; the Highlander isn’t cheap, so lots of equipment is meant to justify the purchase price. Seven reclining and highly configurable seats are standard, and even with them all in place you’ve got a bigger boot than in a Ford Fiesta; fold both rear rows down and the cargo space is akin to a van. Lots of cubbies make it easy to store little things out of sight in the cabin area too.
After receiving an update in 2021 the Hyundai Santa Fe stepped up in both style and features to take on the premium seven-seat SUV market. Inside, the Santa Fe is filled with premium materials and technology, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. If you prefer physical buttons and dials to control temperature and media then the dashboard of the Santa Fe will be a welcome sight. In the boot there is 571 litres of space with the third row seats folded flat, which isn’t as high as others on the list, but the square boot entry makes loading easy.
A new hybrid engine is an option to the diesel and is a welcome addition to the range. The driving experience isn’t as engaging as rival premium SUVs in its class but it does have good grip and is available with all-wheel drive. If you need to tow, the diesel has a maximum towing weight of 2,500kg whereas the hybrid can pull a braked trailer or caravan of 1650kg.
If you are shopping for a seven-seat vehicle but don't want to give up the driving experience and efficiency of a car then the Volkswagen Caddy MPV offers Golf-like driving with lots of space. The sliding rear doors are an added advantage for getting people into and out of the Caddy MPV. Height has been gained with a roofline several inches above that of a Volkswagen Golf.
There is no getting away from the boxy shape of the van that the Caddy MPV is based on but with some nifty styling tweaks the MPV model sets itself apart from its commercial cousin. Inside, there are buttons and screens shared with a VW Golf surrounded by hard-wearing plastics that should stand up to the worst children and dogs can throw at it. The Caddy MPV is also available as a Maxi variant which is useful if you regularly carry seven and need lots of boot space. The standard variant has 191 litres of space with all seven seats up and 1,213 with just five seats; the Maxi takes those numbers to 446 litres and 1,720 litres.
When designing the latest Peugeot 5008, the French firm ditched the old MPV bodystyle in favour of the fashionable SUV. In doing so, Peugeot has created one of the most distinctive family cars you can buy. Active types will appreciate its tough, outdoorsy looks, while its high driving position promises excellent visibility for driver and passengers alike. The eye-catching design continues inside, however, the futuristic-looking dashboard has as much substance as style – the controls are easy to use and build quality is impressive.
There's loads of space in the five main seats, but the third row is rather tight and boot space suffers while they're in use. Kids will love them on short journeys, though. Every version is well equipped, with autonomous emergency braking and state-of-the-art connectivity, but prices rapidly increase as you ascend the model range. You can expect over 50mpg from most of the diesel engines and the 128bhp version makes the car very relaxing to drive. It's worth noting, though, that four-wheel drive isn't an option – this is no mud-plugger, despite its off-road looks.
The Discovery Sport fills a gap that Land Rover had left in its line-up for years. Namely, a car for those who don't want anything quite as big as a Discovery, but sometimes have to carry seven. Clever features abound, such as a second row of seats that slides back and forth to maximise legroom or load space, or to provide third-row occupants with a little extra room. However, space for seven does involve a bit of a squeeze and the rearmost seats are best suited to younger passengers and short journeys.
There's little doubt that they add to the Discovery Sport's versatility, though, making it a very well rounded family SUV. It also combines impressive road manners with off-road capabilities that don't come naturally to many of the Land Rover's rivals – it'll wade through 600mm of water and can be taken off the beaten track with some confidence. With around 40mpg possible from the most economical version, some rivals are less expensive to run, but few have a broader range of talents.
After the withdrawal of the Volkswagen Sharan in 2021, the Volkswagen Multivan fills a gap in the brand’s range for those looking for a seven-seater that isn’t an SUV. On the inside, the Multivan is similar to the Volkswagen Golf, with a digital instrument cluster and large central infotainment screen. However, unlike the Golf, the Multivan’s interior is cavernous, with 469 litres behind the third row of seats and flexible seating to suit any family situation. There are plenty of smart features to keep people happy on long journeys too, such as a sliding centre console that can be used as a table.
The Multivan isn’t offered with a diesel engine at launch, which is slated to arrive later this year. Instead, you have the choice of petrol or an economical plug-in hybrid, though the latter is rather expensive at more than £50,000.
The Dacia Jogger is proof that 7-seaters don’t have to be expensive. It starts from around £15,000, which makes it cheaper than the much smaller Renault Clio - a model which shares several parts and engines with the Jogger. The entry-level Essential trim is a bit basic, but the mid-range Comfort spec car has plenty of equipment including an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, all round parking sensors and automatic air conditioning. While the flagship the Extreme SE model adds equipment such as heated seats, a reversing camera and sat-nav. Inside, the Jogger is very spacious, and unlike some rivals, it can seat seven adults comfortably. The boot is only 213 litres with the third row of seats in place, but you can remove the rearmost seats to increase cargo space to a vast 699 litres. Handily, Dacia also includes 23 litres of storage space dotted around the interior, too.
Buyers can only spec a Jogger with one engine currently: a turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol producing 108bhp. It puts economy ahead of performance, returning up to 49mpg and a 0-62mph time of around 11 seconds. Like most MPVs, the Jogger offers a comfortable driving experience rather than a sporty one. It deals well with bumpy road surfaces, but is at its best when driven at a relaxed pace, due to a fair amount of body lean in sharper corners and slightly heavy steering.
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