Top 10 best used 7-seater cars
Seven-seat cars tend to be expensive, but you can save a lot of money by scouring the second-hand market. We've picked out the best used 7-seat cars to consider
Seven-seater cars have been around for quite some time, but they’re much more practical than they were before, and there’s arguably never been a better time to buy one. Buyers have plenty of choices if they want a car with three rows of seats and, as some car companies’ seven-seaters have become their flagship models, they have improved dramatically in terms of quality and usability in recent years and there are plenty of them making it onto the used car market.
The increasing popularity of SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicles) is undoubtedly due in part to buyers abandoning ‘people carriers’ and MPVs (Multi Purpose Vehicles). Some of the latest seven-seater SUVs don’t just offer the benefit of that extra row of seats formerly synonymous with MPVs, but they also provide a raised driving position and the reassurance of extra capability in bad weather, which are attributes usually only associated with off-road 4x4s.
There’s plenty of choice on the second-hand market now, from affordable brands to more premium ones, but it’s still worth looking at traditional MPVs too, especially if you regularly transport young people in the back – their less fashionable status can actually make them a bargain if you’re looking at a used seven-seater car. As MPVs are envisioned as transport for adventurous families, they’re designed to be practical, and they’re often more spacious than an SUV costing roughly the same amount.
Seven-seater cars are usually the most expensive cars in a manufacturer’s lineup – simply because of the extra space, seats and equipment – but buying a used example could save you a lot of money. We’ve found a variety of 7-seaters from the most economical to the most spacious.
Here are our top picks for the best used seven-seater cars:
The Skoda won our Best Used Large Family Car at the Carbuyer Best Car Awards 2023 thanks to it being a spacious and practical vehicle that is also great to drive. Build quality is strong, so it should stand up to family life well, and the overall impression is of a very well-engineered car. Equipment is good, regardless of whether you pick the entry-level model or the range-topper – all versions come with alloy wheels, parking sensors, cruise control and an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen.
The boot is still a usable size with all seven seats up, and absolutely enormous with the rearmost seats folded. While it’s not the most important thing about a seven-seat SUV, it’s a bonus that the Kodiaq is really good to drive too. The best of the bunch is probably the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which when new offered a good mix of performance and economy (around 48mpg) and makes similarly good sense as a used buy. If you’re looking at used examples, it’s worth remembering that certain versions of the Kodiaq only have five seats. The Kodiaq also came sixth in our 2021 Driver Power survey.
MPVs all looked a bit plain and practical before the Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer came along but the French manufacturer has tried to rejuvenate the market with an injection of style. With its split-level headlights and funky detailing, we’ve previously named the Grand C4 SpaceTourer as one of the best-looking cars on sale.
It doesn’t get its place on this list based on style alone, however; the Grand C4 SpaceTourer is incredibly practical, comfortable, and very well-considered, with a range of economical engines offering as much as 60mpg combined in some variants. There’s lots of space between the front and middle row, plus each seat in the middle row is full-size and comes with its own ISOFIX child seat mounting points. With the third row of seats folded, the boot is massive at 632 litres, and you can make it even bigger by sliding the middle seats forward to free up 793 litres. Folding all the rear seats down, meanwhile, gives you an impressive 2,181 litres to play with. The interior features a number of storage cubbies and plenty of standard equipment, including air conditioning, cruise control and Bluetooth.
The Peugeot 5008 used to be a good-looking but forgettable MPV, so for this current version the designers completely redrew the car and came up with a much more attractive SUV. Looking like a scaled-up version of the Peugeot 3008, the 5008 has a longer rear to accommodate a third row of seats.
All trim levels get seven seats as standard, all of which are independent and, like the Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer, all three middle seats have ISOFIX points. The rear seats are tight, so they’re really only suitable for children, and there are annoying crevices between the middle seats when they’re folded down. Still, with the third row of seats down, the boot is 780 litres – it makes it onto our list of cars with the biggest boots.
We like Peugeot’s current interior design, although the small steering wheel is at odds with the size of the 5008. Its engines are shared across much of the Peugeot, Citroen and Vauxhall ranges, and offer a good blend of performance and economy (as much as 60mpg from the 129bhp 1.5 diesel) and the most powerful versions are automatic-only for a relaxing drive.
Most of the cars on this list have an industry-standard three-year warranty but buy a three-year-old Kia Sorento and you’ll still have four years or whatever remains of the 100,000 miles covered under Kia’s impressive warranty. That’s an immediate tick in the Sorento’s favour, and the good news continues with a quiet and relaxing driving experience, plus an excellent safety rating and a big boot.
All Sorento’s on this generation cars come with a powerful 2.2-litre diesel engine and four-wheel drive, making it a popular choice for caravan owners – but it means fuel economy isn’t the best. Prices are quite high too (even on the used market) and the rearmost pair of seats isn’t really adult-friendly but the entry-level model has DAB radio, on-screen smartphone mirroring, cruise control, privacy glass and a reversing camera.
The Volvo XC90 is arguably one of the most luxurious and handsome mainstream SUVs you can buy. Cars on the used market are still fairly expensive but are about half the price of brand-new equivalent models. For that money, you’ll get a svelte interior and an equipment list that includes LED headlights, a hands-free boot opening, a power-adjustable driver’s seat and sat nav. The practicality is even more impressive than the interior, however.
Unlike many seven-seaters, you could think about putting adults in the back seats and, with all seats in place, there’s still a bigger boot than a Ford Fiesta’s. Fold the middle and third row of seats down, and you have a huge 1,856 litres to fill. You’ll find a few storage cubbies dotted around the cabin, and the Volvo XC90 will tow heavy loads easily; its towing capacity is between 2,400kg and 2,700kg. Few SUVs are more relaxing to drive either; the XC90 is very quiet on the move and a great long-distance cruiser, trading the sporty handling of some premium rivals for a more refined and comfortable character.
With seven seats, sliding rear doors for easy access and a smartly designed interior, the Volkswagen Sharan is one of the most competent family cars available. It was on sale for a decade meaning you’ll find plenty of choice on the used market.
The Sharan is offered with a range of frugal petrol and diesel engines, meaning running costs are reasonable. Its boxy body shape may not win any style awards, but it makes it a hugely versatile car, with plenty of headroom and legroom, and unlike many of the SUV-style seven-seaters, there’s enough room for adult passengers in the third row. Even with all seats in place there’s enough boot space for the weekly shop, and dropping the third row gives you a decent 300 litres of usable space, which increases to 2,297 litres with all of the rear seats folded flat.
The interior is looking a little dated but it’s not short of clever storage solutions, including cubbies in the footwells, roof and even the dashboard. The Sharan is well-equipped; even the entry-level S model comes with DAB radio and climate control. Stepping up to SE Nav and SEL adds niceties such as folding tables, leather upholstery and sat nav.
If you don’t want an MPV that looks like it could double up as a minibus, it might be worth checking out the Ford S-MAX. Its sloping roofline makes it look much more dynamic than many large MPVs, not least Ford’s own Galaxy. However, this does affect practicality slightly – the rearmost seats are best thought of as occasional, for children or shorter trips – so a Galaxy is a better bet if you need the extra space. A 285-litre boot with all seats up is still pretty good, though, and with the rear seats down the space increases to an impressive 700 litres. Just like the Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer, the middle row of seats are all individual units, capable of sliding backwards and forwards, and all three have ISOFIX mounting points for child seats.
Four-wheel-drive is available but far from essential, but it’s handy that the system doesn’t cut into boot space or get rid of the flat floor. Even the first rung of the S-MAX ladder, the Zetec trim, has almost everything you could want from a family car, and stepping up to Titanium brings sat nav and cruise control. One thing that separates the S-MAX from many rivals is that it’s genuinely good to drive, albeit not quite as sporty as its predecessor. The ride remains comfortable even on poor surfaces too. Hunt out a diesel if you’re regularly planning to load it up or go on long trips.
The Land Rover Discovery looks a bit big and bloated compared to its predecessor but there’s no doubting its practicality or luxury. Adults will comfortably fit in the rear seats – there’s even knee and headroom to spare – and behind that is a boot that’s a similar size to a small family hatchback. Drop the third row and the boot is vast at 1,137 litres, or with just the front seats up there’s a van-like 2,406 litres of space.
Thanks to powerful engines, the Discovery is once again a brilliant tow car, with a maximum towing capacity of 3,500kg. Despite looking bigger, the use of more aluminium in the car’s construction means it’s over 400kg lighter than the old car, so the diesels should still manage around 40mpg. It’s worth noting that the former four-cylinder and V6 diesel engines have been replaced by a 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine with two power outputs, which are just as smooth and reliable. Its interior is one of the most luxurious on sale, and all models come with a powered tailgate and heated front seats. We’d like some features, like the reversing camera, to be standard though, and Land Rover’s reliability score in our Driver Power owner satisfaction survey is a little worrying – especially if you’re looking at a car that’s soon to go out of warranty.
The Tesla Model X impressed us by combining the seven seats of a practical family car with the performance of a sports car. The Model X was the first electric SUV to go on sale in the UK, meaning more choice for used car buyers, although residual values have remained strong. At the time of writing, used examples start from around £45,000, so despite the fact you’ll be saving money thanks to its low running costs, you’ll need deep pockets in the first place.
Tesla has been ahead of other EV manufacturers for years when it comes to performance and range. The Model X has a range of up to 340 miles between charges, although its large 100kWh battery will take over 10 hours to replenish if using a 7kWh home charger. Most of the time, this won’t be an issue, as owners will top up their car frequently, rather than charging up to 100% from a near-empty battery.
The Citreon e-Berlingo hasn’t been on sale for as long as some of our other used 7-seater picks, but is so capable and has such a strong following that it couldn’t be missed off our list. The popularity of the Berlingo model has been down to its space, value, and comfort, and the e-Berlingo adds a silent driving experience and lower running costs to that list. City drivers will benefit the most from e-Berlingo ownership, as like many other electric cars it’s exempt from congestion fees or low emission zone charges.
The range suits those who plan to use the e-Berlingo for shorter distances, with up to 174 miles between charges. However, if you can find a 100kWh fast charger the battery can be topped up from 10-80% in just 30 minutes.
Choices will remain limited on the used market as manufacturers continue to work through supply shortages, but if you can be flexible on colour and trim the e-Berlingo is a great used buy.
What to look for when buying a used 7-seater
The extra space is often most noticeable in the rearmost seats, as some SUVs don’t offer as much leg or headroom as MPVs. Of course, there are exceptions to this, and there are some SUVs that will comfortably accommodate adults in the third row, particularly for shorter journeys. Most seven-seater SUVs (and many MPVs, for that matter) only have back seats suitable for children or small adults, which is something you may need to bear in mind.
Some of these cars come with five seats as standard and the third row is specced as an optional extra, so make sure you’re looking at a car that meets your requirements. It’s also worth remembering that while fold-away rear seats may be less spacious and more “occasional” than full-size items, they’re also much easier to stow than a pair of proper seats, which may need removing entirely if you want to free up space for luggage rather than people.
If you need as much space as possible, you’ll want to look at a van-based MPV like the Peugeot Rifter or Volkswagen Caddy Life. Despite a recent increase in the amount of equipment they come with, these van-based cars still tend to be much cheaper than standard MPVs and SUVs.
With these vehicles destined for families up and down the country, it’s reassuring that nearly all of the models on our list have the maximum five-star safety rating awarded by independent testers Euro NCAP.
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