Best eight-seater cars 2021
If a seven-seat MPV or SUV just doesn’t cut it and you need an eight-seater, take a look at our picks of the best models on sale today
Although MPVs and SUVs with seven seats are a relatively common sight on British roads, large family cars with eight seats are much rarer. When you need to transport eight people, you might expect that two cars or a minibus are your only options. There are, however, a number of manufacturers that have plugged this gap in the market, together offering a range of vehicles with the same equipment you would expect in regular family cars in a more practical, eight-seater package.
Most eight-seater people carriers look a lot like the vans on which they’re based and prioritise space over styling. The suspension and engines fitted, however, are often the same as the ones used across a manufacturer’s range, meaning the driving experience is often more car-like than you’d expect.
Similarly, the interiors are less basic and utilitarian than they used to be, as manufacturers do their best to distance these vehicles from their, what are often commercial, origins.
These are our top picks for the best eight-seater cars on sale in the UK today.
1. Citroen SpaceTourer
Based on the Dispatch commercial van, Citroen has done a great job of disguising the SpaceTourer’s origins - on the interior, at least. A seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system sits in the centre of the dashboard, which is a feature found in most smaller, conventional cars, and the suspension does a good job of insulating you from potholes and poor road surfaces.
You can choose how big you want the SpaceTourer to be: the five-metre long M and the 5.3-metre XL offer huge amounts of space, with the latter’s extra room making it a very capable and comfortable nine-seater car. We’d go for the more powerful BlueHDi 150 or 180 diesel engines if possible, as the entry-level BlueHDi 120 model takes 12 seconds to get from 0-62mph and feels underpowered when fully loaded. There’s now an electric e-SpaceTourer, too, with over 140 miles of range and fast-charging. Read more.
2. Peugeot Traveller
The Peugeot Traveller was developed in conjunction with the Citroen SpaceTourer and the Toyota Proace Verso, so which of these three you pick should come down to brand preference and price. You can specify the Traveller with five, seven or eight seats, while the Business model (aimed at hotels, airports and the like) is available with nine seats.
As with the cars it shares parts with, the Peugeot is available in two different sizes (M and XL), while the 1.5 and 2.0-litre diesel engines offer decent economy of 35.5 to 47.1mpg and cost the standard rate in VED (road tax) each year. We recommend the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine, as its extra punch makes keeping up with traffic easy without causing too much of a dent in the fuel economy. Like the Citroen, there’s also an electric e-Traveller edition. Read more.
3. Toyota Proace Verso
The Toyota Proace Verso is actually built in the same factory as the SpaceTourer, so it also comes in two different sizes and has sliding rear doors. The Proace Verso Shuttle is aimed at taxi drivers, but go for the Family model and you’ll get alloy wheels, sat nav and a head-up display.
We’d avoid the entry-level 1.5-litre diesel and choose the 148bhp 2.0-litre engine, which takes a reasonable 13 seconds to go from 0-62mph, returns 52.3mpg and costs the standard VED rate each year in road tax. Read more.
Being the more luxurious of the 8-seaters, the Mercedes V-Class requires deep pockets, as the entry-level version costs several thousand pounds more than most cars on this list. You’ll have to go for the Long or Extra Long model if you want eight seats, but Mercedes fits leather upholstery, sat nav, and two power-sliding rear doors as standard.
The V-Class’ dashboard is something of a masterclass, too, as it’s broadly similar to the rest of Mercedes’ line-up. That means you get a touch-sensitive control pad, a seven-inch infotainment system and high-quality materials as standard. Mercedes’ AMG Line trim adds a ‘sporty’ bodykit, 19-inch alloy wheels and carbon-fibre-effect interior details. As with many of these cars, there’s also an electric Mercedes EQV. Read more.
5. Ford Tourneo Custom
Modern Fords have a reputation for being fun to drive and the Transit van-based Tourneo Custom is no exception. As long as you’re happy with the Tourneo Custom’s size, its sharp steering, effective brakes and snappy gearchange make for a surprising amount of fun to be had on winding roads.
We’d go for Zetec trim, as this adds a heated front windscreen, air-conditioning, automatic lights and wipers, and alloy wheels. A plug-in hybrid model is also available, alongside a rugged Tourneo Custom Active trim level.
6. Renault Trafic Passenger
The Renault isn’t the newest model here but a higher-spec Trafic will have a modern interior and it’s noticeably cheaper than some of its contemporaries. The three engines are 2.0-litre diesels, offered with 118, 143 and 168bhp, all of which return just under 40mpg. It's worth getting the 143bhp engine, as this drops the 0-62mph time from a ponderous 15.5 seconds to a more useful 11.8 seconds.
The entry-level Business trim includes a DAB radio, electric front windows and Bluetooth connectivity. Upgrading to the rather optimistically named Sport model costs around £2,500 and adds a seven-inch touchscreen, sat nav, air-conditioning, upgraded seat fabric, metallic paint, 17-inch alloy wheels and those all-important rear parking sensors.
7. Mercedes Vito Tourer
If you’d like an eight-seater Mercedes but blanche at the V-Class’ cost, the Vito Tourer may be for you. True, it does without the V-Class’ fancy dashboard and standard equipment, but it’s about £18,000 cheaper.
You get auto wipers and cruise control as standard, while upgrading to Select and Sport trims adds extras like tinted windows, alloy wheels and air conditioning – although be warned: the higher up the trim range you go and the more powerful engine you pick, the closer in price the Vito Tourer gets to the V-Class.
8. Volkswagen Transporter Shuttle
Sitting roughly between the Mercedes V-Class and the other cars on this list, the VW Transporter Shuttle is a bit more expensive than the Peugeot Traveller, but for some Volkswagen’s image justifies the expense. All Transporter Shuttles come with a touchscreen infotainment system with smartphone mirroring, air con, front electric windows, rear sunblinds and remote central locking as standard, and you can upgrade to the long-wheelbase version if you’d like a bigger boot.
The engines are all 2.0-litre diesels, but we’d sidestep the entry-level 108bhp versions – you really want at least 125bhp with a car this size, so VW’s 148bhp diesel is the one to go when buying a Transporter Shuttle.
9. Vauxhall Vivaro Life
The Vivaro Life isn’t quite as nice to drive as the Tourneo Custom, nor is the dashboard as appealing as the VW Transporter Shuttle’s, but it is well priced. The latest model uses the same underpinnings and bodywork as the Peugeot, Citroen and Toyota above. You can choose a short or long wheelbase version, and each is available with eight or nine seats.
There’s a smaller range of trim levels available; buyers get a choice of the sparsely equipped Edition or the fully stocked Elite trim, which is about £10,000 more expensive. The latter opens up the choice of the more powerful diesel engines, too. Standard equipment on Edition includes front electric windows, daytime running lights, remote central locking and Bluetooth connectivity; just make sure you tick the rear parking sensor box, as the Vivaro's size means these should be standard, even if Vauxhall doesn’t think so. Air conditioning costs a hefty £900 too.
Looking for a large family car? Read our top 10 picks here.