Best seven-seater hybrid and electric cars

Need space for seven but the ability to run on battery power alone? These are the best hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric seven-seaters

James Wilson Craig Hale
Nov 24, 2021

If you're trying to find a car that produces fewer carbon emissions, but you need it to have seven seats and enough space for your family, there are a handful of options available to you. Some of the best hybrid SUVs on sale are surprisingly efficient when it comes to emissions, while they also make excellent family cars.

You might be thinking you'd really like to stop burning fuel altogether and buy an electric car, but seven-seaters with current technology are simply too big and heavy to make them viable as electric cars for many of us. There are very few big electric cars to choose from, and their electric range is limited to anywhere around 100-200 miles, which is far less than we have come to expect from a tank of fuel.

But that's not to say the selection of hybrid and electric seven-seater cars available aren't capable in their own right if you can find one to meet your needs. If you only intend to travel short trips in your electric people carrier then 100 miles per charge is probably plenty. The plug-in hybrid models we've listed here are going to be better suited to longer trips; they're able to run on electricity alone for up to 30 miles if you charge them regularly, but the option to switch to a traditional engine means you can go much further than that.

While the choice of seven-seater electric cars currently extends to just a handful of models, those available do solve different problems for those who need plenty of seats, from the relatively affordable to the all-out luxurious.

But, if you aren’t quite ready to make the switch to all-electric cars, there are a number of hybrid options listed below as well, some plug-in hybrids - which offer greater electric range, provided you regularly plug in to charge the batteries - and some self-charging, where the petrol engine charges a smaller set of batteries as you drive, offering a small electric boost.

Regardless of how big your budget is, it is important to have a good idea of what you need your seven-seater to do. Major considerations to keep in mind are electric range and how usable you need the rearmost seats to be – electric car or not, a third row of seats often only brings enough space for small children.

Best seven-seat hybrid and electric cars

1. Kia Sorento

Used deals from £43,999
Monthly finance from £628*

Type of electric vehicle Plug-in hybrid (hybrid option also available)
Range 35 miles

While the latest Kia Sorento gets a 2.2-litre diesel engine - much like the car it replaced - it's the 1.6-litre petrol engine we're interested in today. It's coupled with an electric motor and is available as a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid. The hybrid manages a mile or two cruising with little input from the engine, helping the heavy SUV achieve around 40mpg - similar to the diesel model.

The plug-in hybrid uses a much larger battery, though, which means an electric range of up to 35 miles should see many people through their daily commutes. Charge it at every opportunity, and Kia reckons over 170mpg is possible, but fail to keep the batteries topped up and you could see this plummet below 40mpg thanks to the added weight of the batteries.

Charging the plug-in hybrid takes 3.5 hours from a dedicated home charger or a little over five hours using a standard domestic socket. It's worth noting that the maximum supported charging speed is 3.3kW - in comparison, many electric cars can charge at up to 11kW.

Whichever model you go for, you can expect a large touchscreen, reversing camera, LED headlights, heated seats, a heated steering wheel, and adaptive cruise control

2. Hyundai Santa Fe

Used deals from £43,495
Monthly finance from £611*
Type of electric vehicle
 Plug-in hybrid (hybrid option also available)
Range 35 miles

The Hyundai Santa Fe is built on many of the same mechanical parts as the Kia Sorento, so it's no surprise then that it, too, can run for around 35 miles with little to no input from the 1.6-litre petrol engine. Hyundai has fitted its version of the seven-seater SUV with a 7.2kW charger, which means faster charging (if you have access to a fast enough charger, that is). 

Much like the Sorento, standard kit is more than reasonable in the Santa Fe, and things begin to feel luxurious higher up the trims with treats like cooled seats.

Both models also share their engines, so a 1.6-litre petrol hybrid is also available, alongside a 2.2-litre diesel.

3. Nissan e-NV200 Combi

Used deals Limited stock
Type of electric vehicle
 Electric
Range 124 miles

Alongside the range of electric seven-seater SUVs we also have van-based options like the Nissan e-NV200 Combi. While the e-NV200 Combi is slightly let down by its somewhat sluggish acceleration and average interior packaging, the fact remains that if you want a relatively affordable electric car with seven seats, it is one of your best options.

Unlike some others on this list, the e-NV200 Combi offers decent space for adults sitting in the rearmost (forward-facing) seats. Knee room might be a tad tight, but thanks to the height of the rear seats, the fact they recline, and the impressive amount of headroom, most should be comfy when travelling in the rear row.

It isn’t like passengers will be trapped in the back for 300 miles at a time either, as the e-NV200 only has a range of around 120 miles. Performance is similarly modest, with a 0-62mph time of 14.0 seconds and a top speed of 76mph.

We're just beginning to see glimpses of the e-NV200 Combi appearing on the used market. Prices are still high due to the fact it's electric, but we can see the appeal this seven-seater would have.

4. Mercedes EQV

Used deals from £67,980
Monthly finance from £940*
Type of electric vehicle
 Electric
Range 213 miles

A couple of housekeeping items first: the Mercedes EQV is actually an eight-seater. It's new to the UK - and the world - which means it's expensive to buy new - prices start at over £70,000. But, that doesn't mean there aren't already incredible deals on the BuyaCar website.

The EQV is an electric version of the fossil fuel-powered Mercedes V-Class. It promises over 200 miles of range plus all the bells and whistles a modern-day Mercedes has to offer – including an impressive media system called MBUX, which features very slick voice controls.

Out of all the cars on this list, the EQV is champion of interior space, thanks to it originating as a van-based people carrier. This means there is ample space for eight adults plus a decent amount of luggage, provided you are creative with where you store the latter – such as under the rear seats.

Additional practical touches such as electric sliding doors and a split tailgate (you can either open the full boot door or smaller glass hatch instead) help make the EQV arguably the most practical all-electric car on this list.

5. Volvo XC90 T8 Hybrid

Used deals from £38,928
Monthly finance from £587*
Type of electric vehicle
Plug-in hybrid (mild hybrid option also available)
Range 28 miles

If you'd prefer a plug-in hybrid that offers the potential of zero-emissions transport for shorter journeys - provided you charge regularly - and it is desirability, comfort and refinement you are after in your seven-seater, then look no further than the Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV.

Yes, cars such as the Tesla Model X are all-electric and offer much greater acceleration, but the XC90 is head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to execution - it feels far more upmarket inside than the others here - plus it is more affordable than the likes of the Model X.

Perhaps more importantly for those looking to transport many passengers, the forward-facing rearmost seats are large enough for adults to travel in relative comfort – although those nearing six feet tall and above may struggle with headroom.

Being a PHEV (plug-in hybrid), you will still have to fill up with petrol - unless you only travel short distances and plug in religiously - and as a result, have to live with a certain level of emissions from the exhaust pipe. Volvo updated the XC90 for 2019 and as a consequence boosted its all-electric range to 28 miles. As for performance, the XC90 T8 comes with enough muscle to go from 0-62mph in under six seconds – impressive for a seven-seat SUV.

Being a more well-known brand, the Volvo hybrid models are much more widely available on the used market. The XC90 is a much more standard SUV and therefore we expect this car to be a popular choice as a utilitarian family car.

VOLVO XC90 BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Toyota Prius+

Used deals from £25,495
Monthly finance from £396*
Type of electric vehicle
Hybrid
Economy 47mpg

Toyota has long been the champion of self-charging cars - which offer a small electric boost, increasing fuel economy and power slightly - since it launched the original Prius nearly two decades ago. In today’s world, the Toyota Prius+ uses all Toyota’s electrification experience and wraps it in a rather practical seven-seat package.

The final word in driving pleasure it is not, but comfortable and cheap as chips to run it is. Thanks to a well thought out interior there is even enough space in the (forward-facing) rearmost seats for your average adult - just about.

Economy for a Prius+ is claimed to be around 47mpg under the most recent fuel economy testing procedure. That's lower than some diesel alternatives, but not bad for a car with a petrol engine. All models come relatively well equipped and boast Toyota’s standard five-year/100,000-mile warranty, which is better than the industry standard.

7. Lexus RX L

Used deals from £37,890
Monthly finance from £525*
Type of electric vehicle
Hybrid
Economy 34mpg

The Lexus RX L is a slightly longer version of the standard five-seat RX. ‘Slightly’ is the keyword here and, as a result, the rearmost forward-facing seats are best suited for children as adults will likely find the back a touch cramped.

Aside from that, the RX L promises to deliver the same high-quality interior, decent performance and strong reliability as the regular RX. On that last point, the RX was voted the 5th best car to own by UK motorists in the 2019 Auto Express Driver Power survey. If fuel economy and low emissions are important to you, however, this is not the car for you, as claimed fuel economy is a low 34mpg, which is far less than many conventional diesel alternatives. Having said that, CO2 emissions are relatively low at 138g/km.

8. Toyota Highlander

Used deals Limited stock
Type of electric vehicle
Hybrid
Economy 40mpg

Toyota has been building hybrid cars for many years now, and doing it well. Piggybacking on the success of the Prius, we have seen the Yaris, Auris, Corolla, C-HR and RAV4 just to name a few. Sitting at the top of the tree, though, is the new Highlander. While it may be expensive - at £50,000 new - there are already bargains to be found on BuyaCar.

Fortunately, the range is simple: entry-level Excel comes with a premium sound system, a panoramic sunroof, three-zone air-conditioning, all-round parking sensors, a reversing camera, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. Step up to Excel Premium for heated outer rear seats, cooled front seats, and a slick digital rear-view mirror.

It's strictly a hybrid - no option to plug in; the 2.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor combo promises a little under 40mpg.

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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