Seven-seater plug-in hybrid and electric cars

Seven-seat plug-in hybrids and pure electric cars with a decent range are thin on the ground. Here are our six recommendations.

Craig Hale
Aug 18, 2021

While more and more manufacturers are embracing electrification, there’s one area of the market where the options available remain surprisingly limited - seven-seaters. If you want to carry the maximum amount of people with the minimum amount of impact on the environment, the choice of models is relatively small.

Many drivers want to show their green credentials by running a seven-seater with a decent electric range - how far the car will travel on a single charge, that is.

Conventional hybrids such as the Toyota Prius+ and the Lexus RX L - which have much smaller battery packs - constantly alternate between petrol and electric power, so can’t really offer any significant electric-only range, while big PHEV SUVs from the likes of Land Rover, Audi and Mercedes come with five seats only, because of the space the hybrid tech takes up.

Of course, you could just dispense with conventional fuel completely and run a fully electric seven-seater. As technology advances, the range of electric cars is getting greater and greater - some can now cover in excess of 200 miles per charge - and it is these we have considered here.

With more electric cars likely to arrive on the market in the next couple of years, you may wonder why there is a need for plug-in hybrids at all - with their typical range of up to 30 miles on a full charge before the battery runs out and the petrol or diesel engine kicks in.

But their relative affordability compared to fully electric options - and the fact that some people are not yet ready to make the jump to pure electric cars - should ensure that PHEVs still have a significant role to play.

Best seven-seater plug-in cars

1. Citroen e-Berlingo

Best seven-seater for cheap electric motoring

Used deals Limited stock

Citroen’s latest iteration of the Berlingo is available with the usual petrol and diesel engines, as well as an electric motor capable of producing 136hp. It’s paired to a 50kWh battery which Citroen claims is good for a 182-mile range.

Despite its van-like shape, Citroen has fitted it with all the mod-cons, including 100kW rapid charging which should fill 80% of the battery in 30 minutes.

If you’re looking for all seven seats, it’s the XL model that should be on your list - there’s also an M version but that comes with just five places to sit.

Citroen is part of a much larger company which means sister brands Peugeot and Vauxhall share many of the same parts in the almost-identical e-Rifter and Combo-e Life.

CITROEN BERLINGO BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Citroen e-SpaceTourer

Best seven-seater for spacious electric motoring

Used deals Limited stock

If you’re in need of a little more space, the SpaceTourer is a size up from the Berlingo. As a result, the seat count goes up to eight, or nine in certain models.

You can expect the same 136hp electric motor, 50kWh battery and 100kW rapid charging capabilities, but because it’s a heavier vehicle, range drops to a claimed 148 miles.

Similarly, there are the very similar Peugeot e-Traveller and Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life to choose from.

CITROEN SPACETOURER BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Mercedes EQV

Best seven-seater for luxury

Used deals from £65,980
Monthly finance from £893*

If you’ve got more cash to spend, the Mercedes EQV makes for a more premium alternative. New prices start at well over £70,000, but despite it being a fairly new model, there are already some strong used deals with prices on BuyaCar starting from £65,980. Its full name is the EQV 300, but this can be misleading, as it produces 204hp.

It uses a much larger 90kWh battery, but this doesn’t mean it can travel twice as far as the Citroen e-SpaceTourer, for example - it’s far less efficient, with a promised range of 213 miles. It will charge at speed of up to 110kW, if you can find a charger that will deliver such speeds.

All models come with alloy wheels, LED headlights, a 10.3-inch media system, and a reversing camera which is particularly useful for a vehicle of this size.

MORE ABOUT THE MERCEDES EQV

4. Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV

Best seven-seater for 4x4 driving

Used deals Limited stock

Finding an electric SUV with seven seats is still something of a hardship, and even plug-in hybrid versions of seven-seaters often ditch the last row of seats in favour of battery space. The Hyundai Santa Fe isn’t one of these, but be aware that the plug-in version costs around £5,000 more than the self-charging hybrid version.

It’s not all show, no go. It has a clever four-wheel-drive system that allows the driver to choose between different modes like sand, snow and mud.

Expect 265hp on tap, making it the quickest Santa Fe in the range. Fail to keep it fully charged all the time, and drive it like a lunatic, and you’re unlikely to see anywhere near Hyundai’s claimed 170mpg figure - under 40mpg will almost certainly be a reality.

HYUNDAI SANTA FE BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Kia Sorento PHEV

Best seven-seater for a long warranty

Used deals from £39,500
Monthly finance from £575*

Similarly priced, and sharing many of the underpinnings as the Santa Fe, is the Kia Sorento. It shares the 1.6-litre petrol engine and electric motor, but keep it charged as often as possible or the petrol engine will be less efficient having to carry around the extra weight of the batteries.

While Hyundai offers a five-year warranty on its cars, Kia offers seven years. Regardless, both have separate cover for the hybrid batteries.

MORE ABOUT THE KIA SORENTO

6. Volvo XC90 Recharge

Best seven-seater for style

Used deals from £38,799
Monthly finance from £580*

Volvo is a little less optimistic with its figures: just over 100mpg should be achievable according to the stylish Swedish automaker, but around 30mpg could be a reality if you rely solely on the petrol engine.

It will travel for around 30 miles on electric power alone, fairly standard for a plug-in hybrid, but test its 5.5-second 0-62mph time and it will become far less efficient.

Recharge is the name Volvo uses for its electrified models: plug-in hybrid or electric. The only plug-in version of the XC90 has been the T8 up to now, but other smaller models like the XC40 and XC60 get the choice of T4, T5 and T6. There are mild hybrid versions of the XC90 which may prove more efficient if you don’t have access to a charger.

VOLVO XC90 BUYERS' GUIDE

*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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