Seven-seater car finance: maximum space, minimum price

Need the most seats for the minimum monthly payment? These affordable seven-seater cars are some of the best options available right now

James Wilson
Oct 7, 2021

Most people who need a seven-seater car either have a large family, or have to transport a number of people for work, but whatever the reason, getting the most space for the least money is typically the goal. In the 2020s this means that low monthly payments are paramount. Going for a used car is one quick way of cutting instalments, with PCP finance helping to shrink monthly payments further, compared with Hire Purchase and old-fashioned loans.

After all, business users will want tiny overheads and parents with many children are sure to have already had to spend a large proportion of their salaries on the the kids, so minimising how much they need to spend on the car makes life that bit easier.

Traditionally, there were just two types of cars that offered seven seats - people carriers, also known as MPVs - and van-derived MPVs. As you might guess, these two types of car aren’t far apart in terms of what they offer, but those which were first designed as a van (such as the Vauxhall Combo Life) do tend to be slightly bigger, while those engineered to be a car from day one are often more refined and luxurious.

Today though, there are dozens of SUVs to choose from, many of which promise seating for seven people. While these are often seen as more desirable, the cost-to-space ratio is often much worse than with much more affordable people carriers as a result. Still, if you know what to look for, there are several great value SUVs with spacious interiors and seven seats on offer that are affordable - we've included several in our roundup below.

Not all seven-seaters have adult-friendly rearmost seats, with many offering cramped rows of rearmost seats. Here we've focused on those cars that offer ample space for the rearmost passengers, so you shouldn't have complaints even if you need to fit in seven adults.

You might be surprised by just how many so-called seven-seaters are only useful for transporting five adults and two kids in the very back, thanks to very limited legroom and headroom, so this list should help you focus on those that provide enough room for average size adults to fit in all seven seats. Furthermore, each model below is available second-hand for less than £250 per month on BuyaCar.

Seven-seater car finance

1. Peugeot 5008

Our pick Peugeot 5008 Allure
Used deals from £17,790
Monthly finance from £0

The second-generation Peugeot 5008 - which was launched in 2017 - is a far more desirable model than the one it replaced, taking on a high-riding SUV-style format, compared with the more conventional look that the first 5008 people carrier offered. Just don't expect to take this SUV lookalike off road, as the 5008 offers SUV style rather than 4x4 substance.

Out on the open road, the 5008 is a comfy cruiser making it perfect for those family excursions up and down the country. One mark against the Peugeot is that the boot is quite small with the third row of seats up - it measures in at only 167 litres, which is less than half of what you get in a Ford Fiesta - however this is not unique to the 5008. All but the very largest seven-seaters prioritise passenger space over having a large boot with all seats in use.

One strong point for the 5008 is its selection of smooth and efficient engines with great petrol and diesel options to choose from. There is no four-wheel-drive option here but that shouldn't be an issue for most drivers, since so few SUV owners ever take them off road. More importantly, having two-wheel drive makes the car cheaper and more efficient than it'd be with a heavy four-wheel drive system.

Entry-level Active trim comes with climate control (a more sophisticated air-conditioning), rear parking sensors and automatic headlights as standard. If your budget allows, moving up to Allure models could be a good option thanks to useful extras such as improved safety technology and other kit that makes it feel that bit more upmarket.


2. Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

Our pick Citroen Grand C4 Picasso Touch
Used deals from £8,870
Monthly finance from £0

The Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is one of the best people-hauling cars money can buy. Despite being an MPV - a type of car that is traditionally bland and boxy - the Picasso is stylish inside and out, plus it is very spacious and comfortable, even on rough British roads. Also, thanks to Citroen’s frugal range of petrol and diesel engines it should cost very little to run.

If you're considering getting one of these, bear in mind that Citroen changed the name of the Grand C4 Picasso to Grand C4 SpaceTourer in 2018 but these are the same car behind the badges. That means that you can simply go for whichever version is available for a better price or in a specification that better suits your tastes.

As with the 5008 above, the boot is small with the third row of seats in place, with just 165 litres of space available. Fold the rear rows of seats flat and there is 1851 litres of space to play with - a hefty amount, whatever you're looking to transport.

If you cover reasonably high mileages, the BlueHDi 100 engine could be a wise choice, thanks to its claimed fuel economy figure of more than 70mpg. There is a choice of manual and automatic gearboxes, too. Entry-level Touch models come with climate control, rear parking sensors and cruise control as standard.


3. Skoda Kodiaq

Our pick Skoda Kodiaq SE Drive
Used deals from £18,550
Monthly finance from £488

The Skoda Kodiaq isn’t a particularly expensive car but it is one of the best large SUVs on sale. Skoda has a reputation for building high-quality, practical and economical cars - using many of the same engines, gearboxes and kit featured in far more expensive VW and Audi models, as VW owns Skoda - so with the Kodiaq you get a high-spec SUV for a low cost.

On the subject of fuel economy, there are both petrol and diesel engines available, along with the choice of manual and automatic gearboxes. You also have the choice between two- and four-wheel drive versions - stick with two-wheel drive for the lowest costs and best fuel economy. There is no weak point in the range but the 2.0-litre diesel engines offer a particularly good balance between performance and efficiency.

When looking for which trims to go for, SE Drive specification should offer enough equipment for most. As standard, these models are Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatible and come with 19-inch alloy wheels, a 9.2-inch touchscreen media system and sat-nav. With regards to practicality, the rearmost seats offer plenty of space for fully grown adults, particularly if you slide the middle row of seats forward. Boot space with the rearmost seats in place is useful at 270 litres - not far off twice as much as several other cars in our list.


4. Ford Galaxy

Our pick Ford Galaxy Titanium
Used deals Limited stock

There are many reasons the Ford Galaxy is a firm favourite with taxi drivers. There is masses of space, a comfortable ride and thanks to features such as middle and rearmost seats that fold at the touch of a button, practicality is through the roof, too. Furthermore, adults will have no problem travelling in comfort when sitting in the the sixth and seventh seats, which isn't the case with many people carriers and 'seven-seater' SUVs.

Zetec trim kicks off the range and offers good value, but if you're getting a used car, well-equipped Titanium and Titanium X versions - which are expensive new - are well worth considering, as these give you lots of desirable additional kit and are much better value at a year or two old.

Additional equipment included on Titanium models includes traffic sign recognition, cruise control and tinted rear windows. Be aware that the majority of Galaxys come with a manual gearbox and a diesel engine. These should be some of the most affordable and economical options.

That said, there are still a fair few automatics available and they are really quite good. In addition to this, Ford does offer petrol-powered Galaxy models. Whether these are the right option for you over a diesel model will come down to how many miles you cover. Typically diesel models - especially new and nearly new ones - are more expensive to purchase but are more economical.

This means that drivers who cover many tens of thousands of miles each year are better off with diesel - as the amount they save through lower fuel bills should offset the higher initial cost - while those who cover, say, 15,000 miles or so per year are likely to spend less overall with a petrol version.


5. Nissan X-Trail

Our pick Nissan X-Trail 1.7 dCi Acenta
Used deals from £14,400
Monthly finance from £0

The five-seat Nissan Qashqai is a hugely popular family SUV for very good reason, and the X-Trail essentially acts as a big brother to this well-proven car. Although the X-Trail is also also a five-seater as standard - with the option for extra seats costing £1,000 extra when new - there are now plenty of affordable used examples of seven-seat models to be found.

The X-Trail’s may be a bit more subdued than that of the Qashqai but Equipment is pretty generous, with all trim levels including cruise control, Bluetooth phone connectivity, digital radio and air-conditioning. Upgrade to the Acenta Premium trim and you will also get a better sound system, automatic lights and wipers, a panoramic sunroof and dual-zone climate control.

With 464-litres of boot space and a 5-star NCAP safety rating, the X-Trail should prove a pretty capable and safe family mover. Depending on the age of the car, there are a number of engine options to choose from - the 1.6-litre petrol and 1.6, 2.0-litre diesel have been discontinued. The current lineup now consists of just a 1.3-litre petrol or a 1.7-litre diesel. If you’re regularly carrying the whole family, we’d recommend a diesel.


6. Ford S-Max

Our pick Ford S-Max 2.0 TDCi Titanium Sport
Used deals Limited stock

If you like the thought of a Ford Galaxy but fancy something a bit sleeker, the S-Max could be just the answer. Fortunately, this car isn’t a case of form over function as the S-Max offers huge amounts of interior space. In fact if you fold down all of the rear seats - which can each be folded individually - it could rival some vans. You can even opt for a four-wheel-drive version.

There are four trim levels available - Zetec, Titanium, ST-Line and the high-end Vignale. All trims come with Ford’s SYNC 3 eight-inch infotainment screen, front and rear parking sensors, digital radio, cruise control and automatic wipers. You can also choose from a variety of diesel engines or a petrol 'self-charging' hybrid.

The S-Max is also surprisingly engaging to drive too - it handles well on twistier roads, cruises comfortably on the motorway and the more powerful versions even put out a reasonably punchy 185bhp. Pricing for a brand new S-Max starts at over £30,000 so it can prove very costly once you add in any options. Fortunately, there are plenty of bargains to be had on the used market.


7. Vauxhall Combo Life

Our pick Vauxhall Combo Life Energy
Used deals Limited stock

The Vauxhall Combo Life is based on the same platform as the Peugeot Rifter and Citroen Berlingo, meaning that all three are very similar. As a result, if the styling of one isn’t to your taste, there are two others to fall back on. It also means it's worth shopping around to see whether there is a better value model with a Peugeot or Citroen badge available when you're ready to buy.

The Combo Life’s engine range is modest but well suited to a vehicle of this type. There is one 1.2-litre petrol engine, which might sound tiny for such a large car, but offers much more punch than you'd expect and is a great option for those who mostly do town driving and two 1.5-litre diesel engines - which offer different power levels - for those that do a lot of out-of-town miles.

All versions come with a manual gearbox as standard although an automatic transmission is available, but only on higher power diesels. Not all Combo Life variants are seven-seaters, some make do without the third row. Additionally, seven-seaters are only available in Energy and Elite form, so make sure you know whether the ones you're looking at have five or seven seats.

Energy models come as standard with air-conditioning, automatic emergency braking and cruise control. For those desperate to have the maximum space possible, there is also an ‘XL’ version of the Combo Life, which, as the name suggests boosts interior and luggage space, making it a wise choice for those after seven seats.


8. Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life

Used deals Limited stock

What is most surprising about the Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life is not its long name, huge cabin or spacious rear seats but the fact it drives well for a car of this type. Yes, as with many van-based cars - which are designed to be able to cope with huge amounts of weight - the ride can be a tad bouncy if you have no passengers or luggage in the back, but it still offers a pleasant drive.

While the third row of seats is a tad awkward to get to, it's worth clambering in as the rear row is more than spacious enough to transport adult passengers. Also, it is possible to remove the middle and rear seats completely to bring cargo space to well over 3,000 litres - great if you need to use the Caddy Maxi Life as a van and fit in huge amounts of cargo.

The bulk of Caddy Maxi Life models are diesel-powered but that is no bad thing thanks to the strong efficiency and performance on offer. Curiously, there are four-wheel-drive versions, too. These can be identified thanks to their ‘4MOTION’ names. Automatic versions are available, too. As standard all models come with air-conditioning and useful twin sliding rear doors.


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