Seven-seater car finance: maximum space, minimum price

Need the maximum number of seats for the minimum monthly payment? These affordable seven-seater cars are eight of the best options

James Wilson
Nov 12, 2020

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 £11,495
Monthly finance from £207

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 (basically fancy 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.

PEUGEOT 5008 BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

Our pick Citroen Grand C4 Picasso Touch
Used deals from £7,800
Monthly finance from £126

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 high 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.

CITROEN GRAND C4 PICASSO BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Skoda Kodiaq

Our pick Skoda Kodiaq SE Drive
Used deals from £16,995
Monthly finance from £258

The Skoda Kodiaq may not be expensive, 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.

SKODA KODIAQ BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Ford Galaxy

Our pick Ford Galaxy Titanium
Used deals from £12,000
Monthly finance from £221

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.

FORD GALAXY BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Seat Alhambra

Our pick Seat Alhambra S
Used deals from £13,995
Monthly finance from £207

The Seat Alhambra is spacious, practical and relatively economical - in purchase cost and fuel economy terms. Yes, on a negative point, Seat’s people carrier is one of the more bland options highlighted here, but that doesn't stop it being a great seven-seater, as it offers very strong value and fantastic usability.

The reason for this - and a real selling point for families and those who need a car for work - is that the Alhambra comes with sliding rear doors, which can take the stress out of having kids clambering in and out of the back without a care in the world. No more should you have to worry about big dents in your rear doors - or the side of the unlucky car you've parked next to.

Boot space is good with the rearmost seats up, too - offering 267 litres of room - with true van-like levels of space if you fold the rear two rows of seats down. Another plus point for the Alhambra is that under its bodywork it is very similar to the Volkswagen Sharan, although it is typically much better value.

There are petrol and diesel versions available but the latter is the best option if you cover many miles or regularly have a full load of passengers and luggage. That's because the diesel engines offer more muscle at low engine speeds than the equivalent petrol versions.

If an automatic gearbox is a must, then diesel will most likely be the only option as automatic petrol Alhambras are very rare. Standard equipment levels are good - even entry-level S models come with front and rear parking sensors - useful on a car of this size - climate control and alloy wheels. Plush SE Lux versions come with electric side doors and hatchbacks - useful if the kids always run off without shutting the door properly.

SEAT ALHAMBRA BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Ford Grand Tourneo Connect

Our pick Ford Grand Tourneo Connect Titanium
Used deals from £10,058
Monthly finance from £155

Here's the start of our van-based seven-seater choices. You may wonder why you'd want a van-based car, but the reason is that vans are seriously practical, even compared with the biggest and cleverest cars. Thanks to the massive space in the back of most vans - plus the extra height compared with similar length cars, van-based people carriers can offer plenty of space for passengers and luggage.

The Ford Grand Tourneo Connect is a great example of how putting some seats in the back of a van, cutting out some windows and sprucing up the interior can have excellent results. Yes, it's not the most exciting looking car, but if practicality is top of your seven-seater shopping list it's really worth considering...

While there is a modest range of engines available - the 1.5-litre 120hp diesel is the pick of the bunch, offering a good blend of muscle and fuel economy - you will want to know exactly which models you're looking at, as there's a lower-powered 1.5-litre diesel, too, which is less suited to carting around the heaviest loads. Thanks to the boxy shape the Grand Tourneo Connect offers ample space in the rearmost seats, especially when they're slid as far back as they will go.

As models such as the Grand Tourneo Connect don't sell in huge numbers, there aren’t many trims to choose from - core models include more affordable Zetec and better equipped Titanium versions. Standard equipment on both includes electric windows, a heated front windscreen, air-conditioning and a digital radio. Titanium models add rear parking sensors, which, being that the Grand Tourneo Connect is quite long, could be rather helpful.

7. Vauxhall Combo Life

Our pick Vauxhall Combo Life Energy
Used deals from £11,990
Monthly finance from £174

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.

VAUXHALL COMBO LIFE BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life

Used deals from £16,991
Monthly finance from £217

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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