Best seven-seater cars

For large families, flexibility or just a big boot, it's hard to beat a seven-seater car

Simon Ostler James Wilson
Jun 11, 2021

Need a car that can cope with all sorts of activities, with plenty of space for family, friends, pets and whoever else you want to invite along? Opt for a decent seven-seater and you should have loads of room for road trips, all sorts of different sports gear and some pretty substantial shopping sprees. A large seven-seater should make even the most arduous tasks - like trips to Ikea - a breeze, and you should have scope for holidays away with plenty of passengers and luggage.

Now you might be thinking that a large car with seven seats might not be the most stylish or exciting thing to drive, and that may have been the case 20 years ago, but modern people carriers, or MPVs, are far more sophisticated than they used to be. This type of car is often the best choice for outright seven-seater capability, and you can opt for everything from the reasonably compact Volkswagen Touran to the supersized Ford Galaxy and the more fun to drive Ford S-Max - but this isn't the only format of seven-seater car available.

Large SUVs have rocketed in popularity in recent years and many of these offer the option of seven seats. Big SUVs can be very practical and have made the idea of driving a seven-seater much more desirable to many motorists, thanks to their size, bold styling, and a typically good view of the road ahead. The high driving position that normally comes with an SUV has also proved hugely popular among drivers seeking a more confidence-inspiring experience behind the wheel.

So if you are in the market for a seven-seater, you'll be pleased to know you have options aplenty whether you're after a manual or automatic gearbox, petrol, diesel or hybrid power and two-wheel drive for lower fuel costs or four-wheel drive for greater all-weather grip. Keep reading to see our choice of the best seven-seaters.

Best seven-seater cars

1. Volvo XC90

Best seven-seater for style

Used deals from £20,980
Monthly finance from £449*

The big, safe, and slightly sexy Volvo XC90 is well placed to claim the title of best seven-seater. It has impressive safety standards and an interior that’s so roomy, even adults will be comfortable in the rearmost seats. It’s just a shame there’s a transmission tunnel that impinges on foot space in the middle row of seats.

We’ve come to expect a small boot in these big seven-seaters, but the XC90 still manages to offer 451 litres despite all those seats. Fold all the seats away and there’s even more space, with a total of 1,951 litres on offer. The final touch? The powered tailgate has gesture control – useful if your hands are full of shopping.

If you are planning to make use of all seven seats for a family trip, you can rest assured there's no safer place to put them. Volvo has long maintained its superior safety record, and the XC90 itself has been acclaimed as the safest car in the world on more than one occasion. Be weary of the T8 plug-in hybrid model - this can prove less efficient than the diesel options if you fail to charge it regularly.

VOLVO XC90 BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Ford Galaxy

Best seven-seater for space

Used deals from £14,699
Monthly finance from £270*

This is the daddy of today’s people carriers. It’s the most spacious seven-seater you can buy with enough room in the rearmost row for two adults to sit comfortably. This row folds up and down electrically, too, which adds an extra level of convenience.

Meanwhile, the middle row, which is made up of three individual seats, can slide backwards and forwards to increase legroom or boot space as required. You can fold them down by pressing a button in the boot.

Even with all seven seats in place there’s 300 litres of boot space, which is about as much as a Ford Focus. With all the seats folded down there’s 2,339 litres, which is more than a Mercedes E-Class Estate. Top spec Titanium models can feel quite plush; look out for a model that's been specced with a powered tailgate for an easy life.

FORD GALAXY BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer

Best seven-seater for comfort

Used deals from £14,250
Monthly finance from £228*

The name may have changed (it used to be called the Grand C4 Picasso) but otherwise this large seven-seat people carrier is the same stylish and reasonably roomy car it always has been. We say ‘reasonably’ because the third row of seats is only really big enough for children. The boot is only 165 litres, too, although load space grows to a maximum of 2,181 litres with both rows of seats folded. Don't be fooled by the similarly named C4 SpaceTourer (previously C4 Picasso), which only has five seats.

The SpaceTourer is a comfortable and quirky car filled with practical touches. It’s safe, too, especially in top-spec Flair trim. It features the Safety Pack comprising a driver attention alert warning system, traffic sign recognition and Active Safety Brake providing automatic emergency braking at speeds up to 49mph.

CITROEN GRAND C4 SPACETOURER BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Seat Alhambra

Best seven-seater for sliding doors

Used deals from £18,985
Monthly finance from £325*

The Alhambra is a genuinely large people carrier on the same lines as the Ford Galaxy. Busy families should look for models specified with the optional electrically sliding doors - useful if your hands are full.

The middle-row seats are individual, and can tip and slide. They fold flush into the floor, too, as do the rearmost ones. A folding front passenger seat is an option - look for a car with this if you regularly carry long items. It's not quite as big as a Galaxy but it dwarfs something like the Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer.

Because it shares many parts with the Volkswagen Sharan, you can expect solid build quality and a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines, along with a smooth automatic option. It's better value for money than the Volkswagen, though, which is more expensive to buy.

SEAT ALHAMBRA BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Land Rover Discovery Sport

Best seven-seater for a compact SUV form

Used deals from £21,700
Monthly finance from £335*

Like the Volvo XC90, the Land Rover Discovery Sport is an SUV rather than a typical people carrier, with a touch of off-roader about it, too. It has an intelligent all-wheel-drive system, good wheel articulation (how much the wheels and suspension can move relative to the body) and high ground clearance, which allows it to leave the tarmac and venture into the kinds of places other SUVs, never mind people carriers, wouldn't dare.

In truth, the rearmost seats are suitable only for small children but they fold into the floor to create extra load space while the middle row slides backwards and forwards. They’re split 40/20/40 meaning the middle seat is quite cramped. While most examples you'll find on the used market were specified with seven seats, be aware that some buyers only opted for five, so it's worth confirming which model you're looking at before you commit to a purchase.

All of this extra tech that enables the Discovery Sport to go off-road is expensive, so if you don't plan to go off-road, there are plenty of other seven-seat SUVs to choose from which are much more affordable.

LAND ROVER DISCOVERY SPORT BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Volkswagen Touran

Best seven-seater for growing families

Used deals from £9,200
Monthly finance from £209*

Despite its relatively compact proportions, the VW Touran does house seven reasonably sized seats. It's the middle row in particular that offers a good amount of space, the fact it also slides to create more or less space as you require is a handy feature. The rearmost seats are smaller, which does restrict their use to smaller children, which makes the Touran an ideal choice for growing families with their eye on something larger in the future.

The big downside is the small, 137-litre boot, which rules it out as a seven-person holiday vehicle, unless you fit a roof box. If there's only five of you in the car, though, you can lower the rear seats into the floor to create 927 litres of load space, which is more like it.

VOLKSWAGEN TOURAN BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Skoda Kodiaq

Best seven-seater for a quality SUV that doesn't cost the earth

Used deals from £20,500
Monthly finance from £327*

For those who don't require the Land Rover Discovery Sport’s off-road capabilities, and who have less money to spend, the Skoda Kodiaq is a good choice. It’s available in five and seven-seat form, and there’s also a four-wheel-drive version. Being a Skoda, you’d expect it to be roomy, and it is. We’re used to criticising rear seat space in these kinds of cars but the Kodiaq is actually quite reasonable here – there’s easily enough for children of course, but also for teenagers. Slide the spacious middle row forward and even adults would be reasonably comfortable, although possibly not those in front of them.

Even with all the seats in use there’s 270 litres of boot space, expanding to a maximum of 2,005 litres when middle and rear rows are folded. Underfloor storage compartments, seat-back tables and even an umbrella complete the Kodiaq’s convincing case as a family car.

SKODA KODIAQ BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Kia Sorento

Best seven-seater for equipment

Used deals from £16,805
Monthly finance from £275*

The Kia Sorento is one of the roomiest seven-seat SUVs you can buy and it’s great value, too. Kia has come a long way, and if this is your first acquaintance with the brand you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the quality of the interior and the specification. There are levers that allow you to fold the rear seats remotely, as well as underfloor storage and ventilation controls for those in the rearmost seats.

Talking of these, they’re actually quite roomy with good legroom. Getting to them is a bit of a trial though because the middle row doesn’t slide far enough to aid access. All the seats are set quite low so there’s good headroom, even when the optional panoramic sunroof is fitted. The boot is a measly 142 litres, but the third row of seats can be easily folded to create 660 litres of space.

If you've got a big budget, the latest model can be had with a mild hybrid or plug-in hybrid powertrain. Most common, though, is the 2.2-litre diesel engine that produces almost 200hp.

KIA SORENTO BUYERS' GUIDE

9. Ssangyong Rexton

Best seven-seater for towing

Used deals from £14,995
Monthly finance from £332*

Chances are you wouldn’t recognise a Ssangyong Rexton, even if it reverse parked into your face. But If you want a spacious, practical, seven-seat car with lots of tech and a massive seven-year/150,000 mile warranty, then that could soon change.

With the third row of seats stowed away you get 649 litres of luggage space increasing to 1806 litres when the middle row is folded. As with many others on this list, the rear seats are best for children and teenagers, but adults should be able to cope for shorter journeys. The Rexton has an impressive 3.5-tonne braked towing capacity as well.

10. Mercedes EQV

Best seven-seater for electric power

Used deals from £53,927
Monthly finance from £958*

A van-style electric seven-seater might not be what you were expecting to find on this list, but The Mercedes EQV makes for a futureproof option. It uses a 90kWh battery - similar in size to the Jaguar I-Pace's battery - to provide a range of up to 213 miles. DC charging rates of 110kW are slightly above average, so topping up your EQV shouldn't take too long, too.

Inside, you'd be forgiven for thinking you're driving a car, thanks to a wide range of standard equipment including a 10.3-inch media system, heated front seats, a reversing camera and LED headlights. It only comes with one power option: the EQV 300 produces 204hp, but more importantly in an electric car is the 366Nm of torque (that's low speed muscle) that is available from the get-go.

It's a new model, and prices start at over £70,000 brand new, but there are plenty of examples on BuyaCar with huge savings.

MORE ABOUT THE MERCEDES EQV

*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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