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
Oct 15, 2020

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 even serious shopping sprees. A large seven-seater should make even the most arduous tasks - like trips to Ikea to pick up flat-pack furniture - 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 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

Latest Volvo XC90 deals from £17,990
Monthly finance from £330

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 an 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.

VOLVO XC90 BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Ford Galaxy

Latest Ford Galaxy deals from £12,000
Monthly finance from £203

This is the daddy of today’s people carriers (another word for an MPV). 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 is convenient.

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. It’s possible to order the Galaxy with a powered tailgate, too.

FORD GALAXY BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer

Latest Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer deals from £14,499
Monthly finance from £211

The name may have changed (it used to be called the Grand C4 Picasso) but otherwise this large seven-seat people carrier (there’s also a smaller five-seater called the C4 SpaceTourer) is the same stylish and reasonably roomy car it always has been. We say ‘reasonably’ because the third row of seats is fit just 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.

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

Latest Seat Alhambra deals from £13,995
Monthly finance from £207

The Alhambra is a genuinely large people carrier on the lines of the Ford Galaxy, but with one major difference: it has sliding doors. These are a boon in tight parking spaces. Electrically powered doors are an option, 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. It's not quite as big as a Galaxy but it dwarfs something like the Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer.

SEAT ALHAMBRA BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Land Rover Discovery Sport

Latest Land Rover Discovery Sport deals from £16,990
Monthly finance from £245

Like the Volvo XC90, the Land Rover Discovery Sport is an SUV rather than a typical people carrier, and while it too offers up to seven seats, this particular option has 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.

All of this extra tech that enables the Discovery Sport to go off-roader 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

Latest Volkswagen Touran deals from £10,990
Monthly finance from £203

Despite its relatively compact proportions, the VW Touran does house seven reasonably sized seats. It's the middle row in particular that offer 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 you’re travelling five-up, 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

Latest Skoda Kodiaq deals from £16,497
Monthly finance from £241

For those who don't require the Land Rover Discovery Sport’s off-road capabilities, and who have less to spend, the Kodiaq is a good choice. It’s available in five and seven-seat form. 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 generous 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

Latest Kia Sorento deals from £10,000
Monthly finance from £189

The Sorento is one of the roomiest seven-seat SUVs you can buy and it’s great value, too. Kias have a 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 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 rearmost seats can be easily folded to create 660 litres of space.

KIA SORENTO BUYERS' GUIDE

9. Ssangyong Rexton

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. Tesla Model X

If you’re shocked to see an electric car on this list, you shouldn’t be. The not only are electric cars slowly becoming more popular and more suitable for everyday use, the Tesla Model X is also a hugely capable seven-seater, even if it is extremely expensive to buy. There are several other alternatives you could look at too.

Over the years there has been a handful of powertrain options on offer for the Model X. Currently though, there are just two options for new buyers. The standard version promising 351 miles of range and performance model claiming a range of 337 miles. With a starting price north of £80,000 the Model X is by no means cheap, but if you want an electric seven-seater, there are none better.

TESLA MODEL X BUYERS' GUIDE

 

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