Best seven-seater cars

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

BuyaCar team
Jan 19, 2017

Buy a seven-seat car and you’ll wonder how you ever survived without one. If you’re a family of seven that much is obvious but even if you’re a family of five you’ve got extra space for relatives or friends. At other times, you’ve space for a six-a-side football team plus driver. 

So that’s occupants catered for but the other great thing about a seven-seat car is all that space you have when the seat rows aren’t occupied. Just packing away the rearmost ones frees up loads of room but lower the middle row and we’re talking estate space, at least in volume terms thanks to the high roof most seven-seat cars have. That said, from a safety perspective, filling the car to the roof isn’t ideal, unless you fit protective load bars.

Downsides? With the back row in use there’s very little boot space, certainly not enough for all that luggage, and there’s often space only for children in the rearmost row. Meanwhile, seven-seat cars are bulky and can be a handful to drive. The first criticism is hard to counter. As for the second, there are seven-seat cars with sufficient space in the back for adult passengers, and as for the third, there are seven-seat cars that are surprisingly enjoyable to drive.


Ford Galaxy

This is the daddy of today’s people carriers (also called MPVs). It’s the most spacious seven-seater you can buy with enough space 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, or about as much as a Ford Focus. With all seats folded there’s 2339 litres, or more than a Mercedes E-Class estate. It’s possible to order the Galaxy with a powered tailgate, too.

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Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

By necessity, roomy people carriers can be boxy affairs but the big Grand C4 Picasso manages to be roomy and stylish. Families love its neat, practical touches. It’s comfortable, if not exactly exciting to drive, too.

The three middle row seats slide independently of each other. Knee room is cut short by the flip-up picnic tables on the backs of the front seats but otherwise there’s plenty of space, with all seats being the same size. The outer ones flip forward to permit easier access to the rearmost seats.

Unfortunately, space here is adequate only for children. That much is obvious from the fact that the boot is just 165 litres. It grows to 793 litres with the back seats folded into the floor and an impressive 2,181 with all seats down.

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Seat Alhambra

Seat’s large seven-seat MPV is closely related to the VW Sharan but is better value. Its advantage over the similar-sized Ford Galaxy is its sliding doors which enable easier access in cramped spaces.

The Alhambra’s second and third-row seats fold flush into the floor, but for maximum versatility there’s an optional folding front passenger seat. Rearmost seat space is not as generous as in the Galaxy. The boot trails the big Ford, too, at 267 litres, growing to 1167 litres with the middle row folded and an impressive 2297 with all seats stowed away.

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Land Rover Discovery Sport

More SUV and people carrier in one: that’s the Discovery Sport. It’s not the roomiest people carrier but that’s not the point. Instead, it’s about combining go-anywhere capability with a reasonable amount of space at, in Land Rover terms, an affordable price.

The two rearmost seats are fit only for children, although a pair of average-size adults could just about manage a short journey. The seats fold up out of the floor in one easy movement. The middle row of three seats slide backwards and forwards independently but because they’re split 40/20/40, the middle seat is a little cramped.

With the back seats stowed away, boot space is 689 litres and with all seats down, 1689 litres.

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VW Touran

Not everyone has need of a giant seven-seater, which is where the compact Touran comes in. Our preferred SE trim is packed with useful storage ideas which only boost its appeal.

The centre seat in the middle row is the same size as the outer two, so even three adults will be comfortable. There’s certainly enough head and legroom. Fortunately, this row slides, too, creating a little extra space in the rearmost seats. That said, they really are suitable only for children.

The boot is a titchy 137 litres, which rules out the Touran as a seven-seat holiday car. Lower the back seats flush into the floor, though, and there’s a much more useful 927 litres of load space, which grows to 1857 when all the seats are folded.

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