Best 7-seater SUVs & 4x4s

Transport the extended family in rugged style: these are the best 7-seater SUVs and 4x4s

James Mills
Feb 27, 2019

Birthday parties; holidays; grandparents; the school run; lift-shares – there are many times that drivers might need a car with more than five seats. And when it comes to delivering a winning mix of practicality and comfort with desirability and style, a seven seat SUV is hard to beat.

It’s not that long ago that drivers who needed to carry a five-aside football team and their coach were forced to choose between unglamorous but hard-working people carriers, like the Ford Galaxy, or big, bulky 4x4s that often had benches for back seats and would drink more than jubilant fans on the terraces.

Now, there is a wide range of more modern sport utility vehicles – SUVs. Cars makers offer something for (nearly) everyone, with sensible Skodas and luxurious Land Rovers - and plenty more besides.

Although every car buyer will have different aspirations and wish lists, seven seat SUVs broadly fall into two categories – medium and large. Here, we steer drivers to the top five best in each.

 

Top 5 best medium 7-seater SUVs

Kia Sorento

Best 7-seater SUV for a long warranty

Latest Kia Sorento deals from £14,969
Finance from £263 per month

Owners rate their Sorento highly, scoring it 9.1 out of 10 on reviews website, Reevoo. What do they like about it – other than the reassurance of a warranty that lasts for up to seven years or 100,000 miles?

It offers a spacious cabin and good-size rearmost seats, which are comfortable enough for children on a long journey and adults on shorter trips. They’d be better still if the middle seats tumbled forward; as it is, they just tilt and slide out of the way. The interior’s fit is impressive but its style and finish are a little underwhelming given the Sorento costs from nearly £30,000.
Kia Sorento buying guide

 

Land Rover Discovery Sport

Best 7-seater SUV for the private school run

Latest Land Rover Discovery Sport deals from £17,500
Finance from £242 per month

For parents who care about blending in on the private school run, a Land Rover is almost as essential as the childrens’ striped school blazers and caps. But you don’t have to break the bank and buy a Range Rover; a Discovery Sport does the job just as well for half the price.

It’s a good demonstration in fitting a lot into a compact body, and the team that created the car’s fundamental packaging deserves a pat on the back. With the TD4 180 diesel engine and nine-speed automatic gearbox driving all four wheels, the Discovery goes well and has reasonable road manners, but some competitors offer a more sporty drive or do a better job of smoothing out bad road surfaces (of which there are plenty).

If you're looking for a new car and can afford to wait, the Discovery Sport is due to be updated in the summer, and will gain a hybrid option for improved fuel efficiency and lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Land Rover Discovery Sport buying guide

  

Peugeot 5008

Best 7-seater SUV for standing out of the crowd

Latest Peugeot 5008 deals from £9,895
Finance from £170 per month

If you want to stand out of the SUV crowd, head for your nearest Peugeot showroom. The 5008 successfully avoids resorting to generic design, with a look that’s modern and fresh.   

Under the surface, it doesn't have four-wheel drive, which could put some drivers off. But the car’s road manners are well suited to motoring with a family aboard. The suspension gives a supple ride, smoothing out poorly surfaced roads, and the roadholding is stable if not as responsive as Skoda’s Kodiaq. What’s refreshing is to find a good 1.6-litre petrol engine that delivers as much oomph as a diesel and can still manage close to 40mpg with an automatic gearbox in real-world conditions.

Bear in mind that the cheapest used versions of the 5008 are from the previous generation, which has a very diferent design that won't appeal to all buyers.
Peugeot 5008 buying guide

 

Skoda Kodiaq

Best 7-seater SUV for feelgood factor

Latest Skoda Kodiaq deals from £18,500
Finance from £280 per month

If your budget will stretch and you configure a Kodiaq wisely, it can look better than the much more expensive Audi Q7. Pick the Sportline trim and Business Grey metallic paint (dreadful name, great colour) and you’ll get complimentary comments from other drivers.

This specification also makes the interior more impressive, as it includes a large 9.2 inch touchscreen. It's a crystal clear, easy-to-operate display that has some of the most intuitive menus of any car. The dashboard and fittings feel well made and the Sportline sports seats are fantastically comfortable.
Skoda Kodiaq buying guide

  

Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace

Best 7 seater SUV for no-nonsense types

Latest Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace deals from £23,989
Finance from £348 per month

Volkswagen scored a hit with the previous Tiguan. In fact, one of the few criticisms that drivers could level at it was the lack of a seven seat version. For that reason, the second generation Tiguan introduces a longer, seven-seat model called Allspace.

In isolation, the Allspace is a good car. But against competitors here, the rearmost seats are cramped and you get less boot space when five seats are being used. However,  the dashboard layout is a model of clarity – this is how you do it, says VW to other car makers – and the levels of quality aren’t that far off an Audi or BMW. Those that need four-wheel drive should probably plump for the 4Motion with the 2-litre diesel engine and automatic gearbox.

  

Top 5 best large 7-seater SUVs

Audi Q7

Best 7-seater SUV for a smooth operator

Latest Audi Q7 deals from £23,000
Finance from £347 per month

The original Audi Q7 was a bit of a beast, dwarfing most other cars and weighing almost as much as a tank. Happily, the designers and engineers realised something had to be done, so the latest model looks less bulky and shed more than 300kg. Like a Weight Watchers case study, the car enjoyed a new lease of life.

It’s one of the most spacious seven seat SUVs money can buy. And as significantly, it’s one of the smoothest to drive, when fitted with optional air suspension. The diesel engine is quiet and the more powerful version gives the car impressive performance. Few cars will make such light work of a family holiday to the ski slopes or the beaches of the Cote d’Azur.
Audi Q7 buying guide

 

Land Rover Discovery

Best 7-seater SUV for back seat space

Latest Land Rover Discovery deals from £22,500
Finance from £379 per month

In many ways, the Land Rover Discovery is not terribly good. It is too heavy, slower and noisier than rivals, thirsty and overpriced – especially the version with the four-cylinder diesel engine, which still costs almost £50,000 from new.

But in the race for space, the Discovery wins it by a photo finish. Its cabin is particularly wide, and the third row of seats are actually bearable for adults to use on a long trip. It goes without saying that the Discovery makes a good workhorse, particularly when towing. Capable of hauling 3,500kg, and with one the best all-terrain capabilities of nearly any 4x4, it can do a lot more than just ferry the kids around.

The new model remains expensive as a used car; the previous generation Discovery is much cheaper and has an altogether different, boxy design which remains popular.
Land Rover Discovery buying guide

 

Mercedes GLS

Best 7-seater SUV for those who believe biggest is best

Latest Mercedes GLS deals from £42,000
Finance from £559 per month

The GLS is a giant, measuring in at 5.16 metres long, which may present problems when trying to fit into the average parking space. But it means that the interior offers almost as much space as a modest house.

This is a car that will carry seven adults in comfort and hold a handsome amount of luggage too. However, you have to make compromises in other areas. It feels big and a little cumbersome to drive, and the fuel economy of the V6 diesel (35mpg) is nothing to write home about. However, it’s a lot better than the 20mpg (at best) that the GLS 63 achieves.

The GLS is an expensive model from new, so makes more sense as a second-hand model, particularly as a new version of the car is due to be launched later this year, bringing improved technology and increased comfort.

 

Tesla Model X

Best 7-seater SUV for electric dreamers

The back doors open like a pelican flapping . The interior more closely resembles an Apple Store than a car. The driving experience is an event in itself for most owners. And the potential savings on fuel bills are huge.

Before rushing to place that order, however, it’s important to determine whether an electric car is for you. Some of the diesel-powered SUVs here can travel for more than 500 miles between visits to a fuel station. At best, the Model X in its most affordable, 75 D specification (which costs from more than £70,000) can only drive for a maximum of 259 miles between charges – which is more like 200 miles in day to day driving, and it takes about 90 minutes to fully charge it again, using a public Tesla Supercharger, assuming it’s able to operate at its maximum capability.

 

Volvo XC90

Best 7-seater SUV for a plug-in hybrid instead of diesel

Latest Volvo XC90 deals from £18,000
Finance from £327 per month

The Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal and subsequent diesel tax increases have given many drivers pause for thought. Many of those will own large, heavy SUVs, and will wonder how on earth they can afford to switch from diesel to petrol power – which usually emits lower levels of harmful emissions – when it will see their fuel bill shoot up dramatically.

The answer could be to change to a plug-in hybrid, like the Volvo XC90 T8. It has a petrol engine and a large battery that can be charged from the mains. Fuel economy is spectacular on short journeys with a fully-chargd battery, but drops significantly once the electricity runs out and the car relies on petrol power. Carbon dioxide emissions are low, cutting the cost of company car tax.
Volvo XC90 buying guide

 

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