Best seven seat cars 2023
Need seven seats and fancy a high-riding SUV rather than a sensible people carrier? One of these machines could fit the bill
Have you got a need for a car with seven seats? You don't have to succumb to a bland and grown-up people carrier. They're very practical and perfect family cars, but there are plenty of other more stylish options available to you if you're trying desperately to keep hold of your youth. Check out one of these high-riding SUVs that offer the same number of seats but with a hefty dose more 4x4 flair.
Whether you need four-wheel drive and a substantial amount of ground clearance in your next car, or you just like the idea of driving a tough-looking machine with a high seating position, if you need room for seven seats there are plenty of family-friendly SUVs to choose from. We've rounded up some of the best medium size options, along with a number of supersized machines that offer a decent amount of space for seven adults.
Big SUVs tend to be comfortable, hugely practical and very capable in virtually all conditions - although we'd recommend getting a set of winter tyres for safe driving in snow, because four-wheel drive can provide you with more grip and stability on slippery surfaces, but it does nothing to help you stop safely. This is where winter tyres can help.
All of the machines below offer decent room for seven, even smaller options such as the Skoda Kodiaq provide enough room for seven adults. With the prospect of sliding seats, chairs that fold into the floor and all sorts of seating configurations, these cars offer great family-friendly interiors.
Best 7-seater SUV for a long warranty
One thing that really makes the Kia Sorento stand out is its renowned reliability. Aside from the fact it comes with Kia's seven-year warranty - which offers great peace of mind - owners gave it a score of 95% in the Driver Power reliability survey. That means that you're unlikely to even need to call on that long warranty.
The Sorento 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 quality of the interior is impressive but it's not the most exciting cabin out there and a little underwhelming given that the Sorento cost around £30,000 upwards when new. Consider how affordable it is used, however, and the Sorento is a very appealing seven-seat SUV option.
Best medium 7-seater SUV for off-road ability
For parents who care about blending in on the private school run, a Land Rover is almost as essential as the children's striped school blazers and caps. But you don’t have to break the bank and get a Range Rover. A Discovery Sport does the job just as well for half the price. It's also pretty impressive off-road if you do fancy venturing off the beaten track.
The Discovery Sport is a good demonstration of how to fit a lot into a relatively compact SUV, with the cabin feeling high quality and offering a reasonable amount of space across the three rows of seats. Yes, the Skoda Kodiaq below offers much more usable rearmost seats, but the Discovery Sport is far more practical than a number of seven-seat SUVs, including the Nissan X-Trail.
With the 180hp diesel engine and nine-speed automatic gearbox driving all four wheels, the Discovery goes well and has impressive road manners, offering strong comfort levels and surprisingly good agility, though some rivals do offer a more sporty drive.
Best 7-seater SUV for standing out of the crowd
If you want to stand out of the SUV crowd, it's worth taking a look at the Peugeot 5008. The 5008 successfully looks distinctive inside and out, without being too wacky, and it offers decent seven-seat practicality.
Under the surface, it doesn't have four-wheel drive or any real off-road credentials, so don't expect the 5008 to be particularly good on mud or snow, but the car’s road manners are well suited to maximising comfort for the family on everyday roads. The suspension gives a supple ride, smoothing out poorly surfaced roads, and the roadholding is stable if not as responsive as the Skoda Kodiaq.
What’s refreshing is to find a good 1.6-litre petrol engine that delivers as much oomph as an equivalent diesel and can still manage close to 40mpg with an automatic gearbox in real-world conditions. That's impressive for a car of this size.
Do bear in mind that the previous version of the 5008 has a completely different design and is very much a standard people carrier, and so won't appeal to those after a stylish, high-riding SUV. If practicality and value are your top priorities, however, it's well worth considering.
Best medium 7-seater SUV for practicality
The Skoda Kodiaq on paper may be a value-oriented SUV, but it's a seriously desirable machine with the right colour and wheel combination. It's also more than practical enough to render larger SUVs redundant if you want a spacious SUV that offers enough room for seven adults but is easy enough to drive around town.
More impressively, if you make use of the sliding middle row of seats you can not only fit seven adults in, but there's also a surprising amount of luggage room. Yes, some other models are bigger, but few offer the same mix of passenger space, luggage room, value and ease of driving. For those reasons, it's a fantastic seven-seat SUV.
Upfront, meanwhile, the cabin feels reasonably upmarket and can be specified with a large touchscreen media system. 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 in SportLine form we find the seats fantastically comfortable.
Best medium 7-seater SUV for quality
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 the 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. The Allspace is closely related to the Skoda Kodiaq above, and if you value space, practicality and value the Skoda is a better choice.
However, the VW feels like a more upmarket machine and the dashboard layout is a model of clarity with the level of quality feeling very nearly as high as much more expensive vehicles from the likes of Audi and BMW. With this in mind, the Tiguan Allspace works for those who want a car that prioritises a plush interior over maximum passenger and luggage space, but still offers the prospect of two occasional seats in the boot.
Best 7-seater SUV for refinement and luxury
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 has shed more than 300kg. Like a Weight Watchers case study, the Q7 enjoyed a new lease of life.
It’s one of the most spacious seven-seat SUVs money can buy and, just as significantly, it’s one of the smoothest to drive, when fitted with optional air suspension. The diesel engines are quiet and the more powerful version gives the car impressive performance. Despite its size, the Q7 is a comfy, relaxed car to drive, making it a great all-weather, all-purpose machine.
Few cars will make such light work of a family holiday to the ski slopes or the beaches of the south of France, while the Q7 also offers serious feel-good factor, looking stylish but not brash and having a seriously plush feel to the cabin.
Best 7-seater SUV for rear seat space
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 entry-level diesel version, which still costs around £50,000 new. Look at used models, however, and the Discovery becomes a far more appealing prospect.
In the race for space, the Discovery wins it in a photo finish. Its cabin is particularly wide, and the third row of seats is actually bearable for adults to use on a long trip - which isn't always the case, even with large SUVs. It goes without saying that the Discovery makes a good workhorse, particularly when towing. Capable of hauling a substantial 3,500kg, and with one the best all-terrain capabilities of any 4x4, the Discovery can do a lot more than just ferry the kids around.
The new model remains expensive as a used car, though; the previous generation Discovery is much cheaper and has an altogether different, boxy design which remains popular. If you never plan to make the most of the Discovery's impressive off-road ability, however, the upmarket Q7 above is an appealing alternative.
Best 7-seater SUV for those after a big and brash car
Our pick Mercedes GLS 350d/400d AMG Line
Used deals Limited stock
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. Even getting it onto many driveways could prove a challenge. This sheer size, though, 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 engine, at 35mpg, is nothing to write home about. However, it’s a lot better than the 20mpg, at best, that you can expect from the high-performance petrol GLS 63.
The GLS is an expensive model from new, so makes much more sense as a second-hand purchase, particularly as a new version of the car has recently been launched, which should help to lower the cost of used models.
Best 7-seater SUV for zero-emission journeys
Our pick Tesla Model X Dual Motor
Used deals from £41,795
The back doors of the Tesla Model X 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, with seamless electric power and a surprising amount of speed on tap. 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. And even then, filling up with fuel is a five-minute job. However, that's not the case with the electric Model X.
At best, the Model X in its most affordable, '75D' specification can only drive for a maximum of 259 miles between charges - which is likely to be closer to 200 miles in day-to-day driving, and it takes about 90 minutes to fully charge it again, using a public Tesla Supercharger. If you mainly do short trips and can recharge at home, however, it could be perfect for you.
Tesla regularly upgrades the batteries on its new cars and so the latest high-range Model Xs offer the prospect of up to around 350 miles per charge. As there are many battery capacities available with the Model X, it's best to double-check the capacity of any used models you're considering to be sure you know what you're getting.
Best 7-seater SUV for short electric trips with petrol backup
Not sure about going for an electric SUV, but don't want a conventional petrol or diesel model? The Volvo XC90 plug-in hybrid provides a good compromise, offering the prospect of up to around 30 miles of electric range - provided you remember to top up the batteries before you leave home - with the backup of a conventional petrol engine, so you don't have to worry about whether you can complete long journeys.
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-charged battery, but drops significantly once the electricity runs out and the car relies on petrol power, since you still have all the weight of the battery and electric motor to cart around, but with little electric boost.
So, you'll want to recharge regularly to get the most out of the electric motor in the XC90, to reduce your emissions and cut your fuel bills. If you do lots of short journeys and recharge regularly, therefore, it could work for you. Just bear in mind that if you do lots of short journeys, you could complete 100% of your trips on electricity alone with the Tesla Model X above and not need to charge so regularly.
*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:
48 monthly payments of £192
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
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