We pick the best seven-seat cars that provide the most practicality across a wide range of price points
Over the last 40 years or more, UK car buyers have taken the idea of the seven-seater car firmly to their hearts. Today, seven-seat vehicles are hugely popular with families but the latest crop bear little resemblance to those on offer even a decade ago. Here we round off the top 10 best seven-seater cars on sale in the UK, so if you’re in the market to carry a couple of extra passengers, look no further.
- Best people carriers and MPVs 2022
While a few traditional MPVs remain, and have a lot going for them, the choices facing buyers who want a seven-seat vehicle today are mainly split between SUVs and van-based MPVs. Van-based models, such as the Citroen e-Berlingo, make the most of the space, robust design and low costs of their commercial vehicle base models to deliver flexible, family-sized utility on a budget. The Dacia Jogger, on the other hand, breaks the mould by taking an affordable supermini and stretching it to make room for a third row, becoming the most affordable 7-seater in the UK by some margin.
On the SUV side, the choice continues to grow, with plenty of large and mid-sized SUVs, like the SEAT Tarraco and Skoda Kodiaq, offering seven-seat capability. For many buyers, the SUV is seen as a more stylish choice than the traditional MPV or the van-based alternatives but most struggle to match a similarly-sized MPV for outright utility and space. Some offer more of a ‘5+2’ layout where the rear seats are better suited to occasional use and the boot space remaining with all seats in use can be very limited.
Best seven-seaters cars to buy now
- Dacia Jogger
- Skoda Kodiaq
- SEAT Tarraco
- Kia Sorento
- Land Rover Discovery
- Peugeot 5008
- Citroen e-Berlingo XL
- Audi Q7
- Volvo XC90
- Mercedes GLB / EQB
1. Dacia Jogger
Our reigning Family Car of the Year has been one of the highlights of 2022. Despite costing the same as a mid-spec supermini, the Jogger serves up genuine space for seven and packs the carrying capacity of an estate car. Go for the flagship Extreme SE model and you even get some eye-catching styling cues, including chunky body cladding, skid plates and a high-riding stance.
The interior is carried over from the Sandero, which means solid build and plenty of standard kit, with all but the entry-level model getting a nifty eight-inch infotainment screen. There’s lots of versatile storage, while the mix of a soft ride, nimble handling and a passable downsized turbocharged engine make it fair to drive. On this showing, the Jogger success story will just run and run.
2. Skoda Kodiaq
A recent refresh has revitalised the Kodiaq, helping the versatile Czech machine scoop the Large SUV trophy in our 2022 New Car Awards. The changes are modest, but the Skoda was already so close to the top of the pecking order that they were enough to secure it class honours.
On the outside, there’s a sleeker and more aerodynamic look, while the interior benefits from some trim changes that help add even more premium appeal.
Happily, the rest of the Kodiaq has been left largely unchanged. That means you get a spacious and versatile seven-seat interior that’s packed with numerous thoughtful touches, including the trademark umbrellas in the front doors. Comfort and refinement are also excellent, while the big Skoda’s handling is precise and assured.
There’s no electrified option, but the petrol and diesel engines are smooth, eager and efficient, plus four-wheel drive is available as an option. In short, the Kodiaq has all the family SUV bases covered.
3. SEAT Tarraco
By combining family-friendly space and versatility with a dash of design flair and sporty dynamics, SEAT has created an SUV hit. The Tarraco was beaten to Large SUV honours by the Skoda Kodiaq in our New Car Awards this year, but the Spanish star was our top choice for the previous two years.
Built on the same MQB platform as its Czech mate, the SEAT is every bit as practical and gets the same slick tech. An all-wheel-drive option is available, while the excellent engine range is only undermined by a lack of electrified options. The Tarraco is proof that having a family doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on style or driving enjoyment.
4. Kia Sorento
Anyone doubting Kia’s premium pretensions should take a look at the Sorento. Featuring distinctive looks, an upmarket interior and more tech than a Currys superstore, the big Korean is a firm Auto Express favourite.
Of course, the Kia is a family SUV first and foremost, which means a roomy interior that can comfortably seat seven adults. Yet the cabin is also a cut above mainstream rivals in terms of look and finish, with high-grade materials and wall-to-wall TFT screens. The infotainment system looks great and is easy to use, plus you get all the latest driver aids.
It’s not as sharp to drive as a Skoda Kodiaq, but refinement and comfort are first rate. All versions have four-wheel drive and there’s also the option of a plug-in hybrid powertrain that’ll deliver 35 miles of EV running. If there is a catch, it’s the fact that Kia’s aspirations are matched by its prices.
5. Land Rover Discovery
If there was a Swiss Army knife on wheels, then it would probably look something like the Discovery. With its blend of luxury, comfort, practicality and off-road ability, this is a family car for all seasons. Better still, recent revisions have delivered slightly sleeker looks, the latest Pivi Pro infotainment, and an interior that rivals Range Rover models for club class appeal.
The mild-hybrid six-cylinder engines are as smooth and unobtrusive as an expert butler, while the Disco remains as composed and capable on the road as it is in the rough. Of course, such excellence isn’t cheap, with prices starting from nearly £55,000.
6. Peugeot 5008
Peugeot’s most family-friendly model is also one of its best. Essentially a stretched version of the 3008, the 5008 boasts similarly distinctive styling, and its interior blends top quality with the latest tech. There’s also loads of handy storage, while the third row is perfect for kids, and fine for adults on short trips.
On the move, the Peugeot’s combination of neat handling and decent ride comfort makes it good to drive, while in wintry conditions the clever Grip Control system is a good substitute for four-wheel drive. Unfortunately, the 5008 isn’t available with its smaller sibling’s efficient plug-in hybrid engines.
7. Citroen e-Berlingo XL
The Citroen e-Berlingo XL is an MPV rather than an SUV, but the two classes share so many traits that it’d be foolish to consider one and not the other. The e-Berlingo is as practical as cars come, as it’s based on a van platform. The issue here is that it looks like a van too, so if style matters to you then you best look elsewhere.
The standard version is the M model, but the XL version is 35cm longer and adds a third row of seats, making it a seven-seater. And it’s not as limited as some seven-seat SUVs: adults of an average build will be able to fit into that third row without any issues.
While it used to be available with a petrol or diesel engine, Citroen has now dropped these in the UK, solely offering the Berlingo XL in all-electric e-Berlingo guise. It gets a 134bhp electric motor, so even fully laden with passengers and luggage it still feels fairly brisk thanks to the instant torque of its electric motor, while it also brings a noticeable boost in refinement.
8. Audi Q7
Arguably, the original Q7 pioneered the large seven-seat premium SUV class, and the current machine is still one of the best. Its interior is every bit as upmarket and lavishly appointed as you’d expect, while the touchscreens give it a hi-tech feel.
There’s space for seven, and even adults can get comfortable in the back row. It’s not exciting to drive, but the four-wheel drive set-up inspires confidence, the air suspension smoothes out bumps, and there’s a range of grunty V6 diesels plus powerful and efficient plug-in hybrids. It’s nearing its eighth birthday, but the Q7 is still at the top of its game.
9. Volvo XC90
It’s difficult to believe the handsome Volvo XC90 is over seven years old now. A raft of newer rivals have arrived on the scene since the stylish Swede’s debut in 2015 – when it was Auto Express Car of the Year – yet it’s as desirable now as it ever was.
Not only is there genuinely enough space for seven adults inside, but the minimalist interior also looks a cut above. That sets it apart from rivals like the Audi Q7 and Range Rover Sport, while its seats are some of the most supportive around.
What’s more, the Volvo’s laid-back driving experience and class-leading safety equipment help lower your blood pressure after a long day. Better still, the recent addition of a larger 18.8kWh battery for the plug-in hybrid T8 model has boosted its EV range to over 40 miles, which translates to a wallet-friendly BiK rate of just eight per cent.
10. Mercedes GLB/EQB
As you can see, the GLB has been designed as a scaled-down G-Class. So you get similarly boxy lines that help the Merc stand out alongside sleeker rivals, while the interior is up to the brand’s high standards of quality and tech. However, as with its arch-rival, the Discovery Sport, the GLB’s third-row seats are only really suitable for children.
It’s as composed on and off road as its British competitor, and the model range includes the all-electric EQB alongside the traditional petrol and diesel models. There’s a choice of 219bhp and 288bhp twin-motor four-wheel-drive set-ups, with both claiming 257 miles between charges.
7-seat SUVs vs 7-seat MPVs
If you’re looking for a seven-seat car it’s fair to say you’re probably a car buyer with a family. Practicality and running costs generally come ahead of driving dynamics for those seeking family transport, but the same basic car buying rules apply whatever you’re buying: do your research, understand your finance options and work out your budget, however you’re paying for it. From there, think about what you need the car to do.
The first thing for seven-seat car buyers to decide is whether an MPV or an SUV is the best fit. Generally, MPVs offer more space for the money but SUVs are more stylish. For most buyers, an SUV will offer more than enough room, and most also have the option of four-wheel drive – ideal if you tow a caravan or live in a remote area. On the other hand, MPVs usually provide better head and legroom for passengers in all seats thanks to lower floors and (mostly) higher rooflines. Plus, the seating systems are usually more easily adaptable to different passenger- and luggage-carrying configurations. If you plan on carrying a full complement of six or seven passengers a lot of the time, it’s worth bearing this in mind.
- Best 8-seater cars to buy
Another important consideration is which fuel type to go for. Here the decision is a little more clear-cut – seven-seaters are generally larger and heavier than your regular car, so diesel will be the better choice for most. Plug-in hybrids and fully electric models are changing the equation, but there aren’t too many seven-seaters to choose from at the moment, fully loading the car may affect range and you’ll need a home charger to make the best use of the vehicle.
You should also check the cars’ interior design and build quality. If you have young children, soft leather trim might not be the best idea. Make sure all your child seats can fit in; while some cars have three Isofix mountings across the middle row, you may not be able to squeeze three abreast in others. Make sure that the rear seats give your kids enough space and light as well as a decent view out and be sure to check that the boot is big enough with all seven seats in place.
Want to carry the most people while reducing your carbon footprint? Check out our list of the best seven-seat electric cars…
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