Seven-seaters are the ultimate family cars. Buyers needing the maximum space for people and luggage will shop at this end of the market – although they still have some important choices to make.
Drivers can pick from full-size people carriers, compact MPVs and even some 4x4 models. All offer seven seats with varying degrees of space and flexibility – usually three individual seats in the middle row, with two more folding up out of the boot floor for maximum passenger capacity. The choice will come down to just how often you need all seven seats and exactly how much room you require – although budget obviously plays a key role here, too, as the price you pay varies wildly.
Full-size people carriers are the most popular seven-seat cars, as most make the best use of their dimensions to offer genuine space for adults in all five rear seats. Compact MPVs are a bit more of a compromise. These cars should be viewed as five-seaters most of the time, with the two rearmost seats for occasional use only. And even then, they’re not really suited to adults in most of these cars – so they’re ideal for kids if you’re taking a grandparent or two out for a family Sunday lunch, for example.
Seven-seater SUVs are the most expensive options, but they combine a practical interior with strong off road ability and increased towing capacity. That’s why these models are popular with caravan owners, who can load up the family and its belongings for long summer holidays.
If you’re buying a seven-seat 4x4, the only option is often diesel, as these engines have such torquey pulling power. The vast majority of seven-seater MPVs sold are diesel for the same reason. But if you need seven seats only for occasional use, it might be worth considering a petrol-powered compact MPV – it’ll be cheaper to buy and not much more costly to run than a diesel version.