Top 10 best 7-seater cars to buy 2024
We pick the best seven-seat cars that provide the most practicality across a wide range of price points
Seven-seater cars are as popular as ever with large 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.
While a few traditional MPVs remain, and have a lot going for them, the choices facing buyers who want a vehicle capable of carrying seven people 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.
On the SUV side, the choice continues to grow, with plenty of large SUVs, like the Skoda Kodiaq and Kia Sorento, 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.
The best seven-seater cars to buy now
Our team of experts has road tested every seven-seater car that you can buy in the UK, and we’ve listed the very best ones to buy below.
10. Land Rover Defender
In the blink of an eye, the Land Rover Defender has gone from a utilitarian workhorse to one of the best large premium SUVs on the market. Its charming boxy style will win over many buyers’ hearts, but its looks are backed up by impressive levels of comfort, a smart cabin and incredible off-road ability.
The Defender is available in three forms: three-door 90, the 110 model that offers seating for up to seven people, and the even larger 130 which offers space for up to eight occupants. In Defender 110s fitted with seven seats, the middle row provides ample space and can slide forward to make the third row passable for taller children, if not adults.
There are cup-holders, power outlets and air vents for all, while the 231-litre boot with three rows in place expands to a van-rivalling 2,233 litres if you fold down the rear seats. There’s a range of powertrains on offer with the Defender, too, including plug-in hybrid tech. If you’re after lower running costs then this will probably be the best option as the regular mild-hybrid petrol and diesel engines don’t offer astounding fuel economy. This is a bluff, upright box that weighs well over two tonnes, though, so that’s hardly surprising.
9. Volvo XC90
The second-generation Volvo XC90 may be getting a bit long in the tooth, but it remains a top buy for those seeking seven seats. 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 – and its all-new all-electric successor, the EX90, is due to hit the street soon. Regardless of this, though, the XC90 is 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 such as the Audi Q7 and BMW X7, 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.
8. Peugeot 5008
Peugeot’s most family-friendly model is also one of its best. Essentially a stretched version of the 3008, the 5008 has similarly distinctive styling and its interior blends thoroughly modern design with the latest tech. However, Peugeot’s i-Cockpit set-up is not for everyone, because you need to be able to look over the steering wheel to see the instrument panel. We recommend you test it for yourself to make sure you can find a comfortable driving position that lets you see the dials.
There’s loads of handy storage throughout the cabin, and we found climbing into the third row is easier than in the Skoda Kodiaq because the 5008’s middle row pushes forwards. The rearmost seats are perfect for kids and fine for adults on short trips. With all seven seats in place, there’s just 167 litres of boot space available – about as much as a Fiat 500’s boot – but you get 952 litres to play with in five-seat mode.
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.
7. Nissan X-Trail
The latest generation X-Trail is the best yet, delivering more passenger space and better cabin quality than its predecessor. It also features excellent safety features and Nissan’s unique e-Power hybrid set-up. This brings EV-like smoothness and performance without the range anxiety, although it’s not as efficient as other hybrids on this list.
It’s also worth noting that the entry-level mild-hybrid and range-topping all-wheel-drive e-4orce versions of the X-Trail come with five seats as standard, but are available with seven seats at an extra cost. Even so, only kids will really feel comfortable in the back row, because of the limited knee and headroom. Boot space isn’t the best in the large SUV class, either.
At least the X-Trail is comfortable out on the road, with the suspension only really troubled by the worst of the UK’s pockmarked routes. The big SUV is a decent cruiser at motorway speeds, too, with little wind or engine noise able to infiltrate the cabin. The ‘e-Pedal Step’ mode, which allows some one-pedal driving, is also particularly handy in urban traffic.
6. Kia Sorento
If you’re not quite ready to make the switch to electric, then the Kia Sorento is another exceptional contender in this class. Featuring distinctive looks, an upmarket interior, plenty of tech and a selection of efficient powertrains, the big Korean is a firm Auto Express favourite.
Of course, the Sorento 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 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 its Skoda Kodiaq rival, 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.
5. Citroen e-Berlingo XL
The Berlingo might, in effect, be just a van converted into an MPV, but Citroen has been performing this trick for a while – and in e-Berlingo form, this all-electric seven-seater really appeals. Sure, it’s not particularly a quick vehicle, but at this price point, there’s really no better option that can offer buyers pure-electric motoring and seven seats.
The e-Berlingo drives as well the petrol version, with the bonus of a near-silent powertrain and instant torque. You’ll find the ride pretty smooth and, as with most van-based cars, the visibility is tremendous, thanks to big windows. As with the Kodiaq there’s a new Berlingo on the horizon, so now could be a great time to strike a deal on this version.
4. Land Rover Discovery
The Discovery has all the off-road ability you’d expect of a Land Rover, yet with seven-seat practicality, a high-class interior and plenty of toys, it’s a terrific all-rounder. The six-cylinder mild-hybrid engines feel perfectly suited to it, but while the entry-level D250 diesel is strong enough, we’d opt for the more powerful D300, given its almost identical fuel efficiency.
Air suspension comes as standard, so the Discovery has the ride comfort to put some luxury limousines to shame – provided you specify the smaller wheels. There are lots of storage compartments around the cabin, plus Land Rover’s latest infotainment system, and even adults will find the rearmost seats perfectly acceptable for leg and headroom.
3. Kia EV9
Kia’s rapid expansion of its range of all-electric vehicles saw the introduction of the EV9 range-topper in 2023. You might think a big, heavy SUV with a rather blocky design would not work all that well as an EV, but the Kia EV9 can offer up to 349 miles of range on a single charge.
It comes with a rather substantial 99.8kWh battery, and in single or dual-motor form. The single-motor model should be plenty, even though it’s only available in entry-level Air trim. It still gets Kia’s Level 2 driving assistance, heated and ventilated front and second-row seats, an electric boot lid, a triple-screen layout including a pair of 12.3-inch screens, plus a wireless smartphone charger and 19-inch alloys.
Thankfully, Kia hasn’t tried to make the EV9 sporty, focusing instead on ride quality, which means you can happily eat up the car’s impressive range in comfort.
2. Skoda Kodiaq
With solid build quality, a comfortable ride and a focus on practicality, the Skoda Kodiaq is among the very best SUVs and appealing in seven-seat form. Every trim level is available with a three-row layout and comes with stacks of equipment as standard.
The car drives as well as any rival of this size, with a set-up that’s sensibly focused on comfort rather than sharp dynamics. The engine range is good, with the 1.5-litre 148bhp TSI unit providing plenty of performance in the base model. You do have to opt for a higher trim level if you want more powerful engines with the added bonus of four-wheel drive. But given that there’s an all-new Kodiaq just around the corner, there are definitely deals to be done.
1. Dacia Jogger
We think the Dacia Jogger is not only the best family car you can buy, but the best seven-seater too. As with the rest of the budget brand's line-up, the main headline is the bargain price tag: just £18,295 for the entry-level model. Even if you stretch to the hybrid powertrain with range-topping Extreme trim, it’s still under £24,000, undercutting most family hatchbacks.
Along with the Jogger’s chunky exterior styling, the interior feels sturdy and up to anything you or your family can throw at it. It’s well equipped too, with an eight-inch touchscreen that’s easy to use, a rear-view camera and a leather steering wheel on some versions.
There are only two powertrains – a 1.0-litre petrol with 108bhp and a 1.2-litre hybrid with 138bhp – but both do a good job of balancing performance with efficiency, so we think it’s worth saving a couple of grand and going for the non-hybrid.
Top 10 best seven-seater cars to buy now
- Dacia Jogger
- Skoda Kodiaq
- Kia EV9
- Land Rover Discovery
- Citroen e-Berlingo XL
- Kia Sorento
- Nissan X-Trail
- Peugeot 5008
- Volvo XC90
- Land Rover Defender
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 to many peoples’ eyes. 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. Many models have very limited luggage space when all seven seats are in use or particularly difficult access to the third row, these are all things you should consider as a buyer.
Another important consideration is which fuel type to go for. Here the decision is a little more clear-cut because 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 think abut how easy the interior will be to keep clean.
Want to carry the most people while reducing your carbon footprint? Check out our sister title DrivingElectric’s list of the best seven-seat hybrid and electric cars…