Those with large families have a number of options on the market, but which are the best seven-seaters you should consider buying that won’t make your eyes bleed? Ben Griffin gives the lowdown.
Seven-seaters are a must for those cursed
blessed with gift of more than two children, but finding one that ticks all the boxes can be tough. This is especially true if you care about style and would never own what is essentially a glorified van with windows. Fortunately there are a fair few practical choices that will do you proud and not offend the eyes – here’s our round-up of the best in 2015.
Being able to sit seven people is a plus, catering for all seven six-footers is almost unheard of. That’s not the only trick up the Kia Sorento’s sleeves, as it also has mod cons for those in the back, including air-conditioning controls. Boot space is 142 litres with all the seats in place but can be extended to 605 litres with the rearmost seats flat and then 1,662 with all rear seats down. A graceful drive and impressive build quality makes the Sorento a pleasure to own, especially when it 2.2-litre turbodiesel is good for 49.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 149g/km.
When Volvo’s XC90 came onto the scene it was an instant hit. The new model is superb, too, even rivaling the Range Rover. With the D5 engine it has enough poke to go form 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds, with ample torque for steeper terrain. Yet it’s frugal, thanks to an impressive 50mpg. Best of all, the space for the rearmost passengers is sufficient for modestly sized adults and it has a built-in booster sear for kids. Looks good, too, in a sophisticated Swedish way.
Hyundai Santa Fe
The Santa Fe is yet another spacious and comfortable cruiser with seven seats and enough style to sit proudly on the drive. What it lacks in obvious badge appeal, it makes up for with value for money and creature comforts. Its 2.2 CRDi diesel gives you 194bhp and 436Nm of torque, so it’s pokey, while a five-year unlimited mileage warranty provides peace of mind. Safety is another plus, thanks to seven airbags and a strengthened chassis. In its six-speed manual and front-wheel drive guise fuel economy and CO2 emissions are 47.9mpg and 155g/km, respectively, dropping to 41.5mpg and 178g/km if you want four-wheel drive.
Tesla Model S
By no means is the Tesla Model S your typical seven-seater. For starters it’s all-electric and can hit 0-60mph in less than three seconds in its top-spec dual motor guise while costing you nothing in fuel for up to 300 miles. The lack of CO2 emissions, meanwhile, means it’s free to tax. Admittedly the rearmost seats in the boot are for children only, but that is made up for by the fact you can charge it at home for very little money and it will turn heads like few other cars. Hardly a budget ride, but there’s no other seven-seater like it – certainly nothing as rapid.
Land Rover Discovery Sport
When the Land Rover Discovery Sport came on the scene we found it difficult to fathom why you would pick an Evoque instead. It’s only marginally larger yet offers much better off-roading capabilities, a similarly luxurious interior and in its UK form seven seats is standard. Now it has the option of an Ingenium engine it’s even better, thanks to fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of up to 57.7mpg and 129g/km, respectively. We also happen to think it looks fantastic.
The Kia Carens is hardly going to grab attention as it trundles on by, but a mid-life facelift ensures it’s smart enough to blend in. Meanwhile the design was tweaked to create more space inside, making it more comfortable than its predecessor and just as practical. Side by side with the competition, its 492 boot is smaller but still very usable, which is perhaps more than can be said of the 100 litres if the sixth and seventh seats are in place. Depending on which power output you get, you can expect up to 61.4mpg and 124g/km of CO2 emissions although the 114bhp output might feel a tad sluggish if you regularly use the car to its max. Kia’s seven-year warranty is the cherry on the top.
BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer
The 2 Series Gran Tourer offers seven seats, the BMW badge and surprisingly agile handling in addition to practicality aplenty. Think door pockets capable of 1.5 litre bottles, and a 560-litre boot that grows to 760 litres if you slide the rear seats forward . The rearmost seats are hardly generous in the space department but kids will be accommodated. A mere 128g/km of CO2 and up to 53.3mpg means it will at least keep your fuel and tax bills to a minimum, which is handy when it starts from £24,710 if you opt for the 218SE 1.5d model.