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Best Cars

Best 7-seater Cars for 2017

By Martin Pratt

Article 11 of 14

The best seven-seater cars are perfect for families, offering flexible seating when you need to squeeze in extra passengers, and a huge boot when you don't. 

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Seven-seater cars are great for large families, especially when you need to transport extra friends home from school – or perhaps grown-up friends to the airport. 

The best seven-seaters offer a comfortable experience whether you're riding up-front, in the second row or right at the back. When the extra seats in the boot aren't needed, they'll usually stow away neatly, freeing up a huge load space. 

Buying a seven-seater doesn't necessarily mean you have to choose an MPV, though. There are plenty of SUV options, too. There's even an all-electric coupe-styled seven-seater in the form of the Tesla Model S, although the rearmost seats are optional.

We've also listed some seven-seaters that are best left alone. These models make too many compromises to squeeze in two extra seats. Whether it's interior space, boot capacity or miles to the gallon, these seven-seaters are poor examples of the class.

Below are the best seven-seater cars you can buy – every one a true Which? Best Buy. Scroll down to see which ones you should avoid.

Best seven-seater cars

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Best new seven-seater cars

Audi Q7 (2015-)
Typical price £47,978
Brand score 79%
Reviewed Mar 2016
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This new luxury SUV is the benchmark in its price bracket. It impresses across the board, managing not only to be refined and well constructed, but also more engaging to drive than you might expect. It pushes the boat out with high levels of safety and entertainment kit, too. So it’s a good choice as both a family and executive car - provided you've got the space to park it.

Ford Grand C-Max (2010-)
Typical price £19,156
Brand score 76%
Reviewed Sep 2010
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

A thrilling driving experience isn't something we often associate with a seven seater, but this one manages it while still being practical and spacious.

Audi SQ7 (2016-)
Typical price £69,401
Brand score 76%
Reviewed Apr 2017
Best Buy
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Imposingly large, yet with an agility that belies its enormity, this large SUV pulls off a seemingly impossible feat. It's not just super-fast in a straight line, it also corners with precision and confidence. It can also seat up to seven passengers in one of the most comfortable, high-quality cabins we've come across.

Volvo XC90 (2015-)
Typical price £46,419
Brand score 74%
Reviewed Dec 2015
Best Buy
Driving stability:
3 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Comfortable and loaded with safety technology, this is a standout premium 4x4. With seven seats and a large towing capacity, it's as practical as they come.

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer (2012-)
Typical price £18,520
Brand score 74%
Reviewed Jan 2012
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 5
Model reliability 0-3 years:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

It's both bigger and smarter than the ancient model that it's now replaced. With super-flexible seating and masses of room for luggage, not to mention an impressive drive, it's a cracking seven-seater.

Volkswagen Touran (2015-)
Typical price £19,223
Brand score 73%
Reviewed Jun 2016
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This seven-seat family MPV majors on practicality and space. It's versatile and has proven itself brilliant for those with large families. This latest model drives well, too.

Best used seven-seater cars

Peugeot 5008 (2010-2016)
Typical price £5,667
Brand score 72%
Reviewed Jan 2010
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Model reliability 3-8 years:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

It's that rare thing: a large and highly practical seven-seat MPV that's also good to drive. It's very comfortable and massively spacious inside, yet it doesn't feel too big when you're behind the wheel - and it's good-looking for a people carrier, too.

Mazda 5 (2010-2015)
Typical price £5,222
Brand score 70%
Reviewed Jun 2010
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

They don't get much more versatile than this seven seater. With twin sliding doors and a good build quality, this hulking car even manages to feel sporty.

Mazda 5 (2005-2010)
Typical price £2,225
Brand score 70%
Reviewed Jul 2005
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This MPV is well designed and talented in many ways, with its adaptable interior and safe, predictable handling.

BMW X5 (2007-2013)
Typical price £11,115
Brand score 70%
Reviewed Apr 2007
Best Buy
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Model reliability 3-8 years:
3 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This bulky SUV drives well and has an attractive interior that is sure to please, whether you're up front or on the back row.

Mercedes-Benz GL (2013-2015)
Typical price £39,621
Brand score 69%
Reviewed Apr 2013
Best Buy
Driving stability:
3 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This isn't the sportiest steer but it's a Best Buy thanks to its stability, smoothness, and safety, as well as its superb refinement. All seven passengers have sufficient seat space and there's loads of cargo-carrying capacity. You'll need the extra-cost on-and-off-road pack for any serious mud-plugging activity, though.

Renault Espace (2003-2012)
Typical price £1,943
Brand score 69%
Reviewed Feb 2003
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This early seven seater is an oldie but a goody. It won’t win any awards for reliability, but it's pleasant and easy to drive.

Ford S-Max (2006-2014)
Typical price £4,186
Brand score 67%
Reviewed Jun 2006
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Model reliability 3-8 years:
3 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This seven seater manages to be sporty and practical, with more than enough space for the full quota of passengers to sit comfortably.

What to avoid when you're buying a seven-seater

There are seven-seater cars across a range of car classes, not just MPVs. You could get a seven-seat 4x4 if you wanted, or an estate. The choice is no bad thing, but it does mean some seven-seaters share the negative traits of those classes.

Adding two extra seats to a car can mean a loss of interior space. Is a car a true seven-seater if no adults can comfortably use the rear seats? You don’t have to compromise on space, and our new and used car reviews show you which models to avoid if you want all seven seats to be suitable for adults.

If you’re more attracted to estates than tall MPVs, then you need to consider boot space. Adding two more seats will eat into how much room you have in the back. 

It’s not just estates that have this problem - our testing has found MPV-style seven-seaters with barely any boot space unless you put the rear seats down. That’s no good if you’re going on a family holiday and you’re trying to squeeze seven people’s luggage into an inadequate boot.

Our tests found a 7-seater car with less boot space than a Ford Fiesta.

Our testing found a seven-seater car with just 235 litres of boot space - that’s less than a Ford Fiesta. But you don’t need to settle for a small boot, as we’ve found models with more than 1,000 litres of usable boot space.

4x4 models introduce their own problems. Choose the wrong model and you’ll be paying a fortune in fuel. Seven-seat SUVs are some of the biggest and heaviest models in the class - while no one expects them to be as frugal as a Prius, there is still a significant difference between the most and least-efficient models.

One seven-seater we tested managed a miserable 21.9mpg, while the top-performing model achieved 61.1mpg - an enormous difference of almost 40mpg.

The large number of options across multiple classes makes our expert advice even more important. Our guides can help you choose between an estate, 4x4 or classic MPV-style seven-seater, and our in-depth testing shows you which models not to buy.

Seven-seat cars to avoid

Volkswagen Sharan (1995-2010)
Typical price £750
Brand score 45%
Reviewed Jul 1995
Don't buy
Seat comfort:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
4 out of 5
Which? safety:
2 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

This spacious people carrier is generally practical and user-friendly, with a big boot, but the rear seats aren't the most comfortable for adults over long distances. It's far from being an inspiring drive, too: the steering is disappointing, and the diesel engines are unrefined. Safety is off the pace, too, with a low Euro NCAP score.

Peugeot Partner Teepee (2008-)
Typical price £14,458
Brand score 45%
Reviewed Jun 2008
Don't buy
Seat comfort:
3 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
4 out of 5
Which? safety:
3 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

This model is certainly practical and spacious, as well as being more refined than its predecessor, but it's way behind the times in terms of safety, as well as in other areas, such as refinement and driving dynamics.

Land Rover Discovery 4 (2009-2017)
Typical price £15,875
Brand score 45%
Reviewed Sep 2009
Don't buy
Seat comfort:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
5 out of 5
Which? safety:
4 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

This full-size SUV has always had a lot of appeal - stacks of off-road ability, comfort and a refined image. However, high ownership costs and a woeful reliability record mean we can’t recommend it.

Fiat Doblo (2010-)
Typical price £13,538
Brand score 45%
Reviewed Mar 2010
Don't buy
Seat comfort:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
5 out of 5
Which? safety:
3 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

It's certainly a lot better than the old model, with much improved build quality and more accomplished driving dynamics, but this is a Which? Don’t Buy as its crash test performance leaves a lot to be desired.

Fiat Doblo (2001-2010)
Typical price £905
Brand score 45%
Reviewed Jun 2001
Don't buy
Seat comfort:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 5
Seat space:
5 out of 5
Which? safety:
1 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

It's cheap and cheerful, but decidedly lacking in glamour, and the design is well behind the competition for safety and security.

Citroen Dispatch Combi Jumpy (2006-2015)
Typical price £2,018
Brand score 45%
Reviewed Jan 2007
Don't buy
Seat comfort:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 5
Seat space:
5 out of 5
Which? safety:
4 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

As you'd expect from a van-based people carrier, there's loads of space and up to nine people can be accommodated. Don't expect a car-like driving experience, though: it can't shake off the crudeness of its van origins. Safety is well below par, too.

Citroen Berlingo Multispace (2008-)
Typical price £14,183
Brand score 45%
Reviewed Jun 2008
Don't buy
Seat comfort:
3 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
4 out of 5
Which? safety:
3 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

This is a popular car thanks to its practicality, but its uninspiring cabin and subpar safety rating aren’t good enough. Side and curtain airbags are optional, rather than standard. Earlier models didn’t have stability control - which is all but essential in tall, van-like MPVs. It all feels dated, with its underpowered heater and a cabin that does a poor job of blocking engine and wind noise. It’s an MPV in dire need of an upgrade.

Land Rover Discovery Sport (2015-)
Typical price £29,880
Brand score 41%
Reviewed Jan 2017
Don't buy
Seat comfort:
3 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 5
Seat space:
4 out of 5
Which? safety:
4 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

It isn't the most agile or car-like SUV to drive, and rivals offer a more convincing blend of luxury and technology. It also hasn't shaken the brand's reliability problems, and has proved to be a big headache for buyers. So it's a Which? Don't Buy.

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