What Car? True MPG technicians test new cars every week, to bring you real-world MPG figures, rather than the Government data that comes from a laboratory test.
These are the most economical seven seater cars you can buy at the moment, according to our tests. On the list we have an estate, a crossover SUV, a van-based MPV and a selection of purpose built MPV’s.
With the exception of one hybrid, all are diesel-powered and all will achieve more than 45mpg – with the first six bettering 50mpg.
Most economical seven-seater cars:
1. Toyota Prius+ 1.8 VVT-i Hybrid T4 – official 68.9mpg; True MPG 54.6mpg
The only hybrid on our list is also the most efficient seven-seat car we’ve tested so far. It’s not cheap, but the Prius+ has class-leading environmental performance and impressive interior space, plus it’s an auto if you prefer not to change your own gears.
2. Citroen Grand C4 Picasso 1.6 e-HDi – official 70.6mpg; True MPG 54.4mpg
The Grand C4 Picasso is a stylish, spacious MPV with a very practical cabin, which makes carrying the whole family or large loads very easy. Although it’s not the most exciting car to drive, it makes up for this by having lots of neat design touches and high equipment levels on most models.
3. Toyota Verso 1.6 D-4D – official 62.0mpg; True MPG 52.7mpg
The Verso is a refined and comfortable seven-seater with a range of punchy engines. It’s not the most roomy or practical MPV, but as long as you take only six passengers on occasion, it’s well worth considering.
4. Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 2.0 CDTi 110 - official 54.3mpg: True MPG 52.3mpg
These diesel engines aren’t especially refined, but at least they’re efficient. The Tourer is also a classy and well-equipped seven-seater. This version beats 50mpg, but the 128bhp Ecoflex and 192bhp Biturbo models beat 45mpg, too.
5. Peugeot 5008 2.0 HDi – official 51.3mpg: True MPG 51.5mpg
The stylish 5008 is our favourite mid-priced MPV. The seats in the middle row are all full size, plus the second and third rows fold away quickly to leave a large, flat load bay. The cheaper 1.6 HDi is also worth considering - it managed 47.1mpg in our tests.
6. Peugeot 308 SW 1.6 e-HDi – official 67.3mpg: True MPG 51.0mpg
This estate has plenty of boot space, but it’s not the most practical seven-seater with the optional seats in place. Higher-spec versions have useful, individual seats for the middle row though, and most versions have good quality, well-equipped cabins.
7. Renault Grand Scenic 1.6 dCi 130 – official 64.2mpg; True MPG 48.6mpg
The Grand Scenic is a compact SUV with lots of equipment and a reasonable amount of room in all three rows of seats – although the middle row doesn’t fold into the floor, which limits practicality. It’s also good to drive.
8. Nissan NV200 Combi 1.5 dCi – official 53.3mpg: True MPG 47.9mpg
Other than an efficient diesel engine, there really isn’t much to recommend this car. A noisy engine and bouncy ride don’t help to avoid the inevitable comparisons to the van on which it’s based.
9. Ford S-Max 2.0 TDCi 163 – official 47.0mpg: True MPG 47.7mpg
The S-Max isn’t especially cheap to buy, but it’s a refined car that’s as fun to drive as an MPV can get. All versions are well equipped and demand few compromises.
10. Seat Alhambra 2.0 TDI Ecomotive 140 – official 49.6mpg: True MPG 46.4mpg
Our 2013 MPV of the Year is a class act: spacious, refined and great value for money. It’s a fairly big car to get used to, but in return you get near-faultless practicality and space for seven adults.
11. Nissan X-Trail 1.6 N-Tec – official 53.3mpg; True MPG 45.7mpg
The new 2014 Nissan X-Trail is a big jump in terms of quality and refinement over the previous version. Slow steering and big lean angles in the bends mean it still feels like a traditional 4x4 to drive, but the new model’s interior feels roomy and well put together. The third row of seats will accommodate two adults – just.
We add new models to our True MPG database every week. Visit whatcar.com/truempg to see the full range of cars we’ve tested, and find out what you really can expect to achieve on UK roads.