Best 7-seat cars 2024 – and the ones to avoid

Whether you want a part-time seven-seater or one to carry lots of people every day, this run-down of the best seven-seat cars will help you pick the right model for your family...

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by
George Hill
Published30 March 2024

If you need a car with seven seats, your range of options is wider than you might think, so how do you decide which is best for your big family trips?

Well, it's important to consider whether you'll be carrying seven people daily, whether you'll need a large boot and seven seats at the same time, and whether you'd prefer the raised driving position of an SUV or something lower and more hatchback-like.

Best 7 seat cars - Land Rover Discovery BMW X7 Audi Q7

While that's a lot to take into consideration, our road testers have done all the hard work for you. As well as finding out which are the best seven-seaters to drive, they’ve also compared how they measure up in terms of space for people and luggage. After much deliberation, they have concluded that the best seven-seater in the UK is the Land Rover Defender.

Read on to discover why, and learn more about the top 10 seven-seat cars and SUVs (plus one model we'd avoid). You can click on the relevant link to read our full review, or look for the best prices by searching our seven-seater deals pages.

Our pick: 3.0 D250 S 110 5dr Auto

0-62mph: 8.3 sec
MPG/range: 33.1mpg
CO2 emissions: 223g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 786 litres
Insurance group: 37E
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Comfortable on the road, excellent off it
  • Up to eight seats
  • Slow depreciation

Weaknesses

  • Higher trim levels are very pricey
  • Fuel economy and CO2 emissions are poor
  • Tiny boot in 90 models

The Land Rover Defender is an iconic model. However, there’s nothing old-fashioned about the latest version, which is laden with kit and sumptuously appointed inside.  

While the Defender can be had with anything from five to eight seats, it’s the mid-range Defender 110 we think makes the most sense. It is long enough for all passengers to be able to stretch their legs on longer drives and can be had with seven seats. Unlike many rival seven-seaters, its two rearmost pews have enough head and leg room for adults and access is good because the second row seats slide forwards. 

Opt for our favourite D300 model and its 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel engine provides plenty of power to haul a heavily-loaded vehicle around. The Defender isn’t a rough and ready off-roader, though. It’s just as refined as rival luxury SUVs, and the standard air suspension soaks up uneven surfaces better than a Volvo XC90

And, when you compare it to alternatives, such as the BMW X7, on price, the Defender also represents good value for money. All in all, the Land Rover Defender is a superb all-rounder, and that’s why it’s our Seven-Seater of the Year.  

"No matter which version of the Defender you go for, space for rear-seat passengers is plentiful. However, access to those seats is far easier in the longer Defender 110." – Will Nightingale, Reviews Editor

Read our Land Rover Defender review

Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Outstanding seven-seat practicality
  • Plush interior
  • Long warranty

Weaknesses

  • Pricing yet to be confirmed
  • Hybrid engine not particularly inspiring
  • Styling might be divisive

Like its predecessor, the latest Hyundai Santa Fe provides many of the things a seven-seater buyer is looking for – namely, lots of space, comfort and kit, along with the potential for low running costs. 

The Santa Fe also promises outstanding practicality, a plush interior and the reassurance of a five-year/unlimited-mileage warranty. 

The latest version retains the two petrol engines from the previous models. They are a 1.6-litre petrol hybrid and a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) that is expected to have a longer pure electric range than the outgoing model's 36 miles. 

Prices for the new Santa Fe haven't been revealed yet. If they're competitive, this could be a future seven-seat champion. 

"Performance can feel a tad laboured in hybrid versions of the Santa Fe, and the car leans quite heavily through bends, but the pay-off is a plush ride." – Darren Moss, Deputy Digital Editor

Read our Hyundai Santa Fe review

Our pick: xDrive40d MHT M Sport 5dr Step Auto

0-62mph: 5.9 sec
MPG/range: 36.2mpg
CO2 emissions: 205g/km
Seats: 7
Boot: 750 litres
Insurance group: 50E
Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Supremely quiet and comfortable
  • Incredibly spacious and practical
  • Great infotainment system

Weaknesses

  • There are cheaper alternatives
  • Looks won’t be to all tastes
  • No plug-in hybrid or electric option

The only thing bigger than the X7’s gigantic front grille is the car itself, so if you’ve got a big budget and a big family, it should definitely be on your shortlist. 

As a bonus, the interior is as flashy as it is sturdy, and features one of the best infotainment systems you’ll find in any new car. Plus, refinement is so impressive that someone in the third row can have a conversation with those up front without raising their voice. 

Engine options range from the powerful to mega-powerful, but our preferred choice is the 347bhp xDrive40d, which offers punchy performance but should also keep your running costs sensible. If you won't be covering enough miles to justify a diesel, though, then the xDrive40i petrol is even faster to 62mph – though it will cost you more to run.

There's also the range-topping 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine in the M60i, but it isn't the most sensible choice.

"The X7's interior is wide, so you won't be rubbing shoulders with the person sitting next to you. Plus, even passengers in the rear-most seats will find they have plenty of space to stretch out." – Steve Huntingford, Editor

Read our BMW X7 review

Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Smooth and powerful engines
  • Pillowy ride in Sport and S line trims
  • Superb interior quality

Weaknesses

  • Touchscreen infotainment system
  • Third-row space is better in the BMW X7
  • Entry-level Sport trim misses some important kit

The Audi Q7 is an incredible all-rounder, combining a comfortable ride with spacious seating for seven and exceptional interior quality. 

Indeed, no matter which surface your hands touch or your eyes look at, you’ll be impressed both with the quality of materials on offer and how well screwed together it all is.

The Q7’s strongest suit of all, however, is how well it soaks up impacts from speed bumps and other road imperfections with ease, and demolishes long journeys like a luxury SUV should. 

The 55 TFSI petrol is our favoured choice among the engine options, and has a punchy V6 engine with 335bhp. There are also two V6 diesel engines on offer if you cover a lot of miles, as well as a V8 petrol in the range-topping Audi SQ7.

"You sit high up in the Audi Q7, giving you a commanding view over the road ahead. The slim windscreen pillars help when you're peeking out at junctions, too." – Lawrence Cheung, New Cars Editor

Read our Audi Q7 review

Our pick: 3.0 D300 SE 4dr Auto

0-62mph: 6.3 sec
MPG/range: 38.2mpg
CO2 emissions: 194g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 1093 litres
Insurance group: 50E
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Fabulous driving position
  • Fantastic off-road ability
  • Useful seven-seat versatility

Weaknesses

  • Very expensive
  • Reliability is a concern
  • More physical controls for the infotainment would be preferable

The long-wheelbase Range Rover is one of the most luxurious seven-seaters you can buy, and only recently has that been the case. Previously, you could buy the Range Rover Sport with seven seats, but that car is now only available with five seats.

With the latest Range Rover, though, you can have seven seats with the LWB (long wheel-base) version. When specified, the third-row seats are comfortable enough for six-footers, and the middle row splits in a handy 40/20/40 configuration and can fold electrically.

Of course, the Range Rover LWB is wonderful to drive, with a range of punchy petrol, diesel and PHEV engine options. Refinement is also a strong point, with minimal road noise and a ride that is controlled and smooth.

"One of the Range Rover's hallmark features is retained in the long-wheebase version – a twin glovebox arrangement, with one lower down and the other at chest height." – Stuart Milne, Digital Editor

Read our Range Rover review

Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Loads of interior space for the money
  • Stylish and plush-feeling interior
  • Competitive fuel economy

Weaknesses

  • Poor rear head room with the optional sunroof fitted
  • Rivals have more diverse engine lineups
  • Slow-witted infotainment system

The Peugeot 5008 combines MPV-like versatility with chunky SUV looks. It handles tidily, with light steering helping to make manoeuvring easy in the city, plus the ride is comfortable and the interior is seriously plush.

The engine line-up is refreshingly simple, with either a 134bhp 1.2-litre petrol hybrid or a 129bhp 1.5-litre diesel to choose from. You might imagine that the former would struggle to haul around a big and heavy car like this, but that's not the case. Indeed, it has more than enough shove for most situations, and should be able to run for short distances on electric power alone around town.

Head and leg room for middle-row passengers is perfectly fine by the standards of the class – although it's worth noting that the Kia Sorento is even more spacious – and while the rearmost seats are only meant to be used occasionally, adults could stomach them for short trips.

"Peugeot's i-Cockpit setup has you looking over a small steering wheel at the dials, rather than through it. And unlike in some other Peugeot models, it works well." – George Hill, Staff Writer

Read our Peugeot 5008 review

Our pick: 1.5 TSI EVO SE Family 5dr

0-62mph: 8.9 sec
MPG/range: 44.1mpg
CO2 emissions: 146g/km
Seats: 7
Boot: 834 litres
Insurance group: 19E
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Superb space and practicality
  • Strong level of standard equipment
  • Great to drive by MPV standards

Weaknesses

  • Rivals offer more economical diesel or hybrid engines
  • Costly to buy on PCP finance
  • Automatic gearbox can be hesitant

Just because you're wearing your sensible trousers when buying a new MPV rather than a fashionable SUV, it doesn’t mean you have to slum it. 

The Touran offers the same level of plushness you get in a Volkswagen Golf family car, but with far greater practicality. All five of its rear seats feature Isofix child seat mounting points, so it’s useful for growing families, and there’s enough space for adults. 

As a bonus, the Touran drives better than the rival Dacia Jogger. It offers a comfortable ride which smooths out the worst of battered British roads, and has the kind of assured, well-weighted steering which gives you confidence to press on.

There's no hybrid, PHEV or electric option, with your sole engine choice being a 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol. At least it's fairly punchy, even if you've loaded the car to the gunwhales with people and luggage, and should be economical to run.

"Unless you continually rev it hard, the Touran's petrol engine is pretty hushed by MPV standards. Plus, relatively little wind or road noise makes its way inside the car." – Neil Winn, Deputy Reviews Editor

Read our VW Touran review

Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Comfortable ride and good to drive
  • Spacious interior with a huge boot
  • Good value if you stick to the cheaper trims

Weaknesses

  • Interior looks swish but isn’t as sturdy as the best
  • Engines are a little coarse when revved
  • Frustrating automatic gearbox

If the cars so far on this list have looked a little too expensive for you, the Kodiaq could be right up your street. Like most Skodas, it represents great value for money, especially if you stick with the lower engines and trims. 

Indeed, our favourite 1.5-litre petrol option is among the cheapest in the range yet provides all the pep you could reasonably want – even if you plan on filling every seat.

Speaking of seats, front and second-row passengers get plenty of space, and while third-row passengers will be better off in the rival Peugeot 5008, most people will be fine back there for shorter trips.

Bear in mind that a new version of the Kodiaq will go on sale in the Spring, bringing plug-in hybrid power for the first time – but that version won't be available with seven seats, because of the space needed to store the battery. 

"No matter which version of the Kodiaq you choose, you'll get a seven-speed automatic gearbox which provides swift changes as you drive along, but can be jerky at lower speeds." – Claire Evans, Consumer Editor

Read our Skoda Kodiaq review

Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Brilliant off road
  • Roomy third row seats
  • Attractive PCP deals

Weaknesses

  • Rivals are quieter
  • Wallowy handling
  • Terrible reliability

Need to carry seven people and all of their luggage not only on the road, but also off it? If you answered 'yes;', then the Land Rover Discovery is very logical choice. That's because when the going gets tough, it will keep going.

Yet despite its rugged credentials, the Discovery remains a comfortable and luxurious choice when you're not travelling off the beaten track. Indeed, most of the areas you touch regularly inside feel pleasantly plush, while the touchscreen infotainment system you get as standard is sharp and responsive.

The Discovery even undercuts many of its seven-seat rivals on price, and considering how much kit you get for your money, it represents pretty good value. Add in slow depreciation and it’s easy to recommend – especially in the mid-range diesel-engined form we recommend.

"Its flat floor makes the Discovery one of the best SUVs for carrying three passengers in its second row – provided their legs aren't too long." – Lawrence Cheung, New Cars Editor

Read our Land Rover Discovery review

Our pick: 1.0 TCe Expression 5dr

0-62mph: 11.2 sec
MPG/range: 47.9mpg
CO2 emissions: 132g/km
Seats: 7
Boot: 160 litres
Insurance group: 13E
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Extremely well priced
  • Genuine seven-seat usability
  • Easy to drive

Weaknesses

  • Very poor safety rating
  • More engine noise than rivals
  • Middle row seats don’t slide back and forth

Like all Dacias, the Jogger is very temptingly priced, but don't think that means you have to put up with big compromises. 

It's a well-thought-out people mover with genuine seven-seat usability, decent driving dynamics and plenty of standard equipment. Indeed, even entry-level versions come with cruise control, electric front windows and air conditioning.

You can have the Jogger with a 109bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine or a 138bhp 1.6-litre hybrid engine. We think the petrol model is punchy enough for most situations, although the hybrid does make sense if you live in an urban area.

"Despite its bargain price, the Jogger features some nice touches inside. Fabric dashboard inserts and an attractive air vent design, for example, help to lift the otherwise functional interior" – Darren Moss, Deputy Digital Editor

Read our Dacia Jogger review


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And the best 7-seat car to avoid...

Mercedes EQV

The EQV has space for up seven adults and all of their luggage, but a small electric range, slow performance and high price mean it's not recommendable for most buyers. Other factors such as poor refinement and a jittery ride let it down significantly, too. Read our review

FAQs

What is the best 7-seater car for families?

As an overall package, the Land Rover Defender 110 is the best 7-seater car for families. It can easily fit seven adults inside, plus accessing the third row is a doddle thanks to its sliding second row seats. Elsewhere, the Defender is comfortable and refined, making it a brilliant car for doing big miles in.

What is the most spacious 7-seater car?

The BMW X7 is vast, and the result of that is masses of interior space. Front occupants have more than enough room, and there’s certainly no shortage of head, leg or shoulder room in the second-row (even three adults can sit comfortably side-by-side). The X7’s third-row seats are also more spacious than those in the Audi Q7 and Land Rover Discovery.

What is the biggest 7-seater car in the UK?

The Audi Q7, BMW X7, Land Rover Defender 130, Land Rover Discovery, Range Rover LWB and Volvo XC90 are some of the biggest 7-seater cars you can buy in the UK. 

What is the cheapest 7-seater car in the UK?

The cheapest 7-seater car you can buy in the UK is the Dacia Jogger. Despite its keen pricing, it's actually a very good offering, being comfortable to drive, well equipped and practical. It did only score one star out of five for safety when it was tested by Euro NCAP in 2021, though. 

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