Best 7-seat SUVs and 4x4s 2021
Whether you're planning to carry seven people on a regular basis or just need an occasional third row of seats, there’s plenty of choice. But which SUVs are best - and which are best avoided?...
Gone are the days when anyone in the market for a seven-seater had to choose a boxy MPV. Now there are plenty of SUVs and 4x4s that give you the same sort of practicality but a lot more style. And they often have the added bonus of being able to tow a caravan or boat, or traverse a muddy field.
True, these are big cars, so you need to choose the right engine to avoid frightening fuel bills. But third-row passengers don’t have to feel second-class and there’s certainly no need to put up with an uncomfortable ride or spartan interior.
Here, then, we count down the top 10 seven-seat SUVs, and reveal the one to avoid. To read more about a particular car or secure a discount without any haggling, just click on the appropriate link.
Take the regular Volkswagen Tiguan, add some more space and two occasional seats, and hey presto, you've got the Tiguan Allspace. The best-selling 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel-engined model offers plenty of pace, while even entry-level versions get tri-zone climate control, 17in alloy wheels and a front and rear parking sensors.
- Good to drive
- High-quality interior
- Flexible seating layout
- Expensive next to seven-seat rivals
- Third-row seats are only a last resort
- CO2 emissions could be lower
There's enough room for tall(ish) adults in the Santa Fe's third row, plus the boot is big and the warranty long. You also get lots of equipment, even if you stick with relatively lowly SE trim, which is just as well, because the Santa Fe is quite pricey.
- Seven seats fit for adults
- Loads of standard kit
- Long warranty
- Closely related Kia Sorento available for slightly less
- So-so performance
- Some wind noise
- Classy interior
- Seven seats come as standard
- Plug-in hybrid options
- Unsettled ride
- Road and suspension noise
- Fiddly infotainment system
Now in its fifth generation, the Discovery is hugely spacious, impressively classy and just as capable off the road as on it. Go for one of the diesel engines and SE trim to keep the price down. And make sure you extend the warranty if you plan to keep it for more than three years, because Land Rover doesn't have a good reliability record.
- Brilliant off road
- Roomy third row space
- Attractive PCP deals
- Audi Q7 rides better
- Not as agile as some rivals on the road
- No plug-in hybrid version yet
BMW's original X5 was one of the first road-focused 4x4s, and this latest model sticks closely to that car's winning formula, with sharper handling than most rivals. On the inside, there’s plenty of space five and a commanding driving position. Some rivals offer more space in the third row, though.
- Fantastic plug-in hybrid version
- Great to drive
- Classy, well-designed interior
- Potential for road noise at speed
- Third row of seats costs extra
- There are more spacious and practical rivals
The Kodiaq is the largest SUV Skoda makes, and a comfortable choice with a smart and practical interior. Just bear in mind that you have to be careful when speccing it because it's easy to push the price well north of £30k if you start adding options, at which point it makes less sense.
- Classy interior
- Relatively spacious with a decent boot
- Good value if you stick to the cheaper trims
- Top-of-the-range versions are pricey
- Peugeot 5008 is even more practical
- Unsettled low-speed ride
Big, bold, comfortable, and with a luxurious interior – the X7 is a very impressive recent addition to BMW’s line-up and the luxury SUV class. It's also one of the most practical seven-seaters of all; even six-footers will have plenty of space in the third row, while the boot is enormous when those seats are folded away.
- Super quiet and comfortable
- Incredibly spacious and practical
- Outstanding infotainment system
- There are cheaper alternatives
- Feels its size and weight on the road
- Looks won’t be to all tastes
A former Large SUV of the Year, the Discovery Sport sits below the full-size Discovery in the Land Rover range. However, it's still available with seven seats, has a smart and user-friendly interior and holds its value well. It's even well priced by class standards and was recently updated to make it more efficient.
- Lots of passenger space
- Flexible seven-seat capability
- Lengthy equipment list
- Terrible reliability
- Compromised ride comfort on larger wheels with standard suspension
- So-so performance
- Poor fuel economy and CO2 emissions
The Peugeot 5008 combines MPV-esque versatility with SUV looks, plus it handles tidily, the ride is comfortable, and it's very well priced. Add in a seriously plush interior and you've got a sensational all-rounder.
- Loads of interior space for the money
- Stylish and plush-feeling interior
- Competitive fuel economy and CO2 emissions
- Poor rear head room with the optional sunroof fitted
- Rivals have more diverse engine lineups
- Slow-witted infotainment system
Like the XC90 and X5, the Q7 has four-wheel drive as standard but is geared towards surefooted on-road use, rather than traversing muddy fields. It’s also an extremely practical car, thanks to a generously proportioned interior and a huge boot. But what really sets the Q7 apart is its stunning interior, sensational refinement and pillowy ride.
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- Smooth and powerful engines
- Pillowy ride in Sport and S line trims
- Stunning interior quality
- Rivals have better infotainment systems
- Third-row space is better in the BMW X7
- Plug-in hybrid model is average to drive
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