Best 7-seat SUVs and 4x4s in 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?...

Gone are the days when anyone in the market for a seven-seater had to choose a boxy MPV.

Best seven-seat SUVs

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.

10. Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace

New Kia Sorento & Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace vs Peugeot 5008

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.

Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace (cont.)

Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace - interior

Good to drive
High-quality interior
Flexibile seating layout

Expensive next to other seven-seat rivals
Third-row seats are only a last resort
CO2 emissions could be lower

9. Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai Santa Fe driving

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.

Hyundai Santa Fe (cont.)

Hyundai Santa Fe interior

Huge boot
Easy-to-configure seating
Long warranty

Uncompetitive PCP deals
Interior materials aren't plush

8. Volvo XC90

Volvo XC90 T8 front cornering - 69-plate car

The latest version of Volvo's XC90 is enjoyable to drive and much smarter than its predecessor inside, yet it remains every bit as practical, with flexible seating and a huge boot. Only average refinement and a slightly unsettled ride stop it finishing higher.

Volvo XC90 (cont.)

Volvo XC90 T8 dashboard - 69-plate car

Classy interior
Practical seven-seat interior
Plug-in hybrid option loses very little space

Unsettled ride
Road and suspension noise
Fiddly infotainment

7. Land Rover Discovery

Land Rover Discovery

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.

Land Rover Discovery (cont.)

Land Rover Discovery - interior

Brilliant off road
Roomy third row space
Attractive PCP deals

Audi Q7 is classier inside
Average to drive on road
Fuel economy and CO2 emissions

6. BMW X5

BMW X5 45e front cornering - 69-plate car

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.

BMW X5 (cont.)

LUXURY SUV: BMW X5 xDrive45e M Sport dashboard

Fantastic plug-in hybrid version
Great to drive
Classy, well-designed interior

Expensive to buy
Third row of seats costs extra
Relatively small boot

5. Skoda Kodiaq

2020 Skoda Kodiaq front - 69-plate car

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.

Skoda Kodiaq (cont.)

Skoda Kodiaq - interior

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

4. BMW X7

LT BMW X7 front - wading through water

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.

BMW X7 (cont.)

BMW X7 interior

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

3. Land Rover Discovery Sport

Land Rover Discovery Sport driving

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.

Land Rover Discovery Sport (cont.)

Land Rover Discovery Sport

Lots of passenger space
Flexible seven-seat capability
Lengthy equipment list

Terrible reliability
Compromised ride comfort on larger wheels
So-so performance
Poor fuel economy and CO2 emissions

2. Peugeot 5008

2019 Peugeot 5008 front left tracking RHD

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.

Peugeot 5008 (cont.)

2018 Peugeot 5008 1.6 BlueHDi Allure auto - interior

Loads of interior space for the money
Stylish and plush-feeling interior
Competitive fuel economy and CO2 emissions

Terrible rear head room with panoramic roof fitted
Not as well equipped as some rivals
Slow-witted infotainment system

1. Audi Q7

Audi Q7 front three quarters

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.

Audi Q7 (cont.)

Audi Q7 - interior

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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