Used Car of the Year Awards: 7-seaters
With living costs on the rise, getting a good deal on your next car is more important than ever. That's where our Used Car Awards come in. These are our favourite seven-seaters...
Prices from £16,000 Our Pick 1.2 130 Puretech Allure
Where once the buyer who needed seven seats might have had to choose between some slab-sided pantechnicon with dubious road manners or an overloaded estate car with seats in the boot, these days the market is alive with highly desirable crowd-carrying SUVs.
Take the chic Peugeot 5008. It’s a perennial favourite of ours, and it isn’t just easy on the eye. On the road, the 5008 is easy to drive, able and surefooted. Its refinement, even with the entry-level 1.2-litre engine, is as impressive as in cars costing far more, and it’s noticeably quieter at high speeds than its Hyundai Santa Fe and Skoda Kodiaq rivals. What’s more, its ride is among the comfiest in its class, making the 5008 a good long-distance cruiser.
Where it scores over its Kodiaq and Kia Sorento rivals is in the quality of its stylish interior, which uses plush-feeling materials to give it a distinctly upmarket air. It’s spacious, too, with plenty of room for rear seat passengers to sit three abreast, this greatly helped by its flat floor. Added to that the third-row seats are comfier than those in the comparable Seat Tarraco and Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, meaning 5008 passengers should feel happier for longer.
From the 5008’s great engine line-up, the aforementioned 1.2-litre petrol gets our vote, combining perky performance with impressive fuel economy. We’d team it with well-equipped Allure trim.
Early 5008s can now be had for as little as £16,000, but we’d look to buy a 2019 car for around £20,000. The 5008 was mildly updated in 2020, adding LED headlights, a revised front grille, a larger (10.0in) infotainment screen and a clearer digital instrument panel. You’ll need around £24,000 for one of these later cars.
Whichever 5008 you choose, though, you’ll get a terrific all-rounder with a top-notch reliability record. In the final reckoning, it’s a much more sophisticated car than the Citroën Grand C4 Spacetourer; it’s much nicer to drive and more refined to ride in. If you can forgo a little luxury, we also think its attractive price and lower running costs give it the edge over the imperious Audi Q7, too.
Best budget buy
Citroën Grand C4 SpaceTourer (2018-2022)
Prices from £12,000 Our pick 1.6 Blue HDi Feel
If you want a seven-seat MPV that doesn’t sacrifice panache on the altar of practicality, the Grand C4 Spacetourer is for you.
Its distinctive looks mask a cavernous, flexible interior, with three individual second-row seats and two more behind, each being easier to fold flat than in such rivals as the Ford S-Max and Vauxhall Zafira Tourer.
Every Grand C4 Spacetourer has plenty of kit and a comfy ride to make long journeys relaxing. It’s also smooth, quiet and frugal with our chosen 1.6-litre diesel under the bonnet, and it drives well, if not with quite the verve of the Ford Galaxy or Volkswagen Touran. However, its reliability is much better than those two cars’.
It’s a cheaper used buy than either rival at the same age, too. If your budget is tighter, though, the older but near-identical 2014-2018 Grand C4 Picasso starts at just £5000.
Best premium choice
Audi Q7 (2015-present)
Prices from £25,000 Our pick 3.0 TDI quattro S-line
Sometimes you just need to spoil yourself. If you’re looking for a practical but luxurious seven- seater that can waft around like a limo, but you don’t want to rob a bank to buy such a thing, a used Q7 is a peerless choice.
Whether you’re tackling a transcontinental family holiday or doing the school run, the Q7 excels, thanks to its outstanding refinement and cosseting ride. There’s also more space in the third row than there is in the seven-seat version of the BMW X5. What’s more, with the Q7’s surprisingly agile handling, and lots of grunt from our favoured 3.0-litre diesel engine, it’s good for the driver, too.
True, you could buy a Volvo XC90 for the same money, and that’s another very desirable seven-seat luxury SUV. However, the Q7 has a much smoother engine, is more refined and has a better ride, plus its superior interior quality and longer list of luxuries will be more appealing to buyers in this class.