The Magnificent Seven-Seater

Whether you’re on the school run or taking that old washing machine to the dump, 7-seaters are the versatile do-everything car that expanding families need.

The 7-seater market has plenty of offerings for the consumer, with larger versions of the family estate car to SUVs and MPV vans. With such variety, it’s an often asked question: Which one is right for me?

You need to examine how you intend to use the vehicle.

  • Do you need seven seats all the time?
  • Do you need to carry adults in the rearmost seats?
  • Do you need luggage space for seven also?
  • Do you require removable or fold-flat rear seats?

From the family car-based segment of the market, here are my seven contenders to consider.

 

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

Typically Citroen, the Picasso has futuristic looks and innovative cabin space. Its diesel engines are efficient and their performance is adequate. The rearmost seats are easy to stow when not in use but not suitable for large adults. The central dashboard is space-age but might not be to everyone’s taste. Free road tax on the most efficient diesel models is great value for a 7-seater.

With all the rear seats down, load space is 2,181 litres. With just the rearmost, it is 700 litres. With all 7 in use, it is 537 litres.

 

 

Ford S-MAX

The S-Max is the MPV for the grown-up boy racer. It looks racy and thanks to the superb Mondeo chassis, it handles well too. Its selection of engines delivers brisk performance to match the looks. With a variety of options available you can kit the S-Max out with toys you might not expect in this this sector, such as a paddle shift gearboxes.

With all the rear seats down, load space is 2,200. With just the rearmost, it is 700 litres. With all 7 in use, it is 285 litres.

 

 

Kia Carens

Kia Carens

The Kia is good value for money in this sector. The looks are unmemorable and with the badge removed, you may struggle to guess that brand. Build standards are high but the modestly powered engines can feel a little rough when pushed. Its third row seats are best suited to occasional use.

With all the rear seats down, load space is 1,650 litres. With just the rearmost, it is 492 litres. With all 7 in use, it is 100 litres.

 

 

Mazda 5

Mazda 5

The Mazda 5 is well equipped and handles well. However, the design feels dated and its engines, while powerful enough, are not as efficient as its rivals. Sliding doors are a useful feature for getting kids in and out the back. Given its age there are plenty of bargains in the used market.

With all the rear seats down, load space is 1,566 litres. With just the rearmost, it is 426 litres. With all 7 in use, it is 112 litres.

 

 

Renault Grand Scenic

Renault Grand Scenic

The Grand Scenic’s styling isn’t as cutting edge as its Espace sibling but it is well equipped. The offset dash display won’t be to everyone’s liking. Unlike some of its rivals, the rear seats don’t fold-flat to the floor so they have to be removed, for when you need extra load space. When fully loaded, the petrol engines can feel strained.

With all the rear seats down, load space is 2,063 litres. With just the rearmost, it is 564 litres. With all 7 in use, it is 200 litres.

 

 

SEAT Alhambra

SEAT Alhambra

The Alhambra is large and flexible. It will comfortably seat 7 and the electric sliding rear doors are great for loading and easy for kids to use. The seats all fold-flat, making it quick and easy to use as a small van or even as a sleeping space. The interior plastics are of Volkswagen quality and the ride is firm and sure footed. The diesel engines are sufficiently powerful.

With all the rear seats down, load space is 2,297 litres. With just the rearmost, it is 809 litres. With all 7 in use, it is 267 litres.

 

 

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

The Zafira set a standard in this market for flexible interior over 15 years ago. The new model, while sporting updated looks, doesn’t feel it’s advanced enough. The plastic trim feels cheap and features in basic trims are sparse. The engines and handling are better than most of its rivals except the S-Max. While it’s still a contender, it feels left behind by some of its competitors.

With all the rear seats down, load space is 1,860 litres. With just the rearmost, it is 710 litres. With all 7 in use, it is 152 litres.

 

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