The Top Four Family 7 Seater Cars
What to Look For In a Seven Seater
When choosing your next family car there are so many things that you need to look for. Obviously size is a big consideration, and if you have a large family then you will want to ensure you opt for a seven or even eight seat car. In the UK you are lucky as there are loads of cars that fit into this category - in fact there are nearly fifty.
Any bigger than this and you're quite restricted in terms of the choice available to cars that look more like minibuses. Within the seven seat category you want to make sure you have tested out the rear row of seats to make sure there is adequate space. Quite often some of these cars have quite restricted space and legroom for the passengers in the back seats, and may only be suitable for children to travel in. Others have a lot more room that gives adult passengers more space and makes for a comfier journey.
Cost is also a major factor when choosing a new car, you can in fact pick up a 7 seater car for £15-£18k at the lower end, up to around £60k for a really luxurious model. Obviously if you are happy to buy second-hand then price-wise you have a lot more options available, and you should be able to get a reasonable model for as little as £2-3k on sites such as eBay.
Ongoing cost is also important, as some are more expensive to run than others. Fuel economy varies significantly, however you can still get a car within this size range with an extremely high MPG, such as the Toyota Prius+.
The Citroen C4 Grand Picasso
The C4 is an excellent car that has a lot of space inside. Although it still clearly has Citroen looks, it looks a lot more stylish than the people carriers of yesteryear. The seats in the rear row are comfortable, and offer a pleasant driving experience for passengers. They are also quite flexible as can be folded flat to the floor if you need an extra large boot for transporting bigger items.
In terms of cost the C4 Grand Picasso is at the cheaper end of the spectrum, and you might be able to pick a new model up for as little as £15k. The only aspect that lets the car down is the suspension, which is a bit bouncy and might not be to everyone's tastes.
The Luxurious BMW X5
The BMW X5 is one of the higher end luxury models of family car, which although not as pricey as the Audi Q7, still offers a highly refined and luxurious interior and build quality. It echoes BMW style and has a distinctly sporty feel. It is a well designed car after all, and delivers a great driving experience that is as you would expect for an expensive family car - comfy, refined and powerful.
You would expect the X5 to be thirsty on fuel, however for a powerful MPV it actually gives quite decent fuel economy. Customer reports give an average of 36mpg and the purchase price for one of these is around £42-£46k.
Be careful when shopping around however, as the X5 isn't a 7 seater by default - the third row of seats are an optional extra, so make sure you're comparing like for like.
The Ford S-Max
The Ford S-Max is a seven seat car that has Ford's good looks and drives really well. It has a lot of room inside, however the rear seats leave a little to be desired when it comes to space. If you're an adult sitting in those seats then you may feel a bit cramped, as they are probably more intended for use by kids.
It's a bit pricier than the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso, however can still be bought for around £18k brand new, which isn't bad for such a large car. The fuel economy is fairly reasonable for its size, with the most economical 1.6l variant offering 41.9mpg.
The SEAT Alhambra
The SEAT Alhambra is an excellent choice for families as it comfortably offers 7 seats in a highly practical layout, is great to drive, and you get a lot of car for your money. All of the seats offer plenty of space, even if adults are sitting in them all. It has nearly as much space as a Hyundai i800, but with more features. Akin to the i800 it has very useful sliding doors, which are great for getting everyone in and out when in narrow parking spaces.
Behind the wheel it does feel like a big vehicle but is still nice to drive, and can be bought for between £22k and £29k. In terms of looks it isn't the most amazingly creative of designs, yet still looks perfectly reasonable, and the practicality more than makes up for this. The 1.4l MPV gives a MPG of 39.1, which is quite low for the small engine size, but not too bad when you consider this is one of the bigger MPVs available.