The best people-carrying SUVs on the market
Once upon a time, if you needed a seven-seater, you were forced into a boxy and boring MPV. No longer. These days, seven-seat SUVs and 4x4s are the go-to cars for those with people to move – they’re just as practical but a great deal more stylish.
They can even take you and six people into muddy fields with ease, and have no problem towing the very largest of caravans. They’re more sophisticated than ever to drive as well. Here are 10 of the best.
10. Hyundai Santa Fe
You can get a five-seat Hyundai Santa Fe, but the seven-seater makes far more sense, turning it into a decent alternative to a people carrier. Sure, the third row is best reserved for kids, but it’s still fine for growing families. Pity refinement isn’t the best, and prices aren’t as cheap as some expect, either.
Our choice: 2.2 CRDi Blue Drive Premium 7st
9. Nissan X-Trail
The Nissan X-Trail is the seven-seat alternative to the smash-hit Nissan Qashqai. It’s not as polished as its more popular sibling, but still practical and very well priced – our choice model, the 1.6 dCi Acenta, easily comes in below £30,000. We just wish the handling were a bit tighter.
Our choice: 1.6 dCi Acenta 7st
8. BMW X5
BMW was a pioneer of the driver-pleasing 4×4 with the original X5. Now on its third generation, it remains one of the best of its type, with the driver very much at the heart of the action. It’s at its best as a four-wheel drive, although all models feature one of the best infotainment systems you can buy.
Our choice: xDrive25d SE 7st
7. Kia Sorento
The Kia Sorento is the sister car to the Hyundai Santa Fe. It’s actually a bit more practical, so the third row of seats are more usable, while basics such as a strong engine, decent ride and ample towing capacity are all present. Again, though, refinement could be better.
Our choice: 2.2 CRDi KX-2 Auto
6. Range Rover Sport
The rightly popular Range Rover Sport is a very desirable machine. These days, it’s based upon the all-aluminium platform of the posh Range Rover, so drives beautifully. It’s refined, posh and luxurious inside, and is simply a pleasure to spend time in. A seven-seat option means two more than in a Range Rover can come along for the ride.
Our choice: 3.0 SDV6 HSE 7st
5. Volvo XC90
The first of the modern breed of transformative Volvos, the latest XC90 is a brilliant seven-seat SUV. It’s classy, practical, good to drive and only a slight lack of refinement and a bit of knobble to the ride quality stop it finishing even higher up the rankings.
Our choice: 2.0 D5 PowerPulse Momentum
4. Land Rover Discovery
The new Land Rover Discovery is, like the old Discovery, enormous. Three lavishly spacious rows of seats mean seven people will have room to spare, and the attention to practical design detail is second to none. It’s better quality inside than any previous Discovery and great to drive both on road and off it.
Our choice: 3.0 TD6 HSE
3. Land Rover Discovery Sport
The little brother to the Land Rover Discovery is a former What Car? Large SUV of the Year. It too comes with seven seats, and has a similarly smart and well-finished interior. Running costs are reasonable thanks to glacial depreciation, and even buying it in the first place isn’t too prohibitive thanks to decent value pricing.
Our choice: 2.0 TD4 180 SE Technology
2. Skoda Kodiaq
The new Skoda Kodiaq is a masterpiece. It’s Skoda’s first-ever full-size SUV, a step-up type of car that it’s conceived brilliantly. Not all models have seven seats, but it’s so well-priced, you can easily move up through the range, and enjoy even more gadgets and features in what’s without a doubt the best sub-£30k SUV on sale.
Our choice: 2.0 TDI 150 4×4 SE 7st
1. Audi Q7
The second-generation Audi Q7 is related to a Bentley which costs three times as much. It shows: this is a supremely accomplished luxury SUV, one that rides beautifully, drives well, is exceedingly refined and has one of the nicest interiors of any vehicle on sale. All told, it’s simply stunning.
Our choice: 3.0 TDI Quattro SE