Once only the preserve of big families the seven seat SUV is now as much a status symbol as it is a family must have
The second-generation seven-seater Audi Q7 is a vision of well-executed design and is beautifully constructed inside and out and showcasing some of Audis best connectivity, infotainment, and driver-assistance technology. On road, it dwarfs all but buses and trucks and it is refined and quiet. The second-row folds and tumbles forward to allow access to the third row which is best suited to children or smaller adults. There is a choice of three engines, a 3.0 diesel with either 218bhp or 272bhp. If money’s no object the 4.0 litre SQ7 Tdi is the one to opt for but the e-tron hybrid is much healthier for your bank balance and the environment. The Q7 is a luxurious family hauler and will be no compromise for those who choose beauty over practicality.
Prices Start From: €73,950
Since its launch, it has always been a firm favourite with fashion-conscious on-the-go moms and over time it has moved more towards the suburban market. Due here in November the all-new fourth generation has five seats in two rows as standard with an optional third row. Now sporting a more imposing presence thanks to the large kidney grille it is now larger, wider and higher. Behind the wheel, the all-new interior is beautifully uncluttered with a variety of materials and textures that exude quality and it now comes with a range of new technology and design touches not seen elsewhere in the range. Engine options include one petrol and two diesel units. On the road, there is a raft of driver aids to keep you firmly planted including the very latest version of BMW’s xDrive system and Driving Stability Control (DSC) system. BMW has firmly upped its game with the new X5, bigger more spacious with improved economy, emissions and performance but it also comes with a big price tag.
Prices Start From: €94,325 (On the Road)
Hyundai Santa Fe
Hyundai’s large seven-seater has received a much-needed makeover and the fourth generation is now, like most of us, much bigger than it used to be. Outside it sports a more rugged look but it inside where the real changes have taken place and it is now far more premium and Interior space has been improved and space is good front and back, even the with all seven seats in place there is still some room in the boot. Only a 2.2 litre diesel engine is available, but there are three trim levels: Comfort Plus Executive Plus and Premium Plus. Two or four-wheel drive is available and buyers can choose between manual or automatic transmissions. Around town, it feels solid and reassuring despite its size and on the motorway, it’s admirably unflustered. A genuine seven-seater, the Santa Fe is a great family car and is now bigger, better-equipped and safer.
Prices Start From: €41,995
The seven-seat SUV is one of the most popular family car choices on the road and Kia’s third-generation seven-seat Sorento is their most refined to date. New for 2018 is a subtle, sportier look, the introduction of ‘GT-Line’ variants and the availability of a new eight-speed automatic gearbox. On the road, it is adequately punchy and will amble along merrily on motorways and it comes with decent off-road ability for those trickier speed bumps. The interior quality sets it apart from the previous version with soft-touch materials and an excellent quality feel throughout. One engine is offered; a 2.2 turbo diesel available in front or all-wheel drive. Buyers can choose from 4 trims, all of which feature a generous range of in-car wizardry and if five seats are all you need then the entry-level K1 Sorento is the one to go for. The Kia Sorento is well-equipped, fabulously reliable and comes Kia’s seven-year warranty brings peace of mind.
Prices Start From: €41,395
Land Rover Discovery
It’s so traditionally English that hoisting yourself into the seat you almost expect a headscarf on the passenger seat to complete the look. The latest Discovery harnesses all of Land Rover’s legendary off-road performance and it can cope with any weather Originally conceived as a more luxurious Land Rover Defender it is now more than a match for the Range Rover in terms of luxury and styling. The uncluttered cabin, infotainment system and high-quality materials make this the most luxurious Discovery yet. On the road, it is comfortable and refined and you barely hear a whisper from the engine on the downside it’s not the most fuel efficient when compared to rivals. Essentially this is a car built to climb every mountain, scale very peak and ford every river that is if you’ve got the time and can afford the fuel.
Prices Start from: €59,745
The Outlander is one of the most versatile large SUVs and versions include seven or five seats and plug-in Hybrid. The Outlander Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) is a well worth considering with a 45km electric range, just 46g/km CO2 and it can potentially return 2 litres per 100km depending on how it is driven. Available only as a five-seater Mitsubishi has recently announced a 20% price reduction. Inside the interior is a little drab compared to rivals but it offers good space for a family though headroom in the rear is tight. On the road, it is comfortable and easy to drive. If you are looking for a practical, economical and well-priced seven-seat 4×4 then the Outlander should be on your list.
Prices Start From: €39,900
Recently receiving a much needed revamp the new X-Trail now boasts improvements throughout. Outside, the rugged styling has given way to a more crossover look and it bears more than a passing resemblance to the smaller Qashqai. Buyers can opt for five or seven seats and front or four-wheel drive. Inside there is plenty of space for front and back passengers and adults will fit in the extra two seats though over long journeys there may be some complaints. Engine options include a 1.6 diesel engine with 130hp or a 1.6 petrol engine with 163hp. The X-Trail is available in XE, SV, SVE and a new SV Premium trim and every X-Trail comes with, 17″ Alloy Wheels, Rear Parking Sensors, LED Day Time Running Lights, Cruise Control & Speed Limiter, Manual Air Conditioning and Hill Start Assist. such competitive prices the X-Trail has to be a real contender, and if you’re considering a seven-seater then you really should put it on your shopping list.
Prices Start From: €33,250
In the age of the urban SUV, Peugeot has looked at the most important, decision-shaping consumer desirables within the family-buying market – style, space and elegance – and have re-imagined their 5008 from the wheels up and it is no longer a boxy MPV but rather a smart SUV. Distinctive and elegant outside, inside everything, is smooth and logical and behind Peugeot’s small steering wheel is a virtual cockpit – the iCockpit digital dashboard. The contemporary design is elegant and there’s the impression that every detail has been considered. The car comes with six engine choices and three trim levels, including an impressive 1.2 petrol, so there’s something for everyone. There is much to admire about the 5008, it blends the best practicality of an MPV with the appeal of an SUV, making it a very enticing family car. While it battles for market share with some very accomplished rivals, it has nudged its way in and created a following of its own.
Prices Start From: €29,345
Named after an Alaskan bear, the Kodiaq is Skoda’s seven- or five-seat SUV. Inside, three adults fit comfortably in the back, and, in the seven-seat option, the middle three seats slide forward to allow extra room for the two rear ones. Families will love the roomy and versatile seating arrangements, but the two seats at the back are best saved for children as they are quite small and only suitable for short journeys. Inside it’s brimming over with clever touches including the rubber guard that unfolds every time you open a door, to prevent damage to the frame in case the door knocks against another object. Buyers have a choice of a 1.5. petrol or a 2.0 diesel. Despite its size, the drive is engaging and the Kodiaq rides very well and is agile and the steering well weighted. The Kodiaq is a well-considered and very impressive all-purpose family car at a very competitive price from a car maker at the top of its game.
Prices Start From: €31,950
Oozing Scandinavian cool the XC90 at almost five metres long is a towering seven-seat SUV. As a Volvo there are safety features du jour and while it’s reassuring to know you will barely notice a collision with something stationary. On the road, despite its bulk, the XC90 is light to steer, smooth and responsive – a total joy. Inside, the family-friendly interior is beautifully appointed and is awash with soft leather and Scandinavian wood. Unlike many rivals, it is also a genuine seven-seater. The third row of seats can comfortably accommodate adults and will more than adequately separate squabbling siblings. Trims are Momentum, Inscription, R-Design and Excellence. The XC90 is expensive but if you are one of the lucky ones to have a generous budget it would be hard to recommend a better family car.
Prices Start From: €74,250
Table: Boot size when all seven seats are in use
|Make & Model||Capacity in Litres|
|Hyundai Santa Fe||n/a|
|Land rover Discovery||258|
20th September 2018