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The safest seven-seaters for kids

  • Seven-seaters with more than two ISOFIX points
  • All of these cars make fitting child seats simple
  • Choice of people carriers and SUVs for the job

A dilemma often faced by large families is finding a car big enough to accommodate the whole brood, especially if more than two of the children are in baby or booster seats.

As many of us know, fitting three child seats side-by-side in the back of a car can be a mission so impossible even Tom Cruise would laugh at the script. The child restraints fit perfectly in the outer rear seats but the middle one is often just too narrow for a third.

More and more families take advantage of the extra safety measures offered by ISOFIX child seats. These have clips that connect directly to secure points of the car, fitting securely to any vehicle thus equipped.

Could one of the following seven-seaters be your next family car?

Audi Q7

Audi Q7 - the best seven seaters

The Audi Q7 has a lot going for it – it’s got a spacious, high-quality interior, a desirable image and it drives well for such a large car.

It’s not as expensive to run as you might think either. Powered by a range of strong diesel engines, including a tax-free plug-in hybrid E-tron version, the Q7 is capable of returning fuel economy in the mid-forties – not so bad when you consider its size.

The important bit comes inside, though. The Q7 boasts an impressive six ISOFIX points – one on each passenger seat. That means all of your kids will be safe throughout the car, or you can spread them out to avoid arguments on long journeys.

ISOFIX locations: all six passengers seats
Euro NCAP score: 5 stars
Prices from: £48,455

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso 

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso - safest seven seaters

We’re big fans of the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. It looks great, has a modern interior with lots of space and flexibility.

It’s reasonably priced and comes with a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines – so it won’t cost families too much to buy and run.

All three seats in the middle row have ISOFIX fittings, while the two rearmost seats have just about enough room for adults on short journeys.

ISOFIX locations: all middle-row seats
Euro NCAP score: 5 stars
Prices from: £19,460

Ford S-MAX 

Ford S-Max - safest seven-seaters

The Ford S-MAX was refreshed in 2015 with a sharp new look and upgraded interior. It’s still enjoyable to drive, but it’s more comfortable than ever and comes packed with high-tech safety equipment and family-friendly options.

There are plenty of engines to choose from – the diesels are particularly impressive – while there’s enough room in the rearmost seats for a pair of adults. They may not want to be there too long though, due to the sloping roofline.

If it’s just kids in the rear seats, they’ll be well catered for. The S-MAX’s middle row of seats can slide individually to make more room in the back, while there are ISOFIX fittings on each of the middle row of seats.

ISOFIX locations: all middle-row seats
Euro NCAP score: 5 stars
Prices from: £25,145

Ford Galaxy

Ford Galaxy - safest seven-seaters

If you’re sold on the looks and interior of the S-MAX but need more space in the back, the Galaxy is the answer.

It was treated to the same updates as the S-MAX in 2015, so it’s got Ford’s latest look and high-quality, comfortable interior. Thanks to the squarer rear end, the two back seats are better suited to adults than in the S-MAX, so passengers won’t feel too short-changed.

It’s the same set-up as the S-MAX in terms of ISOFIX points too, with three located across the middle row of seats.

ISOFIX locations: all middle-row seats
Euro NCAP score: 5 stars
Prices from: £27,045

Mercedes-Benz GLS

Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class - safest seven-seaters

If you’ve got money burning a hole in your pocket and you’re not quite ready to commit to a full-blown MPV, there’s always the Mercedes-Benz GLS. Despite the new name, it’s a heavily-refreshed GL, so that means it’s big, luxurious and pretty impressive off-road.

That also means it won’t be cheap to run. There’s a choice of 3.0-litre V6 diesel or the ludicrous 5.5-litre V8 petrol in the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63, the former of which will be most appealing to family buyers. It’s capable of a claimed 37mpg, but it’ll still be costly to run in terms of tax and maintenance.

Inside, it’s pure Mercedes, so there’s lashings of leather and high-quality materials, while the loadspace is huge if you need to turn the GLS into a van. There’s also space for four child seats thanks to ISOFIX points in the two outer seats in the middle row and the two rearmost seats.

ISOFIX locations: two outer middle-row seats and rear seats
Euro NCAP score: Not tested by Euro NCAP
Prices from: £69,110

Peugeot 5008 (2010-2016) 

Peugeot 5008 - safest seven-seaters

The Peugeot 5008 is one of the older cars on this list, but it’s got a flexible interior with three ISOFIX points across the middle row of seats.

It’s not quite as spacious as the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, but the interior is well built and flexible. It’s a safe option too, scoring five stars when Euro NCAP tested it back in 2009, plus it’s got an economical range of engines to choose from.

A competitive starting price solidifies the 5008’s popularity and its place in this list.

ISOFIX locations: all middle-row seats
Euro NCAP score: 5 stars
Used price: £3,190 - £16,760

Renault Grand Scenic

Renault Grand Scenic - safest seven-seaters

The Renault Grand Scenic remains a great choice for families looking for space and value for money.

The Grand Scenic will accommodate three child seats across the middle row, while the two rear seats are probably best left for smaller passengers, much like the Peugeot 5008 and Citroen Grand C4 Picasso.

The rest of the interior feels up to the job of dealing with the rigours of family life with solid build quality and plenty of extra storage cubbies.

It won’t cost the earth to run if you go for one of the economical diesel engines, plus the French brand has a strong reputation for safety.

ISOFIX locations: all middle-row seats
Euro NCAP score: 5 stars
Prices from: £22,360

SEAT Alhambra

SEAT Alhambra - safest seven-seaters

The SEAT Alhambra is the sister car to the VW Sharan – there’s little to differentiate the two aside from different lights and bumpers at the front and rear.

The Alhambra is powered by a choice of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, while a range of trim levels ensures there should be something to suit most buyers.

Sliding side doors and comfortable seats all round make the Alhambra a compelling package, especially when you factor in generous equipment levels and a five-star Euro NCAP safety score.

Add to that a total of three ISOFIX points across the middle row and plenty of family-friendly extras available, the Alhambra makes a great family car.

ISOFIX locations: all middle-row seats
Euro NCAP score: 5 stars
Prices from: £24,885

Volkswagen Sharan

VW Sharan - safest seven-seaters

More expensive than the Alhambra, the VW Sharan offers a bit more prestige than the SEAT largely due to the badge on the front.

That’s about it in terms of distinctions though, because the Sharan has the same dashboard, same engines and same driving experience as the cheaper SEAT.

The diesels remain the engines to go for unless you don’t plan on covering many miles, in which case there’s a 1.4-litre TSI petrol to go for, but otherwise it’s the same story as the Alhambra albeit with a slightly higher price.

ISOFIX locations: all middle-row seats
Euro NCAP score: 5 stars
Prices from: £26,680

Volkswagen Touran

VW Touran - safest seven-seaters

Perhaps surprisingly, the smaller Touran features two more ISOFIX points than the Sharan. Boasting five anchoring points in the second and third rows, the Touran is one of very few cars that can accommodate more than three child seats.

It’s not as spacious as the Sharan for adults, but the interior is flexible and large enough for most families, while build quality is top notch and shares many parts with the popular VW Golf.

On the move, it handles very much like the smaller Golf, and it’s got a wide range of efficient petrol and diesel engines to choose from.

ISOFIX locations: all second- and third-row seats
Euro NCAP score: 5 stars
Prices from: £22,270

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