Best 7-seaters for 2021

  • Looking to buy a new car for a large family?
  • We choose our favourites with seven seats
  • The best large MPVs and SUVs showcased

If your family has grown and you have two or more children, you might find that a typical five-seater car simply doesn’t have enough room for all of your passengers and their luggage at the same time. A seven-seater not only offers you more flexibility, but lots of space for your family’s gear.

Not that long ago, you used to have to buy a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) or an estate with small rear-facing seats in the boot if you wanted a seven-seater, but now there's more variety - athough many of the options are SUVs.

Which seven-seaters are best: MPVs or SUVs?

This is purely down to personal choice and reflects the fact that simply because a car has seven seats, it doesn't mean that it will appeal to all buyers.

Most SUVs are typically taller versions of regular hatchbacks and estates with more of an off-road appearance, regardless of whether they can venture off piste or not. Many are available with four-wheel drive for those who need that additional traction. Generally, seven-seater SUVs tend to be a bit short on space in the back row of seats, often a result of their styling.

Van-based MPVs usually have more space for seven adults than MPVs

MPVs, particularly those which are van-based, generally offer the most room and a greater degree of interior flexibility, if not the style car buyers tend to be attracted to, these days. Although some do have luxurious interiors, the majority of MPVs derived from vans still put function comfortably ahead of form. 

Work out whether you need seven seats all of the time; if you only need those extra seats every now and then, consider a smaller seven-seater where the rearmost pair are smaller and designed primarily for kids. If you regularly carry six or more people, then bigger is usually better.

Petrol, diesel, hybrid and electric seven-seaters

While the majority of seven-seaters are large vehicles and have previously been better suited to torquey diesel engines, electrification is becoming more readily available.

Whether you're looking for a regular hybrid, a plug-in (PHEV) model or even a fully electric seven-seater, the choice is widening - but for the time-being they're more expensive than those with conventional engines. Automatic seven-seaters are now much more commonplace, with few such cars being offered with manual gearboxes.

Visit our dedicated seven-seater cars for sale section for some great used deals or look at the leasing deals on our favourite models shown below:

The best seven-seaters for 2021

Volvo XC90 

White 2020 Volvo XC90 front three-quarter

Many seven-seat SUV buyers are inevitably families with children and often at the front of mind when making a purchasing decision is safety. Volvo has long-promoted its dedication and inventiveness to this particular area, even before it was widely accepted as a hot topic among potential customers. The XC90 amplifies this legacy yet further - it may have been around for over five years, but it remains one of the very safest vehicles in which to travel, according to the experts at Euro NCAP.

All that safety is brilliant, but what about practicality? Well, it's certainly flexible with each of the seven seats capable of accommodating an adult, although the ones in the third row are a little tighter for space than the positions in front. Not only that, there's a Scandi-cool feel to the interior, plus lots of storage cubbies for family detritus.

Our biggest gripe? It is rather expensive, but then Volvo is an upmarket brand and so strong is demand for XC90s on the used market that they hold their value very well. If you'll largely drive in town, the Recharge T8 plug-in hybrid versions can prove exceptionally low-cost to run, but the rest of the petrol- and diesel-engined range in new XC90s has mild-hybrid technology.

Price new: From £55,095
Lease this car: From £637 per month
Search for a used Volvo XC90 on Parkers with prices from: £18,360-£54,825

Peugeot 5008 

Red 2021 Peugeot 5008 front three-quarter

Don't be fooled by the 5008's SUV styling, because beneath those chamfered lines is a very cleverly packaged MPV, with seven individual seats that all fold flat into the floor so that you don't have the hassle of removing them when you need more loadspace.

Inside and out the 5008's very distinctive and all the better for it - it's proof that cars for larger families don't have to look boring. Facelifted models arrived in December 2020 making the large Peugeot look even more distinctive.

There's function with the form, too. Those individual seats in the middle row ensure that you can fit three bulky Isofix child-seats side-by-side, while the third row is designed for older children. It can be a bit of a tight fit for adults, but they're surprisingly comfy.

Elsewhere, the dashboard feels slick and made of high quality materials, further improved at the 2020 makeover, while the engine range is punchy and efficient - it shows how much technology has progressed that the smallest engine is a 1.2-litre petrol producing 130hp. If you regularly cover longer distances or lug at full capacity, a diesel would likely suit you better.

>> Find out how we got on with Peugeot's 5008 in our long-term review

Price new: From £29,585
Lease this car: From £320 per month
Search for a used Peugeot 5008 on Parkers with prices from: £13,680-£34,760

Citroen Berlingo 

Mint green 2019 Citroen Berlingo front three-quarter driving

We love the Berlingo at Parkers - in fact, it's not just the Citroen we like, but also its very close cousins, the Peugeot Rifter and Vauxhall Combo Life. In fact, we voted the threesome as our Medium Family Cars of the Year for 2020 - they make great seven-seaters for families on a budget. 

There are no points on offer for spotting this is a compact van-based MPV, although its engine range and much of its underpinnings are shared with larger cars in the Citroen, DS, Peugeot and Vauxhall ranges. This ensures it feels comfortable and not especially van-like to drive.

It comes in two body lengths - M, for medium and XL for extra long. Originally you could order either with seven seats, but now they're only available on the larger model. Access to the rearmost row is good and all seats can comfortably fit adult passengers without much difficulty. Sliding rear doors are a bonus in tight car parks, as is the available opening tailgate glass, but the clever glass roof and storage box system isn't available on seven-seater Berlingos.

Petrol and diesel engines have been available so far with a choice of manual and automatic transmissions, but from autumn 2021 the range will be expanded further with the fully electric e-Berlingo, which could prove to be the pick of the line-up with its 171-mile range.

Price new: From £23,605
Lease this car: From £254 per month
Find a used Citroen Berlingo for sale on Parkers with prices from: £9,330-£21,990

Ford S-Max 

Blue 2019 Ford S-Max front three-quarter driving

Back when larger MPVs were really popular, the S-Max was a big seller, often finding more buyers than the larger, roomier Galaxy it shared so many components with. So why was it so successful? Largely for the same reason it's still on sale: it's one of the best seven-seaters to drive.

Using the Mondeo as a starting point, the S-Max's role was to appeal to buyers who otherwise wouldn't have an MPV on their shopping list. It looks sleek - for this kind of car - and like the Peugeot 5008, its third-row pair of seats are smaller and better suited to kids than adults.

Conventional doors, rather the sliding ones, have wide openings to allow easy access to the back of the cabin, with comfy, individual seats that fold into the floor when not needed. Sportiness remains a theme with the trim levels, too, although the range is topped by the plush Vignale. Joining the diesel-only engine line-up at the start of 2021 was a self-charging hybrid alternative, which will be partcularly well-suited for those who drive their seven-seaters primarily in cities.

Enjoy the S-Max while it lasts, though - it and the Galaxy are unlikely to be directly replaced, which is a shame.

Price new: From £33,320
Lease this car: From £353 per month
Find a used Ford S-Max for sale on Parkers with prices from: £8,265-£30,880

Volkswagen Caravelle 

Copper 2020 Volkswagen Caravelle front three-quarter

MPVs with six, seven, eight or even nine seats based on medium-sized panel vans are beginning to grow in popularity, but one of the originals in this genre - and still one of the very best - is Volkswagen's Caravelle. Clearly it's very closely linked to the Transporter commercial vehicle, but within that perpendicular bodywork is a palatial interior that's borderline luxurious. We're running one as a long-termer so you can see how the Caravelle is to live with in our extended review.

Range-topping Executive specification models are the most desirable, but carry a lofty price tag even before you consider ticking boxes for numerous optional extras such as eye-catching two-tone paint. Following the facelift in 2020 to make it the Caravelle 6.1, the dashboard features the look - if not quite the feel - of VW's car range, with sharp graphics for colourful screens. All current Caravelles have punchy diesel engines with automatic DSG transmissions.

Despite the plushness of the interiors, they remain exceptionally versatile, with middle row seats that rotate to face backwards without needing to be removed and reinstalled and a rear row that can be positioned anywhere along the length of the floor rails to balance requirements for passenger and boot space. Expensive, but excellent.  

Price new: From £49,305
Lease this car: From £724 per month
Find a used Volkswagen Caravelle for sale on Parkers with prices from: £20,015-£55,770

Land Rover Defender 110 

Green 2021 Land Rover Defender 110 driving through a stream

Forget the old museum piece of an agricultural vehicle that previously wore the Defender badge, we're talking about the all-new one - an SUV that is as remarkably capable on road as it is across country. There's little doubt that this is the best seven-seater off-roader on sale - in fact, should you so desire, you can have the Defender 110 with up to eight seats, thanks to a foldaway position between the driver and front passenger.

Inside, it's both flexible and practical, with plenty of space in each row for adult passengers, although views out from row three are hindered by stylised square panels that are overlayed onto the windows. There's also an enormous range of personalisation options to make your Land Rover tailor-made for your needs, too, with a suite of extras from special film to protect your paintwork when off-roading through side-mounted pannier carriers to a roof-mounted tent.

It's also very upmarket inside, even without climbing up to the peak of the trim level hierarchy, plus the range of engines is enormous, with mild- and plug-in hybrids, as well as a riotously rapid 5.0-litre V8 petrol. A fully electric Defender is alo in the pipeline.

Price new: From £44,310
Lease this car: From £784 per month
Find a used Land Rover Defender 110 for sale on Parkers with prices from: £34,615-£73,465

Kia Sorento 

Blue 2021 Kia Sorento front three-quarter driving

Kia's SUV flagship is indicative of how far the brand has come since it first appeared in the UK in 1991. From its humble offerings which focused on basic features in cheap and cheerful packages, the Sorento represents technological sophistication in a good value - but not inexpensive - package.

Now in its fourth-generation, the Sorento's styling is the boldest it's ever been, but it's under that distinctive bodywork where the biggest changes have taken place. This time around there's only one diesel version, with the majority of the range being conventional hybrids or plug-in models, making them inexpensive to run, especially when city driving. 

There's plenty of space inside for seven adults, although the rearmost row of seats is a tad more snug than those in front, but the interior quality and high levels of equipment really impress. It has the feel - if not the price tag - of something much more upmarket. Plus, if it's like Kia's other models, it should prove to be incredibly reliable, making it a pragmatic long-term ownership proposition.

Price new: From £38,845
Lease this car: From £507 per month
Find a used Kia Sorento for sale on Parkers with prices from: £TBC

Mercedes-Benz EQV 

White 2021 Mercedes-Benz EQV front three-quarter on charge

Although we rated the Volkswagen Caravelle just ahead of the diesel-engined Mercedes-Benz V-Class, VW doesn't offer a direct rival to its electric-only sister car, the EQV. 

Clearly, the EQV and V-Class look very similar, inside and out, with changes to the grille design, the installation of a charging point in the nearside front bumper corner and some EV-specific instrumentation being the key differentiators. This means you get a spacious van-based body with an enormous boot and a flexibly arranged seven-seater interior. It's not cheap, though, but for those on a budget Mercedes also offers the less plush eVito Tourer based on the commercial vehicle version.

There's just one mechanical combination available, the EQV 300. It has a 204hp motor driving the front wheels - diesel V-Classes power the rears - with a range of between 211 and 213 miles depending on which version you choose. This makes it sensible for longer trips and very inexpensive to use for city driving. 

Price new: From £70,665
Lease this car: From £852 per month
Find a used Mercedes-Benz EQV for sale on Parkers with prices from: £47,915-£57,860

Tesla Model X 

Grey Tesla Model X front three-quarter

Despite its high purchase price, it's not hard to see why the Model X has carved out a niche among well-heeled car buyers in need of a seven-seater family car.

It's electric only, which makes it very inexpensive to run - even less costly when you use Tesla's free Supercharger network - it looks like nothing else on the road, and it has those oh-so-cool Falcon Wing rear doors. A high range of 360 miles means you won't be plugging it in as often as other EVs either.

Not only that, it's not just the fastest seven-seater on sale, it's one of the quickest-accelerating cars available full stop, especially in range-topping Plaid form with three motors producing over 1000hp.

Order one now and you'll be waiting until 2022 for the latest facelifted version. While it doesn't look much different on the outside, the dashboard has a minimalist new look dominated by an enormous landscape-format touchscreen and a controversial 'steering yoke' replacing the conventional wheel.

Price new: From £94,380
Lease this car: From £1,129 per month
Find a used Tesla Model X for sale on Parkers with prices from: £40,380-£95,260

Mercedes-Benz GLS 

Black 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS front three-quarter

An enormous, expensive and luxurious off-roader, the GLS can ferry seven adults around in supreme comfort, isolated from the rigours of the outside world.

On-road its air suspension system and refined diesel engine make it a refined, cosseting mile-muncher, but it has a practical side, too. Not only is it usefully good off-road, the five rear seats all fold easily and electrically into the floor, giving an enormous load area for transporting colossal antiques and St Bernards. 

Despite its gargantuan dimensions, the diesel GLS 400 d is reasonably fuel efficient to run, but Mercedes' clientele often want more than a degree of pragmatism. That's why the AMG GLS 63 exists, powered by a 612hp V8 engine, supplemented by a further 22hp of mild-hybrid electric boost. If you need a seven-seater capable of traveling at 174mph, this is it.

Price new: From £79,420
Lease this car: From £1,202 per month
Find a used Mercedes-Benz GLS for sale on Parkers with prices from: £51,540-£139,750

Further reading:

>> We rate the best seven-seater SUVs

>> Looking for a coupe? These are our favourites

>> Find out how much your car's worth with a Parkers valuation