Best seven-seater SUVs 2020

  • Popular, versatile vehicles for style-conscious larger families
  • Often less practical than traditional, unfashionable MPVs
  • Many are also capable off-roaders, with four-wheel drive

Not so long ago, if you wanted to buy a practical seven-seater family car your only choice would have been a boxy MPV. Nowadays seven-seat SUVs are the more popular choice, thanks to their ruggedly attractive appearance, commanding view of the road ahead and solid all-round practicality.

So instead of being forced to travel in a remarketed van or even the boot of a large estate car, kids these days will often find themselves crammed into the third row of an off-roader. Not all such SUVs are created equal however, with some offering better space and family friendly features than others.

>> Browsing for all kinds of seven-seaters, not just SUVs? Read about our pick of the best

Parkers has, of course, driven every seven-seater SUV you’re likely to buy, and here we’ve chosen our favourites. These range from wallet-friendly workhorses right up to some of the most luxurious vehicles on sale. All excel in different areas – some offer the flexibility of an MPV in a cleverly disguised skin, while others provide off-road capability far beyond your normal family motor. One is fully electric and enormously fast.

Read on for our pick of the best, or you can click on the links below to jump straight to the model you’re interested in.

Best seven-seater SUVs 2020:


SEAT Tarraco
 

SEAT Tarraco front three quarter

We can entirely vouch for the versatility, capability and value of the SEAT Tarraco – we’re running one on our long-term fleet, and minor gripes aside have been very impressed with it. Though not quite as practical as SEAT's traditional Alhambra MPV (now discontinued), it's a far more stylish thing, good to drive and very capable.

The Tarraco sits on the same underpinnings as the latest Volkswagen SUVs, and uses the same technology and engines as you’d get in these closely related models, such as the excellent Tiguan. There are smooth petrols, efficient diesels and even a plug-in hybrid on the way, so there’s plenty of choice for potential buyers.

As for the third row of seats, they’re undeniably tight, and better-suited to children than adults – but they fold away easily, leave a big boot in five-seat mode and are definitely worth having. All these good qualities are rolled up in a package that’s an absolute steal for leasing or finance.

Price new: From £29,155
Lease this car: From £333 per month
Search for a used SEAT Tarraco for sale on Parkers here

Volvo XC90 

Volvo XC90 front three quarter

It’s fair to assume a great number of seven-seat SUV customers will be families with children, and what’s more important to those kind of customers than safety? Volvo has always been at the forefront of safety technology, pioneering advancements such as the three-point seatbelt, and its XC90 SUV continues that legacy with a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating as well as bags of clever tech to not only protect occupants during a crash, but help them avoid having one in the first place.

Of course, what good is a safe SUV if it’s not practical to use? Thankfully, the XC90 offers seven adult-sized seats (as ever, the third row is a bit of a squeeze) and lots of practical storage solutions. The interior is a delight too, being of superb build quality and with a cool, calm, Scandinavian air to the styling.

The only real sticking point is its high price – but this is a premium machine and for many, it’ll be a cost worth bearing to drive one of the safest, coolest and most desirable family SUVs on the market.

Price new: From £54,400
Lease this car: From £577 per month
Search for a used Volvo XC90 for sale on Parkers here

Peugeot 5008 

Peugeot 5008 front tracking

The current Peugeot 5008 takes all that was good about its predecessor – a rather staid MPV – and wraps it up in an SUV-shaped package that really stands out from the crowd. In fact, the 5008’s styling is one of its key selling points, as both inside and out this is one seriously good-looking car, tightened further by a recent facelift.

It’s not just form without function, though. The 5008 offers three totally separate seats across the middle row – a rarity in an SUV, and something that makes it allows buyers to fit bulky child seats three abreast.

Better yet, the 5008 benefits from the latest Peugeot engines and gearboxes, meaning it’s a very pleasant thing to drive indeed. We particularly like the punchy 1.2-litre petrol engine and impressively slick eight-speed automatic gearbox, though the diesels are also quiet, refined and economical. Forget fragile Peugeot MPVs of old – the 5008 SUV is a really impressive car.

>> Found out how we got on with one in our long term review

Price new: From £28,980
Lease this car: From per month
Search for a used Peugeot 5008 for sale on Parkers here

Land Rover Discovery 

Land Rover Discovery front three quarter

Well-established as a brilliant family car, the Land Rover Discovery isn’t exactly cheap to buy or run but it does what it does incredibly well. A key selling point for those who love their Discoveries is their sheer size – these are one of a select group of cars that can actually fit full-sized adults in their third row of seats.

Another thing the Discovery excels at is its sheer breadth of ability. Here’s a car that can go effortlessly from ferrying the kids to school, to serious off-roading in challenging conditions, and then with a simple wash it’s ready once again to go to any event from a church fete to a black-tie ball.

We love its powerful and smooth diesel engines, its incredibly commanding driving position and the fact it’s inexplicably no harder to pilot than a regular-sized car. The premium Land Rover badge is just the icing on the cake.

Price new: From £48,430
Lease this car: From £684 per month
Search for a used Land Rover Discovery for sale on Parkers here

Mercedes-Benz GLB 

Mercedes-Benz GLB - best seven-seat SUVs, grey, front view, 2020

One of the newest entrants in the SUV market is the Mercedes GLB. Enthusiasts of the upmarket German brand will immediately work out that it slots into the range between the GLA and GLC, yet it manages to squeeze in a third row of chairs making this a seven-seater, although they are better suited to kids and only occasional use by adults.

That's no bad thing as few SUV drivers need to ferry six other people about with them all the time, and when you don't the back two rows easily fold down to create a long, flat boot area for carrying masses of stuff. This is in fact a very multitalented machine that's impressed us greatly; leasing prices are excellent, too. 

Being based on the A-Class and related family of models, the GLB has a stylish dual-screen dashboard, plus an efficient range of 1.3-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel engines, with 4Matic four-wheel drive should you want it. Plus, if performance is your thing, there's also the option of the rorty Mercedes-AMG GLB 35, combining hot hatch speed with seven-seater flexibility.

Price new: From £34,510
Lease this car: From £388 per month
Search for a used Mercedes-Benz GLB for sale on Parkers here

BMW X7 

Blue 2019 BMW X7 front three-quarter

If you're looking for a very high-end SUV with seven seats you'll soon discover you're not spoilt for choice. There's the extremely expensive Bentley Bentayga and the hulking Mercedes-Benz's GLS, but we'd take the X7 over both of them. There's absolutely no escaping that its styling is very divisive, from the enormity of its grille to the sheer, vertical surfaces of its bodywork. But on the otherhand, it has significant road presence and that enormous structure liberates a considerable amount of interior space.

Yes, there's genuine space for seven adults to sit comfortably within the X7 - and even when you do, there's still a reasonably useful boot at the back for a few soft luggage bags. BMW even offers the option of making it a six-seater with a pair of individual, electrically adjustable seats in the middle row replacing the three-person bench seat.

Perhaps even more remarkable than the way the X7 looks is the manner in which it drives. Of course, you cannot ignore its width or its weight, but the way it handles is deeply impressive, with pace, good body control to prevent your passengers from feeling ill, and high levels of comfort. 

Price new: From £75,110
Lease this car: From £918 per month
Search for a used BMW X7 for sale on Parkers here

Hyundai Santa Fe 

Silver 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe front three-quarter driving

Hyundai's fourth-generation Santa Fe is one of our favourite seven-seater SUVs, thanks to its cavernous interior, an embarrassment of riches when it comes to standard equipment, bulletproof build quality and the reassurance of a five-year/unlimited mileage warranty. It might not be an immediately obvious choice, but it's a large family car that you should definitely not overlook.

Its range structure is nice and simple with just two well-appointed trim levels: Premium and Premium SE. So generously kitted out are they that extra-cost options are limited to metallic paint and a choice of grey or burgundy leather, the latter being far more appealing than it sounds.

Similarly, there's just a single engine available in the form of a 2.2-litre diesel with 200hp on tap. Given the size of the Santa Fe, it's more than ample to give the Hyundai a sensible turn of speed, with a 0-62mph time under 10 seconds. It's got enough urgency to ensure you can easily keep up with traffic, without sacrificing the relaxed comfort of the driving experience.

Price new: From £39,420
Lease this car: From £463 per month
Search for a used Hyundai Santa Fe for sale on Parkers here

Audi Q7 

Grey 2020 Audi Q7 front three-quarters driving

There's a sense of inevitability that if an SUV is to seat seven adults in splendid comfort, it's going to have gargantuan dimensions - and so it is of the Audi Q7. Students of Audi's SUV range will know there's a Q8 model that sits above it in the range, but this is a strict five-seater, with an emphasis on sporty luxury.

That's not to suggest that the Q7 feels workmanlike inside by comparison - far from it, with plush fabrics, rich leathers and squidgy plastics, all of which reek of quality and longevity. But, flexibility isn't sacrificed in this quest for a feelgood factor, with electrically folding middle and rear row seats that glide away to leave a well-appointed load bay when you have occasion to haul a van-like cargo.

Diesel engines remain the most popular, but it won't be long before city dwellers and company car drivers find favour in the plug-in hybrids badged TFSI e. Plus, if you really need to ferry yourself and six others around rapidly, there's always the flagship high-performance SQ7.

Price new: From £57,690
Lease this car: From £659 per month
Search for a used Audi Q7 for sale on Parkers

Tesla Model X 

Grey 2019 Tesla Model X front three-quarter

There's much to commend the all-electric Tesla's Model X. With two electric motors and all-wheel drive it has outrageous performance and a claimed driving range of up to 314 miles. Not only that, but with an expansive network of Tesla Supercharger locations across the country - and beyond - recharging doesn't take long, either. Plus, there's the street theatre of the amazing, power-opening 'falcon wing' rear doors.

It's easy to be wowed by all of these factors and overlook the fact that the Model X is an astonishingly acomplished seven-seater SUV. Should you wish, you can have it as a five- or six-seater, but seven makes more sense, with a septet of chairs that can host adult passengers comfortably, although taller folk in the rearmost row may suffer a lack of headroom. .

Considering the overall cabin space, that's a minor gripe. It's light and airy inside, with deep side windows and glazed roof panels, with a flat floor and middle-row seats that electrically slide to and fro, ensuring that it's spacious, practical and luxurious. Expensive, but deeply impressive.

Price new: From £82,980
Lease this car: From £1,246 per month
Search for a used Tesla Model X for sale on Parkers

Further reading:

>> Best small SUVs 2020

>> Best SUVs for towing

>> Best hybrid SUVs