Whether you’re planning to carry seven people on a regular basis, or just need an occasional third row of seats, there’s an SUV to suit your needs
Gone are the days when anyone in the market for a seven-seater had to choose a boxy MPV. Now there are plenty of 4x4s and SUVs that give you the same sort of practicality but a lot more style. And they often have the added bonus of being able to tow a caravan or boat, or traverse a muddy field.
True, they’re big cars, so you need to choose the right engine to avoid frightening fuel bills. But third-row passengers won’t feel second class, and there’s certainly no need to put up with an uncomfortable ride, clattery engine or spartan interior.
The best seven-seat SUVs:
10. Hyundai Santa Fe
You can specify the Santa Fe with either five or seven seats, and in seven-seat form it’s a genuine alternative to a traditional people carrier. Okay, third-row head room is tight for adults, but children will be fine. The second and third-row seats fold almost flat, too, and the Santa Fe offers a comfortable ride. The biggest downsides are its below-par refinement and fairly high price.
Our pick: 2.2 CRDi 200 Premium 7st
9. Nissan X-Trail
If you want a spacious and practical SUV and care more about a low price than an engaging driving experience, the Nissan X-Trail is worth a look. Even our favourite seven-seat version, the 1.6 dCi Acenta, is priced well below £30,000. Just bear in mind that it suffers from sloppy body control and poor over-the-shoulder visibility.