Our family is getting bigger with the arrival of our next child and we need seven seats, help!
We don't really know where to begin. Are our choices just very big 4x4s and MPVs?
The choice of 7 seaters has never been bigger and they come in all shapes and sizes. Compact people carriers like the Vauxhall Zafira with its clever Flex system (the rear seats fold into the floor) has been around since 1999 and can now be bought very cheaply. The Renault Megane Grand Scenic has a big name and equally big interior. Even so it is the Volkswagen Touran that offers one of the most versatile interiors in a handy sized package.
Full sized MPVs are an obvious choice when it comes to extra ‘seatage.’ It is difficult to go wrong with the UKs perennial best seller the Ford Galaxy. All models drive well and are good value new or very used. The clone versions from Volkswagen, the Sharan and SEAT Alhambra offer different specs and some different engines. Renault’s long established Espace is very smart, comfortable and well equipped, but can be pricey. MPVs are rarely pretty but the latest the Mazda 5 breaks that rule.
It has been possible over the years to buy posh estate cars with rear facing seats in the boot area. Not to everyone’s tastes and only suitable for children, it is the Volvo V70 and older Mercedes E Class that can have these folding items fitted as an option.
Then there are off roaders with extra seats. From the small and soft, like the old Nissan Terrano and latest Nissan X-Trail. Then the more upmarket school run favourites including the Volvo XC90 and Mercedes ML series. For those who want more capable off roaders it has to be the Land Rover Discovery, Mitsubishi Shogun and Toyota Landcruiser, the latter having an 8 seat option on some versions.
Words: James Ruppert
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