As your family grows, many parents struggle to find a car big enough to accommodate their needs, particularly if two or more children are in car seats.But which are best seven-seater cars out there? Nationwide Vehicle Contracts has put together a list of eight of our favourite seven-seater family cars based on space, practicality, fuel economy and value for money.
First up is the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. Modern, stylish and hugely practical, the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is a fine example of a seven-seat people carrier that not only looks great but is also incredibly safe and practical, with the latest generation model boasting a five star Euro NCAP rating.
Inside, the Grand C4 Picasso’s huge 537-litre boot and third-row seats, which can be folded down for those times when you don't need the extra seats, offers all the flexibility you need from a family car. All three seats in the middle row have ISOFIX fittings to make fitting a child car seat easier than ever before. With a record 2.84m wheelbase, all passengers can also enjoy first-class levels of legroom, making it a great family choice when it comes to leasing.
Under the bonnet, a wide choice of engines are available with the most economical returning around 74 MPG with emissions under 99g/km. A number of Driver Assistance systems also serve to make your journey as safe, convenient and peaceful as possible, including 360 Vision, Park Assist, a reversing camera, a video Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) and active cruise control.
Standard equipment includes alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and a six-speaker stereo with USB input. Higher trims add leather upholstery, DAB radio, a powered tailgate, keyless entry and a 12” colour HD digital information display.
The new Volvo XC90 offers exceptional comfort, smarter styling and even greater practicality, making it one of our best-selling seven-seater cars.
Inside, the XC90 boasts enough space in the third-row seats for two adults and a decent boot space of 314 litres, which increases to 775 litres with the third row seats folded down. The second row of seats also comes with two ISOFIX points although three points can be fitted as an optional extra.
To keep things simple there are just three trim levels and three engine options to choose from with the 225PS D5 diesel being most popular thanks to its combined fuel economy of 48.7MPG. All cars have all-wheel drive and an automatic transmission as standard.
As expected from a Volvo, the XC90 also has a five star Euro NCAP rating and received the 2015 Best in Class award for both Large Off-Road and Overall Performance categories.
Standard equipment on the XC90 Momentum model includes LED headlights, alloy wheels, a power operated tailgate, adaptive cruise control, Bluetooth, Rear Park assist and Sensus connect satellite navigation.
No family car list would be complete without mentioning the new Land Rover Discovery Sport, a luxury seven-seat 4x4 based on the award-winning Range Rover Evoque.
At 4.6 metres long, the Discovery Sport offers plenty of space inside with a 5+2 seating configuration. The rearmost seats fold flat, allowing the middle row to slide backward to increase legroom when needed and there is two ISOFIX points in the middle row.
Under the bonnet, the new Discovery Sport features a new, British-built 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium diesel engine for lower emissions, better fuel economy and notably less noise than its initial 2.2-litre SD4 engine.
Standard equipment is also impressive, with climate control for the first two row of seats, cruise control, a heated windscreen and partial leather seats standing out as highlights in particular.
Refreshed in 2015, the Ford S-MAX looks and drives better than ever before, making it a popular lease choice for growing families who want both practicality and style.
When it comes to space, the S-MAX ticks all the boxes with its 285-litre boot with all seats in place - accessible via a wide, electronically operated tailgate and low boot floor - and 700 litres with the third row down. The second row of seats can slide individually to make more room in the back and boasts three ISOFIX child seat fittings. There’s also enough room in the third row seating space for a pair of adults although they may not want to be there too long though due to the sloping roofline.
Under the bonnet, there are six engine choices to choose from – two petrol (1.5-litre with 150PS and a 2.0-litre with 240PS) and four diesels (2.0-litre TDCi with power outputs of 120PS, 150PS, 180PS and 210PS), blending economy with performance. There’s also plenty of high-tech safety equipment and family-friendly options such as optional front camera, Active Park Assist and Lane Keeping System.Standard equipment on the Ford S-MAX includes alloy wheels, Ford’s SYNC 2 system, front and rear parking sensors, DAB radio and an electric handbrake.
Taking styling cues from the incredibly popular Qashqai, the seven-seat Nissan X-Trail is a 4x4 styled for adventure.
Inside, the X-Trail majors on space, with enough room to fit three adults in the back row, although the two third-row seats are best reserved for small children. With a seats-up boot capacity of 550 litres and a seats-down figure of 1,982 litres, the X-Trail’s huge boot is large enough to fit in most prams, as well as the family shopping with the two-part adjustable load floor offering extra practicality.
Under the bonnet, the X-Trail offers a range of petrol and diesel engines, with optional four wheel drive. The 1.6-litre diesel engine is relatively cheap to run for a car of its size, returning a fuel consumption of 57.9 MPG and CO2 emissions of 129g/km.
Standard equipment on the Nissan X-Trail includes LED running lights, cruise control, alloy wheels, a five-inch infotainment touchscreen, all-round electric windows and Bluetooth connectivity.
The award-winning SEAT Alhambra remains a firm favourite in the seven-seater stakes thanks to its stylish good looks, impressive practicality and five-star Euro NCAP rating.
Inside, the Alhambra boasts plenty of room with sliding rear doors at the back for easy access when parking in tight spaces. The three middle-row seats slide and recline individually, allowing for a multitude of seating configurations and feature three ISOFIX points. There's also a 267 litre boot for carrying when fully loaded with passengers and an array of storage spaces throughout the car.
Under the bonnet, the Alhambra comes with a choice of petrol and diesel engines, all of which offer high-end performance with unrivalled economy, as well as Start/Stop technology and brake energy recovering systems. Extensive technological innovations, such as Park Assist and Tiredness Detection System, also give the SEAT Alhambra extra levels of comfort, safety and versatility.
Standard features on the SEAT Alhambra include sliding rear side doors, alloy wheels, 6.5" colour touchscreen, Bluetooth and LED taillights.
Giving the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Volvo XC90 a run for their money in the luxury sector is the second-generation Audi Q7.
Despite being slightly narrower and shorter than its predecessor, the new Q7 still boasts enough room for seven people, along with all their luggage. The 297 litre boot with low rear bumper not only looks great but aids practicality as there’s no lip. The Q7 also boasts an impressive six ISOFIX points – one on each passenger seat – so you can spread out the children to help avoid arguments on long car journeys.
Under the bonnet, the 3.0 litre TDI diesel engine is not as expensive to run as you might think, returning a fuel economy of 47.9 MPG and CO2 emissions of 153 g/km. Buyers can also specify options such as an autonomous park assist function and active lane keep assist to take some of the stress out of driving and help keep you out of harm’s way.
Standard features on the Audi Q7 include alloy wheels, DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, leather upholstery, LED rear lights and cruise control.
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