If you have a big family and are looking at 7-seat cars, luck is on your side. There are a number of highly worthy options on the market at the moment, suitable for a wide range of purposes. Here are our top 10 seven-seat family cars (in no particular order).
Land Rover Discovery
If you're after pure luxury and the ability to explore all corners of this great land, the Land Rover Discovery, now in its fifth generation, is one of the most reputable and iconic products in this space. Prices have come down with the latest model, with the base variant kicking off from $65,960, which is around $5k more affordable than the previous Discovery 4. Power comes from a range of high-tech engines from Jaguar Land Rover’s latest Ingenium engine family. You can go for frugal four-cylinder options or a torque-heavy turbo-diesel V6. And the great thing about these latest engines is they offer very respectable fuel economy for the large SUV class.
With Toyota's renowned reliability and SUV expertise, the Kluger is one of the most sensible options available. The new model has just come out with a sharpened up design, a modern interior makeover, and plenty of variant and pricing levels. It's huge inside and excellent for growing or grown-up families. Its only real downside is the powerful but thirsty V6 petrol, which is the only unit on offer. Being designed predominantly for North America, there is no diesel option unfortunately. Maybe Toyota will implant some of its hybrid tech for the next model?
A long-time benchmark in the MPV segment, the Odyssey is currently the second best-selling MPV in the class, behind the Kia Carnival. Honda has packed almost all of its latest technologies into the current model to make it one of the smartest MPVs around. Power comes from a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine producing 129kW and 225Nm. As well as being a great performer out on the highway and a reasonably rewarding vehicle in the corners, the Odyssey is also economical, with an official average consumption rating of 7.6L/100km. If you're after a large MPV you simply must walk into a Honda dealer and at least take one of these for a test drive.
Like the Toyota Kluger above, the Nissan Pathfinder is designed primarily for the North American market. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good fit for Australia. Nissan offers a petrol V6 in both front- and all-wheel drive configuration, along with a four-cylinder hybrid which presents an official average fuel consumption of 8.6L/100km (in FWD form). Nissan is renowned for producing premium-inspired interiors, even on base model variants. And the same philosophy is represented here. The Pathfinder’s cabin is both roomy and pleasant on the eye, and build quality is very good.
Often regarded as the best all-rounder in the large seven-seat crossover class, the CX-9 is now sharper, smarter, and savvier than ever. It’s hard to miss the sportscar-like front end with its angled headlights, but through the middle and at the back it’s all about family friendliness. For the latest model Mazda has developed a new 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine, helping to improve on the V6 predecessor’s hefty fuel consumption. Being turbocharged means it’s easily powerful enough to get you and your family through the daily grind, and out and about during those busy weekends. Best yet, the interior is as user-friendly as Mazda’s other award-winning models such as the Mazda3 and CX-5.
This is one of those vehicles that you might not have heard of. But in reality, it shares its underpinnings with a vehicle that's much closer to home; the Holden Colorado 7 (now Trailblazer). If anything, it's the Holden that borrows from the Isuzu. The MU-X is the first SUV to be introduced by the company, offering serious heavy-duty off-road capability along with a pleasant and user-friendly cabin now with a touch-screen media interface. And, most importantly, seven seats. The third row is quite useable, even for adults. Prices kick off from $42,800, which is why we think it is one of the top 10 seven-seat cars currently on the market.
The Ford Everest is robust and ready for anything. However, for families, it goes further than that. This is one of the few real seven-seaters in the class, offering good legroom and headroom in the third row. The middle seat is capacious enough to swallow three adults across, and you can even opt for the top-spec model which comes with a flip-down DVD screen. Being based on the Ford Ranger ute means it is very competent when the going gets rough. Ford Australia now offers rear-wheel drive model too which helps conserve fuel, which is handy if you’re not planning on doing any serious off-roading.
Hyundai Santa Fe
The Hyundai Santa Fe has enjoyed years of success and is currently the fifth most popular in the class. All variants use an 'on-demand' all-wheel drive system, which means in most conditions the engine is only sending power to the front wheels, conserving fuel. Two engine choices are available, both of which are quite economical for the seven-seat segment. The 2.2-litre turbo-diesel uses just 7.3L/100km on the combined cycle, while the 2.4 petrol consumes 9.0L/100km. There’s also a 3.3-litre V6 petrol for those wanting more oomph. Like most Hyundai vehicles, the Santa Fe comes with an extensive list of standard features, such as 11 airbags, a rear-view camera, the availability of front and rear air-conditioning, and three rows of cup holders.
It is often regarded as one of the safest and therefor most suitable vehicles for families. Volvo is always at the forefront of automotive safety and the XC90 is its flagship SUV, which means it has everything the company has to offer at the current technology level. All XC90s come with a rear-view camera, emergency brake assist, roll-over stability, inflatable side curtain airbags and a plethora of other airbags, side impact protection, and whiplash protection safety mechanisms as standard. The latest model brings in some smart new engine choices too, including a T8 flagship featuring a 300kW hybrid system that offers an official average fuel consumption of just 2.1L/100km.
Rounding out the top ten is the new Skoda Kodiaq. It’s a weird name but it’s a thorough product. This is Skoda’s version of the Volkswagen Tiguan, only it’s cleverer and better value, and slightly larger. For the dash there’s VW Group’s latest touch-screen interface, while down on the centre console are some smart storage solutions. Each door gets a cute little bin with a bin-liner, and up the back is a maximum boot space of 2005 litres. Unlike the Tiguan counterpart the Kodiaq offers seven seats. Just one engine option is available in Australia, consisting of a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol developing 132kW. Fuel economy is rated at 7.6L/100km on the combined cycle test.