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The popularity of SUVs seems to know no end. Where the traditional domain of the 7-seater was once the minivan or the MPV, SUVs are now taking over those duties as well – and it’s easy to see why. The best 7-seat sports utility vehicles offer:

  • Plenty of cabin space for adults and children
  • A stylish, streamlined exterior you don’t find in bulkier minivans or MPVs
  • Excellent levels of practicality with lots of storage compartments
  • Low to decent running costs
  • Four-wheel drive as an option or as standard
  • Brilliant versatility
  • A higher ride height for a commanding view over the road
  • Towing capabilities

SUVs vs MPVs

When it comes to car-shopping, it’s worth remembering that just because something’s popular, it doesn’t always make it right for you. You might instinctively go for an SUV because they’re popular right now, but MPVs still have a lot to offer. Whilst SUVs are excellent for day to day duties, like food shopping and the school run, typically MPVs are better for long holidays and days out.

Before you opt for one or the other, you should bear the following in mind:

  • 7-seat MPVs usually offer more space
  • With optional 7-seat SUVs, the third row is typically for children
  • SUVs tend to provide a better driving experience
  • Whilst four-wheel drive MPVs exist, 4×4 SUVs are more common and capable off-road
  • SUVs usually look more stylish and less boxy than MPVs
  • If you enjoy lots of road trips and camping, MPVs can be more practical
  • There are always exceptions in both SUV and MPV classes

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Top 10 Best 7-Seater SUVs

One of the most important things to consider when choosing a car for the family is its safety rating. All of the SUVs on this list have received a full five stars from Euro NCAP safety ratings, so read on to discover our top ten 7-seater SUVs.

1. Land Rover Discovery

The Land Rover Discovery is arguably the most practical 7-seater on the market, offering enough room in the cabin for an adult to sit in every seat – and that includes the third row. The interior is top quality and comfortable, plus there’s plenty of legroom and headspace. Then, there’s the drive. The Discovery excels here – it’s as good off the road as it is on, and not many cars can boast that! For extra practicality, you can tow a 3.5 tonne trailer.

Best features:

  • Very spacious
  • Very practical
  • Excellent on and off-road

2. Volvo XC90

It’s no wonder the Volvo XC90 is one of the best 7-seat SUVs. It offers a spacious and comfortable cabin that competes with the Discovery, and (with new models) you get a 451-litre boot with all the seats in place. It’s also one of the safest cars on the market, scoring a full five stars and an incredible 97% adult occupant protection rating with Euro NCAP. What’s even more impressive is the XC90’s 100% rating for safety assistance. In other words, the car packs a lot of clever safety kit under the bonnet – from cameras that can detect potential collisions and warn you of them (as well as bring the car to a stop if needed), to an active cruise control and lane departure system that works in stop/start traffic.

Best features:

  • Excellent safety rating with Euro NCAP
  • Very well-equipped as standard
  • Incredible safety kit and driver assistance

3. Peugeot 5008

Winner of the best large SUV title in the prestigious What Car? Car of the Year Awards 2018, the Peugeot 5008 is stylish inside and out. It also ticks all the right SUV boxes. It’s spacious, comfortable and drives really well for this type of vehicle. Whilst the back row of seats is best reserved for those with smaller legs, the rest of the car offers plenty of legroom and head space. It comes with multiple safety features and a driver assistance kit as well. Including active blind-spot detection, adaptive cruise control with stop/start technology and active lane keeping assistance.

Best features:

  • Good to drive
  • Great driver assistance
  • Low running costs

4. Skoda Kodiaq

Whilst the rest of the cabin is roomy, as an optional 7-seater, the Skoda Kodiaq doesn’t offer that much space in the third row. Adults will certainly find sitting there cramped, although kids will find the legroom sufficient. Evidently, it’s not space where the Kodiaq excels. Rather, it’s in the driving, the practicality, the good fuel economy and the reasonable starting price. Alongside this, you get the Skoda storage touches and a 270-litre boot, with all the seats in place. It also comes well-equipped as standard, offers a comfortable ride and looks just as good as some of the more upmarket brands.

Best features:

  • Good to drive
  • Good value for money
  • Good fuel economy

5. BMW X5

The BMW X5 has a well-designed, upmarket interior with one of the best infotainment systems going. Whilst it’s not as spacious as other SUVs on this list, it is roomy enough for adults – though the optional back row that makes it a 7-seater is best reserved for those who don’t need as much legroom. In terms of driving, you can’t fault the X5. It offers a very smooth and comfortable ride and the steering is engaged and well-weighted. In other words, it’s a rare SUV that’s actually fun to drive. However, as a 4×4 it’s not particularly effective off-road, but the 4-wheel drive does improve driving on tarmac.

Best features:

  • Fun to drive
  • One of the best infotainment systems
  • Classy, upmarket interior

6. Audi Q7

The overall winner of the luxury SUV category in the illustrious What Car? Car of the Year Awards 2018, unsurprisingly the Audi Q7 offers plenty of room in all three rows of the seven seats, along with a healthy dose of comfort. The switch to the VW Group’s MLB platform, which the Bentley Bentayga uses, has also led to a cut back of some of the weight from the old Q7 in favour of a more streamlined style. Being lighter has added to the car’s driveability and contrary to its still somewhat larger frame, the Q7’s handling is now quite nimble and agile. The Q7 is certainly one of the best luxury SUVs on the market.

Best features:

  • Very spacious and comfortable
  • Agile handling
  • High quality

7. Nissan X-Trail

The Nissan X-Trail is an optional 7-seater that’s both easy to drive and comfortable. The cabin is stylish and spacious, offering plenty of room for adults, although the third row of seats is best reserved for children. The entry-level trim offers a lot of tech as standard for your money too, yet it’s worthwhile opting for the higher-spec Acenta model or above to get useful features like dual zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors and more. The X-Trail has proven itself to be a practical car, providing a huge boot and a decent towing capability. It even offers a brilliant Paw Pack to turn the boot into a luxury travel compartment for your pet dog, which is a nice touch.

Best features:

  • Easy to drive
  • Very practical
  • Well-equipped as standard

8. Tesla Model X

The Tesla Model X doesn’t look like a typical 7-seat SUV, because in many ways – it isn’t. This electric vehicle from Tesla has several unique design features you won’t find anywhere else, like the falcon rear doors, which you’ll either think are the coolest bit of design since something in Back to the Future, or a bit of gimmick. Whatever you may think, the doors are pretty practical and this car offers incredible performance, beating several of the petrol and diesel SUVs on this list. It’s very spacious and comfortable, and filled with top tech. The downside is it costs nearly twice as much as luxury SUVs like the Land Rover Discover and the Audi Q7.

Best features:

  • You can choose 4, 5, 6, or 7 seats
  • Incredible performance
  • Practical, spacious and comfortable

9. Kia Sorento

Now in its third generation, the Kia Sorento is surprisingly one of the most spacious SUVs on this list. It comes with seven seats as standard and, should you need the space, the third row can fold completely flat to offer a bigger boot as well. Whilst the Sorento doesn’t provide the same involved driving as say the Kodiaq or the X-Trail, it does hit the right buttons when it comes to comfort and refinement. You’ll find the car is nice and quiet with a smooth ride, which makes long motorway journeys a breeze. In addition, the Sorento comes very well-equipped as standard, which helps justify its starting price.

Best features:

  • Great motorway cruiser
  • Good equipment as standard
  • Incredibly spacious

10. Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class

If you’re looking for a luxury SUV and have the budget to match, the Mercedes GLS offers a very comfortable cabin. If you want a big car, the GLS has that covered too, offering lots of space and a huge boot. Due to its size, the Mercedes comes fitted with a 360-degree camera system. Indeed, as standard, the GLS comes well-equipped regardless what model you go for, although the additional features of higher spec trims are typically more luxury oriented, rather than necessities. However, with other luxury SUVs coming in a fair bit cheaper and the Tesla Model X only a fraction more expensive, buyers should think carefully before going for the GLS (unless size, space and comfort are your main considerations).

Best features:

  • Very comfortable
  • Lots of space
  • Well-equipped

Want to find an SUV with loads of room for all of the family? We’ve got plenty for you to choose from at Motors.co.uk

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