In the past, buying a ‘seven-seater’ car felt more like a necessary evil than an auto enthusiast’s first choice – a case of storage space over style. The common-sense wisdom held that a workhorse, van-like “MPV”– such as the iconic Renault Espace (which has sold more than 1.3 million vehicles since 1984) – was the only game in town for the modern family: the ‘must-have’ people carrier.
Those days seem to be over, as competition in this important sector of the car market is now more competitive and design-conscious than ever, with the introduction of a number of stylish and practical seven-seater SUV models.
Even the iconic Renault Espace has now caught up to speed with the paradigm shift in the car industry, highlighted by the rolling out of Renault’s fifth-generation Espace model, complete with a bold new look and reinvention of the ultimate ‘Dad taxi’ as a luxury mid-sized crossover vehicle (though not yet available here in the UK).
There are, of course, still a number of larger MPVs available on the UK market, so drivers now have a great range of lease cars and options to choose from, the best of which have been listed here.
Other than the obvious cost of the vehicle and your own personal budget, there are many things to consider before leasing or buying a seven-seater, including (1) checking the amount of space available for each passenger and considering whether the additional seats are for regular or occasional use (or, indeed, intended for adults versus children) (2) checking what engine options are available for your seven-seater, including hybrid and electric and finally (3) checking that there is enough luggage capacity when the full seven seats are utilised to cover both your travel and family needs.
Seven-seater SUV lease prices start from around £244.99 per month for the Nissan X-Trail to around £893.31 per month for the more luxury end of the market, such as the Mercedes GLS.
If you still can’t find the seven-seater car best suited for yourself and the family, you could always try leasing something entirely different and plump for the all-electric, super-car performance Tesla Model X: super-fast, yes – and yet with its seven front-facing seats, it not only supports a larger family’s needs but also the needs of any budding racing driver!
Tesla Model X
Lease from £899.08 per month (for the Long-Range model) and £1,080.13 per month (for the Ludicrous performance model)
Very quick acceleration from this all-electric mean machine. Seven seats are obviously not the only reason for someone choosing this car but could be seen as a bonus for a larger family. If you want the quickest seven-seater on the roads – well, this is definitely it. Overall build quality might not be of the same standards as Mercedes or BMW but it makes up for this in many other interesting ways. Falcon wing doors, buckets of space and tesla technology make this car more than interesting. Overall this is a genuinely spacious machine, quick-yes but limited in motorway range. Another downside is that rivals like the BMW X7 handle much better and are more comfortable driving long distances.
Lease from £893.31 per month
Considered as the S-Class of all SUV’s, this car is extremely practical with a very refined feel to it, as you would expect from an SUV at this price. It is cleverly constructed and very quiet and comfy to drive, although at this level of cost the trim could have been plusher. One thing for sure: you won’t be short of space. This is a huge car and very practical for anyone needing seven full adult size seats. On the plus side, you won’t be short of interior gadgets or for that matter boot space. Although a heavy SUV, this is no slouch and can reach 62 mph in around 6.3 seconds, from the 3.0 litre straight-six diesel unit.
Lease from £805.54 per month
Luxurious and very comfortable to drive with full adult-size seats, like the Mercedes GLS (one of its main rivals), this is a top-class SUV with the all-important BMW badge. Although not as large as the Mercedes, it still has enormous boot space, is refined, comfortable and very well-equipped. Rivals in this class are the Audi Q7, Volvo XC90 and top-priced Land Rover Discovery. One thing is for sure, even with its size and weight, the X7 with an acceleration of up to 62 mph in around 4.7 seconds, is one of the quickest around.
Lease from £658.76 per month
If you still want a BMW but your budget doesn’t quite reach as far as the BMW X7, then the X5 – with the added family pack option – would be an excellent alternative. It provides a similar quality seven-seater (though smaller in size) for a bit over £50,000. This is also an excellent SUV to drive and indeed a great family seven-seater. So that’s two impressive BMW SUV’s for drivers to consider and rivals to worry about. Both models now come with a number of engine options, ranging from more traditional petrol and diesel through to the new greener plug-in hybrid.
Lease from £551.55 per month
The Audi Q7, named by some motoring analysts as the best-rated SUV in 2019, is an excellent sized seven-seater with bags of room and style. Aggressive in outward styling, this hides a very comfortable and practical car, with upgraded dashboard, high-resolution screens and some of the best materials to be found in any seven-seater SUV. With a great interior, bags of room for all the family and excellent levels of built-in comfort, this is an excellent SUV to travel any distance in.
If you like the space, practicality and Audi badge but want something even faster you could take a spin in the 4-litre V8 high-performance Audi SQ7. The downside to this is that the car costs around £75,000 which takes it into BMW X7 and Mercedes GLS territory.
Lease from £501.87 per month
The XC90 is a spacious SUV, though it doesn’t quite have the space or storage area of the larger Audi Q7. That said. The third row of seats is really only suitable for children or small adults, especially for longer trips. If comfortable travel for seven adults is a priority, then a rival like the Land Rover Discovery – in a similar price bracket – is more suited to this role. One advantage it has over the Discovery is larger rear storage with an additional area for underfloor storage. Unlike its rivals, when looking for hybrid technology the plug-in hybrid T8 model retains its seven seats and larger storage space, while others have had to sacrifice this to battery technology.
Land Rover Discovery
Lease from £500.63 per month
The Land Rover Discovery is undoubtedly the SUV or four-wheel drive that all others are compared to. In truth, this is just a great car to drive both on and off-road, as well as being a genuine seven-seater. Inside the Discovery is luxurious and spacious, so seven adults or the whole family will enjoy the road trip, no matter the length. On the outside, the newest Discovery looks both sleek and powerful. OK, so most of its rivals are still more efficient although, for a mid-range diesel engine, thirty-something to the gallon is not to bad considering the spectacular off-road abilities of this great SUV. All said it takes some beating. The 2.0-litre entry-level model is a good car to drive, while the more expensive V6 is the car of choice!
Land Rover Discovery Sport
Lease from £320.52 per month
Like the larger Discovery, the Discovery Sport is a fantastic off-road seven-seater, the standard version can be cheaper than rival SUV’s depending on their specs and overall this is a very comfortable car to take the family out in. Like its big brother, this is a very versatile car to own. 2020 sees a range of updated models with higher specs including a new air filtration system used to filter out small particles. There is also a much-awaited Plug-in Hybrid using a new 2-litre diesel engine badged D165 and D200. Other improvements to infotainment and interior make this a very desirable SUV, especially with the option of seven seats. The Discovery range has been extended with the introduction of a new R-dynamic S model and a new sport black edition based on the R. The entry-level Sport can lack equipment and it can be expensive for higher specs, some of which are available on cheaper SUV’s. Like most Discovery models, fuel economy isn’t great, though the new hybrid has improved this. That said, potential Discovery drivers are typically interested in its other virtues, like its off-road abilities and practicality.
Lease from £353.04 per month
At around half the price of the GLS this model not only provides the opportunity to own a seven-seater with the prestigious badge but also own a well-constructed and spacious SUV. The GLB is a classy looking car both inside and out, with a modern digital layout. Overall the look of the interior is high quality although some of the interior trim finish can look rather cheap – more functional than quality – similar to the Discovery Sport, but this is probably no bad thing when you consider the family or business use these cars can regularly be put through. The Sport entry-level model comes with all the necessary basic accessories including 18inch alloys and the usual Mercedes type infotainment system. Additional kit – some of which is standard in rival SUV’s – can be costly.
Overall this SUV provides a comfortable ride quality with reasonable running costs, although not the most refined or broadest range of engines, the best option by far is the 220d. Some rivals in this price range have bigger boots and more legroom so if the badge is not a high priority then the Peugeot 5008 or Skoda Kodiaq should be considered. All in all, a quality SUV for the larger family.
Lease from £338.88 per month
This seven-seater SUV comes with a very generous level of standard equipment on even its cheapest models, although the general feel of the interior is rather ordinary. A substantial rise in price is required if you want to go for the expensive top of the range models. This takes it into Discovery territory, which is a hard area to compete. All being said, this is a large practical and reliable seven-seater which is ideal for a family, a car you can easily use for a variety of daily tasks. In term of size, this is one of the larger SUV’s and the newest models have been extended in length by some 95mm. The third row of seats is rather tricky to enter but once seated occupants will find a reasonable amount of space, more than many of its rivals. Like most SUV’s in this price range, it is best suited in the back for children and smaller adults. Overall a good, large SUV and with the bonus of all models having four-wheel drive, though it has nowhere near the off-road capabilities of the Discovery – but then what does?
Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace
Lease from £297.45 per month
This is a good looking car with a decent enough level of practicality and unlike some of its other competitors, it doesn’t really look like a seven-seater. It is a nice car to drive with a good choice of engines. The standard level of kit is excellent. It’s around 215 metres longer than the original five-seater version to allow for the extra row of seats. Unfortunately, the rear seats are rather cramped and really only suitable for children or small adults. Some of the interior trim also looks a bit cheap and the diesel engines sound rather noisy. Overall it has a decent build quality as you would expect from Volkswagen, but it’s more expensive and has less overall space than its rival the cheaper Skoda Kodiaq.
Lease from £244.99 per month
The Nissan X-Trail seems to have been with us for a long time but it still manages to look stylish and drives well enough. One of the main plus points of this mid-size SUV is its rugged off-road capabilities, which is almost a match to some of its pricier rivals, like the Land Rover Discovery Sport. The seven-seater option and four-wheel drive capabilities make this car good value for money. Compared to newer rivals the interior appears drab and boring, with a somewhat noisy gearbox and lower mpg. The X-Trail is comfortable enough to drive and has a large boot when using only five seats. When the seven seats are in use the boot space is relatively small and the two extra back seats are really only suitable for small children.
Lease from £321.41 per month
The overall amount of space and practicality available in the Peugeot 5008 is not on a par with some of its rival SUV’s especially the large Skoda Kodiaq. Unlike the Nissan X-trail (one of its other comparably priced rivals), no versions of this seven-seater are available in four-wheel drive, all versions are front-wheel drive only. With the back-row seats in use, there is limited boot space for carrying luggage. On a positive note, its diesel engines return around 50 mpg. The styling of both the exterior and interior is modern and futuristic, with the dashboard incorporating Peugeot’s i-Cockpit design. This is a reasonably practical, good looking SUV with an impressive interior and a generous level of standard equipment for the price.
Lease from £283.53 per month
The Skoda Kodiaq is a large practical family SUV. The third-row seats are mainly suited to children or small adults. When all seven seats are in use, a fair amount of boot space (207 litres) is still available. Overall, this seven-seater is good value for money, with loads of inside space and a modern smart-looking interior. The entry-level Model S is a standard five-seater with all other versions available in seven-seat formats. Overall a good size seven-seater, with practicality and price being its main attractions.
If you are not looking for an SUV, we’ve listed a range of other seven-seater cars that might be worth checking out below:
Prices start from £367.90 per month
Prices start from £379.34 per month
Prices start from £342.32 per month
Prices start from £345.75 per month
Prices start from £316.36 per month
Prices start from £281.73 per month
Prices start from £342.52 per month
Categories : Top Car Choices