For a lot of us comes the time when either we ourselves or our family has increased to such a size, or you’re just tired of not being able to take your golf bag and your gym bag in your current sedan. In other words you have outgrown that 4 seater car or the sports car you loved so much one’s. It is time to start looking out for a 7 passenger vehicle.
I know I’ve been there. I can remember starting out with my first second hand car. A French Renault. I guess when I filled up the car with gas, the vehicle doubled in value. After the Renault came my first Italian car. Nothing fancy though. No Ferrari, no, it was a simple Fiat. But stick shift. I liked driving stick shift cars. I always thought it made me look special. After a few more cars I switched from stick shift to automatic and from foreign cars to an American Chevy. Still a small car (4 seater; 5 if you pressed on). And then it happened. I was tired of taking my stuff out of the car every time I went somewhere (I’m talking Golf here and the Gym). I wanted to leave my stuff in the car. So when my 4 seater’s lease was up for renewal, I went looking for 7 passenger vehicles. It turned out to be a Chevy again. Not that I used the 7 passenger arrangement a lot, and if I did I still had to take out my Golf bag. But it was definitely handy when going on holidays or short weekend breaks.
Definitions and Meaning of a 7 Passenger Vehicle
According to an Internet dictionary the definition of these kinds of cars is “a rugged automotive vehicle similar to a station wagon but built on a light-truck chassis”. But they come by more names:
- SUV (see the above mentioned definition)
- 7 Seater Cars (common terminology in Australia)
- 7 Passenger Vehicles
The typical North American name would be SUV. While in other parts of the World you might see the same cars being referred to as:
- Four Wheel Drives
- All wheel drive
By the way it is not correct to assume that all 7 passenger cars are equipped with four wheel drive. In the SUV car segment there are different types of SUV’s. Here’s a list:
- Mini SUV; Generally doesn’t seat more than 5 people.
- Compact SUV; Generally doesn’t seat more than 5 people
- Mid Size SUV; These could seat 7 passengers. But when you do the two people in the back will not have much leg space, so it is best to seat your kids there
- Full Size SUV; The first full 7 passenger seating car
- Extended SUV; This type could easily seat 7 people, sometimes up to 9
- Luxury SUV; Usually only available from the Full Size SUV and up.
I guess from the level of extended SUV there will be cross-overs that you could start calling Mini vans. But what’s in a name 😉
What to Consider When Buying
Buying a car and typically when it comes to 7 passenger vehicles or more expensive cars, is the second most important and expensive decisions a family will make (buying a house would be number one). Below are a couple of general things to consider: How many people will you seat on a regular basis? What level of luxury are you looking for (and willing to pay for)? What will be the main purpose? If you’re only commuting then driving comfort is important and noise level inside, stuff like that; If you’re actually go off road than types of tires and suspension start to matter.
Best 7 seater cars
Identifying the best seven seater cars is not an easy task. The reason for this is that there are quite a few of them, and a lot comes down to personal taste in the end. But in this review I’ll list my personal best cars. None of my favorites come with only positive points. In general you can argue that 7 seater cars are big (no news there), so you might find that parking is more difficult in crowded areas and cities. The other potential negative point about this type of family car is that they will consume more fuel than a tiny 4 seater. No news there either. The hybrid versions will improve the milage significantly. As will a diesel engine over a gas powered car. They are more expensive. Also no news there. But still a point of concern. If you’re going for the best 7 seat family cars, you might want to spend just that bit more to get a much higher quality car. I’m not talking about all the possible fancy extra’s, but simply the car, brand and type of engine used. Here we go.
Ford has had a long standing history of making all kinds of cars, including the 7 seater cars. This Grand C-Max is another excellent of the engineering skills that Ford has. It is has been completely revamped and further improved, according to the latest styles and new innovations.
The advanced technology used secures perfect performance and a high level of reliability (I’m not going into too much technical details here), will make the a high class safe family car.
With the latest technology also available under the hood, you can be sure of the lowest possible CO2 emissions. Compared to the old 2.0 litre Duratec engine, the new 1.6 turbo charged EcoBoost engine produces 18% less CO2.
If you’re looking for a good average MPG, the 1.6 liter Diesel gives you 57.7 miles on the gallon. Not bad for this size 7 seater SUV family car.
The sliding door will make sure that everyone can get in and out of the car with the greatest ease. You can reach the third row of seats by folding the middle seat of the second road
This is my absolute favorite in this category. I love this car so much, because the Italian car maker Fiat has totally reinvented itself over the last couple of years, and with it this Fiat 500.
Whether you call this a 7 seater SUV or a 7 seater MPW (which stands for Multi purpose Wagon), this is probably the most stylish 7 seater car of my favorites. If you compare the old Fiat 500 and this new model, you can tell that Fiat has come a very long way with this model. In actual fact only the name is kept. And in the time that the old Fiat 500 was popular it was nick named “The Backpack” because it was so small.
I must say it is not the most spacious 7 seater, but if you’re willing to comprise space over style, than this one is for you.
In terms of space it will certainly pass as a very comfortable family car that can carry 7 people if need be. But in all honesty it will better serve you as a 5 seater with a huge trunk, as with the 7 seats up the trunk is really small.
The Italians are not in any way lagging behind when it comes to technology and innovation. You can control all major functions without taking your hands of the steering wheel.
The speed dial is different from most other 7 seater cars, in that it is one enormous dial. It’s a matter of taste. All the other controls are fairly intuitive and simple to reach.
When it comes to fuel consumption, this 7 seat family car is probably the most economical. You can choose several different engines and fuels (gas and diesel). The two gas powered engines are a 0.9 litre turbocharged and 1.4 liter calibre. Diesel comes in a 1.3 and 1.6 version.
That might sound like not a lot, but knowing the Italians, they are able to pack a lot of power in even a small engine. Having said that the smaller/smallest engines might not be enough for everyone. But if you’re looking for fuel efficiency, that you won’t be disappointed with this 7 seater SUV: it will give you a nice 67 miles to the gallon. Go and beat that!
In this overview of the best 7 seater cars, the classic Chrysler Grand Voyager 7 seater car must have a place. Pretty much for as long as I can remember this car has been around. And Chrysler has always done a good job to keep the model and style up to date to current times.
This could well be the most spacious of my personal selection of 7 seater cars. And when fully extended with all 7 seats occupied you won’t feel like you’re a sardine stuck in a tin can.
What I find lacking in most cars is standard in this model: a memory function for the adjustment of the driver’s seat. I love it. The other nice thing about this Chrysler is that, when driving, you feel like you’re sitting on a throne: High and Dry, with an excellent view on the road, including left and right.
With the inside space this Grand Voyager offers, plus the leather seating and arm rests, this will probably be the 7 seater SUV for long distance travel with your whole family.
The best fuel economy comes from the diesel version (which is not easy to get in the US). With its 6 speed automatic transmission it will give you 33.6 miles for each gallon of diesel.
With a quality car maker as Volkswagen you can expect a quality car 7 seater SUV. And this Sharan will not disappoint.
Volkswagen has done a good job in restyling and updating the look and feel of this family car. Something that this car maker has done with several of their car models.
Not as spacious as the Chrysler, but certainly spacious enough for 5 people and even 7 people. The third row of seats is easily configured and when used, leaving enough space to not feel squeezed all together.
The middle seat row has little tables that can be handy to play a board game when travelling long distance.
As with the earlier mentioned Ford, this Volkswagen has two sliding doors to make getting in and out easy for all ages.
In terms of engine choices there are plenty. When I limit myself to only the gas powerd one’s, you have two choices:
- 1.4 litre TSI BlueMotion, which will give you an MPG of 39.2
- 2.0 litre TSI with 200 horsepower, with a top speed of an impressive 133 miles per hour. This does come at fuel price though; 33.2 MPG for this version.
Wrapping it Up
When it comes to 7 seater SUV’s or other 7 seater cars there is plenty of choice. With the above and personal selection I’ve tried to show a couple of different models than you otherwise might have thought of. Typically the Fiat 7 seater MPW is a very special one. But then again it all comes down to personal taste and to personal needs.
If you have a big family you might opt for the Chrysler. If style is your thing and you’re into fuel economy (and possibly the environment) than the easy choice is the Fiat.
Other people might choose for the other all American Ford (great choice as well), while yet others will want something as sturdy and proven in terms of quality like the German made Volkswagen.
The choice is yours.
image by richard winchell
Please check out our list of 8 Passenger Vehicles & 8 Passenger SUV’s here.