February 04, 2018 at 4:46 PM
The 7-Seater car wasn't even born until the 1980s with the arrival of the Renault Escape in Europe, Toyota Space Cruiser in Japan and the Chrysler Voyager in the US.
Previously, if you wanted to carry more than five passengers, the only options were to buy a van with extra seats or an estate car with a pair of rear-facing seats in the boot.
Now there is a range of choice in the market with purpose-built 7-seaters, seven-seat variants of regular models and van-derived MPVs.
To find the perfect 7-seater for you, it's best to weigh up your needs against the vehicles available. A smaller crossover or seven-seat variant would be suitable if you only use the sixth and seventh seats on occassion. These models come with a large boot space that can accommodate two extra seats.
If you frequently carry more than five passengers, a purpose-built 7-seater would be best because there is more space in the third row of seats. For families of more than five that do a lot of exploring and adventure activites, a van-based MPV would be better suited to that lifestyle.
We've made a list of the seven best 7-seaters on the market.
LAND ROVER DISCOVERY
Definitely at the premium end of the scale, the Land Rover Discovery is one of the largest 7-seaters on the market with enough space to comfortably transport seven adults with decent head and legroom even in the third row.
The biggest advantage it has over most rivals is its off-road capabilities - it can wade up to 900mm and has a towing capacity of up to 3,500kg. You can take this car on any terrain with confidence that it can handle anything.
If you're looking for a luxury 7-seater that doesn't have a boxy people-carrier look, the Discovery has a curvy shape that hasn't impacted on the interior space.
If you're a fan of the Volkswagen Golf, but need extra space to transport a larger family, then the Touran will be right up your street. This larger MPV shares much of its running gear with the Golf matching it in terms of kit and quality.
As well as being easy to drive, it's also incredibly practical. The second row of seats can slide and recline individually to give passengers in the third row more space or increase the size of the boot area if you're transporting cargo instead of people.
Parents can be impressed that all five rear seats come with ISOFIX points for child car seats. So, whether you need all the seats for your own children, or have room to transport their friends, everyone you give a ride to will be safe and secure.
The Touran works best as a spacious five-seater with two extra seats that you can use when you need them, and a big boot when you don't.
Another premium 7-seater option is the Audi Q7 which prides itself on interior quality and comfort. As standard, the Q7 Mk2 comes with leather seats, a touchscreen sat nav and infotainment system.
The update in 2015 shaved 325kg off the old version, as well as making it slightly narrower, shorter and taller. These improvements provide a much more enjoyable driving experience with nimble and precise handling.
The Q7 is packed with safety technology to keep the whole family safe. It offers fantastic levels of practicality and luxury with ample head and legroom for passengers in the front and second row.
With all seven seats in place, there is still 295 litres of space in the boot which increases to a whopping 770 litres with the third row of seats folded down.
CITROËN GRAND C4 PICASSO / SPACETOURER
In 2018, Citroën rebranded their Picasso range to SpaceTourer, but they haven't changed the award winning formula.
It still offers a spacious, versatile, flexible and comfortable cabin to all its passengers. With three individual seats in the second row, the middle passenger isn't squeezed in like they are in some 7-seaters.
The biggest advantage this car has over its rivals is the stylish exterior design that is carried through to the interior.
The large panoramic windscreen provides class-leading visibility and the two massive screens in the centre of the dashboard deal with the car's main functions giving it a very futuristic look and feel.
The Volvo XC90 can be credited with popularising the idea of a family SUV. It redefined what large families could expect from a 7-seater by providing exceptional comfort, great practicality, smart styling and a luxurious interior.
On sale since 2002, the XC90 has gained a dedicated following as a result of its supreme safety rating, cavernous interior and enjoyable driving experience.
There is enough space for seven adults to travel in relative comfort with 314 litres of boot space. With the third row of seats folded down, there's 775 litres of luggage space which extends even further to 1,951 litres of space with all the seats folded down - no need to hire a van to transport big loads.
You can choose from a range of powerful diesel and petrol engines with a plug-in hybrid for higher performance and greater fuel efficiency also available.
The Sorento is the largest model in the Kia lineup and comes with the industry-leading seven-year warranty from new which is transferable to the next owner.
As standard this model receives a lot of kit including rear parking sensors, Bluetooth, DAB Radio and air conditioning, as well as four-wheel-drive.
It embodies everything that you would want a family car to be: safe, practical, versatile and value for money.
The Ford Galaxy has been on the market since the 1990s and was one of the early challengers to the Renault Espace, so it helped to shape the 7-seater market as it is today.
As a true 7-seater should, the Galaxy can transport seven fully grown adults in comfort. If you don't need to use all the seats, you can fold them down.
The modular interior provides multiple configurations to accommodate the amount of luggage space you need. With all of the seats folded down, you'll essentially have a luxurious van to haul large loads.
All Galaxy models are generously equipped with even the entry-level versions receiving Bluetooth, DAB Radio, climate control and alloy wheels as standard.