Automobile manufacturers want to sell as many vehicles to as broad a spectrum of the population as possible, and will often field a dizzying array of models. Even though the UK's average family size is only 2.3 people, the 7 seater car range is, surprisingly, buoyant. If you're looking for something with plenty of room for your family, adequate storage space, some style and practicality, you'll want to look around. Each manufacturer has something to say on this subject as detailed in the first of two articles on the subject. So what are the options from each company when it comes to the best 7 seater cars?
Volvo's XC 90 has been around for some time, and many people consider this vehicle to be a leader in the sector. It's well made, good to look at and packed with features.
You can choose from a variety of models, with a plug-in hybrid for the environmentally conscious. This option will give you 25 miles of electric motoring, with a turbo engine for recharging. If you want to be conventional, you can pick a similarly sized diesel or petrol engine, and both are turbocharged as standard. If you want a bit more, a supercharger is available for the petrol model too.
Inside, there's plenty of room for all passengers among the seven seats, even if they are all adult. While there is a lot of space at the rear anyway, the back and middle seats fold down for your super-sized load.
Volvo offers a 60,000 mile, three-year warranty and prices start at a little more than £54,000.
If your budget does not allow you to consider the XC-90, Peugeot has a worthy alternative at about half the price. While you may have to compromise in certain areas, and the 5008 is a little smaller, the French company has recently revised the interior and can now offer you some more efficient engines.
In the past, you might expect a medium-sized SUV to be functional and not particularly pretty to look at. Peugeot has addressed those issues head-on with the new version, however. It appears more purposeful and aerodynamic, with stylish alloy wheels.
Inside, you'll find a larger touchscreen and several different trim options, with leather seats for the top model. Things may become a bit cramped at the very back for adults but should be sufficient for the kids.
Underneath the bonnet, you can choose from a total of four petrol or diesel engines, or a plug-in hybrid and the 5008 will sell for around £30,000 across the UK.
While most seven seater cars rely on the SUV concept from a design and practicality perspective, some owe their origins to the humble car, or in certain circumstances, the van. Berlingo is just such an example, but you may not recognise its utilitarian roots in the latest iteration.
In the XL model, you'll get those all-important seven seats, with plenty of leg and headroom wherever you are. Well designed rear doors slide away nicely to allow the tallest adult to enter, and Citroen has a roof-mounted, locker-style storage system as well for all your carry-on needs.
There are four different engines to choose from, petrol or diesel and three different trim levels. Berlingo is easy on the wallet, and prices for these 7 seater cars in the UK start at £21,850.
Like the Volvo, the Ford S-Max has been around for some time. Like the XC 90, Ford has upgraded the MPV with a lot of cutting-edge technology for the price.
You may notice that the American company has more than one option in this category, and the "S" in S-Max may stand for "sporty." It's fun to drive for those heads of family who may not want to leave all of their carefree days behind, but it is certainly practical for even the largest brood.
Entry-level models have front-wheel drive and may feature a 1.5 L petrol or 2 L diesel. You may be able to choose all-wheel drive on specific models.
The S-Max has the very familiar "Ford" look upfront, and you can take your pick from 10 different trim levels. You will find these 7 seater cars in your showroom, starting at £31,300.
Don't expect anything standout or spectacular in the Sharan. VW has positioned their seven seater as a dependable, practical and roomy alternative for the no-nonsense buyer.
Nevertheless, it's got plenty of "tech" inside, from the infotainment display to smartphone connectivity and in specific models, satellite navigation.
If you have a particularly large family and plenty to carry around, the Sharan is undoubtedly one to look at. It features a high roofline, a vast loading bay and sliding rear doors as standard.
Under the bonnet is a 1.4 L petrol engine or a slightly larger diesel version for good fuel economy. You can fit a seven-speed automatic gearbox and adaptive suspension for extra comfort and drivability.
The RRP for the VW Sharan is £34,200.
Kia has always been at the forefront of alternative technology, and it should be no surprise, therefore, that the hybrid version of the Sorrento is so good. This plug-in hybrid version joins the existing petrol and diesel options and will come in various specifications.
Energy-wise, an electric motor joins the 1.6 L turbo engine to deliver almost 280 hp despite the battery's weight. Significantly, the battery does not compromise internal space, and there is nearly as much room behind the seven seats as you'll find in the conventionally-powered option.
Choose from three different trim levels and look for a starting price of around £38,000 or £45,000 for the hybrid.
Skoda has long been one of the success stories in the automobile industry. The Czech company is renowned for its reliability and practicality, but it has come a long way in the design and style stakes. Kodiak sums all of this up nicely, and at a great price to boot.
There are six different variants to choose from, with 1.5 L or 2 L turbo petrol engines or a 2 L turbodiesel. Front-wheel drive is standard, but four-wheel drive is available on most models.
If you're looking for value for money and practicality, consider the Kodiak, from £25,700.