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Five seven-seater cars for big families

2017-12-21 06:00

The rise of the SUV might have signalled the death of the once-beloved 7-seater MPV, but that doesn’t mean big families have to be stuck by the roadside for alternatives.

If six is a crowd and seven’s company, up to about a decade ago the choice for larger families started with the MPV and ended with the minivan, of which both have become practically extinct overnight. Although SUVs have taken over the mantle as the people-carriers of choice, today several alternatives exist for every budget.

1. An expensive SUV (Volvo XC90)

Fitting a third row of usable seats into anything not resembling an airplane fuselage or a bus is clearly quite a challenging endeavour for carmakers. BMW and Mercedes may be German companies, but no-one does seven-seater SUVs quite like the svelte Swedes. Current-gen or previous-gen, the Volvo XC90 (from R932k) is opulent, stylish, spacious, able to transport seven full-sized adults and comes without the performance angst of its self-conscious German competitors. However, considering that XC90s also depreciate faster, they might make for great second-hand buys, but think twice about buying it new or used.

2. A slightly less expensive but slightly more capable SUV (Land Rover Discovery Sport)

You wouldn’t normally go off-roading in a seven-seater, but this one – available from R660k – can. This Freelander successor is really a poor man’s Range Rover: while its third row of seats is erected by the push of a button (though admittedly it does diminish boot space when up), ground clearance and wading depth is 212mm and 600mm, respectively. Loaded with oodles of techy toys, it also features the brand’s Terrain Response system, which adjusts drivetrain programming according to the (off)road surface. Smart stuff; smart buy.

3. A bus (Nissan NV200)

OK, if R700k-odd for a go-anywhere SUV seems a stretch for your budget – as it would no doubt be for many – why not try a bread (and butter) van instead? It’s not as simple as that, though – most vans remain on the wrong side of affordable, with VW’s range of people-movers (Kombi: from R535k; and Caravelle: from R847k) and even Hyundai’s aging H1 (R539k) out of reach for most people. Enter the Nissan NV200 Combi. Available in either petrol or super-frugal diesel, you can have a NV200 for under R350 000. With a comparatively compact footprint (it’s shorter than a Toyota Corolla), a sliding door on either side and dollops of space, this is a winner. 

4. King-sized Korean value (Kia Sorento)

When considering future purchases, all too often we leave Korean cars out of the discussion. Most people will only consider a Kia Picanto, but have you seen what the Sorento (from R458k) offers? By virtue of falling into the “missing middle” bracket (between R400k compact SUVs and R1m large, luxury SUVs), the Sorento too offers size, practicality and spec - if perhaps not quite the badge cachet - of SUVs costing double its price.

5. Budget alternatives

This is where things get difficult; yet some bargains are too be had that aren’t too ungainly. On paper, the humble Suzuki Ertiga (from R196k) and the more handsome-looking Honda BR-V (R246k) are the most theoretical of seven-seaters. Other alternatives are the Toyota Avanza (from R222k) or the Mahindra Xylo (from R255k). 

Find your own 7-seater car for the whole family at AutoTrader South Africa. For the past 25 years,  AutoTrader South Africa has been the leading media marketplace for the buying and selling of cars, bikes, boats, and commercial vehicles. Whether you are looking for a brand new car or are in the market for a pre-loved model, you’re sure to find your ideal set of wheels on AutoTrader.

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