If you have a big family and need seven seats in your next vehicle, luck is on your side. There are a number of highly worthy options on the market at the moment, suitable for a wide range of purposes. Here are the top 10 seven-seat models (in no particular order).
Land Rover Discovery 4 - $69,330-$109,430
If you're after pure luxury and the ability to explore all corners of this great land, the Land Rover Discovery, now up to its fourth generation, is one of the most reputable and iconic propositions on offer. It does kick off at a rather northerly $70k, however, it is packed with many advanced and modern conveniences and a high-tech drivetrain. Power comes from a range of excellent engine options, starting with a TDV6 3.0-litre turbo-diesel producing 155kW and 520Nm, consuming a respectable 8.8L/100km, to a super-strong twin-turbo version developing 183kW and 600Nm. It uses an average of 8.8L/100km as well. If you prefer petrol, a 250kW/450Nm 3.0-litre supercharged V6 is also available, consuming an average of 12L/100km.
Toyota Kluger - $40,990-$67,520
With Toyota's renowned reliability and expertise, the Kluger is one of the better options available. The new model has just come out with a sharpened up design, very modern interior update, and plenty of variant and pricing levels. It's huge inside and excellent for growing or grown-up families. Its only real downside is the powerful but thirsty V6 petrol, which is the only unit on offer. Turbo-diesel next time please, Toyota.
Honda Odyssey - $38,990-$47,620
A long-time benchmark in the MPV segment, the Odyssey is currently the best-selling MPV. Honda has packed almost all of its latest technologies into the recently updated model to make it one of the smartest MPVs around. Power comes from a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine producing 129kW and 225Nm. As well as being a great performer out on the highway and a reasonably rewarding vehicle in the corners, the Odyssey is also very fuel-efficient, with an official average consumption rating of 7.6L/100km. If you're after a large MPV you simply must walk into a Honda dealer and at least take one of these for a test drive.
Ford Territory - $39,990-$59,990
This beauty was first launched by Ford Australia back in 2008. Based on the Ford Falcon, Aussie motorists can be proud that it is a genuine Australian-made product. It was a highly awarded vehicle back then, and the accolades just keep coming some six years later. It is one of best-selling vehicles in the segment. Cleverly, Ford has shoehorned Jaguar's 2.7-litre turbo-diesel V6 under the bonnet, which makes it the only Falcon-based diesel you can get. Rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive is available, as well as a powerful 4.0-litre straight six. So whether you want performance, off-road ability, or outright economy, there is an option to cater for your needs.
Mazda CX-9 - $44,525-$63,003
Making up the popular Mazda lineup as the biggest SUV/crossover the company offers, the CX-9 wears the company's latest styling language and is one of the nicer-looking propositions in the segment. Buyers have shown a decent level of appreciation for the model as it currently sits as the 10th most popular in the 20-plus field that makes up the large SUV under-$70k segment. It's huge inside and it offers the high quality and attention to detail we've all come to expect from a Mazda product. About the only downside to this deal is the fact there is no turbo-diesel engine. Salt is then rubbed into the wound by a thirsty 3.7-litre V6 engine; the only engine on offer. On the official average cycle it uses 11L/100km in base model front-wheel drive form.
Isuzu MU-X - $40,500-$53,500
This is one of those vehicles that you might not have heard of. But in reality, it shares its underpinnings with a vehicle that's much closer to home; the Holden Colorado 7. If anything, it's the Holden that borrows from the Isuzu. The MU-X is the first SUV to be introduced by the company, offering seriously heavy-duty off-road capabilities along with a pleasant and user-friendly cabin. And, most importantly, seven seats. The third row is quite useable, even for adults. Prices kick off well below the Holden counterpart (from $46,990), which is why we think it is one of the top 10 seven-seat cars currently on the market.
Holden Captiva 7 - $29,990-$40,990
The Captiva is one of Holden's best-sellers, and currently the third-best seller in the large SUV under-$70,000 segment. It stands out with a very family-oriented set of features, including keyless entry, cup holders for all three rows of seating, auto-levelling suspension, and flat folding seats that open up to 1565 litres of space. Rear parking sensors are standard as well. Three engine choices provide diversity in the range, including a 135kW/400Nm turbo-diesel which consumes an average as low as 7.6L/100km. Front- and all-wheel drive options are available.
Hyundai Santa Fe - $38,490-$51,990
One of the best-sellers in the segment. The Hyundai Santa Fe has enjoyed years of success and is currently the 5th most popular in the segment. All variants use an 'on-demand' all-wheel drive system, which means in most conditions the engine is only sending power to the front wheels, conserving fuel. Two engine choices are available, both of which are quite economical for the seven-seat segment. The 2.2-litre turbo-diesel uses just 7.3L/100km on the combined cycle, while the 2.4-litre four-cylinder consumes 9.0L/100km. Like most Hyundai vehicles, the Santa Fe comes with an extensive list of standard features, such as 11 airbags, a rear-view camera, front and rear air-conditioning, and three rows of cup holders.
Volvo XC90 - $69,590-$75,590
It is often regarded as one of the safest and therefor most suitable vehicles for families. Volvo is always at the forefront of automotive safety and the XC90 is its flagship SUV, which means it has everything the company has to offer at the current technology level. All XC90s come with a rear-view camera, emergency brake assist, roll-over stability, inflatable side curtain airbags and a plethora of other airbags, side impact protection, and whiplash protection as standard. Two engine choices are available, including a 3.2-litre petrol V6, and the pick of the bunch, the D5 2.4-litre turbo-diesel five-cylinder with up to 460Nm. The diesel uses 8.8L/100km on the combined cycle.
Mercedes-Benz GL-Class - $129,930-$216,930
If it's outright luxury you want, the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is the ideal candidate for your family. It's expensive but it comes with an expensive set of features, including the option of massage seats in the front - perfect for busy parents in between weekend getaways. In terms of outright performance, the GL-Class trumps the lot here as well, with the monster GL 63 AMG and its 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 producing a supercar-like 410kW and 760Nm. As a bonus, the third row of seats is one of the biggest on the market.