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Top 7 Seater Cars For £7000

By raccars Published

The kids go back to school next month and preparations are undoubtedly underway: school uniforms, PE gear, pens and pencils plus the essential latest schoolbag.

What about mum and dad, though? Maybe it’s time to make your life easier on the school run too, with a new seven-seat people carrier?

RAC Cars has investigated the options here – and, mindful of the expense going back to school entails, each one is priced at under £7000. Seven-seat convenience with each one costing less than a grand: top of the class!

Vauxhall Zafira - £7000 buys you a 2010 model

The first generation Vauxhall Zafira was launched in 1999 and introduced the concept of third-row seats that fold flat into the floor. This Flex 7 arrangement continued in the second generation model we look at here, which was launched in 2005.

You will love it because… the Vauxhall Zafira is the most popular people carrier on the road, for good reason. It is sturdy, safe, cheap to run and easy to repair. The interior is extremely flexible and as Vauxhall invented the concept of folding the third row of seats into the floor, you’ll find the functionality in this second generation Zafira works brilliantly.

The kids will love it because… each middle row seat slides and reclines, but also offers loads of space. Some may find the design a bit dull and boring but it is tough and heavy-duty – piling in and out won’t damage anything and risk a scolding from mum or dad…

C4 Grand Picasso - £7000 buys you a 2008 model

The Citroen C4 Picasso joined the original Citroen Xsara Picasso in 2006: this seven-seat Grand C4 Picasso version was added in early 2007.

You will love it because… The Citroen C4 Grand Picasso is a light and easy car to drive, with fingertip-light steering and, on some models, a paddleshift automatic gearbox (although you may find its gearshifts a bit hesitant). Diesel engines are smooth, as is the city centre ride quality, and there’s lots of equipment to while away hours stuck in traffic.

The kids will love it because… the C4 Picasso has a stylish interior design with some great features, from hidden cubbyholes to classy built-in light effects in the dashboard. Its modern feel will impress their schoolmates and they probably won’t notice the fact it’s not as practical as some.

Renault Grand Scenic - £7000 buys you a 2010 model

Renault invented the compact MPV segment with the original Scenic back in 1997. A second generation model was launched in 2003 and this third generation car went on sale in 2009. The ‘Grand’ part means it has seven seats.

You will love it because… this is the original compact people carrier and, in terms of intelligent design, Renault can still teach the others a thing or two. It is very roomy inside and the interior is also designed with practicality and easy of use in mind, something that carries through onto the road – flat sides, good visibility and light steering all help.

The kids will love it because… there’s loads of well-designed space back there, which will somehow manage to accommodate them, their mates and all their associated gear without fuss. Secret cubbies in the floor are clever and the option of some extremely economical diesel engines will help them justify the eco credentials of their school run bus.

Toyota Verso - £7000 buys you a 2009 model

The Toyota Verso replaced the original Toyota Corolla Verso in 2009.

You will love it because… the Toyota Verso has an enviable reliability record, as you’d expect from the Japanese brand. You can feel this from the moment you step into it, as build quality is exceptional. It may not be the most thrilling machine to drive, or the most efficient in terms of space and practicality, but it’s certainly among the most dependable.

The kids will love it because… although it’s not the most exciting model, the Toyota Verso is certainly one of the most reliable. It will be there waiting at the school gates day after day, year after year. And there’s nothing like the embarrassment of breaking down with your mates on board, is there…

Mazda5 - £7000 buys you a 2008 model

The clever Mazda5 was launched in 2005, replacing the original dull but worthy Mazda Premacy.

You will love it because… The Mazda5 is another very reliable people carrier, whose Japanese design and build brings plenty of reassurance. Being derived from a Ford C-Max also means it is enjoyable to drive too, with much better steering and handling than you’d expect from a vehicle like this.

The kids will love it because… the Mazda comes with the super-cool feature of sliding side doors, making entry and exit child’s play even in tight parking spaces. Inside, instead of a regular seven-seat layout, the Mazda5 adopts a ‘6+1’ configuration: the middle-row central seat brilliantly folds away to give a walkway to the rear seat and more lounging space in the central row.

Ford S-Max - £7000 buys you a 2007 model

Ford launched the S-Max in 2006, alongside the more upright and practical Ford Galaxy. It is the sporty cousin to Ford’s long-established seven-seat people carrier.

You will love it because… the S-Max really is a class act to drive. It feels like a premium model, with a quality dashboard, perfect driving position, sporty handing and some strong engines. It is a larger people carrier rather than the other compact MPV machines here, but excellent visibility means it is easy to handle. It also looks really good so will win envious approval from fellow parents.

The kids will love it because… the S-Max is really large and comfortable inside, with a surging feel on the move that’s like being in a fast express train. The front passenger seat will be much in demand. Because it’s so large, the boot is an ample size and folding some seats should allow even the bulkiest school projects to be transported home.

Volkswagen Touran - £7000 buys you a 2007 model

Volkswagen launched the first Touran in 2003. This latest second generation model arrived in 2010.

You will love it because… the Touran is a safe, sturdy, reliable Volkswagen. The reassurance of that VW badge means a lot, and you’ll have no issue displaying the key fob to other parents either. Good diesel engines are fuel efficient and while it’s not particularly stylish or modern, it’s a car that will satisfy in the long run.

The kids will love it because… owning a Volkswagen brings playground respect too. They’ll feel no embarrassment jumping into this. The tough and practical interior won’t cause any headaches either although they, as may you, might wish the design wasn’t quite so dull.

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