7 SEATER CARS OR
8 SEATER PEOPLE CARRIER? which is best for growing families?
If your family needs a car with more than five seats, this quick guide will help you choose between 7 seater cars or larger 8 seater MPVS.
7 seater range
Hyundai Santa Fe
Bold and luxurious 7-seater
The 7 seat model Santa Fe offers the flexibility of an MPV while offering the style and luxury of an executive car. It’s spacious interior features 516 litres of boot space or a massive 1,615 litres – that’s the equivalent of 16 large suitcases – if you fold the second and third seats flat.
From £32,545Find out more
The 8-people carrier
The i800 is a people carrier that offers a huge amount of space, so it’s perfect for large families and chauffeur companies. Carrying fewer than seven passengers? Both the second and third row of seats split 60/40, so you can take extra cargo instead.
From £26,095Find out more
Once upon a time, if you needed a car that seated more than five people your choices were somewhat limited. Not any more. Now you can choose between a stylish 7 seater SUV, MPV or crossover. Or if you need even more room, a cavenous 8 seater MPV.
1. The space factor: How much do you really need?
If your family is quite young or you don’t regularly need all seven seats, a 7 seater SUV may be the right choice. The flip up rear seats in the Santa Fe SUV have the added advantage of folding flat into the floor giving you a vast 1,615 litres of boot space. That means big loads travel easy when you’ve five or fewer people on board – perfect for growing families with lots to carry around.
For a group of adults or teenagers, the i800 has a visible advantage over the Santa Fe with eight full size seats and sliding rear doors making it a breeze to get in and out. The Santa Fe’s third row seats are more suitable for smaller people on longer journeys whereas the second and third rows in the i800 MPV can split and slide making it extremely flexible. Even with all seats in position there’s still a large 842 litres of space making the MPV the ultimate big family people carrier.
2. The usage factor: School run? Commuting? City or country?
Of course it’s not just about space, it’s about day-to-day use. If a school run or commute is part of your daily routine, MPVs – especially 8 seater cars – are big vehicles to be driving around. The reversing sensors on the i800 will certainly help guide you into that tight parking spot, but you may prefer a more ‘car’ sized vehicle for those busy streets.
It’s also important to think about driving conditions. If you live out in the country, wintery conditions can mean challenging driving. The i800 features a host of safety features including Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Traction Control System (TCS).
But if you’re tempted by a 4x4, the 7 seat Santa Fe also comes with the highly useful Torque on Demand 4 Wheel Drive (4WD). This works to transmit power to all four wheels when bad conditions require it, but switches off when you don’t. Perfect for keeping fuel economy in check.
In fact, this is where a 7 seater people carrier such as the Santa Fe also has the edge on typical estate cars. With the third row of seats down, you’ve got a huge boot capacity, you’ll also enjoy a high riding position, the kind of looks your average estate car could only dream of and features such as on Demand 4 Wheel Drive.
3. The ‘are we there yet’ factor: Features and practicality
As we all know, long journeys and kids don’t mix. Fortunately with modern 7 or 8 seater cars you get equipment, comfort and ride levels to match an executive luxury saloon.
If you’ve older children, an MPV such as the i800 gives everyone room to stretch. You’ll also enjoy Bluetooth connectivity, USB and aux connections allowing the children to hook up all of their devices. While practical front seat back pockets provide space for colouring books and pens.
But it’s not just about the kids, and that’s where a 7 seater people carrier such as the Santa Fe SUV provide a host of additional features for mum and dad. Things like touchscreen satellite navigation (with full postcode recognition), eight way electric front seat adjustment, Premium sound system with external amp, three stage heated seats, and rear view parking camera. You’ll find them all as standard.
4. The cost / performance / economy factor: Stuff for mum and dad
Let’s talk performance and money. The science is pretty simple: the i800 8 seater MPV is a great looking vehicle, but it’s also pretty big which means it won’t cut through the air like a road car – and the performance shows. The i800’s 2.5 CRDi Manual transmission engine delivers 0-62mph in 17.6 seconds.
Compare that to the 9 seconds it takes the Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi 4WD Blue Drive Manual to reach the same speed. Likewise, the 7 seat Santa Fe’s combined fuel economy of 46.3 mpg outstrips the 8 seat i800’s still impressive 37.7mpg.
However the Santa Fe doesn’t have it all its own way. Where the 8-seater i800 comes into its own is purchase cost. The i800 is available from just £24,895 with the Santa Fe SUV starting from £31,850. If you’re after a lot of seats for your money, the i800 wins hands down.
Summary: So which is best for your family? 7 seater car or 8 seater people carrier?
If you’ve a really large family and you regularly need to transport six or more adults/children around, 8 seater cars such as the Hyundai’s i800 MPV make complete sense. You’ll enjoy comfort, ride and equipment levels more akin to an executive saloon but with enough space to keep that big family comfortable on the longest of journeys. Sure, the performance won’t match an SUV, but you won’t find better value per seat.
If your family is younger and those extra seats won’t be in everyday use – or you just want the option of transporting your kids’ friends around – a 7 seater car such as the Santa Fe SUV is ideal.
With the seats down its boot is huge, but unlike a typical estate car, you can enjoy a high riding position and real street presence. Considering its capacity, the performance and economy of modern 7 seater cars such as the Santa Fe is impressive too.