Best Australian 7 Seater Cars and SUVs

Bigger cars and SUVs are getting more and more popular in Australia. People are attracted to these vehicles for a couple important reasons, primarily comfort and space. They’re ideal for large families, offering everyone a place to sit and often providing more legroom for the taller family members than smaller cars would.

Their rising popularity means new models are brought to Australia every year, brought in by a range of companies and garnering widely varying reviews. If you’re thinking about a 7 seater car or SUV and you want to be sure you’ll make the right decision, check out this list of the best 7 seater cars and SUVs currently available in Australia:

We crown the best 7 seater vehicles from a stellar lineup of 2016 models

1. Hyundai Santa Fe 2016

With a widely varying price range, the Hyundai Santa Fe 2016 is definitely a practical family choice and our choice for the best 7 seven seater for 2016. It features a powerful engine and exceptional towing capacity, making it perfect for dragging a trailer around. The leather seats are designed to maximize comfort and the leather dashboards give the whole thing a classier feel.

Read our 2016 Santa Fe review.

2. Audi Q7

If you’re looking for elegance as well as practicality in your 7 seater SUV, the Audi Q7 is one of your best options. It’s noticeably more expensive than some of the others on this list, costing somewhere between $82, 000 and $90, 000, but this vehicle truly does provide an intense level of comfort.

The Audi Q7 is also unusual because it comes with a variety of engine options including petrol, diesel and even environmentally friendly options. The environmentally friendly options can reduce emissions by up to 70%, making this a worthwhile investment for any environmentalist.

Read our review.

3. Kia Carnival

One of the most popular models currently being sold in Australia, the Kia Carnival is spacious, giving all the seats enough leg room to be comfortable even for taller users. The Kia Carnival is also affordable, both at the initial time of purchase and throughout its lifetime thanks to low maintenance costs and high fuel efficiency. Unlike most of the others on this list, the Kia Carnival actually comes with 8 seats to accommodate even larger families.

4. Honda Odyssey

This model is actually the second in the Odyssey line, redesigned in a number of ways, starting with a complete exterior remodeling to give this model a much more van-like appearance than its predecessor. Its interiors have also been redesigned to increase comfort and have a more modern style. Many people think this model was created specifically to challenge the Kia Carnival in the market, a theory supported by the fact that this car also comes with 8 seats.

Read our review.

Best SUV Australia

(our 2016 top pick)

5. BMW X5

Easily the best selling luxury SUV currently being sold in Australia, the BMW X5 has earned that place with its many features. Priced between $100, 000 and $148, 000, this car is definitely the one to go with if you’re willing to shell out that kind of money for your 7 seater. It comes with all the features you expect in a luxury vehicle as well as the option to choose between three different kinds of engines. The turbocharged diesel engine is renowned for its ability to go from 0 to 100 KM/h in exactly 6.9 seconds.

Read our review.

6. Toyota Kluger

The Toyota Kluger is an excellent option for anyone who wants to spend a little bit more money to make sure they get the very best value. Like the Hyundai Santa Fe, this model is an excellent option for towing. It also comes with a highly regarded V6 engine and a two-wheel drive option. Like its closest competitor on this list, the Hyundai Santa Fe, the Toyota Kluger is somewhat less luxurious but offers a nice, sporty feel.

Read our review.

BrandModelWhat Makes Them Tick
HyundaiSanta Fe 2016A practical family vehicle featuring a powerful engine and exceptional towing capacity. Leather seats are designed to maximize comfort. The leather dashboards provide a classier feel.
Audi Q7Elegance as well as practicality in your 7 seater SUV is what the Audi Q7 can provide. Although it is more expensive than the others on this list, this vehicle truly offers an intense level of comfort. It also comes with a variety of engine options including petrol, diesel and even environmentally friendly options.
Kia CarnivalThe Kia Carnival is spacious and affordable from the initial time of purchase throughout its lifetime thanks to low maintenance costs and high fuel efficiency. This vehicle comes with 8 seats to accommodate even larger families.
Honda OdysseyRedesigned in a number of ways, the Honda Odyssey sports a new look from its exterior to make it look more van-like than its predecessor. Its interiors have also been remodeled to increase comfort and create a more modern effect. This is Honda’s answer to the challenge of the Kia Carnival with the same 8 seating capacity.
BMW X5The BMW X5 has earned the best selling luxury SUV in Australia due to its many features. This car is easily an affordable 7 seater option with all the features of a luxury vehicle and a choice of three different engines. The turbocharged diesel engine can go from 0 to 100 km/h in exactly 6.9 seconds.
Toyota KlugerThis is an excellent choice for those who wants to spend a little bit more money to get the very best value. Like the Hyundai Santa Fe, this is ideal for towing and comes with a V6 engine and a two-wheel drive option. Like its closest competitor Hyundai Santa Fe, the Toyota Kluger is somewhat less luxurious but offers a nice, sporty feel.
Holden CaptivaThe Captiva meets all the needs of a regular SUV for an excellent price and comes with a variety of optional upgrades, most importantly the option of a high-powered engine. The only potential drawback of going with this SUV is being a lesser known brand which can result in a lower resale value than other cars on this list.
Nissan DualisThe Nissan Dualis is the perfect choice for the practical family. It comes with CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), which allows for best fuel efficiency, making it an affordable option for the long run. It offers comfortable seats, spacious interiors and the luxury of a chilled glove box perfect for storing some drinks when travelling.
Ford TerritoryIf you’re looking for a mid-range 7 seater SUV, you don’t want to pass up the Ford Territory. This durable vehicle has a wide range of features for a more luxurious feel, and includes a 5 door model to make the back seats easily accessible. It also offers the sporty feel many people love from older SUVs.
Audi A7The Audi A7 is the perfect choice if you’re more concerned about owning an amazing looking vehicle. This model still comes with seats designed specifically to maximize comfort and the variety of engine options that the Audi Q7 is known for features an impressive sleek exterior. The Audi A7 is definitely more of a car than an SUV.
Fiat Freemont CrossroadThe reasonably-priced Freemont Crossroad has ample features and a host of compartments. The 3.6L V6 engine runs flawlessly, 206kW @ 6350rpm and designed for the family. This vehicle also offers a child-seat system, entertainment system, and an 8.4” touchscreen dashboard display.
Holden Colorado 7The Holden Colorado 7 has an exceptionally powerful 2.8L engine capable of pulling 3,000 kilos. This automatic transmission 4-wheel drive vehicle also offers several attractive features and guarantees a safe ride. It also has lots of space inside, but the seats’ level of comfort could be improved.
Isuzu MU-X LS-MOne of the best vehicles for families is the Isuzu MU-X LS-M that comfortably seats seven passengers. It may be limited to standard features but sturdy and dependable enough. Its 3.0L engine can tow up to 3,000 kilos and can perform well even off-road.
SsangYong RextonThis medium SUV makes the most of its size and offers more than enough space at the front and middle row. With its 2.0L engine and automatic all wheel drivetrain, it has a strong, unbeatable performance off-road, plus a comfortable riding experience even through rough terrain. It carries standard safety technology but lacks airbags on the second and third row.
Mazda CX-9 GTThe Mazda CX-9 GT stands out when it comes to safety features with its blind-spot monitoring, autonomous emergency braking technology and airbags that cover all areas. Its features are top-of-the-line and heavy-duty while it runs on a 2.5 liter engine and automatic all-wheel drivetrain. The interior is well-built and designed to keep out noise.
Mitsubishi PajeroA classic well-known vehicle like the Mitsubishi Pajero has remained a family favorite. It has quiet interior with a comfortable cabin and decent adjustable seats. Powered by a 3.2L engine and automatic transmission four wheel drive, the Pajero offers a great driving and riding experience with less vibration and shocks even when going over rough landscapes.
Nissan PathfinderThe Nissan Pathfinder is among the most fuel-efficient vehicles in its range and offers a low-noise, smooth ride. It features flexible seating system with the option to fold down the middle row. The interior of this front wheel 3.5L V6 engine lacks in looks and appeal but roomy, comfortable and well-organized.

7. Holden Captiva

This lesser known brand actually produces an excellent 7 seater SUV. The Captiva meets all the needs of a regular SUV for an excellent price and comes with a variety of optional upgrades, most importantly the option of a high-powered engine. The only potential drawback of going with this SUV is that the lesser known brand can result in a noticeably lower resale value than other cars on this list.

8. Nissan Dualis

With a typical price of under $30, 000, the Nissan Dualis is an excellent choice for the practical family. It comes with CVT(Continuously Variable Transmission), which allows it to provide the very best fuel efficiency, making this an affordable option for the long run as well. It offers comfortable seats, spacious interiors and even the luxury of a chilled glove box perfect for storing some drinks in when you go out for the day.

9. Ford Territory

If you’re looking for a 7 seater SUV in the $40, 000 range you don’t want to pass up the Ford Territory. This durable SUV comes with a wide range of features to give it a more luxurious feel, including a 5 door model so even the back seats are easily accessible. As a Ford model, it also offers the sporty feel many people love from older SUVs.

10. Audi A7

If you’re more concerned about having a vehicle than looks amazing than you are about maximizing the space of your vehicle the Audi A7 is the choice for you. This model still comes with seats designed specifically to maximize comfort and the variety of engine options which make the Audi Q7 so great, and features a sleek exterior that will impress everyone from your neighbours to your boss. Unlike most of the others, the Audi A7 is definitely more of a car than an SUV.

11. Fiat Freemont Crossroad

The Fiat Freemont Crossroad is a reasonably priced vehicle considering the ample features and plentiful compartments.  The 3.6L V6 engine runs flawlessly, 206kW @ 6350rpm.  It’s designed for a family’s needs with above average safety features such as a full set of airbags including at the sides and a camera for reverse-view and rear parking sensors.  It also offers a child-seat system.  The seating can be adjusted to include a third row of seats and the entertainment system is a big plus, with an 8.4 inch touchscreen.

12. Holden Colorado 7

What keeps the Holden Colorado 7 at par with its rivals is its exceptionally powerful 2.8L engine capable of pulling 3,000 kilos.  This automatic transmission 4 wheel drive vehicle also offers several attractive features.  It guarantees a safe ride, thanks to 6 airbags, a rear-view camera vital for parking, rear parking sensors and anti-lock braking system, just to name a few.  It also has lots of space inside, but the seats’ level of comfort could be improved.

13. Isuzu MU-X LS-M

One of the best vehicles for families is the Isuzu MU-X LS-M.  It seats seven passengers comfortably with sizable head and leg room.  The Isuzu MU-X is limited to standard features but is sturdy and dependable.  Its 3.0L engine is brilliant with a towing capacity of up to 3,000 kilos.  With an automatic rear wheel drivetrain, it certainly performs well even off-road.  Safety-wise, it offers mainly air bags at the sides and front, and an anti-lock braking system.

14. SsangYong Rexton

If you’re looking for a medium SUV that makes the most of its size, you won’t be disappointed in the SsangYong Rexton.  There’s more than enough space at the front and middle row.  With its 2.0L engine and automatic all wheel drivetrain, it has a strong, unbeatable performance off-road, plus it offers a comfortable riding experience even through rough terrain.  It also carries standard safety technology including anti-lock brakes but lacks airbags in the second and third row.

15. Mazda CX-9 GT

The Mazda CX-9 GT dominates the other vehicles when it comes to safety features with its blind-spot monitoring, autonomous emergency braking technology and airbags that cover all areas.  Its features are top-of-the-line and heavy-duty.  It runs on a 2.5 liter engine and automatic all wheel drivetrain.  The interior is well-built and designed to keep out noise.  The front and second row seats can also be adjusted to make room for anyone’s size.  An added bonus is that it looks handsome and elegant.  The entertainment system is basic, though.

16. Mitsubishi Pajero

A classic well-known vehicle that has been constantly upgraded to keep up with the times, the Mitsubishi Pajero has remained a family favorite.  Its interior is quiet with a comfortable cabin and decent seats.  The adjustable seats also make sufficient room for all passengers.  Powered by a 3.2L engine and automatic transmission four wheel drive, the Pajeoro offers a great driving and riding experience with less vibration and shocks even when going over rough landscapes.  It has superior safety features as well, front and side airbags, reverse-view camera, and child seatbelt system.

17. Nissan Pathfinder

The Nissan Pathfinder is one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in its range.  It offers a smooth ride with little noise.  Another great feature is the flexible seating system which highlights the option to fold down the middle row.  The interior, though lacking in looks and appeal, is still roomy, comfortable and well-organized.  It also has a 3.5L V6 engine and front wheel drivetrain, and its safety features, such as the six airbags and anti-lock brakes, are at par with similar vehicles.

Choosing the right SUV for you and your family can be difficult, but if you choose one of these models you won’t be disappointed with your decision. There are certainly other models to consider, but these are considered by most Australian drivers to be the best 7 seat cars and SUVs currently available on the market.

SUV Buying Guide

Sport-utility vehicles are offered in a wide range of sizes and prices. If you know how to consider the right spectrum of models you want to choose from, you are a step nearer to the best choice.

Types of SUVs

Subcompact SUVS: Subcompact SUVs carry fewer passengers and have lesser cargo capacity. However, they offer higher seating position and ceiling, and have roomy interiors. Some are equipped with AWD, and the size allows for easy parking and maneuver. But don’t expect them to accommodate huge cargo volume or have serious off-road capabilities.

Small SUVs: These are suited for those looking for more space than what luxury sedans provide. They have flexible cargo space and higher driving position compared to cars. In terms of fuel economy, they compete with family sedans although other units are thirstier. Adventurous drivers may find a few models providing excellent off-road capabilities.

Compact and Sporty SUVs: These small and upscale performance-level SUVs offer better maneuverability, quieter cabins, handsome fit and finish, and have more amenities than the regular small SUVs in the market. Nevertheless, price and fuel economy are often compromised. Majority of vehicles in this category are either Japanese or European brands.

Midsized SUVs: Midsized SUVs are the best alternatives to minivans. These vehicles stand to satisfy those in need of a large SUV. This category is favored by many families as they can provide better balance of power, cargo room, interior space, and safety. Although many of this type offer optional third-row seats, these are often cramped and may not accommodate adults.

Large SUVs: Large SUVs provide you with lots of power, roomier interiors, and towing capacity. But since these are quite big, clumsy and bulky, they tend to be quite thirsty in terms of gas consumption. Hauling a heavy trailer is easy with these vehicles but if you prefer seating and cargo, you would find larger midsized units like a minivan or the Toyota Highlander as better options.

Features

Here are some important features to consider before purchasing an SUV:

1. Engine and Fuel Economy

  • Small SUVs are budget-friendly and powered by 4-cylinder engines with some models fitted with turbochargers but have lesser power when climbing hills.
  • Midsized SUVs are built with V6 engines to balance of fuel economy and power. There are midsized and large models that come with V8 engines allowing for effortless acceleration and better towing performance but may take its toll on gas mileage.
  • Some smaller SUVs are still equipped with manual transmission and other automatic models provide a manual-shift mode similar to a manual transmission. Those with 6 to 9 speed automatic transmissions or continuous variable transmissions (CVTs) allow better fuel economy than traditional manual transmission.

2. Drive Wheels

SUVs come with all-wheel drive (AWD) or 4-wheel drive (4WD) with 2-wheel drive options. Most truck-based SUVs provide rear wheel-drive versions while crossovers lean towards front-wheel drive when only 2 wheels are operating. See the difference between AWD and 4WD vehicles:

  • An AWD has a lighter system engaged and ready to distribute power any time and good for normal bad weather conditions or moderate off-road drives.
  • A 4WD uses low gear for negotiating tricky off-road terrains. If you opt for a 4WD, look one that provides full-time 4WD operation.

If you drive on pavement without visible snow or ice, get a 2-wheel drive model for fuel economy. Vehicles with part-time systems must steer clear of dry pavement when on 4WD mode.

3. Towing Capacity

Truck-based SUVs offer more towing capability and some larger models tow up to 9,100 pounds. Car-based SUVs don’t tow as much but some powerful midsized units can manage 5,000 pounds. Look at the tow-capacity rating and be sure you get a vehicle that can comfortably handle the load you’ll be towing.

4. Off-Road Capacity

Most SUVs are made to look tough but not all of them can tackle serious off-roading; so, find something that is specifically built for the said purpose. It should have a low range 4-wheel drive system, high ground clearance, and most of all—skid plates to protect the mechanicals beneath the body.

5. Access

Most SUVs have wide front and rear doors, and ample head clearance for easy access. But due to their higher ground clearance shorter passengers or drivers may find it difficult to climb in, and the same issue goes with disabled persons or children. Look for units that have wide rear doors or try out mechanism that enables re-positioning of second row seats.

6. Seating and Cargo

All SUVs can accommodate 5 people and some midsized and full-sized models have third-row seats to carry more passengers up to a maximum of 8 with third-row seats found to be suitable only for children. Most 3-row SUVs have limited cargo space but once third-row seats are in use, this allows for more cargo or luggage space.

7. Safety Features

  • Head-protecting side airbags
  • Electronic stability control
  • Traction control
  • Rear backup alert systems

Other Features

  • Entertainment
  • Audio System 
  • Satellite and HD Radio
  • Navigation systems and connectivity 
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