Although there’s a wealth of choice for car buyers looking for seven-seater cars, the choice for cars that seat eight or more is much more limited.
Those which do offer room for eight tend to be vehicles derived from vans, and they’re pretty hard to find. In fact, there are currently just five to choose from. So which of the quintet is the one to go for?
5 – Volkswagen Caravelle
The latest in a long line of VW buses, the Caravelle offers ample room for eight. All occupants are pretty well-catered for, too: higher end models benefit from three-zone climate control, roller blinds and powered sliding rear doors.
Powered by a 148hp 2.0-litre turbodiesel, performance is more than adequate enough, and when combined with the optional dual clutch automatic gearbox, it’s pretty easy to drive, too. With prices capable of climbing well north of £40,000, the Caravelle is very expensive – particularly for something which feels so closely related to the van on which it is based.
4 – Ford Tourneo Custom
Despite outward appearances, the Ford Tourneo Custom is surprisingly car-like to drive. While you’re always aware of the Transit origins, the Tourneo feels stable through the corners, while the accurate steering and strong brakes inspire confidence.
Powered by a 183hp 2.2-litre diesel, performance is more than adequate, while thanks to a hefty 284lb ft of torque, it’ll rarely feel strained, even when fully loaded. A combined fuel economy figure of 46.3mpg is class-leading, too. The seats can be arranged in countless different configurations, but even in eight seat mode, space is on a par with the rest here.
3 – Land Rover Defender
If you prefer your eight seater to have a little more character, then perhaps the Land Rover Defender is worth a look. The old 4×4 may be very long in the tooth, but thanks to the bench seats to the rear of the cab, long wheelbase 110 variants provide a cosy space for driver and seven passengers.
Refinement and accommodation may fall some way short of the other choices in our top five, but the rest would struggle traversing wet grass, let alone the muddy inclines, deep water and rocky tracks that the Defender will shrug off with ease.
2 – Peugeot Expert Tepee
If you’re searching for a comfortable, no-frills eight-seater at a reasonable price, the Peugeot Expert Teepee can’t be beaten.
All eight seats are armchair-like and are very comfortable, even if shoulder room is inevitably a bit tight. The boot space is vast, though, and if you remove the third row of seats then you can fit pushbikes in the back with ease.
It’s reasonably good to drive too. It soon shrinks around you and even parking is (relatively) easy if you specify it with the optional parking sensors. The ride is smooth, particularly when the cabin is loaded with a few passengers, while the 2.0-litre diesel is available in a range of power outputs.
Buy your Expert Tepee through carwow and you could make huge savings too – we’ve helped some buyers get £9,000 off the list price.
1 – Mercedes V-Class
Of all the van-based vehicles in our top five, the Mercedes V-Class is the one which translates best into a people mover. It may still look big and boxy on the outside, but the hard work has taken place inside, where the cabin has transformed into a classy yet very spacious eight seater. The build quality and the standard of materials used are as high as you’ll find in any other Mercedes, and access is made easy by the pair of sliding rear doors. Even in eight seat mode, boot space is generous.
For a car (van) of this size, fuel economy is impressive, too. A 2.1-litre turbodiesel is available in two states of tune, with the entry level V220 capable of 45.6mpg. Relative to the Peugeot Expert, it is very expensive, however, though the ability and quality of the whole package might be just enough to justify the asking price.
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