7 seater people carriers have always been popular cars amongst Desis. With more choice than ever before, DESIblitz checks out the best people carriers of 2015.
"The French have produced the most stylish MPV to date with an interior to match."
7 seater cars are embedded within Desi culture for a number of reasons.
With so many traditional Desi households comprising of three generations, it makes sense for grandparents, parents and children to travel together.
Those with businesses also utilise the extra space to carry goods from A to B.
With currently over 40 models to choose from, the rest of the UK seems to have caught up with this trend, and the growing competition is fiercer than ever before.
There are generally two types of people carriers; ‘Multi-Purpose Vehicles’ (MPVs) and ‘Sports Utility Vehicles’ (SUVs).
MPVs tend to be larger vehicles for those who will need to constantly use the back seats or simply more storage space.
Often perceived as practical, slow and ‘boring’, they are pretty much bought out of necessity, rather than being a lifestyle choice.
Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs), or ‘crossovers’, as they are more recently referred to on the other hand, are sportier vehicles packed with performance.
The tradeoff being that the back row is often too small for adults.
For those looking to upgrade or purchase a people carrier for the first time, DESIblitz reviews the best 7 seaters of 2015:
1. Citroën Grand C4 Picasso (MPV)
Citroën have gradually emerged out of the shadows to become a class leader in the MPV market with the new Grand C4 Picasso.
Voted as ‘Best MPV’ in 2014 and 2015 by WHATCAR?, the French have produced the most stylish MPV to date with an interior to match.
Look past the badge and you’ll find little to complain about, with eco-efficient models free of road tax, such as the 1.6 eHDi Airdream, which emits less than 100g/km of CO2, and returns 74 mpg.
Whilst it’s not the most fun to drive, it does tick the ‘comfort’ box, and with panoramic roof as an optional must, it’s a steal with prices starting from £19,970.
2. Audi Q7 (SUV)
The revamped 2015 Audi Q7 is rivalled only by Land Rover and Volvo when it comes to a premium luxury SUV.
This latest model is 325kg lighter than before, providing a whopping 1,955 litres of boot space with the seats down.
It handles better than before, and with optional air suspension, you won’t notice driving over a crater, let alone a pothole.
Achieving a claimed average of 48.7 mpg on the 3.0 litre TDI quattro model is better than average.
Like most Audis, this vehicle is all about the interior, which provides a cabin full of creature comforts and tech galore.
However, at a £47,755 starting price, you’ll quickly find yourself on the other side of the £50,000 mark once you pick a couple of optional extras.
3. All-New Ford Galaxy (MPV)
Going from strength to strength, the All-New Ford Galaxy is rebooted with a modern facelift and more tech whilst remaining one of the best MPVs for accommodating for seven adults with comfort.
You can now electronically fold the third row into the floor and flip the second row at the touch of a button.
Ford’s standard Zetec, Titanium and Titanium X trims are still available with LED lights, panoramic sunroof and leather seats offered in the latter.
Petrol engines will only generate around 25-35 mpg, so it’s worth considering the 2.0 litre TDCI model which returns a respectable 50.4 mpg, emitting 129g/km CO2.
A refreshed and modernised cabin makes this a sensible buy if you really do need those adult seats at the back (otherwise go for the S-Max) with prices starting from £26,445.
4. Land Rover Discovery Sport (SUV)
If the back two seats really will only be used for small children then this SUV is highly worth considering.
The Land Rover Sport is a slightly larger Range Rover Evoque with all of the off-road capabilities associated with the longstanding reputation of Land Rover.
Land Rover states: “New Discovery Sport’s sleek, aerodynamic silhouette, with legendary Land Rover capability and a flexible interior, add up to a great looking vehicle that does so much more.”
Luxury and performance are in abundance both inside and out, with Dynamic Stability Control, Roll Stability Control and Corner Brake Control all working together to provide a relaxing drive for both drivers and passengers.
If you have the £30,000, or can afford a suitable finance option, you won’t be disappointed.
5. Kia Carens (MPV)
Replacing the Sedona, the Kia Carens is a much more attractive offering by the South Korean automaker in every way.
The Kia Carens is the cheapest MPV on our list, starting at £17,295 for the cheapest of its 3 models.
Corners are obviously cut because of this compared to the sophistication of its rivals.
These include a little sluggishness when the vehicle is fully loaded, inferior handling and cabin trim.
That said, you get a lot for your money, including a Kia’s generous seven year warranty, cruise control, Bluetooth with Voice Recognition, LED lights, and a game changing optional panoramic roof, which might just clinch it if this is your budget range.
6. Volvo XC90 (SUV)
This Scandinavian outsider to the SUV market is a heavyweight contender.
With technology, luxury and class leading safety embedded within the DNA of this vehicle, it’s no wonder the Volvo XC90 was named ‘Best Car of the Year 2015’ by Auto Express.
With enough safety features like ‘City Safety’, ‘Run Off-Road’ and self parking systems, you won’t break a fingernail, let alone harm a pedestrian.
The back two seats also offer decent legroom for adults with an interior fit for royalty.
Priced at £46,250 for the entry level, you’ll get Satellite-navigation, leather seats and tech galore (Apple CarPlay ready) as standard, along with a nifty eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Returning around 40-50 mpg on a mid range engine is on par with competitors.
7. SEAT Alhambra (MPV)
The New Alhambra is the third generation of the solid MPV.
It has gained a reputation over the years for having all of the reliable engineering of its twin sister, the Volkswagen Sharan.
With SEAT’s slightly cheaper trim and a few extra features as standard like Park Assist (automatic parallel parking) and those all important parking sensors, it’s much better value for money than its VW counterpart.
The New Alhambra gets a slight makeover on the exterior with Bi-Xenon LED lights and slight touches to it’s overall shape, maintaining those practical sliding doors.
New features like start-stop and Brake Energy Regeneration System work together to generate a healthy 56.5 mpg.
For the price tag of £24,885 you know you’re getting the best of German engineering which will means the car will hold it’s value for years to come should you ever need to sell.
It is evident that people carriers are no longer a niche speciality made by a handful of market leaders, with almost every car manufacturer now including at least one SUV or MPV within their range.
Whether you just prefer driving larger vehicles, need extra storage, or have a large family, there’s something out there to suit your needs; be it looks, functionality, price or comfort.
As the competition gets hotter in 2016 with more efficient hybrid and electric 7 seater models on the horizon, DESIblitz will keep you up to date with all the exciting news.
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