Top 10 best seven-seater electric and hybrid cars 2021
If the regular crop of electrified SUVs and family cars don’t provide enough practicality for you, then take a closer look at the range of electric and hybrid seven-seaters on market now
As more and more manufacturers embrace hybrid and electric-car technology, we’re seeing it appear in a variety of cars, from hatchbacks and SUVs to sports cars and seven-seater family haulers. The latter are ideal for those who need as much practicality as they can get, but don’t want the running costs of the petrol and diesel options on the market.
But how do you decide between the full-hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric seven-seaters on the market? Well, it largely comes down to the types of journeys you’re planning to do. If you’re going to use the car for commuting or shorter trips, like shopping or the school run, then one of the electric options on this list may be for you, especially if you have a driveway or off-street parking where you can fit a home wallbox to top the battery at night. But the latest electric MPVs and SUVs often have very healthy ranges as well, so you won’t be stuck looking for alternative transportation if you need to make a longer journey now and again.
If you cover longer distances more regularly, then a plug-in hybrid may suit you better – but even here, regular home charging is essential in order to enjoy the lowest running costs. Meanwhile, a full-hybrid doesn’t need to be plugged in at all, but can still run on electric power for short bursts. However, it can’t achieve the fuel economy that a PHEV can, or match the rock-bottom running costs of a pure-electric car.
With all that mind, here are our top picks for the best seven-seat electrified family cars on sale right now. Make sure to check out our list of the best electric family cars, too.
The Citroen Berlingo is a van-based people carrier that has an absolutely huge interior. It's not just a seven-seater, but a proper 'people mover', because even adults can get comfortable in the rear seats. Now, the French brand offers a fully electric version of its MPV, called the e-Berlingo.
It's a sister model to the Peugeot e-Rifter and Vauxhall Combo-e Life, all of which use the same 134bhp electric motor and 50kWh battery for an estimated 170-mile driving range. Prices start from just under £30,000 after the £2,500 plug-in car grant (PiCG) is deducted. Read more about the Citroen e-Berlingo here, as well as its sister cars from Peugeot and Vauxhall.
While the e-Berlingo, along with the Peugeot e-Rifter and Vauxhall Combo-e Life, are the more compact electric MPVs offerings from their respective brands, the Citroen e-SpaceTourer packs in enough space to seat nine. Citroen’s electric minibus can cover up to 143 miles on a charge thanks to a 50kWh battery, while the e-SpaceTourer’s electric motor produces 134bhp.
Prices start from just under £32,500, after the government’s £2,500 plug-in grant is deducted. The sister car to the Peugeot e-Traveller and Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life is available in two body lengths, M and XL, with the latter being added in 2021 for more cabin space and practicality. Read more about the Citroen e-SpaceTourer here.
Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid
The latest Hyundai Santa Fe is available as a full hybrid or a plug-in hybrid, just like its sister model the Kia Sorento below. The normal hybrid uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine with a small 59bhp electric motor and 1.49kWh battery. The plug-in also has the 1.6-litre petrol engine, but gets a larger 13.8kWh battery and a 90bhp electric motor, which allows for a 36-mile all-electric range.
The former will work best for families who don't have a driveway or a way to charge at home, while the latter will be great for those who can charge up, or company-car drivers who'll benefit from lower BiK tax for plug-in models. Read more about the Hyundai Santa Fe here.
Kia Sorento Hybrid
The Kia Sorento is a large, practical SUV with a bold look all of its own. Like its sister car from Hyundai, the Sorento is available with either full-hybrid or plug-in hybrid power. The latter features a 13.8kWh battery and a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, can return up to 177mpg and has an electric driving range of 35 miles. Meanwhile, the full-hybrid can still return a decent 38-41mpg and produces 158-168g/km of CO2.
There aren't many hybrid seven-seater SUVs to pick from, so it's good that the Sorento is one of the best large SUVs we've tested. It’s sharp to drive, and practicality is particularly impressive, thanks to an impressive over-600-litre boot space in both versions when the rear most seats are folded down. Remarkably, those rearmost seats are just big enough for adults to get comfortable in. Read our full hybrid Sorento review here, and check out our video review of the plug-in Sorento here.
Derived from the combustion-engined GLB and sitting between the smaller EQA and larger EQC in the three-pointed-star brand's line-up, the EQB is the first Mercedes electric SUV to be offered with the option of seven seats. Its boxy styling ensures no shortage of passenger space inside, although Mercedes does admit that the third-row seats "can be used by people up to 5ft 4in tall". Under the metal it gets the same electric drivetrain as the EQA 250, but more powerful versions with four-wheel drive will follow in due course. Read more about the EQB here.
A more luxurious take on the van-with-windows recipe, the Mercedes EQV is the electric version of the Mercedes V-Class. Available configured to seat six, seven or eight people, the V-Class is largely aimed at the private-hire market, but could well make for a very spacious family car.
Performance is decent enough thanks to a 201bhp electric motor, while the battery offers enough charge for a 200-mile range. We're particularly fond of the car's whisper-quiet operation and excellent refinement: perfect for a relaxing airport transfer or family getaway. Read our review here.
Lexus RX L 450h
The seven-seat Lexus RX L sounds exciting on paper, with a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine working in conjunction with a pair of electric motors to produce 308bhp. However, this hybrid is more about smoothness and refinement than performance and power.
With prices starting above £50,000, luxury is the name of the game, and an extra 110mm in length of the standard RX boosts boot space accordingly. It’s still a bit of a squeeze with all seven seats in use, mind. Read our full review here.
Tesla Model X
The Tesla Model X is one of the most well-known electric seven-seaters on the road right now, thanks in no small part to its novel ‘falcon wing’ rear doors. For 2022, Tesla updated the Model X to bring it in line with the latest Model S, so it gets a redesigned interior and will be available in the UK in Long Range and performance-orientated Plaid forms.
According to Tesla, the Long Range is capable of up to 360 miles on a charge, while Plaid gets a 340-mile range, but pumps out over 1,000bhp and can accelerate from 0-62mph in 2.5 seconds. Prices start from around £100,000 for the Long Range and over £110,000 for the Plaid – however, you have to fork out an extra £3,400 for the seven-seat layout. Read our full review of the Tesla Model X here, and also check out our review of the seven-seat Model Y, which will be arriving in the UK in 2022 as well.
While the Toyota Land Cruiser has been available in the UK with seven seats for some time, the Highlander is the first SUV from the Japanese brand to combine that many seats and a hybrid powertrain. It's only available as a full-hybrid, so fuel economy won't be any better than around 40mpg.
However, while it’s not as efficient as some of the plug-in entries on this list, we can’t knock the Highlander's superb build quality, with leather seats across all three rows and plenty of soft-touch plastics. Plus, even the entry-level version gets heated front seats and steering wheel, three-zone climate control, a glass panoramic roof and a power-operated boot opening. Read our full review of the Toyota Highlander here.
Volvo XC90 Recharge T8
The Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 is another seven-seater that’s surprisingly quick when you put your foot down: an electric motor supports a 2.0-litre engine that’s both supercharged and turbocharged, resulting in 448bhp and a 0-62mph time of 5.4 seconds.
For 2022, Volvo added a larger 18.8kWh to the plug-in XC90, so the Swedish seven-seater is now capable of returning up to 235mpg and covering 43 miles on electric power alone. With all seven seats in operation, there’s 262 litres of space in the boot, rising to 640 litres in five-seat mode. Read our full review here.
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