Back to school: Top five seven seaters for the school run
You may be sad and/or relieved that the summer holidays are soon to be over depending on whether you’re a teacher or a parent.
If you fall into the parent category, your elation that the kids will soon be out of your hair and you won’t have to meticulously plan out every day in a six-week window will soon give way to the realisation that … the school run is back!
With this in mind, we’ve picked out a selection of the best seven seaters on the leasing market at the moment, meaning you’ll be able to fit everyone in with the minimum of fuss and the maximum of comfort.
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso
The Citroen C4 Picasso might have been around a while, but a recent comprehensive update means its class-leading position in the MPV world remains largely unchallenged. It’s extremely capacious – even for the rear-most passengers – while with the back seats down it also makes a competent load lugger.
An impressive infotainment system dominates the centre of the dashboard, while the driver info screens give it a futuristic flavour. While some people carriers can be rather drab, the C4 Grand Picasso is definitely not.
The Skoda Kodiaq is the Czech company’s value-version of the Tiguan, but unlike its Volkswagen Group stable mate, you can specify one to come as a seven seater. What’s more, if your school run involves a bit of soft-roading, the Kodiaq could be the perfect choice – it actually made its UK debut by taking on the country’s most extreme school run.
Watch the Jones family from Pontrhydfendigaid, Wales, who regularly have to overcome floods and fallen trees just to get to school.
There's plenty of space for the kids in the rear, and those huge rear windows make it feel less claustrophobic than it might otherwise be. All-in-all, it’s a competent and practical car which (providing you’re not too concerned with the badge), makes the pricier Volkswagen seem rather redundant.
With the move away from 4x4 workhorse to lifestyle SUV, the latest edition of the X-Trail is, well, a big Qashqai at the end of the day. This means it’s the ideal large family automobile. While it might have lost a lot of its off-road credentials, it has definitely gained some when it comes to being the school-run master.
The new X-Trail is practical, spacious, well made and comfortable, meaning the kids shouldn’t have much to complain about apart from forgetting their homework. On top of that it comes with a very impressive 57.6mpg.
Pulling together parts from the majority of Ford’s range – the grille of the Fiesta, the seats of the Mondeo, the aesthetics of the Focus – the S-Max is somewhat of a Frankenstein’s Monster for the Blue Oval brand. It’s also countlessly been named among the few MPVs that are actually a bit of fun to drive.
If you think all of these parts combine to provide the best of all possible worlds then you’d be somewhat correct. Comfort and refinement is the name of the game here, and space is in abundance - there’s plenty of room for middle-row passengers, while those right at the back get bags of headroom too.
If you want a vehicle that’s as classy as it is practical, then the Audi Q7 is where your search stops. As you’d expect from an Audi, the interior quality is excellent. It’s sophisticated, luxurious, spacious and supremely comfortable.
So nice is it in fact, you may be tempted to put your children in hazmat suits to ensure that no sticky hands or paint residue gets on the lush leather seats. At over five-metres long, the Q7 is a beast that will attack the most challenging of school runs.