Most of us think ‘the bigger and more expensive, the better it must be’.
But that’s not always the case, especially when it comes to these affordable seven-seat SUVs.
Whether it’s for more cabin space, extra seating or even just for better visibility, SUVs are quickly becoming the popular choice of vehicle for families large and small.
And while some SUVs are getting right up there in price, there is a subset of less spendy seven-seat SUVs that not only work well for a growing family but are easier on the hip pocket.
From $26,990 on road
The Indian-built Mahindra XUV500 seven-seater is a rather obscure model despite being available in Australia since 2012. About the same size as the Nissan X-Trail the XUV500 has easy walk-through access to the third row that can accommodate two adults.
The bargain price does come with plenty of standard features, but there are some notable omissions such as autonomous emergency braking and other driving aids, while the entry level W6 doesn't even have a reversing camera. It's not the most refined SUV on the road when it comes to ride and handling, but it does have a gutsy 103kW/320Nm 2.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine with six-speed automatic transmission.
The XUV500 has just received a facelift for 2019.
Mitsubishi Outlander ES
From $31,290 plus on-road costs
The Mitsubishi Outlander ES is absolutely the cheapest seven-seat SUV you can buy today. You can get your hands on a base model in front-drive automatic from $31,290 plus on-roads costs – making it the most affordable.
But be warned – just because it has seven pews doesn’t mean you can (comfortably) fit that many adults in the car. Think of it more as a five-plus-two seater. Those foldaway rear seats at the very back are super cramped if you’re any taller than, say, 100cm (or a toddler).
So if you’re after a full-time seven-seater, there are better options out there – but for the odd occasion, the seven-seat Outlander SUV is a good option.
Nissan X-Trail ST
From $33,090 plus on-road costs
There’s quite a diverse range of X-Trails to choose from – 11 to be exact. But it’s the front-drive seven-seat ST we’ll look at here.
Priced from $33,090 (plus on-roads), you’ll get a 2.5-litre petrol four-cylinder paired to a CVT auto. LED daytime running lights (DRLs) and taillights, power door mirrors, intelligent emergency braking and forward collision warning all come standard.
It does miss out on safety features such as lane departure and rear cross traffic alert, as well as luxuries like heated and leather-appointed seats and dual-zone climate control. It’s a great starting point if luxurious additions aren’t on your shopping list, though.
Honda CR-V VTi-E7
From $34,490 plus on-road costs
Honda introduced this bargain seven-seater in January, taking over as the most affordable seven-seat option in the CR-V range.
Parting with $34,490 (plus on-road costs) will get you leather-appointed seats, reverse camera, 18-inch alloy wheels and 140kW of power from Honda’s 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine.
It's is worth noting though, that the VTi-E7 misses out on key safety features available in higher-spec versions like parking sensors, lane departure warning, forward collision warning and adaptive cruise control.
LDV D90 Mode
From $38,990 drive-away
LDV is a Chinese brand few people have yet to come across here – but the manufacturer is gaining traction in the new car market, with eight models currently on offer.
The seven-seat D90 currently gets a drive-away price of $38,990 in entry-level spec and includes safety tech like autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition.
There’s also more room in this option (a specialty from Chinese makers) as it’s a large SUV, while the previous three are classed as mid-size, which can make the third row a little squishy.
Haval H9 LUX
From $41,990 drive-away
Another Chinese speciality, Haval holds claim as best-selling SUV brand in its home country. But, just like LDV, the brand is yet to find steady ground in the Aussie car market, as hard as it tries.
And while it might not be the best-looking SUV on our list, the H9 LUX is arguably the best bang-for-your-buck option, offering a 2.0-litre turbo-four good for 180kW of power and a respectable 350Nm of torque.
Adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning, selectable all-terrain control, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert are all fitted as standard, too, from $41,990 drive away. That’s a bargain if ever we’ve seen one.
Is there a seven-seat bargain that we've missed? Let us know in the comments below!