Volkswagen have three popular 7 seater models currently available, including the VW Touran MPV, the Sharan MPV and the ‘Caddy Maxi Life’ MPV. Volkswagen are well known for their high level of German build quality, however sometimes this comes at the expensive of uninspiring design and a lack of design sophistication. Nevertheless, as a roundup of the three 7 seater cars from VW at least two of the three below are clear stand-out winners in the MPV stakes. Your choice of the best VW MPV depends on many factors, such as whether you really need space for seven full-size adult seats, or if a mid-size people carrier would be suitable. The three most popular models are the Touran, the larger Sharan, and the VW Caddy with it’s van-like heritage. Here are three reviews of the cars…
The 7 Seat VW Touran
The mid-size 7 seater VW Touran is the smaller brother to the Sharan. It is highly practical as a family car, and the medium-spec model has a lovely interior that is certainly superior to the Ford S-Max 7 seater. On the downside it is on the smaller side for an MPV, and some adults would struggle to regularly use the additional seats due to restricted leg-space. Having said that, should you not require the use of all seven seats, then when stowed away this gives you an absolutely cavernous boot that you could happily fill with anything from a double pram to a couple of sets of golfclubs.
The smaller-size does have its advantages in terms of practicality. It is easy to park on tight city streets or supermarket car parks. The VW Touran is available with a range of engine options, including the 1.2 petrol, 1.4 or 1.6 TDI and the fast paced 2 litre TDI. For most family users the 1.2 petrol TSI will suffice, and give a nice comfy drive. Fuel economy ranges from 45 to 62 dependent on engine choice, and prices vary from £19,000 to £27,000.
The Volkswagen Sharan
The VW Sharan is a large 7 seat car with plenty of room for all occupants with its spacious interior and generous leg-room. Not everyone needs the extra space (and hard parking / manoeuvring) that comes with the Sharan, and many families would find the Peugot 5008 or the aforementioned Touran to be perfectly adequate for their needs.
Like it’s smaller VW counterpart the Touran, it has a stylish interior that still looks like it would stand up to the rigours of family life. Although not a jaw-dropping exterior design it is still smart and reasonably classy in a VW-engineered kind of way. The sliding doors may have an ‘A Team’ feel, but are actually very practical for everyday use.
As with the VW Touran, there are a range of engine options available in both petrol and diesel varieties. These include 1.4 petrols up to 2 litre diesels in a range of horsepower. We would suggest that the basic engine model is somewhat lacking in capability, and a mid-range model would be your best option.
Price-wise the 7 seat VW Sharan ranges from £24,000 to £33,000 brand-new. The higher end of the spectrum does seem to be a bit too high when compared to other seven seater MPVs on the market.
The VW Caddy
Finally we reach the other 7 seat offering from Volkswagen, the VW Caddy Maxi Life MPV. It is one of the original cars that sported seven seats, however there are much more versatile and flexible models out there currently.
Starting on an aesthetic note it doesn’t exactly appeal to the visually oriented (sorry that might be a bit harsh), but there is no hiding the fact that it has a box-like van heritage. The 2013 model does have a much improved styling with a significantly ‘cooler’ look about it. On a less superficial note, it is a big MPV and has quite a lot of room inside the cabin.
The sophistication of this 7 seater car just isn’t there however, and it lacks the flexibility that other ‘people carriers’ (even cheaper ones) sport. It is only available in a diesel engine, and the 1.9 litre version is probably the best price / value / power combination. The driving experience of the VW caddy is perfectly reasonable although road noise does become evident at higher speeds.
If you need the maximum amount of space and flexibility we would suggest the seven seater Volkswagen Sharan should be your choice. A second-hand model a few years old can be picked up for a lot more reasonable price from anywhere between around £8k to £13k. Its sliding doors and high degree of practicality and flexibility make it the best people carrier for larger or older families.
If size isn’t as critical, you might be better off with a VW Touran, which although smaller than the Sharan still offers a highly reasonable amount of space perfect for most families.
The higher-spec Volkswagen people carriers do tend to come at a higher price tag than equivalent 7 seaters from other manufacturers, so opting for a middle of the range one would be more sensible.