Finding the Perfect Family SUV: A Guide to the Best 7-Seater Vehicles in 2023

AutoTrader NZ
Published 5 August 2023
Are you in the market for a spacious and versatile SUV that can comfortably accommodate your entire family? Look no further! We've compiled a comprehensive guide to help you find the perfect 7-seater SUV that suits your needs and preferences. From safety features to fuel economy, infotainment to performance, we've got you covered with all the essential details. Let's dive into our selection of top 7-seater SUV vehicles available in the current New Zealand market.
7-Seater SUVs for sale

Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai Santa Fe gracefully combines style and practicality, making it a highly sought-after 7-seater SUV.

Key Features:

  • Spacious 7-seater configuration
  • 5-star safety rating for models from 2012 onwards
  • Impressive fuel economy, with the latest model offering 8.7L per 100kms for petrol and 6.1L per 100kms for diesel
  • SmartSense technology with surround view monitors and forward collision avoidance (2023 model)
  • Loaded with cutting-edge tech features like Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and wireless charging (2023 model)


  • Generous boot space with the third row folded down
  • Advanced safety features for the latest model
  • Comfortable and luxurious interior


  • Higher price range for the latest model
  • Limited third-row legroom

Price on Auto Trader: $15,000 (older models) - 2023 models begin at $67,990*

Fun Fact: The Hyundai Santa Fe is named after the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the United States.

Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs for sale

Mazda CX-9

The Mazda CX-9, a favourite among families, offers a sleek, spacious design with excellent value.

Key Features:

  • 7-seater configuration with comfortable and adjustable seats
  • Enhanced safety features, including blind spot monitoring and parking sensors (2023 model)
  • Improved fuel efficiency, with the latest model consuming 8.4L per 100kms
  • 9” touch screen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and Sat Nav for the latest model


  • Stylish and premium exterior design
  • Ample cargo space with the third row not in use
  • Smooth and responsive handling


  • Less fuel-efficient compared to some rivals
  • Third-row legroom might be tight for taller passengers

Price on Auto Trader: $25,000 (2013 models) - 2023 models starting from $68,552*

Fun Fact: The Mazda CX-9 was designed with the concept of "Kodo" in mind, which means "soul of motion" in Japanese.

Mazda CX-9 SUVs for sale

Nissan X-Trail

As the world's top-selling SUV, the Nissan X-Trail stands out as an all-around capable SUV that comfortably fits the whole family.

Key Features:

  • 5-star safety rating for all 7-seater models from 2014 onwards
  • Fuel-efficient, consuming approximately 8 litres of fuel per 100kms
  • Abundance of boot space with all seats in place and the third row folded down
  • Loaded with tech features like Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Advanced Drive Assist for the latest model


  • Reliable and durable SUV with strong off-road capabilities
  • Comfortable and spacious interior with practical storage options
  • Excellent safety features for all models


  • Older models might lack some of the advanced tech features
  • Interior materials are not as luxurious as some competitors

Price on Auto Trader: $19,000 (older models around 2014) - 2023 models starting from $41,995*

Fun Fact: The Nissan X-Trail's name was inspired by the "X" in "cross-country" and the word "trail" to highlight its ability to handle various terrains.

Nissan X-Trail 7-Seater SUVs for sale

Skoda Kodiaq

The Skoda Kodiaq, a 7-seater launched in 2017, won the New Zealand Car of the Year award in its debut year due to its overall value and practicality.

Key Features:

  • Practical 7-seater configuration with ample boot space
  • 5-star safety rating for all models since 2017
  • Fuel-efficient, with the 2023 model offering 6.9L per 100kms
  • Loaded with tech features like wireless connectivity and wireless charging for the latest model


  • Spacious interior with clever storage solutions
  • Well-designed and user-friendly infotainment system
  • Smooth and comfortable ride quality


  • Third-row seating might be more suitable for children
  • Limited off-road capabilities compared to some competitors

Price on Auto Trader: $38,000 (2017 models) - 2023 models start at $44,990*

Fun Fact: The name "Kodiaq" is inspired by the Kodiak bear, which is a large brown bear found in Alaska.

Skoda Kodiaq 7-Seater SUVs for sale

Toyota Highlander

The iconic Toyota Highlander retains its car-like drive and handling, complemented by the capacity of a station wagon, and the enhanced ground clearance with 4WD potential to face off-road challenges.

Key Features:

  • Comfortable 7-seater configuration with generous boot space
  • Advanced safety features, including automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control
  • Fuel-efficient, with excellent figures for both petrol and hybrid variants
  • Premium tech features like tri-zone climate control and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility


  • Well-built and reliable SUV with a strong resale value
  • Quiet and comfortable ride quality
  • Impressive towing capacity for outdoor enthusiasts


  • Higher initial purchase price compared to some rivals
  • Third-row seats might be more suitable for children

Price on Auto Trader: $25,000 (for used 2011 models) - 2023 models from $65,000*

Fun Fact: The Toyota Highlander's name is chosen to evoke a sense of adventure and exploration, symbolising its ability to handle various terrains and challenges.

Toyota Highlander 7-Seater SUVs for sale

Mitsubishi Outlander

Finally, the Mitsubishi Outlander, a reliable 7-seater offering the perfect blend of comfort, safety, and versatility.

Key Features:

  • Practical 7-seater configuration with foldable third-row seats
  • Advanced safety features, including Forward Collision Mitigation and Adaptive Cruise Control (2023 model)
  • Fuel-efficient, with the latest model consuming just 7.5L per 100kms for the petrol version
  • Tech features like Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility and advanced driver-assist systems (2023 model)


  • Affordable pricing for both new and used models
  • Reliable and practical SUV for everyday use
  • Smooth and comfortable ride quality


  • Interior materials might feel less premium compared to some rivals
  • Third-row legroom might be limited for taller passengers

Price on Auto Trader: $12,000 (2014 models) - 2023 models starting from $34,990*

Fun Fact: The Mitsubishi Outlander was the world's first plug-in hybrid SUV, making it a pioneer in eco-friendly SUV technology.

Mitsubishi Outlander 7-Seater SUVs for sale

Summary Table of 7-Seater SUV Models

Make/Model Safety Features Fuel Economy (per 100kms) Boot Space Tech Features Price Range (New)* Price Range (Used)*
Hyundai Santa Fe 5-star safety rating, SmartSense technology (2023 model) 8.7L (petrol) / 6.1L (diesel) 571 litres (third row folded) Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, wireless charging (2023 model) $67,990* (2023 model) $15,000 - $67,990*
Mazda CX-9 Blind spot monitoring, parking sensors (2023 model) 8.4L 810 litres (third row not in use) 9” touch screen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Sat Nav $68,552* (2023 model) $25,000 - $68,552*
Nissan X-Trail 5-star safety rating, Advanced Drive Assist (2023 model) 8.0L (petrol) / 6.0L (diesel) 565 litres (third row folded) Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Advanced Drive Assist $41,995* (2023 model) $19,000 - $41,995*
Skoda Kodiaq 5-star safety rating, wireless connectivity (2023 model) 6.9L 630 litres (5 seats in place) Wireless connectivity, wireless charging $44,990* (2023 model) $38,000 - $44,990*
Toyota Highlander Automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control Excellent fuel efficiency in petrol and hybrid variants 1420 litres (third row folded) Tri-zone climate control, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility $65,000* (2023 model) $25,000 - $65,000*
Mitsubishi Outlander Forward Collision Mitigation, Adaptive Cruise Control (2023 model) 7.5L (petrol) / 5.9L (diesel) 591 litres (third row folded) Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility, advanced driver-assist systems (2023 model) $34,990* (2023 model) $12,000 - $34,990*

*Prices are indicative and may vary based on location and dealer offerings.

Buyer's Guide for Choosing the Best 7-Seater SUV for Your Family

Buying a 7-seater SUV is a significant decision that requires careful consideration. Here are some essential factors to keep in mind to ensure you make an informed and wise choice:

1. Identify Your Needs

Before diving into the sea of 7-seater SUV options, think about what your family's specific needs are. Consider the number of passengers you frequently carry, the amount of cargo space required, and whether you need additional towing capacity. Knowing your needs will help you narrow down your choices and prioritise the features that matter most to you.

2. Space and Seating Configuration

One of the main reasons for choosing a 7-seater SUV is its versatile seating capacity. Evaluate the interior space and seating configuration of each model. Look for comfortable and adjustable seats that accommodate adults and children alike. Ensure the third-row seats offer adequate legroom and headroom for taller passengers.

3. Safety Features

Safety should always be a top priority, especially when transporting your loved ones. Check for essential safety features like multiple airbags, electronic stability control, and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). Newer models often come with advanced safety technologies like lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking, which can provide an extra layer of protection.

4. Fuel Efficiency

Consider the fuel efficiency of the 7-seater SUVs you are interested in. Fuel costs can significantly impact your overall ownership expenses. Opt for models with better fuel economy to save money on day-to-day commuting and long trips.

5. Infotainment and Technology

Modern 7-seater SUVs offer a plethora of infotainment and technology features to enhance your driving experience. Look for models equipped with user-friendly touchscreen interfaces, smartphone integration (e.g., Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), Bluetooth connectivity, and advanced navigation systems.

6. Comfort and Convenience

Take note of the creature comforts that each model offers. Consider features like multi-zone climate control, heated and ventilated seats, panoramic sunroof, and power-operated tailgate. These amenities can make your journeys more enjoyable for both the driver and passengers.

7. Performance and Handling

While SUVs are not sports cars, their performance and handling are still crucial aspects to consider. Test drive each model to assess how it handles on different road conditions. Check for a smooth ride, responsive steering, and adequate power output.

8. Maintenance and Ownership Costs

Be aware of the long-term maintenance and ownership costs associated with each 7-seater SUV. Factors such as maintenance schedules, repair costs, and insurance premiums should be taken into account.

9. Brand Reputation and Reliability

Research the reputation and reliability of each brand and model. Check for reviews and ratings from other owners to gauge the overall satisfaction and dependability of the vehicle.

10. Financing and Warranty

If you're considering financing the purchase, explore various financing options and compare interest rates. Also, ensure that the 7-seater SUV comes with a comprehensive warranty that provides coverage for a reasonable duration.


Choosing the best 7-seater SUV for your family in New Zealand requires careful consideration of your specific needs, preferences, and budget. Whether you prioritise safety, fuel efficiency, advanced tech features, or spacious interiors, there's a 7-seater SUV that suits your lifestyle. Take your time to test drive each model and compare their unique offerings before making your final decision. Happy car hunting!

7-Seater SUVs for sale