There are many seven or eight-seater cars on the market today that you would presume you would be able to at least 4 child seats in, but as I have found in my testing this is not the case! Either the second row doesn't fit three child seats or the rear row doesn't have top tether points, or you can't access them without uninstalling the second-row child seats!!
Here is a list of all the seven and eight-seater SUV's, that I have reviewed so far, and found would fit 4 child seats or more in the back:
The Mazda CX-9 is a fantastic seven-seater SUV and has always been a firm favourite! Ranging from $46,000-$74,000 they suit most family budgets whether you have one or five kids. Five child seats fit really nicely in the Mazda CX-9 with ISOFix in the two outer second-row seats and five top tether anchorages and just quietly THE BEST third-row access of all the seven and eight seater SUV's I've tested which definitely makes them a MUST for a test drive you are looking for a seven-seater family car. Watch my top 3 family features of the 2021 Mazda CX-9 video and the full review here.
The Kia Carnival is a great seven/eight-seat SUV ranging from $47,000 to $67,000. This year's new model sees five top tether anchorages and five ISOFix points and it fits five child seats really comfortably! When you use it as a seven-seater and remove the central second-row seat you get a great walkthrough to the third-row and it still holds four child seats. This is a fantastic car for families big and small because it is so easy to fit everything your family needs and be really great to drive! Watch my top 12 family features of the Kia Carnival video and the full review here.
The Kia Sorento seven-seat SUV ranges from $48,000 to $63,000, it's one of the more affordable and practical seven-seaters. It has five-top tether anchorages and four ISOFix and I could fit five child seats in the back. Third-row access is quite good if your outer child seat is installed using ISOFix rather than the seatbelt, otherwise you have to uninstall a child seat in the second-row. Watch my top 10 family features of the Kia Sorento video and the full review here.
The luxury seven-seater SUV, Audi Q7 has a spacious interior with five top tether anchorages and five ISOFix so five child seats fit nicely in the second and third-rows. The Q7 ranges in price from $102,000 to $165,000 so it is not in every families budget but for those it is a practical and enjoyable option. Watch my top 3 family features of the Audi Q7 video and the full review here.
The Mercedes Benz GLB seven-seat SUV ranges from $60,000 to $89,000, it is an affordable and practical luxury seven-seater with some great family-friendly features. It has five-top tethers and four ISOFix in the back and I could fit five child seats in which is FANTASTIC news! Legroom is compromised with rear-facing child seats installed and third-row access means you have to uninstall a child seat in the second-row. Watch my top three features of the Mercedes Benz GLB video and the full review here.
The BMW X7 seven-seat SUV ranges from $119,000 to $168,000, it is a very practical and luxury seven-seater with some great family-friendly features. It has five-top tethers and four ISOFix in the back and I could fit five big child seats in easily!! WOO HOO!! It also has a fantastic mechanism for accessing the third-row seats with child seats installed. Watch my top four features of the BMW X7 and the full review here.
The Ford Everest ranges from $53,000 to $74,000, it is a great seven-seater. It has five-top tethers and two ISOFix in the back and I could fit five child seats in!! WOO HOO!! It also fits a twin stroller in the boot when using all seven seats which a lot of seven-seater don't. The Everest is a good allrounder, has Apple CarPlay and good reversing cameras, good offroad and practical for a large family too. Watch my top three features of the Ford Everest here and the full Ford Everest review here.
The 2019 Holden Acadia LTZ-V has FIVE top tethers!!!! WOO HOO!! They are all in plastic guides in the rear seatbacks and it has Isofix in the two outer second-row seats. I could install five big child seats which is fantastic! Legroom was very good in the Acadia too and the boot was space is good when using only five seats I could fit 18 shopping bags in or when using all three rows of seats I could fit five shopping bags in or a single or twin stroller fitted.
The Mazda CX-8 has FIVE top tether points?!! FANTASTIC!! They are all within plastic guides on the seat backs, apart from the central one in the second row which is right underneath the seat and I found I required an extension strap for the child seat. There are ISOfix points in the two outer second-row seats only and I found there was enough room for me to install three big child seats across the second row while using the ISOfix because there is plenty of space across the second-row seats, which is unusual and great! In the third row, I installed two big Britax child seats using the seat belts and top tethers, and there was ample room for them. The second row slides to adjust leg room and we found you could have a 184cm passenger sit in front and behind a rear-facing infant capsule. In both positions, there was 25cm of knee room which was impressive! The headroom in the third row was better than in the VW Tiguan Allspace but still only enough for the 184cm passenger to last a 30-minute journey before they wanted more space! For accessing the third row, the second-row seats slide forward and small kids could perhaps climb through but an adult could not reach through the gap to fasten buckles or bigger kids climb through without removing child seats. The second-row seatbacks are split 60:40 and the 60% is on the kerb side so you actually have to remove two child seats to access the third row from the kerb side of the car which seems biased to left-hand drive countries. I found that the third-row seats are very comfortable to sit in and I'm 162cm.
When it came to installing child seats in the Carnival, it took a while to get to grips with all the different seat combinations, sliding mechanism options and top tether and ISOFix positions! There are four top tethers in total and three ISOFix so it can take 4 child seats. The second-row seats are made up of three individual seats that slide and fold up separately. The two outer seats have ISO Fix and top tethers, the ISO Fix are not within plastic guides, they are between the seat back and base and I found them relatively easy to connect to them. The top tethers are really far down on the seatbacks, I found for both rear-facing child seats I tried to instal there I needed an extension strap. In the third row, there are three seats too, they are split 60:40 and there is ISO Fix in the seat on the 40 split and top tether in that seat back as well as top tether in the central seat. I was a little confused by there being top tethers in the two seats next to each other and not in the two outer rear seats. Again the top tether anchor points are really far down on the seatbacks, I didn't need an extension strap with my forward-facing child seats, but would with rear-facing. I was able to install two forward-facing child seats in the third row of the Carnival and I could just squeeze into the seat beside them! Head and legroom are excellent in the third row. Although I could only get four child seats into the Carnival because there are only four top tether anchor points, the good thing about it is the remaining two seats are usable by adults! So the Carnival is good for a growing family where some kids are too big for child seats and will be just on the car seats. Legroom was excellent! With child seats in both rows, there was plenty of legroom for each row and the front passenger and driver. To climb into the central seat in the second row there was enough room when the second-row seats are slid back to climb around the front of an installed child seat.
I was able to install 4 child seats in the Honda Odyssey which was great. There are top tether anchor points right at the bottom of both second-row seat backs, I found I needed an extension strap for the rear-facing child seat. There is ISOFix in the two second-row seats, there were two top tether anchor points for the outer seats in the third-row model I tested, but no ISOFix. The top tethers were not on the seat backs but on the lip of the boot opening, which caused the tether straps to go across the boot space which is not a practical design at all. I managed to install two big child seats in the back there, I did struggle a little to post them in and out through the doors and folded forward seats though.
I did manage to install 4 child seats in the Lexus RX350L there were limitations and I found it is not the most practical or family-friendly car! The large boot of the Lexus RX350L takes away from the space inside the car and when I came to install child seats, I discovered there is not really enough legroom in the car for it to be used as a genuine seven-seater. There are three top tethers across each of the backrests in the second row of seats and one in the third row of seats, in the backrest on the passenger side. They are all well labelled and easy to access and connect to. In the second row, there are ISOFix points in the two outer seats and although they are not within plastic guides, they contrast to the seat upholstery so are easy to locate and connect. I found I could not fit three forward-facing child seats across the second row there was not enough shoulder room, I could fit a forward facing Maxi Guard Pro booster seat in the central seat and a rear-facing Britax Unity infant capsule on one side and Britax Graphene (rear-facing) on the other outer seat. In the third row, I installed the forward facing Platinum Pro child seat, using the seatbelt and top tether, but there was very little leg room. I found the only way to access the third row was bringing the second-row seatback forward and so having to uninstall any child seats in the second-row outer seat! Which is totally impractical! Also with child seats installed in the second row, there really wasn't any legroom in the first and third rows!
I could install 4 child seats into the Infiniti QX80 and there was so much space in the second-row seats that I could use the ISOFix rather than the seatbelts to connect the two outer child seats! I fitted the Britax Platinum Pro forward-facing and Britax Graphene rear-facing in the two outer seats and the Britax Kid Guard Pro booster in between. In the third row, I fitted the Britax Maxi Guard Pro using the seatbelt and top tether. In the Infiniti QX80, the only way to access the third row was by folding forward the second-row outer seat so you would have to uninstall any child seat fitted there! Which is totally impractical! It's also disappointing in a seven-seater car!
In the Nissan Pathfinder there are two ISOFix points, one in each of the outer second-row seats. There are four top tether anchor points, in the backrests of all three second-row seats and there is one in the right-hand third-row seat! This was fantastic and allowed me to install 4 child seats using the seat belts and top tether points. In the third row, I installed the Britax Maxi Guard Pro forward facing booster seat. The seats were relatively easy to install and the only thing I had problems with was getting the top tether strap through the central seat headrest bars, as they were too close together making it very difficult. There was good space for forward-facing and rear facing seats across the second-row. I installed the Britax Unity infant capsule rear facing on one side, the Britax Graphene forward facing in the middle seat and the Britax Platinum Pro would fit forward or rear facing in the other outside seat. Legroom was also very good in the Pathfinder. The second-row seats are split 60:40 and both sides slide to adjust the legroom. I found I could sit in the third row comfortably with a rear facing child seat in the second row (and the second-row seat in the furthest back position) and the driver's seat has plenty of room for most size drivers. The second-row seats also have a mechanism that allows you to move an outer seat forward with a child seat installed and have enough room to climb through to the third-row seats. The child seat MUST be using the ISO Fix and top tether connectors though, not the seatbelt and top tether.
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