One of the most important considerations when looking for a seven or eight-seater family car, if you need to use all three rows of seats, is having easy access through to the third-row for passengers so that you do not need to uninstall a child seat on a daily basis.
It's all well and good having a seven or eight-seater family car, but if you have to remove one or more child seats in the second row in order to climb through to the third-row seats then that just really isn't practical for any parent on a daily basis.
Some cars do it sooooo well and some not so.
There are a lot of seven and eight-seater SUVs, 4x4s and people movers to choose from when you are looking for your next family car, whether you are a large or blended family who will be using all seven seats constantly, or you regularly have passengers in the third row when grandparents and in-laws visit, or for when you have after school playdates and transporting friends' kids around.
- Looking for cars and SUVs that can fit at least three ISOFix child seats?
- Looking for seven-seaters that will take three child seats across?
Below we have put together a list of all the seven or eight-seater cars BabyDrive has tested in Australia that you do not have to remove a child seat to access the third-row:
Which SUVs have good access to the third-row?
The Hyundai Palisade is available as a seven or eight-seater family SUV. This seven-seater model has two captains chairs in the second-row with a walkway between the two through to the third-row seats. Therefore you do not have to uninstall a child seat to access the third-row seats. See the full seven-seater review here.
The eight seater Hyundai Palisade has three seats across the second-row split 60:40. The outer seat tips forward with child seats installed, as long as you are using ISOFix rather than the seatbelt, giving you a good gap through to the third-row seats. See the full eight-seater Palisade review here.
The new 2021 Toyota Kluger seven seat SUV ranges from $48,000 to 76,000. It will fit three child seats in the second-row seats and has no top tether anchorages in the third-row. This new model has good third-row access for a child to climb through to the third-row seats. Read the full review here.
The BMW X7 is a pretty special seven seater SUV. It has five top tether anchorages and four ISOFix points and holds five child seats… All that AND you can access the third-row with child seats installed in the second-row seats. The second-row seas are split 60:40 and as long as the child seat in the 40% is installed using ISOFix then you can tilt that seat forward and climb through to the Hird-row seats. See the full review here.
The Mazda CX-9 is a very good family seven-seater SUV that I have managed to easily and very comfortably fit five lovely big child seats into the back of! It is AMAZING!!!
All the second-row seats slide forward and back to adjust legroom distribution. The outer seat in the second row, behind the front passenger, has a mechanism to allow you to bring that seat forward WITH a child seat installed (only if you are using the ISO Fix not the seatbelt), giving a lovely big step through access to the third-row seats. Read the full review here.
The Kia Sorento PHEV is a fantastic seven seater family SUV. It doesn't have airbags in the third-row seats though, so if you do need to be aware of that.
When it comes to third-row access in the Kia Sorento, it is actually pretty good. The second-row seats are split 60:40 and the mechanism works really well if you're just using two child seats in the second row. However, if you've got three it will still work, you can bring either the 60% or 40% seat forward and climb through to the third row. To do this, you need to use the ISOFIX to attach your child seat, not the cars seat belt.. Read the full review here.
The second row of seats in the Nissan Pathfinder is split 60:40, it has 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 ISO Fix, not the seatbelt. This is a fantastic BabyDrive feature! Read the full review here.
The Audi Q7 is a great luxury family seven-seater SUV. It has five top tether anchorages in the rear seats making it practical for large families and gives families with fewer children flexibility of where they position them.
The second-row has three individual seats which gives plenty of space for child seats. The seats tumble forward individually to give access through to the third-row so although you do need to leave a second-row seat empty to allow access you can choose which one and put child seats in the back if necessary. Read the full review here.
The Genesis GV80 is a beautiful, luxury family seven-seater SUV ranging in price from $91,000 to $109,000. Three child seats fit nicely in the back and the third-row access is good for a child to climb through to the third-row. There are lovely seat sliding mechanisms for the second-row seats and if you are using ISOFix rather then the seatbelt to instal your outer child seats then you can bring them forward to create a gap large enough for a child to climb through to the third-row seats. Read the full review here.
The second row of seats in the Holden Acadia is split 60:40, it has a mechanism that allows you to move the 40% seat forward, with a child seat installed, and have enough room to climb through to the third-row seats. I found this only worked if you only had a child seat in the outer second-row seats though. If you have three child seats across then the central one prevents it from working. The child seat on the 40% seat MUST be using the ISO Fix and top tether connectors though, not the seatbelt and top tether. The Acadia fitted five big child seats in the rear seats which is fantastic! See the full review here.
Which People Movers and Mini Vans have good access to the third-row seats?
The eight seater Hyundai Staria is a great new AWD people mover and a good option for large families, ranging in price from $49,000 – $67,000 it is packed full of amazing family friendly features. Including excellent third row access. Three child seats fit easily across the spacious second-row seats and you can bring the second-row seats forward and climb through to the third-row seats if you have used the ISOFix to install your outer child seat rather than the seatbelt. In the third row, there are no top tether anchorages or ISOFix (unlike the Kia Carnival) but I was able to easily fit three Infasecure Versatile Folding Booster seats in the back there for older kids. Read the full review here.
The NEW generation Kia Carnival ranges between $47,000 and $67,000 and is a lot of practical family car for the price. With five top tether anchorages and five ISOFix it's difficult to beat for large families. It has two options for third-row access, either remove the central second-row seat for a walkway or bring the outer second-row seats forward if you instal those child seats using ISOFix rather than the cars seatbelts. Read the full review here.
The VW Multivan is an awesome family seven-seater. Whether you need seven seats or less. You will have heaps of space to move around inside and can easily walk through to the third row seats. The Multivan has lots of boot space and you can easily carry your pram, camping gear or surf boards when using all the seats.
Read the full review here.
The previous generation Kia Carnival if you slide an outer second-row seat all the way forward and use the seat lifting lever to bring the seat back and base upwards, I think there would be enough room for a child to climb in behind it or by folding down the seatback of the central seat in the second row and climbing across there, the central seat is also removable so you can have a walk through to the third-row seats. The only problem is I didn't think there was an easy way for an adult to reach through to do up the child restraints in the third row, without uninstalling a child seat in the second row and climbing up. Read the full review here.
In the Honda Odyssey, the second-row seats could slide an enormous amount which meant that I was able to climb in around the installed child seats to access the third-row seats and the gangway down the centre of the car makes accessing all three rows of seats really easy too. Watch the full review here.