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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.

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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.

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?


2021 Hyundai Palisade Highlander family car review

NEW 2021 Hyundai Palisade

The Hyundai Palisade is available as a seven or eight-seater. The 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. I am testing the eight seater model soon which has a row of three seats across the second-row so we will see if the third-row access is good… watch this space! See the full seven-seater review here.


BMW X7 2019 SUV

BMW X7

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.


Nissan Pathfinder

Nissan Pathfinder

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.


Holden Acadia

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.


Mazda CX-9 Azami

Mazda CX-9

The Mazda CX-9 is a seven-seater 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.

Which People Movers and Mini Vans have good access to the third-row seats?


Kia Carnival Si

Kia Carnival

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.


HONDA ODYSSEY VTi-L 2018

Honda Odyssey

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.

Which 4x4s have good access to the third-row seats?

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