Looking for an electrified model but need seven-seat practicality? Then these SUVs may be the vehicles for you, says Craig Cheetham.
Family road trips and days away with canoes, surfboards, beach gear – and children – in tow, means that cars equipped to cope with the demands of family life are in increasing demand.
Designers and car manufacturers have worked hard to meet the exhaustive list of consumer demands, combining form and function with electric and hybrid power to help reduce emissions whilst providing space, comfort and practicality. We take a look at the best seven seater options on the market right now.
Electric range: 260-297 miles
Mercedes-Benz has just pulled the wraps off its new EQB, which is the brand’s first seven-seater electric SUV and a welcome addition to a very limited range of plug-in cars with an extra row of seats. The EQB is based on the GLB SUV and will initially be offered in the UK in top-of-the-range four-wheel-drive EQB 350 4Matic trim. It uses two electric motors with a combined output of 288bhp and a range of 260 miles.
A less powerful 188bhp model with one motor and a longer 297 mile range is expected in the summer.
Power for the EQB 350’s electric motors comes from a 66kWh lithium ion battery underneath the rear seat, which can be charged at up to 11kW on an AC system and at up to 100kW on a DC set-up
Tesla Model X
Electric range: 300 miles+
The Model X was the first all-electric seven-seat SUV but you’ll need deep pockets to buy one – the entry-level model starts at £81,990.
For that, though, you do get the Model X’s funky “Falcon” doors that make it look like it’s about to fly (and given Tesla’s track record, surely a flying car can’t be too far away?).
Tesla claims a figure of 1,020 peak horsepower from the dual electric motors via a 100kWh battery pack. This gives a 0-60 time of just 2.5 seconds in the range-topping Plaid model and 3.8 seconds for the less sporty version, relatively speaking.
The Tesla still has the longest range of any EV on the market, while its supercharging capability means it can add up to 175 miles of range in just 15 minutes.
Kia Sorento Plug-in
Electric range: 35 miles
A recent arrival in UK showrooms, the plug-in version of the latest Sorento shares the seven-seat layout of internal combustion models.
It has an electric-only range of 35 miles and CO2 emissions of just 38g/km.
It’s a plug-in Hybrid, like the Volvo here, but with prices starting at £44,000 it’s much cheaper and is also handsomely equipped.
All models get seven seats, smartphone mirroring, a reversing camera and front and rear parking sensors.
The Sorento uses a 177bhp turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine paired with a 90bhp electric motor and 13.8kWh battery. It’s four-wheel-drive, with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 Hybrid
Electric range: 28 miles
The Volvo XC90 Recharge has been with us for a while now – the basic design is over five years old, but it’s still the best plug-in hybrid SUV with seven-seat capability and it still feels pretty special.
The electric motor operates in tandem with a 2.0-litre petrol engine that’s both supercharged and turbocharged, resulting in 385bhp and a 0-62mph time of 5.8 seconds. It has an 11.6kWh battery that gives it an EV-only range of around 28 miles, ideal for short commutes and shopping trips, with the back up of petrol power when needed.
It’s a sensible buy, too. The residual values for the XC90 Recharge are among the best on the market.
Electric range: 213 miles
The EQB isn’t the only Mercedes-Benz to offer more than five seats and full EV capability as the EQV has been doing the same since 2020. However, the EQV is hardly aimed at aspirational private customers.
Based on the V-Class people carrier, itself based on the Vito van, the EQV is set to prove popular with taxi operators and VIP airport shuttles thanks to its compliance with tough emissions legislation.
Six, seven or eight-seater versions are on offer, powered by a 90kWh battery pack and a powertrain that delivers the equivalent of 201hp and provides a range of 213 miles.