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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Best seven-seat electric cars to buy 2022

For most seven-seater cars, the added weight of a third row of seats, additional passengers and all of their luggage can place a great demand on a petrol or diesel-powered engine. As a result, many engined-powered seven-seater cars achieve poor overall fuel economy, meaning owners will often find themselves making more regular trips to refuel and paying more for the higher running costs. 

On the other hand, electric cars offer low running costs for those who cover fewer miles and don’t mind charging their vehicle overnight at home or at charging stations. Car makers have recognised that electric power can make a great addition to people-carriers and some excellent electric seven-seat electric cars are now hitting the UK roads.

If the up-front price of an electric car is a stumbling block, make sure to check out hybrid 7-seaters like the Kia Sorento and Volvo XC90 Recharge T8, or a used Toyota Prius+, which might offer a useful compromise. You’ll also find a great range of petrol or diesel-powered 7-seaters if electric power doesn’t work for you.

Whether your budget is £30,000 or £100,000, all of the electric seven-seater cars listed below will carry passengers and their luggage in comfort while also helping to bring down those high running costs. We have detailed the best seven-seat electric cars currently on sale to help you find your perfect car.

The best 7-seat electric cars to buy in 2022

Mercedes EQB

The new EQB joins the EQA, EQC, EQV and the EQS in Mercedes’ fleet of electric cars and is one of the best battery-powered machines the German brand currently has to offer. The EQB offers all the premium appeal that you’d expect from the Stuttgart-based car maker, with a stylish and recognisably Mercedes exterior design, a refined cabin space with a dual-screen infotainment system, double glazed windows for added sound deadening and ample performance for motorway drives and overtaking.  

The Mercedes EQB comes in two performance trims – the 225bhp EQB 300 and the 288bhp EQB 350. Both models are equipped with a 66.5kWh battery and a pair of electric motors providing 4MATIC all-wheel drive. Mercedes claims the EQB will reach between 250 and 257 miles on a single charge, although real-world range is likely to hover around the 200-mile mark. The EQB’s 100kW maximum rapid charge rate will enable fast recharging from 10% to 80% in just 32 minutes, providing between 150 to 200 miles depending on your driving style. 

The EQB is available with plenty of optional equipment such as a panoramic sunroof, although we would recommend the base price AMG Line edition which starts at around £55,000 and includes 18-inch alloy wheels, LED lights, 64-colour ambient lighting, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, sat-nav and a reversing camera – all for around half the price of a Tesla Model X. If you can live with the EQB’s mileage and afford its price tag, there aren’t many electric seven-seaters that are this compelling.

Citroen e-SpaceTourer/ Peugeot e-Traveller/ Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life

Citroen’s largest MPV, the SpaceTourer, is now solely available in electric form as the e-SpaceTourer. It’s based on the Dispatch panel van and uses the same powertrain as the Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa-e, so you get a 134bhp electric motor and a 50kWh Li-ion battery. The drive system is good for over 200 miles in those superminis but the bigger e-SpaceTourer achieves up to 148 miles between top-ups.

You don’t get the bigger 75kWh battery option that is offered on the electric Dispatch van, but 100kW fast-charging is included to allow a 30-minute recharge to 80% with the right charger. A normal 7.4kWh wallbox enables easy overnight charging.

Besides badges and minor styling tweaks, the Citroen is identical to the Peugeot e-Traveller and Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life – so your decision might come down to which dealership is closest or which offers the best deals. None of these vehicles are eligible for the plug-in car grant, now that the limit has been reduced to £35,000.

Tesla Model X

The original seven-seat electric SUV is the most expensive seven-seat EV at the time of writing, with 2022 versions costing more than £100,000, although Tesla does like to change its pricing on a whim.

The Model X still features highly distinctive styling with those ‘falcon’ doors that open upwards. They’re not just for show, though – they’re meant to allow easier access to the rear seats in tight car parks.

A new ‘Plaid’ powertrain has been promised that delivers a 2.5-second 0-62mph time, which would make it the fastest SUV ever made, while Plaid and Long Range models offer more than 300 miles of range. While the Model Y is also available in a seven-seat configuration, the Model X was built from scratch to accommodate seven passengers and offers a more comfortable and spacious interior. Tesla owners can also use the Supercharger network, which is currently our favourite charging network.

Mercedes EQV

With many vans-with-windows you have to accept the hard plastics that are favoured for commercial vehicles, but that’s not the case with the Mercedes EQV. It’s the new electric version of the V-Class, and features a luxurious cabin filled with premium materials and good levels of technology, just as you’d expect from a Mercedes passenger car.

The powertrain is impressive on paper, promising decent figures of 201bhp and over 210 miles of range – although, as with any EV, this will quickly reduce if you spend a lot of time on the motorway. Luckily there’s fast-charging, giving a 80% top-up in 45 minutes. Brake regeneration allows one-pedal driving in its strongest setting, too.

Three trim levels are available, with the top one even getting air suspension and a Burmester sound system. All feature LED headlights, a reversing camera and a 10-inch MBUX media screen, which is perhaps to be expected when the EQV costs over £70,000.

Peugeot e-Rifter/ Citroen e-Berlingo/ Vauxhall Combo-e Life

Citroen, Peugeot and Vauxhall all offer two van-based MPVs, and now the smaller ones are electrified too. The e-Berlingo, e-Rifter and Combo-e Life all use the same powertrain as the bigger ones mentioned elsewhere in this list, with a slightly higher range of around 170 miles.

Three modes are included: Eco, Normal and Power. The former limits power to just 80bhp and restricts the air conditioning system to save range, while ‘Power’ is best reserved for heavy loads, Citroen says. Charging is the same as for the bigger MPVs, so an 80% charge can be achieved in half an hour at a public fast-charger.

None look very different to their petrol and diesel counterparts, with the e-Berlingo getting just a few blue touches to mark it out. These are a little more expensive than petrol and diesel ones, but once again offer the prospect of lower running costs.

Nissan e-NV200 Combi

The Nissan e-NV200 Combi is a car that you may have forgotten about, but it is nonetheless an electric seven-seater. It’s based on the underpinnings of the Nissan Leaf, but it feels like the older model. It’s not very quick (top speed is 76mph), and manages a somewhat meagre 124 miles before you’ll need to plug in it. You may be able to go slightly further if you just keep within city limits; Nissan says up to 187 miles is possible here.

Comfort is a plus, but this people carrier does feel its age, especially against the new wave of electric cars. The infotainment is similarly dated, even if a reversing camera is standard on Acenta and Evalia trims. Mid-range Acenta also gets cruise control, automatic air conditioning and rapid charging, so at least there’s a reasonable spec list.

It’s also the only car on this list to benefit from the updated plug-in car grant, but paying over £30,000 for it will still sting a bit.

Thinking of buying an electric car? Read our guide on Electric cars vs petrol cars vs hybrid cars: which engine choice is right for you?

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