Feature article

Best 7 Seater SUVs of 2023 and 2024

The 7 seater SUV is the family favourite among NZ new car buyers

Last updated: 20 December 2023

These offer all the versatility needed to tackle modern family life with practical interior layouts, plenty of space and the accident avoiding features to keep everyone on board safe.

Of those we drove in 2023, these are the best 7 seater SUVs.

Nissan Pathfinder 7 seater SUV

Nissan has pumped more of everything into the new Pathfinder. There are two models to choose from, the Ti at $83,490 and the more highly spec’d Ti-L at $88,490. This is loaded with lots of luxury items and all manner of driver and safety aids. Wireless CarPlay and wired Android Auto feature too and cabin quality is top notch for a mainstream brand.

Nissan Pathfinder

There’s plenty of power from the big 3.5-litre V6, although it does use a decent amount of fuel too, rated at 11.7L/100km. The V6 and new nine-speed auto make a good pair, moving the big Pathfinder smartly, the variable all-wheel drive making it stick.

In the top model, there are a pair of inviting individual chairs in the middle row, access to the aft pews is excellent thanks to a one-touch tilt and slide mechanism on the middle seats that moves them right out of the way. In the back are three spots for the kids, or two adults if you must. With all seats in use there is still useful luggage space left over, including some generous underfloor storage while in four-seater mode there’s simply oodles of cargo space. And with 16 drink holders on board, no one is going thirsty.

Click here to read the full review: https://www.autocar.co.nz/2022-nissan-pathfinder-ti-l-review

For all the Pathfinder specs, click here: https://www.nissan.co.nz/vehicles/browse-range/pathfinder.html

Mazda CX-90 7 seater SUV

Mazda CX-90 7 seater SUV

Mazda is upping its ante in the big SUV stakes with its new CX-90. It moves the brand further upmarket, though it has a price tag to match at $93,690.

The CX-90 adopts a new 3.3-litre inline six which is boosted by both turbocharging and mild hybridisation. It drives through a new eight-speed auto and has AWD. This makes for a smooth and powerful combination, and with the mild hybrid bits, it’s not too bad on the gas at 9.1L/100km. What’s most impressive is how it can chug around town with minimal effort. This is also quiet on the go.

While it’s big the CX-90 is relatively easy to manoeuvre about in traffic with all the necessary safety features and driver aids too. The CX-90 has impressive dynamics for a big bus.

This has the usual high Mazda quality in the cabin and all the nice-to-haves like a full glass roof, the hands-free opening tailgate, sun shades for the rear doors, three-zone climate control.

There’s good room in the rear, as you’d hope for something so large. The big, wide opening doors ease access while the back seat has the usual sliding, reclining and folding features, all easily achieved. There’s good access to the seats in the boot too, which are rather comfortable with good headroom that makes them an option for adults but are more of a fit for the kids, as always.

Click here to read the full review: https://www.autocar.co.nz/2023-maxda-cx-90-takami-review/

For all the Mazda CX-90 specs, click here: https://www.mazda.co.nz/cars/cx-90/

Kia EVA 7 seater electric SUV

Kia EVA 7 seater electric SUV

The EV9 is one of the few all electric 7 seater SUVs you can buy, and its arrival pushes the Korean brand further into premium territory. The electric seven seater starts at $105,990 for the RWD Light while the top AWD GT Line is $134,990.

The RWD model uses a 76kWh battery, Kia stating a WLTP range figure of up to 443km. Its single motor makes 160kW and 350Nm, and that means it takes 8.3sec to hit 100km/h. The AWD models get a bigger 99.8kWh battery, with range quoted as between 492km and 505km, depending on model. With two motors, total output is 282kW and 700Nm. The AWD model can tow up 2500kg braked.

It’s a big machine, 5.1m long, almost 2m wide and 1.8m tall. It makes the firm’s other seven seater SUV, the Sorento, seem small when parked next to it. Kia’s styling takes a bold new leap with the EV9, there’s nothing quite like this on the road at present.

The ride is decent and it’s quiet on the go. With two motors powering you on, there’s always plenty of torque available, this feels effortless everywhere. Yet always smooth, the tuning of the power delivery refined.

Kia EV9

There’s oodles of room in the second row, a flat floor giving the middle passenger ample space for lower limbs, though the squab is firm there. Access to the back row is grand, the middle seats sliding and tilting quickly and smoothly with just a touch of a button. In the rear, the space is good for kids and while adults do okay for headroom, the second row needs to slide forward to give them a semblance of leg room. On boot space, the EV9 has plenty of that too. The third row sinks into the floor easily when not required, the boot being wide and long, although height is somewhat limited. While there is no spare underneath, there is space for the charging cables.

Click here to read the full review: https://www.autocar.co.nz/kia-ev9-first-nz-drive-review/

For all the Kia EV9 specs, click here: https://kia.co.nz/vehicles/ev9/

Honda CR-V Sport 7

Honda CR-V Sport 7

The Honda CR-V is a popular SUV in New Zealand, and a new model arrives being a little larger than the last one, it being longer, wider, taller. That means it offers more space inside but also more technology and a further expansion of the Sensing Safety systems. And the seven seater option returns to the local line-up too.

This features a revised 1.5T engine mated to a revised CVT with fuel economy of 8.1L/100km. This combination gives the CR-V an easy going character. But this Honda is also a good drive with positive steering and a well struck ride and handling mix.

It retails for $57k and has an impressive safety line-up with 11 airbags, AEB, lane warning and departure systems, adaptive cruise, and traffic sign recognition.

The Sport 7’s third row of seats emerge from the floor and when in use, there’s room for a few bags in the hold. The middle row pews easily scoot forward and tilt, facilitating access to the occasional seats. These also slide forward and aft, improving third-row foot and knee room but it’s still for the littl’uns.

Click here to read the full review: https://www.autocar.co.nz/curve-carving-cr-v-arrives/

For all the Honda CR-V specs, click here: https://www.honda.co.nz/cr-v/cr-v-sport-7/


Kyle Cassidy
Kyle Cassidy
Editor NZ Autocar magazine - autocar.co.nz

Kyle has been reviewing cars since starting at NZ Autocar magazine in 2003 and has been editor since 2009. In that time he’s become an expert on what makes for a good vehicle while also gaining insights into the local automotive industry.