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Published April 21st 2013
With 4 children we have spent plenty of time looking for a car that A. Fits everyone B. Is fuel efficient C. Is reliable and D. Resale value. They were our main factors when searching for a car. Depending on your own personal needs, this will vary. So these are my suggestions;
Honda Odyssey; a seven seater that is more car like than other people movers. Great resale value and fuel efficiency is 8.9 litres per 100 km. Brand new they retail between $37,100 - $44,920.
There are 4 child restraint points (this is in fact something many cars, even other 7 seaters only have 3. So you need to make sure you consider this if you need more than 3 restraint points, remembering that children by law need to be in some form of booster until the age of 7.)
Servicing will be expensive if you get it serviced by Honda but your local mechanic can do it at a reasonable price if replacement parts are not genuine Honda parts. The only downside to the Honda is boot space when all seats are in use and access to the rear seats can be tight. The Honda is my number one pick for young children and for its car like looks and handling.
Kia Carnival: I will be the first to say I hate the aesthetics of this car, however the practicality of a Kia Carnival has plenty of benefits; the dual sliding doors are great for getting kids in and out of without having to worry about them opening the door onto another parked car. Eight seats, that will comfortably seat 7 adults, which is great for teenagers who need more room for friends and their band equipment. The price for a new Kia Carnival ranges between $38,990 - $56,190. However resale value is low. Kia reports fuel consumption to be 10.9 litres however there are many complaints of it being around 16 - 20 litres around town. Pros; Cheap to repair.
Toyota Tarago is the iconic people mover. A Toyota badge means reliability is up there as the best. The price however does reflect that with the $53,990 for V6 Gli model. Fuel consumption is listed as 10.2 litres per 100 km. Resale value is excellent.
Hyundai iMax won the Racv 2012 Australia's best people mover award. I have seen a few at school, and with 8 seats they would be handy, however I am not sure I would want to run around town in a van. Priced from $37,290 with reported fuel consumption at 9.1 litres per 100 km.
Subaru Liberty Exiga, is one that I have seen around and would compare to the Odyssey, with 7 seats and a similar style. With a price of $42,490 and fuel consumption of 8.6 litres per 100 km. Earlier models are 6 seaters and have good resale value. This is a really nice family car without it being too frumpy.
Land Rover Discovery is one that was recommended to me by my local mechanic, having 7 seats and reportedly easy to maintain mechanically at a reasonable price. Brand new they are pricey at between $68,400 and $129,400. If you can afford one you will want to go with the diesel option which is estimated at using 8.0 litres per 100 km in the base model in comparison with the V8 petrol model 'claiming' 14.1 litres per 100 km.
However have a look on carsales for a Discovery 3 at a reasonable price. Pros: They look great, you can take them off road, pull a camper van and fit 7.
Other 7 seater's to consider are Mazda's CX9, Kia Sorrento, Ford Territory, Holden Captiva, Mitsubishi Outlander and Pajero, Toyota Prado, Landcrusier and Kluger, Subaru Tribeca, Nissan Pathfinder,Volkswagon Multi Van, Renault Grand Scenic and Citron C4 Picasso.
For luxury models try Volvo XC90, BMW X5 , Mercedes GL and R Class and Audi Q7.
You have left out the Mitsubishi Grandis - 7 seater - car of the year a few years ago for its class. Very reliable I have had not major repairs and am driving my second one. Holds it value economical to drive at 10.1 per 100 Kms.
We've enjoyed trouble free motoring with our Honda Odyssey for 16 years and 290,000km. So, a few months ago when looking for a new car we couldn't find anything better. So another Odyssey we have...and we've kept the old one!